“God’s Little Fortress by the Sea”
Truly, the history of Garden City Chapel is an amazing story. It is called a “miracle” by many who have seen its buildings rise seemingly out of the marshlands and the sea to provide a place of worship, a retreat for church groups, a touching ministry to underprivileged children, and a spot where young people can share their lives in an atmosphere of Christian love and fellowship.
It all began in the summer of 1952 at a quiet little beach in Garden City, South Carolina. The people who lived in Garden City Beach and the ones who came here on vacation felt the desire to have a place to worship for themselves, their families, and their community. That is when the idea of a chapel began to take shape, and the dream was born!
The first dormitory was built in 1962 with the idea of reaching out to underprivileged children. Today, there are six dorms that houses close to 600, a worship center that will accommodate 1100, and a small chapel that will accommodate 200. All these facilities help to provide a retreat center that host around 12,000 young people from church groups each year. Those groups come from many different denominations and from approximately 22 states.
And yes, underprivileged children are still very much a part of the ministry here at the Chapel! If you would like to know more about the history of the Garden City Chapel, you may request “The Story of Garden City Chapel and Retreat” written by Reverend Hal Norton. This inspiring book is a 46 page complete history of the Chapel which includes pictures and beautiful stories of how the Chapel began.