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For four months, Ruth Jenkins' family has been searching and praying for her return.“We’re doing everything we can whether it’s in prayer, or poster, we’re doing everything we can to bring her home," said Kimberly Jenkins, the daughter-in-law of Ruth Jenkins.Read More: 'It's a nightmare that never ends': Rut...
For four months, Ruth Jenkins' family has been searching and praying for her return.
“We’re doing everything we can whether it’s in prayer, or poster, we’re doing everything we can to bring her home," said Kimberly Jenkins, the daughter-in-law of Ruth Jenkins.
Nov. 27 marked Jenkins' 78th birthday. To commemorate the day, family members gathered in Pineville at J.D. Gourdin Elementary School, where Jenkins used to teach.
“Through all of this, I still talk about her in the present sense because that is where she is, that is where she is with me," Kimberly Jenkins said.
Despite her disappearance, her loved ones reflect on her passion, her character, and her faith.
The family of missing woman Ruth Jenkins celebrated her 78th birthday in Pineville Sunday. (WCIV)
“I want to tell you Aunt Ruth is- I’m speaking in present tense- a warrior; she is a woman of prayer and of belief," said Betsy, Jenkins' niece.
The family released 78 balloons in the air to celebrate her birthday, and also to remind the community to continue searching.
And even though there were tears, the family also remains hopeful that Ruth will come back home soon.
“I miss momma, and it hurts my heart to not see her right now, I’m not saying she’s gone, she’s not. But just not seeing her right now, it just gets me at times," said her son, Radrego Jenkins.
“And I know wherever she is, she is fighting and making sure she’s coming to see us, I know she’s coming real soon, I love you Ruth," Betsy said.
Ruth Jenkins described as standing 5 ft, 6 inches and weighing 125 pounds. She was last seen walking in the 1800 block of Highway 45 in Pineville.
If you have any information of her disappearance, please call the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4465
Her family has also set up a GoFundMe to help continue in her search.
On October 12, 1873, the Rt. Rev. David Cummins, assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, in the Protestant Episcopal Church, at a meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, received communion at the hands of Dr. John Hall, a protestant divine, and assisted him in that ordinance by administering the cup to the elders present. For this action, he was so severely censured by many of his brethren, clerical and lay, that on November 10, 1873, he withdrew from the Protestant Episcopal Church, and December 2, 1873, he organized the Reformed Episcopa...
On October 12, 1873, the Rt. Rev. David Cummins, assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, in the Protestant Episcopal Church, at a meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, received communion at the hands of Dr. John Hall, a protestant divine, and assisted him in that ordinance by administering the cup to the elders present. For this action, he was so severely censured by many of his brethren, clerical and lay, that on November 10, 1873, he withdrew from the Protestant Episcopal Church, and December 2, 1873, he organized the Reformed Episcopal Church with the Prayer Book of 1875 (the first Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church), as its prayer book.
In the spring of 1875, four or five congregations of colored Episcopalians applied to the Episcopal Church to be duly received into that organization. The Rev. Ben Johnson, formerly of South Carolina, but then of Georgia, was appointed an evangelist to organize and receive the said organizations.
In the summer of the same year, the Rev. P.F. Stevens resigned from the Episcopal Church, and on application to be received into the Reformed Episcopal Church, was directed to report to the Rev. Ben Johnson, evangelist, by whom he was placed in charge of the colored congregations before mentioned. Under his charge three colored deacons were ordained by Bishop Cummins in December of the same year. These deacons were ordained Presbyters in 1879 by the then presiding Bishop, Samuel Fallows. The same year, the Rev. P.F. Stevens became Missionary Bishop by the General Council and was assigned to the special jurisdiction of the colored work of the South, which he is still superintending (this being 1980). The said jurisdiction of South Carolina now contains one Bishop, nine Presbyters, five deacons, twenty congregations, thirteen missions, numbering two thousand communicants, about one-thousand Sunday School children, one parochial school, and property worth something over $12,000 free of encumbrance. (Resource: The News & Courier, 1980. By the Rt. Rev. P.F. Stevens)
In 1874, five original Reformed Episcopal Churches were organized under the leadership of Rev. Frank Ferguson. Among these was the Redeemer Reformed Episcopal Church. Rev. Benjamin Johnson, the first Superintendent of the work in South Carolina approved and accepted the Church into the denomination.
Our first church was commonly built. It was on a piece of land given by Clarence Palmer Gourdin, a white friend and neighbor. The members served in that small building for several years, then decided to build a “Big Redeemer.”
