Epworth by the Sea
Epworth by the Sea is an eighty-three-acre Christian conference and retreat center in Georgia, United States. It is used for Methodist based events. It is located on the banks of the Frederica River below Gascoigne Bluff on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. The center was named “Epworth by the Sea” in honor of Epworth, the boyhood home of Charles and John Wesley, founders of Methodism. It is owned and operated by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Epworth is located on part of Hamilton Plantation which was purchased on October 29, 1949. It opened to the public in 1950, under the leadership of Bishop Arthur James Moore. Moore, from Georgia, was an elected bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also a leader of the Atlanta Area of the Methodist Church. At the start, the center featured only a few rural camp facilities and old plantation buildings. Epworth’s stated mission is “to provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship.”
Epworth by the Sea facilities
Lovely Lane Chapel
According to the center's official website, Lovely Lane Chapel, is one of Saint Simons’s oldest standing church buildings. Constructed in 1880, it is currently used only for Sunday services and, by appointment, weddings.
Wright Prayer Tower
The Wright Prayer Tower was erected on the Frederica River and adjacent to Glynn County marshes.
Epworth by the Sea's recreational services include a Youth Center Pavilion with covered basketball court, two tennis courts, an open field for baseball, football, and soccer; swimming pool, two fishing piers and an adventure challenge rope course.
Arthur Moore Methodist Museum
The Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum and Library was established in 1965. It began as a small library and became a museum when it was dedicated in June 1966 and given its current name. It is where the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church stores its archival records. The library consists of over 6,000 books which are used by theologians pursuing research into Methodist theology and history. The collection includes books, Journals, diaries, original letters and historic documents pertaining to the culture and history of the Methodist Church.
The meeting facilities that were built for Epworth by the Sea, include The Smith Dining Room, Blasingame Dining Room, Cannon Room, Jinks Garden Room, Turner Lodge Pioneer Room, Nalls Auditorium, The Tabby House, and the Margaret A. Pitts Conference Room. These are just some of the many ways that Epworth is able to accommodate both large and small groups.
The Waters Garden is a small, passive-use garden which contains a “Walkway of Remembrance,” where it is traditional for visitors to the center to remember their deceased family and friends.
Camps held at Epworth by the Sea
The center's one-week Elementary Camp provides educational opportunities and teaches Bible Study with a Methodist focus to children, ages 4–12.
Georgia Pastors’ School
The Georgia Pastors' School provides educational opportunities and spiritual experiences to religious leaders employed within the Methodist Church or seeking such employment.
Women’s Retreat SSI
The Gathering Place
A tradition at Epworth by the Sea
The Gathering Place, or better known as “The Main Event” is held on Sunday nights throughout the summer in one of Epworth by the Sea’s many facilities, (The Strickland Auditorium). Over 1,000 teens gather together from all over to learn about faith, and the miracle of knowing Christ. Students create and share music, skits and games followed by nationally recognized speakers.
Equipping programs of The Gathering Place
Programs offered by The Gathering Place to help train and equip students to be effective Christian leaders throughout their schools, churches, and communities.
Epworth by the Sea is largely funded by the William I. H. and Lula E. Pitts Foundation, a private foundation that funds educational and social service activities through organizations that are associated with the United Methodist Church in Georgia. Since the foundation was founded in 1941, large donations have gone to support institutions and organizations such as Epworth by the Sea, Andrew College, Chandler School of Theology, LaGrange College and Magnolia Manor retirement home. Once Pitts died in 1964, he had already donated more than $1 million.
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