Who We Are

Waters Edge UMC (WE) is a Christian community that believes we are called to share our faith by the way we live and care for those around us.  At Waters Edge you will be cared for, and you will be called upon to care for others.

Although WE will be celebrating several 10-year anniversaries in 2016, its genesis actually dates back to the 1980’s.

While serving as Senior Minister at Carteret Street UMC from 1981-85, Rev. Ben Barnes, Sr. began advocating to the Bishop for the creation of a new UM church on Lady’s Island, an area that was projected to grow exponentially for decades to come.  In the early 2000s, Melissa Mandell was asked by the Bishop to serve on a committee to explore the possibility of launching a new UM congregation in the Beaufort area.  These conversations led to a group of retired clergy and laity coming together in the fall of 2005 to begin the work of creating a new church.  From the outset, Rev. and Mrs. Barnes along with the Rev. and Mrs. Chad Davis and Dr. Ernest Etheridge were instrumental in providing leadership along with the founding families: Ben and Mandy Barnes, Toby and Amy Brevitz, Tom and Sheena Jenkins, Rick and Auman Kates, Tom Kemmerlin, Dave and Melissa Mandell, John and Ginny Purviance and Jose and Jaime Vergara.

In late 2005, Charlie Dodge was instrumental in locating a ten acre tract of land on Lady’s Island for the UM church to purchase for future use.  The property included an old horse barn that had been converted into a boys’ home.  A group from Carteret Street UMC, led by Warren Rose, made improvements over several months.  In June 2006, the Rev. Mel Arant and his family arrived to serve as the first appointed pastor.  Excitement began to build as plans were made to formally launch the new church, and new individuals and families continued to join the team.  On January 21, 2007, this new church called “Waters Edge” was introduced to the larger Beaufort community.  Those first services were held in the old movie theater near Beaufort High School.  Eighteen moths later, WE moved to Beaufort Academy where it continued to hold its Sunday worship services.  On December 18, 2011, WE held its organizational meeting with more than 150 adults and children in attendance.  On that day, Rev. Barnes and Rev. Davis were named Pastors Emeriti, the latter posthumously.

In early 2014, WE – now under the leadership of its second pastor Rev. Lane Glaze – began a Needs Assessment process to reaffirm its core values and to discern a path for the future.  The work of this team included a recommendation to explore the possibility of renovating the existing building on the church’s property.  Initial research led leadership to conclude that the old barn was structurally sound enough to be renovated.  With the expertise of Phil Waters and Sheena Jenkins, preliminary plans and renderings were created and presented to the congregation in the fall of 2014.

In early 2015, a pledge campaign revealed that there existed sufficient financial support to move forward.  The Church Council named George Clark as Project Manager and Sheena Jenkins as Interior Designer.  In August 2015, the firm of TD Commercial Builders was selected as the General Contractor and work began shortly thereafter to convert the old barn into a church.

After more than nine years of worshiping in temporary space, Waters Edge held its first full worship service in the new church on March 20, 2016 – Palm Sunday.  On April 24, 2016, WE gathered for the special service to consecrate the new church to the work of God in the world, with founding Pastor Mel Arant preaching.

Our Mission

Waters Edge is a community of faith which seeks to worship God, love one another and serve all…with joy.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Our Core Values

WE is filled with a mix of folks from various backgrounds, traditions and places that seek to be family for one another and a force for good in greater Beaufort. WE is filled with imperfect, real people who yearn to live out and share the joy that we have experienced in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, WE seeks to be a community:

  • that loves God (through worship, prayer, study), one another (through fellowship) and our neighbors (through service and outreach) in authentic and compassionate ways.
  • that is highly hospitable, safe and non-judgmental where people of all ages and walks of life feel both welcomed and loved.
  • that reaches the “disconnected and unconnected,” including (1) those who have never considered themselves people of faith, (2) those who used to be active in their faith and want to re-engage, (3) those new to our area, and (4) those who are skeptical of the Church given their past experiences.
  • that utilizes a casual, more-contemporary-than-not approach to worship where traditional elements, when utilized, are accompanied with adequate explanation and teaching.
  • that avoids the use of tired, trite or overly traditional language in talking about God and the Christian faith.
  • that embraces and values our connection to the UMC and our Wesleyan theological heritage while avoiding language and posturing that might create barriers.
  • where all ages are both encouraged and challenged to grow in their faith through worship, prayer, study, fellowship and service with the goal of “doing all the good we can,” both individually and collectively.
  • where children and youth are central to our mission.
  • that reflects the diversity of Greater Beaufort.
  • where lives are changed, where healing is experienced and where transformation occurs.

Our Vision

WE has the following four-fold vision to guide our work for the next few years:

  • More people participating in our Sunday worship
  • Spiritual growth (love and understanding) in our adults
  • A stronger youth ministry for both middle and high school
  • Community outreach/service that is more sustained and involves more people


Rev and Mrs Barnes

Rev. and Mrs. Ben Barnes

Rev. Chad Davis

Rev. Chad Davis

Rev. Mel Arant

Rev. Mel Arant
delivers sermon on
Celebration Sunday

Rev. Mel Arant and Rev. Lane Glaze on Celebration Sunday April 24, 2016

Rev. Lane Glaze and Rev. Mel Arant conduct
Consecration of the new Waters Edge Church
on Celebration Sunday