In 1907, during the time Bishop Stevens was presiding, a new frame building was begun under the ministry of the late Rev. D. J. Mack. The lumber was given by Clarence P. Gourdin. The trees were cut and hauled to the sawmill by men of the Church.
This building was completed in 1911 under the leadership of Rev. Steven Bash. During this time, Bishop Pengelly was Superintendent. The size of the building was 75’ by 40’ and seated approximately 700 people. In 1950, the interior was remodeled and the exterior was brick veneered.
A fund was started by the Sunday School scholars in the amount of $150 to add an educational wing to the Church building (the Sunday before the Church was destroyed by fire).
On August 20, 1965, tragedy struck us in the form of a fire. Redeemer, the hearts of the members and pastor were saddened, for many had labored hard and long for this sanctuary. The building was destroyed in the early hours on Friday, August 20, 1965. A large crowd stood by, looking, weeping, and praying, because our sanctuary was being turned into ashes.
While the building was still in flames, Rev. Abraham Gadsden, Rector, asked all Vestrymen to meet at 10:30 that morning. Many Vestrymen met under the trees near the smoldering ruins to decide on a course of action to take. During the meeting, these questions arose: (1) What will we do next? (2) Where will we go from here? (3) How will we go about rebuilding another Church?
It was decided in this meeting that we should not leave the grounds. The Vestrymen felt that we could arrange to worship on the grounds, because they believed that when we came to service, the ruins of the old building would keep us reminded of what we had to do to rebuild our Church.
Next, it was decided to get a tent large enough to accommodate the congregation. These things were approved by the Bishop.
Services were held for four Sundays under the trees. The members brought chairs and benches from home. A pulpit and communion rail were built by Rev. Gadsden. The Vestrymen built tables for offerings, communion, and the secretaries.
The first Sunday after the fire, Bishop Jerdan delivered a consoling message to the congregation. After the close of the service, a congregational meeting was held. The Bishop, Pastor, and men of the Church pledged $100, and the women pledged $50 which they contributed in 90 days.
Redeemer was able to purchase a tent from M. Dumas and Company in Charleston, SC, measuring 30’ by 50’. The tent and its equipment were trucked from the manufacturer in Kentucky. The price of the tent was $1,230.00. After we moved into the tent, some benches were donated, and others purchased. During cold weather, oil, gas, and electric heaters were added to the tent for our comfort.
During our services in the tent, members suffered physical, mental, and emotional difficulties; confronted with insects, snakes, frogs, fowls, and an abundance of dust.
Even though we experienced many difficulties in the tent, the services were spiritually uplifting. The attendance in Sunday School and Church ranged between 250 and 350 each Sunday. During the warm weather, the sides of the tent were lifted and people stood around. When the weather was cold, the members stood in the aisle and wherever they could find standing-room to worship.
On Sunday, December 14, 1968, the members gathered for services in the tent and found that the wind-storm that had come the day before had partially destroyed it. The tent was very uncomfortable on that Sunday, so short services were held. Seeing the condition of the tent, the Vestrymen’s question was, “What is the next best thing to do?” It was suggested that they contact Mr. Alfred Davis, Principal of the J. K. Gourdin Elementary School. The purpose, to see if the assembly hall could be used for our morning services until a building of our own could be constructed. The Vestrymen hastily went to find Mr. Davis and explain the condition to him. They asked him if it were possible that our services could be moved to the old assembly hall of the school. The “go” signal was given on that same Sunday.
On December 21, 1968, our services were moved to the school. The pulpit and communion pad from the tent were brought to the school. Chairs were used as communion rails. The pads that were made by the ladies of the church were placed before the chairs to protect the knees of the people.
Seating arrangements were set up by one of our officers, a teacher at the school, Mr. Gabriel Rembert. Each Friday afternoon, he took a group of volunteer boys and girls that assisted in bringing the chairs from the cafetorium to the assembly hall and arrange them. On Monday mornings, he used the same procedure in taking the chairs back to the cafétorium. After moving to the school, all our extra programs and meetings were held there.
From the time the Church was burned until June 1969, the Building Fund grew to approximately $50,000. This amount was contributed by members of Redeemer, friends, and business people of the community, people near and far throughout the country, churches in the north, and the Young People’s Conference.
The Building Fund Committee included Isaac Perkins, Willie Benekin, and Gabriel Rembert. Members of the Vestry were Eugene Lloyd Sr., Gabriel Rembert, David Bland, Isaac Perkins, Namon Perkins, Martha P. Simmons, Jethro Bennett, Allen Lloyd, Henry J. Stewart, Walter Washington, Johnny Jenkins, Emma Lloyd, Johnny White, and William G. Jenkins.
