Rev. Frank F. Limehouse III '66 shares his conversion story and how his business background prepared him for the clergy
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Believers recognize that God moves in mysterious ways. One Orangeburg native with first-hand experience of those ways will share his unique story next week.
The Very Rev. Frank F. Limehouse III, dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Ala., worked in his family's third-generation apparel business, Limehouse Ltd., for 20 years before converting to Christianity - by way of a golf course - and entering the ministry.
"The business was started by my grandfather in 1922, and I worked there after I graduated from Wofford College in 1966," Limehouse said. "I was about 46 when I converted."
Limestone will participate in a revival at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer of Orangeburg Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 12-14. The Rev. Dr. Frank Larisey said a former church rector was responsible for influencing Limehouse's decision.
"Bill Snow, who was (Church of the Redeemer) rector from the middle-1960s to the late-1980s, was a pretty good scratch golfer," Larisey said. "He used it to evangelize.
"He would get into foursomes on the golf course. He would say, ‘If I miss this shot, I'll pay up. But if I make this shot, you owe me two Sundays in church.' Since he was so good, many of them ended up coming to church, but a lot of them also ended up staying."
Limehouse said Snow asked him a question on the ninth hole at the former Country Club of Orangeburg that ultimately led to his conversion to Christianity.
"It didn't happen right away, and it was six months later before I decided," Limehouse said. "I stayed a member at Church of the Redeemer for about eight years because it was my wife's childhood church.
"I share my experience in ministering to those that are wrestling with faith issues. I am in contact with those that consider themselves spiritual agnostics because I can identify with them."
After serving as assistant rector and rector for more than 16 years at three churches in James Island, Hartsville and Beaufort beginning in 1989, Limehouse accepted his current position at the 3,700-member church in 2005.
Dealing with issues in the business world aided Limehouse's preparation for the clergy. He said it helped him identify with the everyday struggles of people with themselves and the world in which they live and work.
"This is a real treat to come back to Orangeburg, but this is a new experience," Limehouse said. "It's a little intimidating because preaching at home is different than anywhere else. I've thought about Jesus Christ when he said a prophet is not welcome in his own home.
"The only time I preached in Orangeburg was at the Church of the Redeemer the Sunday before I left for seminary. I talked about being overcome by God's willingness to use a flawed vessel such as me in his church."
Limehouse said the focus of his preaching during his clerical career deals with two primary Biblical precepts: the ineluctable darkness of the human condition, and the living hope that has been given to man through the risen Son of God.