Bayside Chapel and Samaritan Thrift Shop a reality

“This whole thing has been one miracle after another” said the Rev. Rich Evans of the new Bayside Chapel and the Samaritan Thrift Shop near Fenwick Island. “In the past two years, this church has gone from a dream to a reality by the power of God!”

The facilities, located on Route 54, 6 miles west of Fenwick Island, was a series of warehouses but — with the help of sponsoring church St. Matthews by the Sea in Fenwick, the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church and more than 50 churches from a variety of denominations and regions — the warehouse has become a church and a thrift store, already serving hundreds since its opening in June 2008. People have provided donations of money, items and in-kind services and have made the project possible, said Evans.

Nearly five years ago, the congregation of St. Matthews began to see that development along Lighthouse Road (Route 54) was increasing. They began to explore how St. Matthews could serve the needs of the new people moving into the area.

At the Annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference held in June 2006, Evans was appointed to fill the position of pastor of new church development. Evans has worked to fulfill this task, visiting churches throughout the conference and in the Baltimore area to gain their support, while at the same time getting to know the people of St. Matthews by the Sea. A planning team was established and in January of 2008 work began at the site.

The Samaritan Thrift Store opened in June of 2008 and is already exceeding expectations, according to Evans. Devotions began at the church on July 20, and the official start of services will begin on Sept 7, 2008. Initially, there will be one service at 10:45 a.m., with coffee hour beforehand, in the Fellowship Hall, but there are plans to begin a second, earlier service in the near future. Also planned as interest develops are adult and children’s Sunday school and youth activities.

“We are a soft place for people to land in a very hard world,” stated Sally Stewart, pastor of praise and worship. “At Bayside Chapel, we offer a place for people to find a friend, to be a friend and to share Christ with that friend.”

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