The new church was completed in 1969, under the direction of Rev. Gadsden; Willie Rembert, Senior Warden; William S. Bennett, Junior Warden; and Sharrah F. Jenkins, Secretary. Members of the Building Committee were Willie King, John Rembert, Luther T. Gadsden, William G. Jenkins, Albert Gadsden, William S. Bennett, and Willie Rembert.
Bishop William H.S. Jerdan worked very closely with the Building Committee and Vestrymen, and they were able to plan an outstanding Church and Fellowship Hall for the members. A mortgage of $60,000 was secured to begin construction. The new building is of concrete block and “Holiday” artificial stone. The interior is of open beam. The Church measures 46’ by 90’, and seats 420 people.
“From the struggle, we have learned a few lessons:
1. We have seen the union of fellowship that can exist among people of God in His work and service.
2. All things work together for the good to them that love God, and to them who are called according to His purpose, and
3. We acknowledge, with thanks, the blessing of sacrificial giving of members and friends, that the Lord’s house was rebuilt.”
In June 1980, Reverend Abraham Gadsden went home to be with the Lord, just nine months before the burning of the Church mortgage. The Redeemer Church family was left without a shepherd for six months. On January 4, 1981, the Reverend Edmond B. Mazyck, with his wife and three beautiful children, joined us as Rector. He has been ministering to us until a short time ago.
Ministers who served as Rector of Redeemer Reformed Episcopal Church:
• Rev. Frank C. Ferguson,
• Rev. Steven Bash
• Rev. D. J. Mack
• Rev. William M. Deveoux
• Rev. C. L. West
• Rev. Nelson Smith
• Rev. Joseph S. Collins
• Rev John H. Doiley
• Rev. Thomas Addison
• Rev. John L. Aiken
• Rev. Abraham Gadsden
• Rev. Edmond B. Mazyck
• Rev. Benjamin Milligan
The new Educational Building was dedicated February 19, 2000. the Parish Council included John Rembert, Senior Warden; Herbert Milligan, Junior Warden; Henry Steward Sr., and Sadie F. Gadsden. Members of the Vestry were Rev. Mazyck, John Rember, Herbert Milligan Sr., David Bland, Lillie M. Gourdine, Ruth K. Jenkins, Nellie Lloyd, Solomon Montgomery Sr., Isaac Perkins, Henry Steward Sr., and Arthur Washington. On the Building Committee were John Rembert, Rev. Mazyck, Herbert Milligan Jr., St. Julian Mitchell, Ruth K. Jenkins, Henry J. Steward Sr., Lonnie Washington, Viola Benekin, Nellie Lloyd, and Lillie M. Gourdine. The Rt. Rev. James C. West Sr. was bishop.
On November 17, 2007, the Very Rev. Gadsden of St. Stephen was consecrated in the Redeemer Church as bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Diocese of the Southeast. Rev. Gadsden was born in Russellville, near Pineville. He served in the U.S. Army, then worked for the U.S. Post Office for 37 years, retiring as Postmaster of the Kingstree Post Office in 2004.
PINEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Over four months after a woman was reported missing from Berkeley County, her family gathered Sunday to celebrate her 78th birthday and continue to pray for her safe return.Ruth Jenkins, who suffers from dementia, was last seen on July 16 walking along Highway 45 in the Pineville area.Traveling from all around the country, her family met in Pineville to release 78 birthday balloons and share their favorite memories as they continue to search for answers. Three of her sons, Bobby, Radrego and Rastrado Je...
PINEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Over four months after a woman was reported missing from Berkeley County, her family gathered Sunday to celebrate her 78th birthday and continue to pray for her safe return.
Ruth Jenkins, who suffers from dementia, was last seen on July 16 walking along Highway 45 in the Pineville area.
Traveling from all around the country, her family met in Pineville to release 78 birthday balloons and share their favorite memories as they continue to search for answers. Three of her sons, Bobby, Radrego and Rastrado Jenkins held back tears as they reflect on her life.
“I miss momma; it hurts my heart not to see her right now,” Radrego said. “I am not saying that she’s gone, she’s not, but just not seeing her right now, it gets me at times.”
“We love her a lot and I’m glad everybody was able to come and bring up the good memories and talk about all the positives because she was a bright light,” Bobby said. “Momma is a bright light to us and is very creative, and very funny. That’s who she is and she impacted everybody here, you know, a lasting effect.”
Ruth’s siblings, Albert Jackson, Mary Cunningham and Freedonia Drakeford continue to pray for her safe return. Drakeford asked for the public’s help in finding her.
“We just want you to come and tell us where you have her,” Drakeford said. “Please let us know her whereabouts; please let her know where she is so we could bring her home. I believe that she’s alive, but we just need to know where she is.”
