Emanuel UMC was established in 1799 at Laurel Grove Plantation located near the corners of Myers Hill and Buckswamp Roads in Brunswick. The original building was erected using hand-honed lumber joined together with wooden pegs by coastal pioneers in post-Revolutionary days. At that time, the church was called New Hope Church. The first Methodist pastor of record in 1799 was Rev. George Clark who was sent by Bishop Francis Asbury to St. Mary's to start the Methodist societies in Glynn County. In 1829, under the leadership of William Gassaway as pastor and James Helveston as class leader, the quarterly conference for St. Mary's and St. Illa circuit were held at here. The sanctuary building was moved to its present site on property donated by Robert Lee Ratcliffe in 1833. On April 9, 1946, Ratcliffe donated another tract of land across from the church to be used for a cemetery. The first Missionary Society in Glynn County began on March 1, 1956, at a quarterly conference where four missionaries reportedly went out from Emanuel. The church celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Education building on Sunday, October 26, 1969. At this time, a new steeple was added to the sanctuary. The church's 170th anniversary was celebrated on February 7, 1971, with the dedication of six Sunday school classrooms, a fellowship hall, kitchen, nursery, two offices, and two bathrooms.