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From Concept to Corridor: Preservation of Taveau Church

October 10 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

$10.00 – $15.00

Twenty-five sites in Berkeley County are on the National Register of Historic Places. Just one of them is explicitly associated with the Black experience. Join CLS in welcoming a panel of preservations and visionaries to tell the inspirational story of the rehabilitation of Taveau Church, a Black Methodist sanctuary dating back to 1847 that had fallen into dilapidation, how it led them to the concept and creation of a Berkeley County Sacred Corridor, now an isolated stretch along the Cooper River where there are but three places to visit: Mepkin Abbey, Taveau Church, and Strawberry Chapel. Former Southern Region Director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, John Hildreth will moderate a conversation with Bill Fitzpatrick of Preservation South Carolina, Cynthia Gibbs of the Taveau Legacy Committee, Dr. Robert Ball of the Strawberry Chapel Vestry, and Father Joe Tedesco from Mepkin Abbey.

In the words of Bill Fitzpatrick:

About ten years ago, I decided to photograph all accessible National Register landmarks in South Carolina, one of which was Taveau Church in rural Berkeley County. On a cool February morning, I walked around the perimeter of the dilapidated building, amazed that the wooden structure had survived nearly 200 years of coastal winds, rains, and heat, and amazed again at the information I had at hand: Taveau Church was used by Black Methodists before the Civil War.  After the war, faithful generations continued to use the church until it was closed by the United Methodist Conference in 1974. But despite its incredible historic value as a place “ground zero” to so much of our nation’s history, Taveau, with over a century of continuous Black worship, and built on land that was once owned by Founding Father and slave trader, Henry Laurens, was a gust of wind from being lost, a fact I remembered when I later became board chair of Preservation South Carolina.

The effort to preserve Taveau would require perseverance and faith, a belief that this sacred place, located within the Cooper River Historic District, and between two other National Register Landmarks with roots to the early 1700s, Mepkin Plantation (now Mepkin Abbey) and Strawberry Chapel, had an essential story worth telling.

About Bill Fitzpatrick

Bill earned MBA from the University of South Carolina in 1978, and eventually became part owner of two companies that provide technical services to large restaurant chains. As time allowed, Bill embraced his lifelong interests in travel, writing, history, and photography. In the early 1990s, he and his former college roommate bicycled across the United States, an effort that led the pair to author the book, Bottoms Up, America! In 2008, Bill wrote another travel essay book about his experiences in India: Destination India, Destiny Unknown. The book led Bill to write a long-standing monthly “Americana” column for Khabar, an Atlanta-based magazine that caters to the interests of the Indian American community. His most recent work, South Carolina’s Sacred Spaces, a 264-page coffee table book, describes 70 of our state’s most significant churches and temples. He and his wife, Dr. Janis Bandelin, the former director of libraries for Furman University, donated all proceeds from the sale of the book to Preservation South Carolina and its Sacred Spaces fund. Bill serves on the board of Preservation South Carolina as its past board chair and is an at-large member of the Upcountry History Museum’s executive committee.

About Cynthia Gibbs

Ms. Gibbs was born in Moncks Corner, SC, graduated from Berkeley High School, and received her commission in the US Air Force through the ROTC program at Baptist College at Charleston, now Charleston Southern University. She retired from the Air Force after 21 years having served tours of duty in the Pentagon, three major commands, Joint Duty, the Republic of Panama just prior to Operation Just Cause, and numerous temporary duty assignments in Europe and the Pacific. After her military career, Ms. Gibbs founded Sage Horizons, a management consulting firm that performed over 20 years of prime contracts in 16 federal agencies including Homeland Security, US Air Force, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Transportation. She retired from Sage Horizons on June 30, 2023.

Additionally, Ms. Gibbs served as the editor of The Worker, the missionary and educational quarterly magazine of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, currently estimated with 2.5 million members world-wide, and upon special invitation from the magazine, was one of the former editors to write an article for the magazine’s 75th anniversary special edition. Ms. Gibbs holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Human Resources Management and Development, and a number of professional certifications. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where she enjoys being active in community service by serving in church leadership positions, on community and homeowners association committees, and running in community 5k races for a variety of charitable causes including cancer, fitness for life, and veterans’ issues.

About Robert Ball, MD, MPH, FACP

Dr. Ball is a 7th generation Charleston born physician with a specialized career in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Public Health that spans nearly a half-century of academic and private practice, consulting, teaching, and publishing. After completing an Infectious Disease Fellowship at the Medical University of SC (MUSC), Dr. Ball continued in academia while in private practice for a decade before transitioning into Public Health with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as SC’s Infectious Disease Public Health Consultant while earning his Masters in Public Health. Credited with diagnosing SC’s first cases of AIDS, Dr. Ball also served as the Medical Director of SC’s AIDS/ STD Division and creator, then Director of the Ryan White AIDS Program in 1989.

After two decades with DHEC in Columbia, Dr. Ball returned to Charleston to serve as Medical Director of several Regions and retired from SC DHEC after about three decades. He has published more than 30 medical articles and chapters for three medical textbooks, the latest in the American Society of Microbiology textbook on Pandemic Planning just released in May 2024. Dr. Ball served on the faculty of the University of SC School of Public Health and School of Medicine and has received numerous state, regional, and national awards for teaching.

Having failed retiring completely, Dr. Ball still serves as a MUSC Assistant Adjunct Professor in Public Health and Infectious Diseases. He is also the Senior Warden and Treasurer of St. John’s Parish Berkeley/Strawberry Chapel, his family’s historic colonial country Chapel and is actively involved in Charleston and Berkeley County historic preservation, especially now with Berkeley County’s Sacred Corridor. He is married to Betty Gore, RN, MSN, also retired from SC DHEC and is still active in the Charleston community. Both sing in the choir at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and frequently usher at Spoleto, Gaillard Center, & other community events in their “spare time”.

About Father Joe Tedesco

Father Tedesco was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He attended parochial schools through elementary and High School. Graduated with a BA degree in Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh Penna. Father Tedesco is a Roman Catholic Diocesan Priest and for 28 years ministered in the Diocese of Trenton New Jersey. During those years he held many positions including Pastor of various Parishes and Co-Director of the two spiritual centers: Upper Room Spiritual Center and Francis House of Prayer. Father Tedesco is the liaison for Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese, as well as the Director of Research and Planning and Chairman of the Diocesan Expansion Commission. Entering Mepkin Abbey in 2008, he celebrated his Solemn Profession in 2014 and was appointed Superior of the Mepkin Community in 2018.

About John Hildreth

John Hildreth is the current Chair of the Board for Preservation South Carolina, the state’s only statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization. Hildreth retired from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2020 as a Senior Advisor for Special Projects.

Hildreth began his career as director of the Preservation Resource Center at the Preservation Society of Charleston in 1983. In 1986, he joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a field representative. Over the next 34 years, he served as director of the southern regional office, vice president for eastern regional field services, and vice president for preservation partnerships. During his tenure at the National Trust Hildreth formed and oversaw the national Rosenwald School Initiative, a 16-year effort that raised awareness and brought significant resources to the preservation of these often overlooked treasures. He also represented the National Trust in the establishment and operation of the National Fund for Sacred Places, a grant fund for historic houses of worship jointly administered by the National Trust and the Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places.


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CLS Member
From Concept to Corridor: Preservation of Taveau Church
$ 10.00
123 available
General Admission
From Concept to Corridor: Preservation of Taveau Church
$ 15.00
125 available


October 10
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
$10.00 – $15.00