Eternal Father of the Sea – North Charleston, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Eternal Father of the Sea

The Charleston Navy Yard overlooking the Cooper River in North Charleston began operations in 1903 and continued throughout the twentieth century, officially closing in 1996. The chapel that served navy personnel as well as local civilians, Eternal Father of the Sea, was built in 1942 during World War II. The war expanded the navy yard’s work force dramatically – from around 2,000 prior to the war to 25,948 in 1943. As a result, the chapel was expanded in 1944.

Eternal Father Restored

(Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
The photo above shows the Eternal Father of the Sea chapel after its restoration and relocation.

The non-denominational chapel held services for Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish sailors and their families. Because such a large number of American soldiers were deployed during the war, many weddings were officiated at the chapel, along with “Thanksgiving Services” when ships returned.

Eternal Father Sea

(Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
The old chapel deteriorated during the decades after the Charleston Navy Base closed.

The last military service was held here on September 3, 1995. During this service, a time capsule was opened that had been placed in the chapel’s corner stone. Inside the box were a Holy Bible, Prayer Book for Soldiers and Sailors, Army-Navy Service Book, Service Prayer Book, Army-Navy Hymnal, 41 pennies, and four dimes. The books had water damage, thought to be the result of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Eternal Father Navy Chapel

(Susan Klavohn Bryant of Mount Pleasant, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
Taken from the rear, this photo shows the chapel during its restoration.

In 1998 a new congregation – God’s True Deliverance Church – made use of the sanctuary, remaining here until 2004. The building was then used as a performance venue for the North Charleston Arts Festival until extensive termite damage halted its use in 2005.

Eternal Father Pre Restoration

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent
Another shot of the restoration process

In 2006 the City of North Charleston initiated plans to restore the building and the following year spent $143,890 on repairs. The city relocated the chapel about a mile from its original site on North Hobson Avenue some time in 2015 to make room for a railway. It now sits amid the former officers’ housing. Restoration continued following the chapel’s move, including the removal of original features such as doors, windows, and light fixtures for preservation during the process. Also, the chapel was enlarged to meet code requirements, and restrooms and dressing rooms were added for weddings, modernizing the historic building for future use. The results of the project can be seen in the above photo and at the top of the page.

Eternal Father Restored

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent
Another post-restoration shot, showing the chapel at its new location near the Historic Officers’ Quarters District.


Eternal Father of the Sea Info


Address: 1097 Navy Way, North Charleston, SC 29405

Eternal Father of the Sea Map



Eternal Father of the Sea – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Eternal Father of the Sea, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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6 Comments about Eternal Father of the Sea

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 1st, 2016 at 7:28 am

Thank you for the information, Michelle!

Michelle B.No Gravatar says:
February 29th, 2016 at 10:54 pm

This property has been moved to 1097 Navy Way. There is a news article about why the property has been moved.

http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2015/08/17/eternal-father-of-the-sea-chapel-is-saved-in-north-charleston

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
November 30th, 2015 at 9:16 am

We would love to see that image, too!

John FletcherNo Gravatar says:
November 28th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

My only visit to the chapel was 1976 for the funeral of a shipmate. Being a boomer sailor I remember the painting of Christ waist deep in the sea with an FBM sub on the surface. Where is the art work? I would love to buy a print of that painting-could be a money maker for preservationist!

Kay KingNo Gravatar says:
March 15th, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Also, what happened to the wall that had memorabilia in it like artwork?

Kay KingNo Gravatar says:
March 15th, 2015 at 4:24 pm

When was the chapel moved to its new location? I am so happy to see it being restored. My family has had one wedding and two funerals there. Would have been three funerals, but it was already closed up. My family attended church services (and Sunday School across the street) for many years.





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