"Epworth By The Sea has been built with the hope that through Christian atmosphere,
fellowship, and spiritual dedication this may be a place
where many shall purpose
to make Jesus Christ supreme."
~ Bishop Arthur J. Moore
Ministering To The World Since 1950
Located on the banks of the historic Frederica River, Epworth By The Sea is a ministry owned and operated by the South
Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The property was purchased on October 29, 1949 and the gates opened in 1950.
One of the finest Christian Retreat Centers in the Southeast, Epworth is open to all whose goals are consistent with its
mission which is "to provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship."
The 100-acre Christian Retreat Center has 6 motels, 12 family apartments, and 13 youth buildings accommodating up to 1,000
persons. Three auditoriums accommodate groups of all sizes. One auditorium seats 900 and two seat 300 persons each.
Audio/video equipment available for 31 meeting rooms. Four dining rooms. Pre-school/nursery building with fenced playground.
All rooms are climate controlled. All motel rooms have phones. TV in all rooms except youth buildings. Specially equipped rooms for the handicapped available. Wireless Internet is available throughout Epworth's campus.
Recreation options include: 70 x 40 ft. swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, basketball court pavillion,
open field for baseball, football and soccer. Football and volleyball equipment, bicycles for rent, two fishing piers.
Minutes away from ocean beaches, horseback riding, boating, offshore fishing and other island activities.
See Recreation Facilities for further information.
Serving All The People of the World
Epworth By The Sea proudly serves a diversity of groups, individuals, denominations, private and government agencies,
Armed Services, civic organizations and others whose goals are consistent with Epworth's mission, which is to provide
a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Epworth, England - Home of The Wesleys
This large mural hangs behind the Front Desk in the Walker Lobby at Epworth By The Sea. Seen left to right are:
The Red Lion Hotel,
John Wesley preaching from the steps of the old Market Cross,
The Old Rectory,
John Wesley preaching from horseback,
The Parish Church of St. Andrew.
History of Our Area
Gascoigne Bluff - The Gateway to St. Simons Island
The one-mile riverbank tract from the causeway bridge to the bend in the Frederica River
at the Robertson Inn is called Gascoigne Bluff.
Named for Captain James Gascoigne, commander of the sloop-of-war Hawk who escorted the first British settlers to Georgia
to establish Fort Frederica in 1735, the bluff offered vessels the first landing place after entering the harbor.
Gascoigne Bluff is rightfully called "The Gateway to St. Simons Island."
The Revs. John and Charles Wesley were on this voyage. John had charge of the religious affairs of the colony.
Charles served as secretary to Oglethorpe and as minister for the Frederica settlement. After returning to England,
they began the Methodist movement.
From Indian occupation, Oglethorpe's military era, plantation days, Civil War, lumber mill days to Epworth By The Sea,
this small tract of land has played an important role in the history of coastal Georgia.
During the Revolutionary War live oak timbers were cut on St. Simons and loaded at Gascoigne Bluff for shipment to be used
in building of the U.S. Frigate Constitution, better known as "Old Ironsides," and other vessels.
The Plantation Days
Following the war, great plantations were developed on St. Simons, with Sea Island cotton as
the major crop. Gascoigne Bluff became the property of Alexander Bissett. After his death this area became the property
of Richard Leake, then James Hamilton.
Hamilton built a large tabby home near the riverbank. He died in 1829 as one of the few millionaires in the country.
The plantation was managed by Captain John Fraser, an officer in the British Marines.
Though the home burned in about 1890, a slave cabin remains and is used for meetings at Epworth By The Sea. Near total collapse,
the cabin, called the Tabby House was completely restored by Epworth in 1995.
The Civil War
During the war, Gascoigne Bluff became headquarters for vessels of the United States Navy.
When the war ended, the former way of life was over and a new day had begun. Residents grew crops for food. Life was hard. However,
it was not long before the Hamilton Plantation brought a new industry, lumber mills, to the island.
The Lumber Mill Days
When the lumber mills came to Gascoigne Bluff, they offered an opportunity for every man to work
regardless of race. In 1876, a mill was built at the upper end of Gascoigne Bluff by the Dodge-Meigs Company. Captain
Francis A. Boyle built a mill on Gascoigne Bluff in 1890 to cut cypress timbers.
In 1880, Norman W. Dodge built St. James Union Chapel, renamed Lovely Lane Chapel by the Methodists when they purchased
the property for Christian Retreat Center in 1949. The mills cleared operations in 1903.
Moving Into the 1920's
The causeway connecting the mainland and St. Simons opened on July 11, 1924. Automobiles
brought visitors from around the world.
In 1927, the Hamilton Plantation was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene W. Lewis of Detroit, for a winter home.
They established beautiful gardens and a thriving farm operation. Home movies of the family have been placed on
video and may be viewed at the Arthur J. Moore Museum and Library by request.
During the war years, Brunswick drew plantation employees away for better wages. The Lewises closed the plantation
and left the island.
Epworth By The Sea
In 1949, the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church purchased a prime part of
the Hamilton Plantation to establish a Christian Retreat Center.
On July 25, 1950, the formal opening took place on the banks of the Frederica River. Bishop Arthur J. Moore led
the dedication and shared a barbecue picnic (75 cents a plate) with over 800 Methodists from across Georgia.
The Methodist Center was named Epworth By The Sea in honor of the boyhood home of the Wesley brothers, Epworth,
England. Epworth is a fitting memorial which links the past with the present.
A Superintendent, a United Methodist minister in full connection to the South Georgia Conference is nominated by Epworth
Trustees and appointed by the Bishop.
Epworth's vision for the future is to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those coming for a time apart. The founders
of Epworth desired to provide a Christian place where one might come and feel the same "reviving of the spirit" felt by the
Wesleys so long ago.
The strong, well-defined purpose of Epworth's ministry remains the same, "to provide a Christian place for worship, study
Epworth By The Sea|
100 Arthur J. Moore Drive
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522
Phone: (912) 638-8688
FAX: (912) 634-0642