Where to Worship: Love is the answer



At the heart of the mission of St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church is the idea that love should be demonstrated by ministering to others. The church believes that all members are “ministers” and should find ways to serve in the community. 

St. Andrew’s senior pastor, the Rev. Neil Yongue, said that love was part of the church long before he arrived in 2007. Since its founding in 1968, the church has ministered to the people of the Lowcountry, he said. 

For more than 40 years, St. Andrew, located at 20 Pope Ave. on Hilton Head Island, has hosted a fall festival to raise money for local charities, church outreach ministries and missions. The church supports several local nonprofit organizations, including Bluffton Self Help, The Deep Well Project, Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head and Bluffton, The Children’s Center, Penn Center and Lowcountry Legal Volunteers. 

Upward Basketball“This church has in its heart a desire — an imperative that lives in the character of the church — to engage the community and to find ways to reach out to the Lowcountry,” Yongue said. 

That outreach includes free health screenings, blood drives, and an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Group. St. Andrew partners with Hudson’s Seafood House On the Docks to sponsor the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner; the church also runs a soup kitchen from noon to 1 p.m. Fridays. 

Its Upward Sports program shares the Gospel through athletics. Part of a national initiative, St. Andrew offers Upward basketball for youth. 

“We’ll have 1,000 people come through on Fridays and Saturdays to watch their little ones play ball,” Yongue said. “For some folks, it’s really the only church that they’re going to know.” 

In 2014, St. Andrew opened a second campus in Bluffton. Now located at 39 Persimmon St., the Bluffton campus offers a more contemporary service than the traditional one at the Hilton Head location. 

The Rev. Daniel Burbage, who leads the Bluffton congregation, said the church has members of all ages, and is diverse ethnically and politically. 

“It’s a place where all people can come together, no matter what side of the coin you find yourself on, and just focus on Jesus,” Burbage said. 

The Bluffton campus offers children’s programming during both services and a youth group for older kids. A monthly First Friday ministry is available so parents can drop off their children and have some time to themselves for a couple of hours. 

Yongue said the church has purchased a piece of property on Buckwalter, possibly to be used initially for an Upward Soccer program or similar. Eventually, the church will have its own building there. 

Along with all the work St. Andrew does throughout the community, the church makes sure to take care of its own members through its Stephen Ministry, which offers spiritual and emotional support to people going through difficult times. 

“The whole idea is to be a church that’s open and nurturing to the community,” Burbage said. 

Sunday services at the Hilton Head campus are at 9 and 11:15 a.m.; in Bluffton, services are held at 9 and 10:30 a.m. 

For more information, call 843-785-4711 or go to www.hhiumc.com

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