In 1899 a small group of Lebanese immigrants settled in Summerton, South Carolina. They were attracted there by the business opportunities which existed in this small town located at the intersection of two major roads. The family names of these pioneers include: Joseph, Nimmer, and Shaleuly. The Lebanese were Maronite Catholics. The closest Catholic church at that time was in Sumter, SC. In order to attend Mass the Lebanese had to travel to Sumter via train and spend the night there. Periodically, priest came from Sumter to celebrate Mass in the Summerton homes of these followers. In 1913 several families purchased a parcel of land in Summerton. The following year a small wooden chapel was constructed on this land and was called Saint Mary's Catholic Church. In April 1917, Bishop William T. Russell blessed the church and recorded 37 members in the congregation; 10 men, 7 women, and 20 childern.
Saint Mary's was setup as a mission of Saint Anne's Parish in Sumter. By 1929 the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy were using Saint Mary's as a base forr their catechizing in Summerton and the surrounding areas. On April 2nd, 1960, Bish Paul J. Hallinan established Saint Mary's as a parish. Its parish boundaries included all 599 square miles of Clarendon County.
In 1977 Mr. Herman Ridgill donated approximately one acre of farmland near Manning, SC to the Diocese of Charleston. This land was located near the then recently completed I-95. A stipulation was that the land was to be used for building a Catholic church thereupon. In 2000 Mrs. Ridgill donated more land for a total of five contiguous acres. In Novembe of thet year Fr. Scott Buchanan completed a study which examined the growing needs of Catholics in Clarendon County. This study concluded that a Catholic church should be located and constructed in Manning, SC (about 10 miles from Summerton) on the land that the Ridgills donated.
In September of 2001, a presence was establiched in Manning with Sunday Mass being celebrated in the auditorium of Manning High School. Three months later the meeting location was changed to the Camper's Paradise Campgrounds, situated next to the church property. This Catholic Community operated as a mission of Saint Mary's paish in Summerton. Past administrators of this mission church include Rev. Carl Kaltreider, Rev. Vanancio Amidar, and Rev. Ernest Hepner. From its inception the mission has been served by Deacon Charles Walsh.
In 2003 Bishop Baker designated the city of Manning as the home for the new Catholic church. As per the late Father Buchanan's recommendation, the church indeed was to be built on the donated Ridgill land. Bishop Baker approved the name Our Lady Of Hope from a list submitted by the committee formed for that purpose. Upon completion of a successful capital fund drive, Our Lady Of Hope (Phase One) was constucted and became the first Catholic Church in Manning, South Carolina. The dream which stated almost thirty years previously had become a reality through the prayers and efforts of many people.
Our church is now paid for in full. And in addition we were very forunate to be able to purchase an additional 11 adjacent acres for a total of over 16 acres. Plans have not yet been made for how we will use this new property.