Last week, Tom and I were able to attend worship for the first time since January. As the only living history volunteers at Fort Frederica, we have been working every Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we had a big event, with another one Sunday evening, so we took Sunday morning off and went to church. Instead of attending Wesley United Methodist Church, as we usually do, we decided to drive across the island to St Simons United Methodist Church.
While Mom and Dad were on the island, they attended the St Simons United Methodist Church and we accompanied them to several things. We ate a nice fellowship dinner there one evening. We attended Ash Wednesday service at noon, followed by a soup and sandwich lunch. And we went to a youth mission spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Although the spaghetti was forgettable, I did win two silent auction items.
Through these visits, Tom and I already felt more plugged in at St Simons United Methodist Church than we ever did at Wesley. The people who attend the church seem more like regular folks and the church is very active in missions.
There are three worship services at St Simons United Methodist Church. They have traditional services at 8:30 and 11 and a contemporary service at 9:45. We decided to go to the 11 traditional service. The biggest problem with St Simons United Methodist Church is its distance from our house. Although it is only six miles away, it takes almost a half hour to drive there. St Simons island only has one north -south road and it is always very congested on Sunday morning. This is the main reason we continued to attend Wesley even when we knew we would prefer St Simons.
But, once we got there, we enjoyed the worship service very much. The children’s choir sang a song that was enthusiastically received by the congregation. A handbell choir and a wonderful chancel choir also performed. We sang three oldies but goodies hymns and enjoyed the sermon by Rev. Tom Jones.
One thing that really impresses me about St Simons United Methodist Church is its welcoming atmosphere and their attention to the “least of these.” People with disabilities are treated with special care at this church from young children to the elderly. On the Sunday morning we attended, we got there late, and the ushers took us to a pew and everyone in the pew moved over – with a smile – to make room for us. They were glad to make room for latecomers! This has not been our experience in a lot of churches.
This congregation has about 1,000 members and 400 attending the three services on Sunday. The 11 a.m. traditional service has the highest attendance, and the sanctuary looked full the day we attended. The church was established on the island in 1938 and, today, has a sprawling campus. The fellowship hall is in a separate building across the parking lot.
Attending St Simons United Methodist Church was a wonderful experience and we hope to go back on Easter.