Belin Memorial United Methodist – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
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This beautiful seaside church in Murrells Inlet was founded in 1925 and named for the Reverend James L. Belin, a local Methodist minister and well-known community philanthropist of the Waccamaw Neck area, often called “The Neck.” The Neck refers to the land between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic ocean and includes Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach, and Murrells Inlet. Prior to his 1859 death, Reverend Belin established a trust fund to benefit various mission projects. Today Belin’s trust fund continues being allocated to missions determined by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Originally called Belin Memorial Church, the first edifice was constructed from the planks of the disassembled Oatland Methodist Church at nearby Pawleys Island. The church sufficed until renovations were needed in 1955, and in 1977 the entire church was moved 75 feet to the center of the lot, a project which included doubling the size of the sanctuary.
The intensive project was completed in 1978, with much of the work being done by members of the church along with then-pastor, the Reverend Wesley Farr. However, the growing congregation was in need of yet another sanctuary by 1991, and the current structure – which was built to resemble the first one – was built and in use by 1992.
Following its history of repurposing valuable building materials, Belin Memorial United Methodist Church donated the original sanctuary to Joesph B. Bethea United Methodist Church. Bethea UMC moved the church to its current location west of Myrtle Beach in 1993 and began using it shortly afterwards.
The seawall cross, seen above and below, provides members a place to worship outdoors overlooking the water. Many American Methodist churches originally met outside beneath brush arbors as they awaited circuit-riding preachers to visit them with a sermon. Worshiping outdoors surrounded by live oaks (Quercus virginiana) and an ocean breeze brings people close to their Methodist roots as well as their natural surroundings.
Since 1997 the first Saturday of May each year is reserved for the church’s Blessing of the Inlet ceremony. The coastal community feels richly blessed by the sea, and everyone from fishermen to beach lovers attend the ceremony to express their gratitude for the joy of living in such a singularly exquisite place.
Now at a membership of around 2,000, Belin Memorial United Methodist Church continues serving the Waccamaw Neck community, carrying on the legacy of the church’s namesake.
Belin Memorial United Methodist Info
Address: 4183 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Belin Memorial United Methodist Map
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