Daughters of the King chapter reinstituted at historic South Carolina church after past divisions

Posted Sep 29, 2023
South Carolina

The Rev. Furman Buchanan listens as 11 members of the Daughters of the King reaffirm their pledge for readmission as members of the Daughters of the King chapter at Christ Episcopal Church, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Photo: Diocese of South Carolina

[Diocese of South Carolina] As five churches have returned to The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina over the past year from the Anglican Church in North America, ministries both old and new have continued to grow and thrive, including the Order of the Daughters of the King.

First instituted in 1920, the Daughters of the King chapter at Christ Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant was reinstituted on Sept. 17 with a reaffirmation of vows by 11 members of Christ Church who are existing members from previous chapters, known as daughters-at-large. These women included members who at one time had been part of both congregations that formed following the schism of the diocese in 2012 — the Episcopal worship group created by faithful Episcopalians, East Cooper Episcopal Church, and those who had remained at Christ Church after leadership attempted to take it out of The Episcopal Church and aligned later with the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). The reinstitution of this long-serving chapter is a visible reunification of women who once were seemingly on opposite sides of the schism.

The Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, enthusiastically offered her support for this chapter and the mission of the Daughters of the King as a whole. “For generations across the church, Daughters of the King have been the backbone of our life of prayer in Christ,” Woodliff-Stanley said. “By their steadfast commitment and love they serve as an example of what life rooted in Christ looks like. I am particularly grateful to the daughters in our diocese for leading the way as examples of the power of the gospel to bring reconciliation and hope to a divided world.”

With origins dating back to 1706, Christ Episcopal Church was reunited with The Episcopal Church and the historic Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina in September 2022 after nearly a decade of division. This most recent milestone in the long history of Christ Church was a joyous occasion led by the church’s rector, the Rev. Furman Buchanan, and the Rev. Brooks Boylan, associate rector.

The president of the South Carolina Daughters of the King Assembly, Kester Heaton, also participated in the service. By reaffirmation of the promises made at baptism and confirmation, Daughters of the King pledge themselves to a lifelong program of prayers, service and evangelism, dedicated to the spread of Christ’s kingdom and the strengthening of the spiritual life of their parish.

“I am thrilled to be able to restore the Order of the Daughters of the King at Christ Episcopal Church,” Buchanan said. “These 11 women who had been faithful in congregations on both sides of the diocesan schism now serve as an outward and visible sign of the unity, love, prayer and service to which we are fully committed at Christ Episcopal Church.”

Bonny Collins and Tricia Elliott have led the efforts to restart this ministry at Christ Church, where it was last reinstituted in 1996 and remained active until 2021. In a statement, Collins and Elliott shared that they are “grateful for the opportunity to reestablish this chapter.” Now that the chapter has been reinstituted, the members will work to install permanent leadership and provide opportunities for new members to join.

The Order of the Daughters of the King is open to women and girls ages seven and older who desire a closer walk with Lord. Daughters follow a daily “rule of life,” fulfilling the vows of prayer and service. Learn more about The Order online at www.doknational.org.