“And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.'” 1 Samuel 25:6
We welcome all to share in our vision at St. Francis of of Assisi Episcopal Church. Here we explore God’s love through our worship, education, outreach, fellowship and other nurturing experiences. We recognize that every human being is created in God’s image and is a precious gift. As such we are reconcilers, healers and servants in Christ’s name as part of a community of generous-spirited, intellectually alive, faithful Christians. We are always happy to provide more information about who we are, what we believe, and how we work to witness the Glory of God in Chapin and beyond.
Our Clergy and Staff
We’re a small to medium-sized church that prides itself in its interpersonal connections. We know and support each other in both good and bad times. Our wonderful clergy and staff are critical to this effort. As you begin to know them, you’ll begin to love them too!
The Reverend Deacon Ann Pilat
The Rev. Deacon Ann Pilat was born and raised in Columbia, S.C. She attended Trinity Cathedral until her ordination. She was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in January, 2006 and served at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church prior to serving at St. Francis. She holds the Diocesan position of Deacon for Hispanic Ministries and assists throughout the Diocese with services and matters that include the Latino community. Ann is a full-time teacher of Spanish 1 and 2 at Spring Hill High School. She is involved in numerous educational groups as well as groups, committees, and commissions of the Upper Diocese of SC. Ann is the mother of the Rev. Deacon Jenn Pilat, chaplain and spiritual director of the Seabury Active Life Community in Bloomfield, CT, and Patrick a Senior Systems Support Technician at Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Columbia. She has three grandchildren: Mathew (13), Toby (6) and Teresa (4). Ann is an avid USC Gamecock fan and attends all women’s basketball, men’s basketball and baseball games.
In the Episcopal Church, the governing board is called the Vestry. The Vestry has 12 members who are elected by the congregation and represent a large cross-section of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. It is responsible for financial oversight, for overseeing care of the buildings and grounds, and for helping our clergy and staff fulfill our mission and vision. Vestry members are elected for three year terms, typically in classes consisting of four people.
Sue was born and raised as a Catholic. She was reconfirmed at St Francis of Assisi in 1991 and married at St. Francis in 1992. All of her children were baptized in the Episcopal faith and 3 of her 4 children were confirmed at St Francis. Sue has served as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School (VBS) coordinator and teacher, and in the Christian Education and Communications liaison positions on the Vestry. Sue has worked as an Administrative Assistant for the South Carolina Dental Association since 2012. She loves St. Francis and she feels she owes this church for helping her family to be loved here and becoming valued members of this community. Her goal is to help all families experience the growth and joy that St. Francis has given her family. She believes it is a privilege to be given this opportunity to be a member of the Vestry Class of 2020.
Judy came to St. Francis through volunteering at the Thrift Shop and through the encouragement of close friends. The Thrift Shop mission spoke to her and St. Francis provided her a warm and welcoming home church. For the past four years, she served as the Chair of Outreach Ministries. She is still part of this ministry and proud of the contributions they have made to improving people’s lives. Judy earned a BA degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her graduate degree from the University of South Carolina. For 24 years, she worked in the SC Technical College System in development and grant writing. She is the grant writer/manager for the SC Center for Fathers and Families, a faith-based ministry that is focused on helping low-income fathers and reconnecting them with their children. She has two sons. Judy is a member of the vestry class of 2019 and is filling a two-year term versus the traditional three-year calling.
John and his wife Julie moved to Chapin from Columbia in 2012 and joined St. Francis in 2013. Originally from the Buffalo, NY area, he moved to SC in 2001 to start a career as a Physical Therapist. He now directs the outpatient rehabilitation department for Prisma Health. Growing up, he was an active member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in North Tonawanda, NY. John was called to be more involved in St. Francis of Assisi as a mission committee member in the summer of 2021. John loves to spend his time on the lake and vacationing with Julie and his children, Finley and Charlotte. He stays active coaching youth lacrosse (and occasionally still gets to play).
Mike and his wife Susan have been members of St. Francis of Assisi since moving to Chapin in 1992. Over the years he has been active in the Buildings & Grounds Committee and the Cemetery Committee, currently a member of both. He regularly volunteers at the We Care Center as a part of the St. Francis grocery pickup team. He has served as Assistant Treasurer at St. Francis since retiring from a 34 year career with the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company.
Hanna’s given name is Johanna but is called Hanna by friends and family. She moved to Columbia from Long Island in 1976. She has three daughters, nine grandchildren, and currently five great grand children! Hanna was received into the Episcopal church at St. Mary’s and started attending St Francis when she moved into my new home in Irmo. She retired from Richland County school District One where she worked as an accountant. She loves the volunteer work that she does at our Thrift Store, Riverbanks Zoo, and Town Theater.
