Epworth by the Sea History

Our 75th Anniversary on the banks of the historic Frederica River begins October 2024. Join the celebrations this fall, and all year long!

Epworth by the Sea is a hospitality ministry serving all whose goals are consistent with our mission, which is to provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship.

It is named Epworth by the Sea in honor of the boyhood home of brothers John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist revival movement from Epworth, England. Both John and Charles were Anglican priests who volunteered as missionaries to the colony of Georgia in its founding days.


  • 1949: The South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church purchased 40 acres. Additional acreage was added over the years to bring the total to approximately 100 acres.

  • July 25, 1950: Bishop Arthur J. Moore led the opening dedication and shared a barbecue picnic (75¢ a plate) with 800+ Methodists from across Georgia.

Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum
Preserving the Past to Serve the Future

"Epworth by the Sea has been built with the hope that through Christian atmosphere, friendly fellowship, and spiritual dedication this may be a place where many shall purpose to make Jesus Christ supreme."
– Georgia Bishop Arthur J. Moore (1940 to 1960)

Established in 1965 by Georgia's Bishop Arthur J. Moore, the Methodist Museum preserves historical records related to St. Simons Island, State of Georgia, and Methodist history. The museum has been the depository for the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church archival records since 1974 and is under the operational control and management of Epworth by the Sea.

  • Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Open to the Public. Guided tours by appointment.

Learn more about the history of this sacred place in the museum.

Land & Sea

The one-mile riverbank from the J.F. Torras Causeway to the bend in the Frederica River, considered the gateway to St. Simons Island, is called Gascoigne Bluff. It is named for Captain James Gascoigne, commander of the sloop-of-war Hawk. Gascoigne escorted British settlers to Georgia to establish Fort Frederica in 1735. The bluff offered vessels the first landing place after entering the harbor.

The Revs. John and Charles Wesley were on this fort-establishing voyage. John had charge of the religious affairs of the Georgia Colony. Charles served as minister for the Frederica settlement and secretary to James E. Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founding Colony Governor. After returning to England, the Wesleys began the Methodist revival movement.

From the Guale indigenous peoples to Oglethorpe's military era, plantation days, the Civil War, and lumber mill days to Epworth by the Sea, these lands and waters hold defining moments in the history of coastal Georgia and the Methodist faith’s beginnings.

A Strategic Retreat Center
for the Future

Epworth by the Sea is growing an Endowment Foundation to ensure this special place is available for generations of youth, families, and group ministries. If you would like to help Epworth continue its dedication to making disciples for Jesus Christ, please consider becoming a partner in ministry. Every gift is greatly appreciated and tax-deductible.

Visit ways to donate!