Your guide to Spirited Brunch 2024

Where to go and what to know

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We’re mere days away from the Spirited Brunch, The Food Section‘s signature event. Now in its sixth year, the self-guided snack tour of houses of worship is a rare opportunity to tour downtown Charleston’s sacred spaces and taste the foods associated with them.

For venue addresses, visit our online StoryMap site, or pick up a printed map from the Preservation Society of Charleston, 147 King St. Printed maps will also be available during the event at participating congregations, and Spirited Brunch headquarters, 86 Wentworth St.

Spirited Brunch is free, and no RSVP is required. You can visit as many or as few venues as you like, in whatever order you choose. See you on Sunday!

Spirited Brunch | Sunday, April 28 | 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, founded in 1821, is the only Catholic Cathedral in the state of South Carolina. The current Cathedral was consecrated in 1907. The steeple and bells were added in 2010 and an interior renovation was completed in July 2020.

While the Cathedral’s earliest congregations were composed primarily of Irish immigrants, Cathedral members have since fully embraced Southern culture, as reflected by the sweet potato biscuits with ham they’ve chosen to serve.

Know before you go: Refreshments will be served in the garden; visitors who would like to tour the sanctuary should gather on the front steps of the Cathedral.

Central Mosque of Charleston

Central Mosque of Charleston is the largest mosque in the tri-county area and is home to a multinational community of Muslims. The mosque will serve hummus, Arabic salad, spinach pie, cheese pie, and stuffed grape leaves.

On the sweets side, they’re also offering dates and basbousa, a syrup-soaked semolina cake popular with members originally from the Middle East. 

Know before you go: Modest dress is required to enter the sanctuary; pants are preferred.

Charleston Baha’i Community

The Baha’i Spiritual Assembly, the local branch of an almost 200-year-old faith that stresses the oneness of mankind and the oneness of world religions, in 2003 opened the nation’s first Baha’i museum in the Charleston single house that was the boyhood home of Louis G. Gregory. Gregory, a prominent Baha’i teacher, was influential in bringing fellow Black South Carolinians to the faith.

The community will serve a diverse selection of fruit as a nod to a quote from the faith’s founder, Baha’u’llah: “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch…So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”

Know before you go: Desportes Court is a narrow alley, so visitors are encouraged to use a nearby parking lot on St. Philip Street.

Circular Congregational Church

Charles Towne’s English Congregationalists, Scottish Presbyterians, and French Huguenots, better known as dissenters, in the early 1680s co-founded the congregation that would later be known as Circular.

Affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Circular is serving favorites from the church’s cookbook, which was rigorously tested before its 2017 release: In addition to flavor, reviewers were asked to evaluate each recipe’s nutritional value and environmental sensitivity.

“All food will be simple and fresh, in accord with our church commitment to care and simplicity,” an organizer pledges.

Bonus: Members of the church encourage visitors to tour its “famous graveyard.”

First Church of Christ, Scientist

Charleston’s First Church of Christ, Scientist, began informally with an 1896 meeting of a small group of Charlestonians. In 1899, the congregation received its charter from The Mother Church in Boston; it’s now housed in its second building, completed in 1955.

For Spirited Brunch, the church is setting up an ice cream sundae bar because, as an organizer puts it, “Although food is not a part of Christian Science services, ice cream has long been a popular dessert with members of our faith.”

Bonus: First Church of Christ, Scientist, will conduct sanctuary tours during the event and distribute a handout with information about the church’s history.

Know before you go: A parking lot is located behind the church on Sutherland Court.

The French Protestant Huguenot Church

The only active Huguenot church in the Western Hemisphere, The French Huguenot Church traces its roots to the 1680s, when the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes took away French Protestants’ freedom to practice their religion without fear of state persecution. Refugees and their descendants held services in French into the 1800s.

Today, the Huguenot Church is made up of parishioners from various backgrounds and denominations, an approach symbolized by the Huguenot torte it plans to slice for visitors, and serve with macarons. Huguenot torte, an apple-nut crisp, doesn’t have anything to do with the original Huguenots. But a Charlestonian who brought the Missourian recipe home from a 1930s trip to Texas served the dessert at Huguenot Tavern on Queen Street.

Know before you go: The church is offering sanctuary tours, but the torte will be served at 44 Queen St., just around the corner.

Grace Church Cathedral

Founded in 1846, Grace Church Cathedral in 2015 was designated as the cathedral of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina diocese. As a preview of its annual tearoom, which annually raises $80,000 for charity, Grace is serving pimento cheese sandwiches, brownies, and iced tea. This year’s tearoom is scheduled for May 27-June 1.

