Gifted Land for a Purposeful Church
In a heartwarming tale of generosity and faith, the story unfolds of a gift that breathes new life into a community and fulfills a longstanding covenant.
The journey began years ago when a group planted a church in Camden. With the support of the convention, they purchased a 5-acre property in Camden, but unfortunately, the church did not flourish as anticipated.
Enter Brenda McCaskill, the woman who held control of the property. She contacted the convention with an incredible offer—she wanted to gift them the land. Initially, they suggested she give it to the local association, but McCaskill insisted on returning it to its original source. Determined not to profit from the property, she sought to ensure it fulfilled its intended purpose. In May of 2021, McCaskill gifted the 5-acre parcel, and the journey toward its redemption began.
A Generous Gift
Bryan Holley, Chief Financial Officer at SCBaptist, and his team connected with the Kershaw Association which eventually led them to The River Church, led by Pastor Todd Warnock and Pastor Bryan Plyler.
The River Church
The River Church initially started with around 30 people in Pine Tree Hill Elementary School, situated just half a mile from the property. The area was “once a sleepy corner of town,” Warnock said. Looking for a larger space, the church had approached Wateree Baptist Church in Camden about renting part of their space. Wateree Baptist offered something even more extraordinary—River Church could move in and share their space. This arrangement between the contemporary River Church and the traditional Wateree Baptist Church began to flourish, with people going between the two services. This move allowed accessibility to both sides of the river and paved the way for their ministry to take root.
Fast forward to November of 2021 and the property officially changed hands as Holley presented the land to Warnock and The River Church. In exploring the historical documents associated with the property, Warnock stumbled upon an exciting revelation. The land had been designated for a church long ago by the Mickle family—Robert and Joyce. Covenants attached to the property dictated that unless Robert and Joyce agreed otherwise, the land would forever be used for a church.
Part of a Bigger Plan
The property, once considered “out in the middle of nowhere,” is now on the brink of being fully redeemed for its intended purpose. “It would’ve been like Noah’s arc. No one could have possibly envisioned the growth this land has experienced. It wouldn’t have made much sense to designate the land for a church at the time,” Warnock says. Surprisingly, the surrounding area began to witness significant development and growth, presenting an uncanny opportunity for a church to make a lasting impact.
The River Church’s vision extends beyond a mere building; they seek to establish a church campus that serves the community and fuels future growth. Their plan was “always to plant something to serve the community, not just a building that we worship in.”
Warnock emphasizes that they are mere recipients in this larger process, saying that “the fact that God is using more of the Kingdom than just us in this process is incredible.”