The French Huguenots were Protestants who were influenced by the writings of the reformer John Calvin (“Calvinists”) in the 1530s. By the 1700s, more than 200,000 Huguenots were driven from or fled France due to the violence and bloodshed and presecution at the hands of the Roman Catholic church. Those who fled, settled around the globe. Canterbury, England still has a large group of descendants and regular Huguenot services at Canterbury Cathedral. (I have a bulletin from my trip there a few years ago.) South Africa also has a large population.
My ancestors, the Bonnells, came to Charleston. They eventually made their way into South Georgia to the town that is now Metter. My dad has served as President of the Georgia Huguenot Society off and on his entire life. So I have close ties to and interest in the French Protestant Huguenot Church at 44 Queen Street in Charleston—at the corner of Church Street and Queen Street across from Dock Street Theatre—about 7.5 miles from Abberly at West Ashley Apartments.
It’s the only remaining independent Huguenot Church in America. Come and see this beautiful, historical church while it’s open through June 17 from 10am to 4pm.
You may also be interested in the Annual French Service coming up this weekend, April 10, 2011 from 10:30am to 11:30pm. The service will be conducted in French, the native tongue of the Huguenots.
If you have French blood and Huguenot ancestry you can document, contact the Huguenot Society about becoming a member. Regardless, visit this unique, historical landmark that brings to life one thread in the beautiful tapestry of America’s diverse religious heritage.
photo source: French Church