200-year-old Unitarian Church receives ‘facelift’ during COVID-19 downtime

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The historic Unitarian Church in Charleston now has a fresh coat of paint on its exterior.

The paint used to achieve their buttery yellow hue is called “limewash,” and is historically tied to the building. Historical architect Glenn Keyes discovered the paint during the previous restoration in 2005.

“This color was discovered when we were doing the repair work. We found the color hidden in some of the nooks and crannies that often are the case when we’re looking for colors,” says Keyes.

According to Keyes, the only downside to the paint is how long it lasts.

“Lime wash is a water-based paint so it washes out over time. So, we’re very fortunate that we were able to find a surviving piece of color that we could replicate,” he says.

The paint typically will last 15-20 years; the last paint job made it to 15 years before the church raised the money to re-paint.

Church officials say funds for the project were raised by church members in 2018 during a fun-filled pledge drive called “Lime Aid,” complete with margaritas to celebrate successfully raising the needed funds in one day.

In addition to the limewash, the sanctuary roof was also repainted in the project, which was completed in July of this year. Church members have already been commenting on how much this restoration means to them.

“We know that the Sanctuary is not just a landmark and a beautiful old building, but a spirit-filled space that beckons us in where we find peace, history, inspiration, and relationship,” says Judy Manning, church member and chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

The Unitarian Church plans to continue virtual services for the time being. To stay connected, click here.

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