Lawrence Chewning is a Christian songwriter, recording artist and speaker who has shared the message of Jesus Christ for the past four decades. 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, with 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 Hartford 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 Andrae Crouch and Gary S. Paxton. Lawrence has since recorded five 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. Later that year "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 and was later featured on the WOW 1996 project, which was a collection of the thirty top songs of the previous year. In 2003 "The Anchor Holds" was featured on Bill and Gloria Gaither's"Red Rocks Homecoming" and performed by Donnie Sumner. It has also been recorded by Karen Peck and New River, as well as Jimmy Swaggart.
Ray Boltz later recorded three more of Lawrence's compositions including "At the Foot of the Cross," which peaked at # 3 on the Inspirational charts, "I Wouldn't Go Back", and "Carry On".
Lawrence has conducted several Christian songwriter retreats with Lynn DeShazo, a well respected and prolific writer of woship songs and has appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Since 1994 Lawrence Chewning has been employed by the State of South Carolina as a social worker, serving at various times as a foster care worker, child protective services intake worker, and for over fifteen years as an adoption specialist. For two years, from 2004 to 2006, Lawrence worked part-time with the agency as a free-lance adoption home evaluation writer, while he travelled throughout the United States performing concerts and speaking in churches.
Lawrence continues to accept speaking and singing engagements as his work schedule permits. His most recent recording, entitled "The Road Back Home", was released in the summer of 2011. Lawrence and his wife, Trish, reside in Florence, South Carolina. They have three grown children and one grandson.