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Wesley At Frederica UMC - Coastal


By early 1985, a plan was drawn up which would see the Sea Island Company give ten acres of land to the United Methodist Church and ten acres of land to Christ Episcopal Church on the northern end of St. Simons Island. With this agreement, each church would also donate one acre of land and one hundred thousand dollars for the Wesley Memorial Gardens. This plan was approved by the conference and eighty thousand dollars was donated in lieu of purchasing the property. Mrs. Virginia Hay volunteered to raise the remaining twenty thousand dollars from people across the conference. On September 6, 1986, the Waycross District approved the site for a new church according to the Book of Discipline. 
According to the agreement, the Wesley Memorial Garden was built before the church. The decision was made to keep the land as natural as possible with paths winding between the trees. At the focal point is a 17-foot high Celtic cross made of Georgia granite, designed by Mr. Edward Mims. Hundreds of azaleas were planted with camellias, hydrangeas, wisteria, and boxwood. The garden was dedicated on June 12, 1988. 
It was decided in August 1986, that St. Simons UMC would be the sponsoring church for Wesley at Frederica and the new church steering committee first met on November 19, 1986. Retired Bishop Frank L. Robertson was appointed the starting pastor and the decision was made to meet in the former St. William's Catholic Church until a sanctuary could be built. Mr. Joel Willis was assigned to be publicity chair and a brochure was designed and distributed. The commissioning service was held at St. Simons UMC on April 5, 1987, and the first service for the new church was held on Palm Sunday, April 12, 1987. The Catholic Church was eventually sold and the congregation moved their services to Lovely Lane Chapel on the grounds of Epworth by the Sea. The first Sunday school class was held the following Sunday. A building committee was appointed and plans agreed on with the groundbreaking service held on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1988. The congregation worshipped for the first time in its new building on January 7, 1990, and Bishop Richard C. Looney consecrated the new building on March 4, 1990.  
Rev. Wright Culpepper was appointed the first pastor, and in September 1988, a parsonage was purchased. In June 2001, Tim Steffen became the pastor and the first worship service in the new sanctuary was held on June 6, 2005. A second Sunday morning service was added in 1991, and the Moeller pipe organ installed in September 1992. Rev. Dr. John E. Stephens became the pastor and was greatly responsible for reducing the debt of the sanctuary. In June 2014, Rev. Steve Patton was appointed Senior Pastor of Wesley at Frederica and a congregation of over one thousand members. 



6520 Frederica Road
St. Simons Island GA 31522

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