Mepkin Abbey is participating in an effort to restore the historic Taveau Chapel that sits across the street from Mepkin on Dr. Evans Road.
Taveau is just up the road from Strawberry Chapel. It was used by Black Methodists for 127 years until its closure in 1974. Strawberry, built around 1725, is currently undergoing restoration. Taveau, one of 25 sites in Berkeley County on the National Register of Historic Places and the only one of special significance to the Black community, has not had the resources to do so. Now a major effort is underway restore the building.
Preservation South Carolina purchased the property and is spearheading the rehabilitation effort partnering with Cordesville United Methodist Church (whose members attended Taveau until its closure) and the other spiritual sites along Dr. Evans Road: Strawberry Chapel to the south, Biggin Church Ruins to the north, and Mepkin and Taveau in between with other small churches along the route.
Recently Mepkin hosted an event with members Cordesville United Methodist Church to cement the relationship with the community as plans go forward with the preservation and the creation of the Scared Corridor. The women present were children taken to Taveau by their mothers, including Cynthia Gibbs, a Virginia resident with Cordesville roots who established the Taveau Legacy Committee.
“We are so grateful for Fr. Joe (Tedesco) and the brothers of Mepkin Abbey coming alongside us on this project,” Gibbs said. “Taveau completes the connection of this area because of its connection to Mepkin and Strawberry Chapel. They were all of the same plantation and the same slaves built Strawberry and Taveau. … It’s important for Taveau to be restored because it completes the story of this area.”
“We’re here to understand that connection and to celebrate that connection,” said Fr. Joe Tedesco, the Superior of Mepkin.”Mepkin feels a connection to Taveau. How many members of the Black community are buried on this side of the road? That’s part of us. You are part of us. … We can have a future together that is so powerful, not only for us but for the future of this whole area. It’s important for us to all be one as we go forward.”
You can support this important restoration of Taveau that contributes to the larger faith community Mepkin is a part of. Please go here to donate
Listen to Cynthia Gibbs full comments
Listen to Fr. Joe’s full comments, click here (will link to video)
To watch a video from The Post and Courier
To read an article about Taveau in The Post and Courier, click Here