Lawrence Chewning is a Christian songwriter, recording artist and speaker who has shared the message of Jesus Christ for the past thirty years. His most well known compostions are the Ray Boltz standards, "The Anchor Holds" and "At the Foot of the Cross".
Lawrence grew up in rural South Carolina, the son of a cotton farmer, ginner and merchant. He accepted Christ as his Savior at his boyhood church when he was eight years old. After graduating from high school, Lawrence moved to Anderson, Indiana where he attended Anderson University, majoring in Religion and Social Work.
In Feburary 1970, a spontaneous spiritual awakening occurred in the city of Anderson which resulted in a fifty day revival, three services a day. Hundreds of people accepted Christ during this time, warranting a full page story in the Chicago Tribune. Lawrence was very active in this revival, traveling on weekends with other students to various parts of the nation in order to give their testamonies.
In the summer of 1970, Lawrence banded together with several other friends and began traveling full time. They called themselves "The Fishermen" and within a couple of years, evolved into a music group featuring original songs penned by Lawrence. During this time, Christian music was experiencing a breath of fresh air as young people began to write and sing of their love for Jesus in a more contemporary style. The Fishermen became part of this movement and began performing in coffee houses, college and high school campuses, Jesus festivals and outdoor concerts throughout the Midwest, the South and the New England states.
During one of the Fishermen concerts at a Christian coffeehouse in Harford City,Indiana, a teenager named Ray Boltz accepted Christ. Ray went on to become an award winning Christian recording artist.
The Fishermen, and a later band called Lawrence Chewning and Eastland Band, recorded three collections of original compositions in the 70's, working closely with Grammy winners Andrae Crouch and Gary S. Paxton. He has since recorded four additional solo albums.
Beginning in 1979, Lawrence co-pastored a church in Massachusetts for sixteen years before relocating in his native South Carolina. The year prior to the move south, he penned a song entitled "The Anchor Holds". This song was written during a time of discouragement and personal sadness after his wife suffered her third miscarriage.
Ray Boltz heard about the song, collaborated with Lawrence to write a shorter version, and in 1994 recorded it on his "Allegiance" project. "The Anchor Holds" was released for national radio airplay and quickly climbed to the #1 position on the Inspirational charts. The song remained in that position for three weeks. It was later featured on the WOW 1996 project, which was a collection of the thirty top songs of the previous year. Ray Boltz has since recoreded several more of Lawrence's compositions including "At the foot of the Cross", "I Wouldn't Go Back", and "Carry On".
Lawrence was employed for ten years with the State of South Carolina as a social worker with the Department of Social Services. During this time, he served as a foster worker, child abuse and neglect intake worker and adoption specialist. He also has conducted several Christian songwriter retreats with Lynn DeShazo, a well respected and prolific writer of woship songs.
2004 has proven to be a year of changes and new beginnings. A new CD entitled "Kalamazoo or Beyond the Blue" was recorded at Ray Boltz' studio in Muncie, Indiana. Lawrence toured with Ray Boltz at selected concerts that year and appeared with him on Trinty Broadcasting Network on Memorial Day. In July, a "live" concert was videotaped which is in the process of being released as a DVD.
In September 2004, Lawrence made the decision to quit his social work position in order to launch again into full time Christian ministry.
Lawrence and his wife, Trish, reside in Florence, South Carolina. They have three children and one grandson.