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From a stable to a church

Waters Edge United Methodist Church, founded in 2005 after the South Carolina Conference purchased a 10-acre tract of land on Lady's Island. In January 2007, the church launched with the Rev. Mel Arant as pastor, with services held at a movie theater early on. Later, they began to rent space in the gym of Beaufort Academy. But that was not ideal, says the current pastor, Rev. Lane Glaze; it cost them nearly $20,000 in rent each year, plus they had to do a full set-up and tear down every Sunday for worship.

"You can imagine how fatigued this crowd was after nine years," Glaze said.

This mission congregation was started to serve the blended community of retirees, military families and nonmilitary locals in the Beaufort area.

Now, one of the newer congregation in the state has its very own space for worship—a converted horse barn on 10 acres of land that once housed wayward boys. The congregation held its first service in their new building last Spring. They formally consecrated the building in a church-wide Celebration Sunday.

The building had been an old horse barn that was later remodeled into a residence and then a boys' home. But while the building was in disrepair, it was structurally sound and surprisingly well-built, said Glaze, who helped lead them through the building process. They added another 1,000 square feet onto the existing structure and fully remodeled the upstairs and downstairs. Today, the roughly 7,400-square foot creation is just perfect for them, Glaze said.

"This is a very unpretentious church, a come-as-you-are, be-who-you-are church, and the building has a very earthy vibe to it that fits the congregation," Glaze said. "Plus, the whole Christian movement started in a stable, so it's a neat tie-in."

Waters Edge is still a commissioned church, not yet a chartered church, even though they have begun paying toward apportionments, and this new step for them signifies initial steps toward being a long-term, viable congregation, Glaze said.

"We'll be doing a lot of exploration over next six to 12 months about what our future looks like, and I'm excited to see where the Spirit leads us," Glaze said.

Jessica Brodie, editor, South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper

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