Epworth By the Sea – One of the Most Notable Churches on St. Simons Island

Named for the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley (founders of Methodism), Epworth By the Sea is an eighty-three acre Christian conference and retreat center that was first established under the leadership of Bishop Arthur James Moore in 1950, on the grounds of what was formerly the Hamilton Plantation. Today, it is owned and operated by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, with a mission “to provide a Christian place for worship, study, and fellowship.”

While Epworth By the Sea is largely geared toward Christians with its retreats and events, people from all walks of life can appreciate the scenic beauty of the area, as well as its interesting attractions and bounty of recreational activities. Read on to learn more about this tropical sanctuary!

Activities, Attractions, and Prices

Arthur Moore Methodist Museum

First established in 1965, the Arthur Moore Methodist Museum began as a small library, attaining museum status in June of 1966. The archival records of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church are stored here, along with a library consisting of over 6,000 books, journals, original letters, diaries, and historic documents related to the history and culture of the Methodist Church. There are also exhibits dedicated to Georgia history, the history of St. Simons Island and John Wesley’s time there, and a large collection of nativities from around the world.

The museum is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm on Monday through Saturday, free of charge. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. Guided tours and group tours have special rates, and the museum asks that parties of ten or more people call to schedule their tour.

Lovely Lane Chapel

Constructed in 1880, this charming and historic church is one of the oldest standing churches on St. Simons Island, GA. Lovely Lane Chapel features a classic white wood exterior straight out of a movie, magnificent stained-glass windows in the Old English art style, and a pristine interior of finely-crafted wood and elegant beams. The church has mild weather year-round, as well as gorgeous island gardens that lead to its front door.

For couples interested in planning a wedding ceremony at one of St. Simons Island’s churches, please note that the Lovely Land Chapel does not need much decoration is needed to accent the space, meaning greater savings down the line. Receptions can be held in the Pioneer Room of the D. Abbot Turner Lodge, though there are a number of scenic locales available at Epworth for outdoor and garden weddings. Finally, happy couples may wish to place a commemorative brick on the Walkway of Remembrance in the Waters Garden—a small garden where visitors may choose to remember their deceased friends and family members—to mark their special day.

Currently, Lovely Lane Chapel is available for Sunday services and (with a scheduled appointment) weddings.

Recreational Services

Epworth By the Sea has recreation fields, courts, and equipment available to visitors, including a Youth Center Pavilion with a covered basketball court, a swimming pool, two lit tennis courts, two fishing piers, an adventure challenge rope course, and a multi-purpose field for football, baseball, and soccer.

The rope courses at Epworth By the Sea are provided by Peak Pursuits Inc. and specialize in adventure-style team building for Christian retreats, corporate groups, and birthday parties. Climbing walls as tall as forty-five feet high can also be added for extra fun! The adventure ropes course costs $45.00 per person and lasts for two to three hours, with a minimum requirement of eight people and a maximum of thirty people.

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