The Rev. Charlie Beasley says he is sad to see the For Sale sign in front of the church where he has ministered for about 20 years.
Evans Presbyterian Church is small and on a shady Belair Road lot near the busy intersection of Belair and Washington roads, sandwiched between the Evans Middle School property, which was sold as retail property, and Bruster's Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Yogurt.
The church, which once owned the property, now rents the small parcel of land from owner Jane Isaac, who could not be reached for comment.
A For Sale sign for the property went up in late January, said Jane Hutto, the Keller Williams Realty agent handling the sale.
Beasley, who first came to the church in 1960, said his congregation will opt to move to another location rather than close down the church.
"We'll probably have to (find another location)," Beasley said. "I have no idea what they are going to do with it. It depends on the people that buy it."
Beasley said Evans Presbyterian was mostly hand-built by its first pastor, the Rev. Ira Hawk, in the mid-1930s. He was a carpenter and bricklayer.
"The sad thing about it is Ira Hawk built the church here, he founded the church," Beasley said, adding that Hawk's craftsmanship is evident all over the church. "He built most of the inside to the church himself, and some of the church members would come help him. Then all of the pews were made by Rev. Hawk and the church members."
In the past few years, as development moved into Columbia County and along Belair Road, the church received several calls per week about purchasing the property, Beasley said. The property, however, was not theirs to sell.
After Beasley left, the congregation decided to build a bigger church, bought land on Owens Road and sold the current church property. The original congregation never built another church and moved to several locations before disbanding, he said.
When Beasley returned to the area in 1989, he heard the property was available and began preaching to a new congregation at the church.
Currently, he said, 70 people are on the church's roll, but the congregation has dwindled in recent years because of illness, death and members moving to assisted living facilities.
Hutto said Wednesday that since the property went up for sale three weeks ago, there have been a lot of potential buyers interested in the property, which she said is expected to become zoned for commercial use.
Beasley said it would be heartbreaking to see the church torn down and replaced with a retail location that will likely fill the less than an acre of commercially zoned property once it is sold.
The congregation, he said, will not disband.
"No, we'll continue on," he said. "I don't know right now where. We hope to keep going."
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