Small Church -- Loving Family!
“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 Slaven L. Manning, Rector
Father Slaven Manning has been the rector at St. Francis Church since July of 2015. He and his wife Linda came to us from Texas and absolutely love the trees, flora, and fauna of South Carolina! They are building a “house in the woods” in Little Mountain. Fitting for St. Francis, both Slaven and Linda are animal lovers. Since his arrival at St. Francis, Fr. Manning has stabilized a feral cat colony which he found sporadically visiting the church when he arrived. They have all been “adjusted” and now live under the building, enjoying constant food and water and the love of the office staff, and they keep the grounds free of snakes! Fr. Manning’s background includes years in Information Technology, Law Enforcement and, of course, pastoral and parochial ministry. Fr. Manning currently serves as the Dean of the Midlands Convocation, as a member of the Diocesan Executive Council, as a member of the Ecclesiastical Disciplinary Board, as an Associate Chaplain at Lexington Medical Center, and as a Chaplain for the Lexington County Coroner’s Office.
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.
Mrs. Cindy Epps
Mr. Joseph Schroer
Mrs. Bertina Floyd
Mrs. Deanna Boyle
Mrs. Karen Wade
Mr. Gary Turner
The Reverend Jim Nichols
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.
Ms. Gail Wojtowicz
The Senior Warden is the chairperson of the Vestry and the principal advisor to the Rector on matters affecting the congregation. Gail grew up in Detroit, MI, as a Roman Catholic. She attended Catholic schools for 12 years and was a member of the Parish Council at the age of 16. After obtaining degrees in Advertising and Communications, she joined the United States Air Force where she served for 25 years in operational and leadership roles, culminating in her service as a group commander of a unit of 2000 people. In those 25 years, she served in the Pentagon for seven. After retiring from active duty, she worked as a federal employee at Scott AFB in Illinois and was a member of St. Andrews in Edwardsville. There she served on the stewardship committee, finance committee, buildings and grounds maintenance teams, and organized many church social events. This latter passion is a calling she has continued at St. Francis where she and Meredith Boyd host the Christmas Eve reception every year. She and Meredith moved to Columbia in 2016 and returned to St. Francis as their church home. Gail currently works 20 hours a week as the USC Belser Arboretum Manager which she characterizes as a “hobby” for which she gets paid. Her other hobbies include fishing and DIY projects. She is a member of the Vestry class of 2019 and was selected as Senior Warden for 2019.
Mr. David Wythe
The Junior Warden is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the church buildings and grounds. In addition, cemetery policies and procedures fall under his or her oversight. A lifelong Episcopalian, David attended Trinity Cathedral and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church before moving to Chapin and joining St. Francis. At St. Mary’s, David and his wife, Lynn, taught Sunday school for the senior youth class and were leaders in St. Mary’s senior youth program. A Cursillo alumni, David was also a member of the Stewardship Committee. A recent retiree from Blue Cross Blue Shield, David holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. While at Blue Cross, David directed a staff responsible for the federal and state regulatory compliance tasks including those of one of its subsidiaries responsible for the company’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Before joining Blue Cross, David directed the Forms and Rates Section of the South Carolina Department of Insurance. He also spearheaded the Department’s role in the Governor’s Office ICARE program, educating the state’s senior counselors in health insurance. David and his wife, Lynn, have a son, Stephen, a senior at the University of South Carolina. David joined the Vestry in 2018.
Mrs. Judy Everett
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 an BA degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her graduate degree from 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.
Mr. Terry Burnett
Terry started his journey of following Jesus in the 9th grade in his hometown of Gadsden, AL. He was raised in the Methodist Church but have spent much of his adult life as a Presbyterian. Terry has lived in the Columbia area since 1994 and works as the Continuing Legal Education Director for the South Carolina Bar. His wife, Sally and he have been grateful members of St. Francis for more than three years. He notes how incredibly supportive the St. Francis parish is of his ministry in the Gideons International. He has served as both an adult and high school Sunday School teacher, and one of his passions is to help deepen the relationships of our young people with the Savior. Terry was elected to the vestry in 2018.
Ms. Alice Brooker
Before Alice become a member of St. Francis of Assisi, she was a member of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields for over 50 years. A cradle Episcopalian, the church has always been an important part of her life. At St. Francis she has had the privilege of being a member of the cemetery committee, Altar Guild, and the Outreach Committee, and she is a counter of offerings. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at We Care and The Thrift Shop. This is her second time serving on the St. Francis Vestry. She was elected to the Vestry in 2017.