Know before you go: There is very limited free parking behind Grace.

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

First founded in 1749, KKBE is now the longest-running Reform Jewish congregation in the country. Typically, KKBE serves rugelach, black-and-white cookies, and babka, but those traditional Ashkenazi Jewish treats this year conflict with the calendar, since 2024 marks the first time that the Spirited Brunch is taking place during Passover.

Because leavened food is prohibited during the weeklong holiday, KKBE this year is serving macaroons and matzah toffee.

Bonus: KKBE will conduct sanctuary tours and sell its cookbook during the event.

Know before you go: Strollers aren’t permitted on tours.

Mother Emanuel AME Church

The oldest AME church in the South, Mother Emanuel is home to the oldest Black congregation south of Baltimore. Founded in 1816 by 1000 secessionists from the Methodist Church, the church led by Reverend Morris Brown was terrorized by white South Carolinians following revelations of a planned uprising by enslaved Africans.

In 1865, following decades of covert worship, the congregation purchased the site of its current building, the 1892 successor to a church severely damaged by the 1886 earthquake.

Mother Emanuel was placed on the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network in 2021, six years after a self-proclaimed white supremacist opened fire on a Wednesday night Bible study group, killing nine of the 12 people gathered.

According to the church historian, Mother Emanuel is serving okra because the plant “came to this country with our ancestors who helped establish our denomination.”

Know before you go: The church is offering sanctuary tours, but the snacks will be served in Building 106, adjacent to the main building.

St. Johannes Lutheran Church

When St. Matthews moved to King Street in 1878, a group of members decided to return to the church’s original location, built in 1841, and conduct services in German; St. Johannes stuck to German until 1910. It will serve German apple cake and tea, in keeping with the menu for St. Johannes’ twice-yearly dessert tearooms.

Bonus: The church will offer sanctuary tours during the event. Tearoom cookbooks will also be available for sale. 

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Organized on Easter Day 1865 by free black Episcopalians who had nowhere to worship, St. Mark’s now has a diverse membership. But in honor of its founders, and its members who are descended from them, St. Mark’s is serving pilau and collard greens.

Bonus: The church will offer sanctuary tours during the event.

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church

St. Matthews Lutheran Church is no longer known as St. Matthew’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church, but the church remains true to the heritage of the Charlestonians who founded the congregation in 1840. It plans to serve German pastries and punch.

St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church

St. Paul recently celebrated its 130th anniversary with the motto, “We’re still standing.” The predominantly African-American congregation is serving she-crab soup for the Spirited Brunch because the dish has deep roots in the Lowcountry, same as St. Paul’s.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston

The second-oldest church on the peninsula, The Unitarian Church in Charleston is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Because the Unitarian faith has no religiously significant foods, the congregation is serving Thomas Jefferson’s deviled eggs and Abigail Adams’ apple pan dowdy; both presidential families practiced Unitarianism. 

Bonus: During the event, the church will offer tours of its sanctuary and courtyard. 

Know before you go: There is no parking available at the church, so visitors are encouraged to use nearby lots.

The following congregations will table in the Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth St.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a worldwide presence, with more than 16 million members. Those living here will serve what an organizer describes as “food in the tradition of the Mormon pioneers who travelled across the Plains and settled the Western U.S.,” which could mean anything from Johnny cakes–a professed favorite of founder Joseph Smith–to baked potatoes, which surfaced in at least one speech delivered by Brigham Young.

Hindu Temple of Charleston

The Hindu Temple of Charleston moved into its West Ashley home in 2010; interested tourgoers can arrange to visit on another day. Hindu Temple members plan to serve rice biryani as an example of a prasad, or vegetarian dish offered to a deity during worship.

Sikh Gurdwara Nanak Dabar

After years of borrowing space from the Hindu Temple, the Charleston area Sikh community in 2021 opened its own gurdwara in Goose Creek. At all gurdwaras around the world, a shared vegetarian meal is served freely. To offer a taste of that langar, volunteers from the community will serve meatless pulao, potato cutlets and a sweet pudding which has been blessed. 

Victory Family Summerville

One of half a dozen South Carolina parishes of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Victory Family belongs to a Pentecostal megachurch created in Lagos, Nigeria in 1952. In recognition of its ties to West Africa, where the RCCG is still headquartered, Victory will serve jollof rice



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