Just because you are taking a vacation from work or school doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation away from church, especially for those visiting the Grand Strand. The 60-mile stretch of coastline and the inland areas are filled with houses of worship for virtually every religion and denomination, and many make it easy for vacationers to attend by offering everything from beachfront services to come-as-you-are dress codes.
Such is the case for the Barefoot Church in North Myrtle Beach, one of the many non-denominational churches that have boomed in recent years. The casual atmosphere and laid-back attitude have struck a chord in the community with both locals and visitors. Featuring contemporary services that include live music and lively sermons, Barefoot Church appeals to less traditional churchgoers, and more traditional ones looking for a relaxed environment.
So if you are looking for a little inspiration during your vacation, check out this list of some of the more popular houses or worship on the Strand. Regardless of your religious preference, you are sure to find a place to help you come closer to your God at one of these congregations:
* Barefoot Church: This non-denominational church caters to the come-as-you-are crowds, including many vacationers in the North Myrtle Beach area. Services are occasionally held on the beach.
* Belin United Methodist Church: One of the first and largest churches on the Grand Strand was founded in 1925 and has more than 2,000 members. The large cross on the seawall is an iconic symbol in Murrells Inlet.
* Chabad of Myrtle Beach: This synagogue caters to a vibrant Jewish community in Myrtle Beach and boasts its own academy for pre-high school education. A healing center is currently being added to the property.
* Christ United Methodist Church: This congregation meets in a former circus-style theater in Fantasy Harbour, giving it excellent stage and sound presence and a more contemporary atmosphere.
* First Baptist Church: One of the oldest churches in Myrtle Beach keeps up with the changing times by offering two distinct Sunday services: a traditional service at 8:30 a.m. and a more contemporary service at 11 a.m.
* First Presbyterian Church: Located in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach, this was one of the first churches on the Grand Strand. A new building was recently added on Grissom Parkway.
* Grand Strand Church: This non-denominational congregation meets in the historic Cooper House, a century-old home located in Socastee Swing Bridge. This group also is known for holding services on the beach, aboard boats and other unique locations.
* Ocean View Church: This non-denominational church is located just two blocks from the beach and is famous for its musical programs and Wednesday night social suppers.
* Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church: This large building houses a large Catholic congregation in North Myrtle Beach and offers daily masses.
* St. Andrew’s Catholic Church: The Grand Strand’s largest Catholic congregation gathers on a spacious complex in Myrtle Beach that includes a new recreation center, a pre-high school academy and several community outreach projects.
* St. Stephens Episcopal Church: This historic North Myrtle Beach house of worship was the first church in South Carolina to construct an on-site Columbarium and Bell Tower.
* Temple Emanu-El: Located just a couple of blocks from Island Vista, this small but thriving congregation caters to a tight-knit Jewish community living in Myrtle Beach.
* Trinity United Methodist Church: This house of worship actually has two homes – one in Conway and one in North Myrtle Beach – both of which are among the oldest churches in their respective communities.
(Photo Courtesy: myrtlebeachpresbyterianchurch.org)