Chuck is an “almost cradle” Episcopalian, having been baptized in the Congregational church, but moved to the Episcopal church 2 years later when his dad was hired as organist and choirmaster at All Saints Episcopal church in Omaha. Chuck and his wife Judi have been members of St. Francis since 2001. She has served on the vestry previously and he has been coordinator of Buildings and Grounds for almost 4 years. He has been Junior Warden for 3 ½ terms. They both been active members of the senior choir for many years, and have sung with Kindred Spirits. Chuck retired in 2006, after a career of 34 years in loss control, having worked for Aetna Property and Casualty and others. Prior to that, he served 4 years and 3 months in the Air Force as an aircraft maintenance officer. He graduated from the University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska at Omaha) with a degree in physics, most of which he has forgotten. As the son of an organist and choirmaster, the music program at St. Francis is of special interest.
Gary Turner began attending services at St. Francis of Assisi in 1985 and was confirmed in 1987. Gary has served on the Building and Grounds, as well as the Cemetery Committee. In 2005, he was elected Treasurer and has served on the Finance Committee. Since 2005, he has served as Treasurer several times, including his current appointment as Treasurer, Mission Committee liaison for Finance, and Chair of the Finance Committee. Gary graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS degree in accounting, and he is an avid Gamecock fan.
Del has been an Episcopalian all of her life (cradle Episcopalian). She moved to Irmo in 1979 and was a member of St. Mary's in Irmo. She moved away for a few years and upon returning, joined St. Francis. She has three children who live in various cities within the United States. She was married to her husband Jim for 55 years until his death 2 years ago. She serves on the Search Committee, Mission Committee, and is a liaison for the Thrift Shop Management Committee and the Outreach Committee. Del also volunteers many hours at our Thrift Shop and considers that her contribution to do God's work. She feels blessed to be surrounded by such a loving church family and hopes to be here for a very long time.
Cheri Beesburg was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She attended Pennsbury High School and then Lock Haven State University where she studied teaching. For several years she taught kindergarten and then second grade. She retired from teaching after the birth of her son. In 1993 she and her husband Bob moved to Chapin, SC. She has two children, Rob and Chloe. Shortly after arriving in SC the family joined St Francis. Cheri has been active in St Francis since she joined. She has served on vestry, taught Sunday School and participated in small groups. Additionally, Cheri tutored at the public school, and assisted at the Lowman Home. She and Bob operated several small businesses, including an ice rink, rental homes, and a golf course. Cheri’s favorite endeavor is to serve in the EDUSC cursillo. Additionally, she enjoys helping friends and family with interior design as well as all things hearth and home.
Jerome, his wife Ann and their three daughters moved from Columbus, Ohio to South Carolina in 1994. His career has been in the transportation industry. Jerome’s volunteer work includes hospice care, Alzheimer’s respite care, and ESL. Work within the church include Spiritual Direction, lay eucharistic visitor, worship leader in retirement communities, vestry, and several committees. Jerome and Ann enjoy boating, hiking, travel and family.
Directions to St. Francis of Assisi, Chapin
St Francis of Assisi is easy to find! Get off I-26 at Exit 91, Columbia Avenue. Turn toward Chapin. Drive 1.6 miles until you see Wells Fargo Bank on your left. Turn left onto Old Lexington Highway at the bank. Proceed straight ahead for 1 mile on Old Lexington Highway to the entrance of St. Francis on your left. There is a sign at the highway.
Church Office Hours, Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 12 PM. Please note the Rector may or may not be at the Church during these hours, so please call to schedule a time with him. Friday's are typically his sermon writing day and at any day or time, he may be called for ministry in the local area.
A brief background of The Episcopal Church
We are proudly a member church of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.
The Episcopal Church grew out of the Church of England in the wake of the American Revolution. Today, it is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion which compromises 38 provinces in 165 countries under the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The word Episcopal is derived from the Greek episkopos, meaning bishop, indicating that we are governed by bishops; but lay people, bishops, priests and deacons all share authority and work together in the life of the church as it does the mission of God.
Episcopalians worship using The Book of Common Prayer. The first Book of Common Prayer was written in 1549 when the Anglican Church dictated the end of the Latin mass. Modified over time, this book shapes Episcopal beliefs and grounds its worship in continuing traditions. It is through symbols, scripture, sermons, sacred music and the Holy Eucharist that the Episcopal Church remembers the teachings and ministry of Christ.
Episcopalians do not interpret the Bible literally. Rather they acknowledge that scripture is the Word of God which contains all things necessary for salvation, but also that it was written by human authors who were inspired by the revelation of God in their particular time and context. They rely on the Holy Spirit and their God given intelligence and ability to reason as their guides to our modern interpretation of scripture and its meaning today.
Please follow these additional links to find more insight into the Episcopal Church: