Myrtle Beach church celebrates 100 years, plans to stay open for 100 more

Updated: Sep. 30, 2019 at 8:04 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The First United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach is celebrating 100 years of being a part of the downtown area and doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

The church sits on the corner of North Kings Highway in an area that has changed quite a bit and will be changing even more over the coming years.

Tucked away in the back of the church are photographs that tell a story of the thousands of members who have walked through the doors of the sanctuary since 1919.

Two of those members are Blecker and Bubba Cannon, who were married in the church nearly six decades ago.

“I’ve been a member for 79 years, and she’s been a member since we got married so whatever that would be - 58 years," Bubba said.

”I became a member a year before we got married, so 59 years," Blecker said.

Bubba can recall just as much history in the downtown area as the photos can.

“There’s been a lot of changes, the Chapin company closing, the mall opening, that goes with time," Bubba recalled.

From the members to the pulpit, the photographs tell the story of the pastors who led the church preceding Pastor George Howle, who now preaches every Sunday.

“We were here before the city, 19 years before the city and we were one of the first institutions here in Myrtle Beach,” Howle said.

But what’s kept the church going for 100 years?

“The people. I think so, that’s what the church is, the people," Bubba said.

This is a part of the story that if you look close, you can see in every photo. The people who have worked to ensure the church, just like the areas surrounding it, changed as time went on to keep up with the change happening in the city.

“The growth in Myrtle Beach has been so large and so fast quick," Howle said.

The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has plans to change the area even more, so the people of the church are working on their plan to stay open another 100 years.

“I believe that our church needs to get involved with the city on a pretty serious level and commit to helping in any way that we can. There are several community-wide issues that we need to face together,” said Rev. Meredith Dark, with Myrtle Beach UMC.

And if the church can do this, they can continue to be just what their motto says they are: We’re the church with the heart in the heart of Myrtle Beach.

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