A Catholic parish that started in a home is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month.
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, in the Grovetown area, was established in 1968 by Bishop Gerald Frey and has expanded considerably.
Since its humble origins, the church has grown to 1,600 families, said Parish Council President and Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge Bobby Christine.
The parish started 40 years ago in west Augusta. In 1979, it was incorporated into the Savannah-Augusta diocese.
"By the late 1990s, our bishop says Columbia County is growing and growing and growing and there is no Catholic church in Columbia County, never has been. St. Teresa's, it's you. Move," Christine said. "We moved, and it has been wonderful."
The church moved out of its property on Pleasant Home Road, which now houses Pineview Baptist Church. St. Teresa's occupies the site of a former golf teaching facility on Columbia Road.
During the past three weeks, the church has held events to celebrate the anniversary, starting with a gala and Mass on Sept. 27, a spaghetti dinner followed by a roast of St. Teresa's Rev. Michael Roverse on Oct. 4, and a carnival on parish grounds Oct. 11.
"The proceeds mainly go to pay for the event itself, but any additional funds will go to the building project," Christine said.
With the growth of the church, parishioners have had to build a new rectory to house the priests, buildings for Sunday school and a new worship center that can accommodate the large congregation.
Construction of the facilities has taken place in three phases. The first phase is the education building because it is the greatest need. The second phase is the new sanctuary. The parish center and new rectory are the third phase.
"I love St. Teresa's," said Kim Hankins, a member of the church. "It's a really family-oriented community. ... In addition to the religious aspect, we have a really good community feel."
"We take the admonishment of Pope John Paul II to heart and we keep the doors open to anyone that wants to worship with us," Christine said.
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