Detectives have interviewed all family members, witnesses and folks in the community that knew her, according to Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis.
Lewis has previously stated there is no sign of foul play in this case.
Bobby and his wife, Kim Jenkins, traveled from San Antonio, Texas, to celebrate her birthday and bring their family together.
“To touch her, to hug her, to love on her; that is what we deserve, that is what she was put here for, and that is what we want,” Jenkins said. “So if you know something, if you’ve seen something, if you’ve heard something, just let us know.”
The sheriff’s office said they have no updates on the search for Ruth.
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Nearly a month and still no answers as Berkeley County deputies search for a missing woman.Ruth Jenkins has been missing for 24 days. Multiple agencies have been on the ground searching, but community activists say they are starting to get nervous.“And because we're coming up on a 30 day mark with today being day 24, we know that we are pushing that envelope way too closely for comfort," said Sharea Washington with South Carolina Black Activists Coalition.PREVIO...
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Nearly a month and still no answers as Berkeley County deputies search for a missing woman.
Ruth Jenkins has been missing for 24 days. Multiple agencies have been on the ground searching, but community activists say they are starting to get nervous.
“And because we're coming up on a 30 day mark with today being day 24, we know that we are pushing that envelope way too closely for comfort," said Sharea Washington with South Carolina Black Activists Coalition.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Community search continues 15 days after disappearance of elderly woman
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis says his team has been working around the clock since Jenkins was reported missing.
"At this point, the detectives have been going through this thing since the the 16th of July when she became missing that night. We've not uncovered any foul play that we can determine at this point."
Multiple agencies, including State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), exhausting all efforts in her search.
"We've put a lot of folks on the ground. We've put drones up, we've had divers going into any of the retention ponds and those kind of things," says Sheriff Lewis.
Lewis says they have interviewed friends and family. Everyone has cooperated, and there are no red flags.
"It appears, from our investigation at this point, that she wandered away from her home in Pineville."
Lewis says he wants the family and community to know they are not going to give up on her search.
"We have and will continue to do everything we can to find her."
Jenkins is 5'6" and weighs 125 pounds. Officials say she was last seen walking in the 1800 block of Highway 45 in Pineville.
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — Wednesday marks the 11th day 76-year-old Ruth Jenkins has been missing, and her disappearance is causing concern for family, friends and neighbors in the Pineville community.Ruth Jenkins is approximately 5'4" and has black hair and brown eyes.Wednesday marks the 11th day 76-year-old Ruth Jenkins has been missing, and her disappearance is causing concern for family, friends and neighbors in the Pineville community. (Provided)According to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, she was la...
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — Wednesday marks the 11th day 76-year-old Ruth Jenkins has been missing, and her disappearance is causing concern for family, friends and neighbors in the Pineville community.
Ruth Jenkins is approximately 5'4" and has black hair and brown eyes.
Wednesday marks the 11th day 76-year-old Ruth Jenkins has been missing, and her disappearance is causing concern for family, friends and neighbors in the Pineville community. (Provided)
According to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, she was last seen on Saturday, July 16 at around 2 p.m. on Highway 45 in the Pineville area.
Deputies say she was looking for her dog.
PREVIOUS STORY: Berkeley Co. deputies searching for missing woman with dementia
Sheleane Jenkins, Ruth's daughter, describes her as a sweet, kind and gentle-hearted woman.
"She is really a church-going lady. She was involved in so many churches, including the Baptist Church, Jehovah's Church, Lighthouse Holiness Church; she was very involved," Jenkins said.
An avid volunteer and substitute teacher, Ruth Jenkins is an active member of the community. So, when she disappeared on July 16, the people of Pineville got involved.
"She is one of us, she is a teacher in schools that we went to, and schools that our children came up in. She was a substitute teacher, she was an active member of her church, she was a beautiful member of her community," says Sharia Washington, who is leading the search for Jenkins.
Causing even more concern for everyone is the fact that Ruth suffers from dementia.
"She was trying to fight it as much as she can. She was trying to remember a lot of important information," her daughter says.
Still, Sheleane Jenkins is trying to stay hopeful in the search for her mother.
"It is getting a little bit discouraging that it has been so many days, but I am definitely not giving up hope, and we are going to keep pushing forward," Jenkins says.
She is asking everyone to keep an eye out for her.
"If you see a lady who walks with both her hands behind her back, it is possible that's my mama," says Jenkins.
We reached out to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office for an update on the case.
They referred us back to their initial post about the missing woman from July 17 encouraging people with information to contact the sheriff's office at 843-719-4412.
Deputies say foul play is not suspected in her disappearance.