Mr. Ronnie Connelly
Ronnie has been a member of Saint Francis for 10 years. He serves as a member of the Outreach Committee and as a volunteer at the Thrift Shop. His is married to Caroline for the last 7 years and she has been a member since 2000. Ronnie has an Associate Degree in Accounting, a BS in Business, and a Master of Divinity with emphasis on Biblical Studies. Uniquely, Ronnie has served as Associate Pastor and Senior Pastor at nondenominational churches both here and abroad, to include his 7 years as a missionary in the Samoa Islands. He has taught special needs class in the Lexington County Public School System. Ronnie also had his own 501C3 nonprofit ministry and held seminars on leadership for pastors and their staffs throughout the Southeast. Ronnie is a member of the vestry class elected in 2018.
Ms. Janice Fergusson
Janice is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and she grew up in the Methodist Church. She joined the Episcopal Church in 1987 when she moved to Columbia. She and her late husband (Bill) were active members at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church prior to moving to Chapin in 1998. At that time, they decided to visit St. Francis of Assisi. As she says, “we loved the people and the rest is history.” Janice is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and retired as a senior lecturer of accounting at the University of South Carolina, in June of 2018. She has held numerous positions in the Church. She enjoys reading, gardening, and she is a huge Gamecock fan! She is a member of the class of 2017.
Mrs. Kim Scollon
Kim grew up in Texas and Ohio. She met her husband, Rick at Ohio University, joined the Episcopal Church and moved to South Carolina where they have been attending St Francis since 1982 when it was in a small rental church on Lexington Avenue. Their three amazing children were all baptized at St. Francis and all served as acolytes in their teenage years. Now, their grandchildren have been baptized at St. Francis too. Over the years Kim has served on several committees, spent a year as Vestry clerk, manned the Mimosa Bar at quite a few Easter Brunches, cleaned up after many an event and generally tried to help wherever she could. Currently, she is teaching Sunday School and is in charge of coordinating the Nursery Volunteers for the 10:30 service. She has always considered St. Francis to be a family where we are there for each other. True to these words, Rick left the Vestry at the end of 2018 after three years of service and Kim joined as a member of the Vestry Class of 2019.
Ms. Millie Jackson
Millie was born and raised in a small town in western NY state. She was baptized in the Congregational Church (now the United Church of Christ) where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, and was active in the youth group. She married Bill in 1981 and that is when she was exposed to the Episcopal church. Bill’s father was an Episcopal priest. Shortly after moving to Chapin in 1984 they started attending St. Francis of Assisi. She was confirmed by Bishop Dorsey Henderson when Betsy Libbey was rector. The Thrift Shop has always been her “baby.” Millie devotes between 12-15 hours every week sorting and pricing. Being on the Vestry is a new experience for her. Millie entered the Vestry in 2017.
Mrs. Keren Pickard
Keren grew up as a cradle Episcopalian, attending St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in Tappahannock VA before attending the NC School for the Arts and UNC-Wilmington where she earned a degree in Vocal performance. Moving to Columbia in 1983, she has been a member of St. Francis for 23 years. In that time, she has been on two rector search committees, served on Fellowship and Youth committees, and the Flower Guild. Keren sings in the choir and helps lead Kindred Spirit. She has led and served on the staff of our annual Discovery weekends at St. Francis. A graduate of Cursillo, she remains deeply connected to the spiritual life in the church and the diocese. Married to Phil, they have two sons who grew up in the St. Francis parish. She currently is working sales and marketing at Oakleaf Village Assisted Living in Lexington. Keren is a member of the Vestry class of 2019.
Mr. Jay Seward
Jay has lived in Chapin with his wife Barbara since 2002, which is when the US Air Force brought him to Columbia to run the ROTC program at the USC. In 2006, Colonel Seward retired from active duty, only to stay in uniform and lead the Junior ROTC program at Irmo High School for the next 9 years until he retired again. A pilot by background, he now works with his wife in real estate and teaches people to fly as a Certificated Flight Instructor. Raised in the United Presbyterian Church, he married into the Catholic faith. In that role he was a Lay Eucharistic Minister for two years at Columbus AFB, MS. His hobbies include flying, flight instruction, cooking, and house maintenance. He is also the secretary of the Lake Murry Irmo Rotary Club. He and Barbara have two grown daughters working in healthcare. Jay joined the vestry in 2017 and he also began serving as the Clerk of the Vestry in 2018.
Mr. John Edgerton
John and his wife Lynn moved to Chapin and joined St. Francis in 2017. John grew up in Florence, SC, and graduated from Clemson University to begin a career as an electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry. He joined the Episcopal Church in 1988 when he and Lynn were married. For several years, they lived in Austin, Texas, where they raised two sons and were members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. In that capacity, John served twice on the Vestry, was an usher with Lynn every month and he served as the finance committee chairperson for 5 years. John enjoys woodworking and home DIY projects as hobbies. He is active in Boy Scouts as an Assistant Scout Master and volunteers at We Care on one of the food pickup teams. He and Lynn are really enjoying retirement and they are delighted to be members of St. Francis of Assisi in Chapin! John is in the Vestry class of 2019.
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 4 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: