For nearly 50 years, people have gathered on the shore and in the waters of Thurmond Lake for an annual series of outdoor summer church services.
The services return to the lake this Sunday.
“It’s the most beautiful pastoral setting. You feel like you’re in a church because of the overhanging trees. It’s worshipful,” said Patty Strickland, a lay speaker from St. John United Methodist Church in Augusta, who will preach this Sunday.
A different speaker is featured every week of the summer through Labor Day. The lineup includes lay speakers, and current and former pastors of local Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.
The services started in 1964 as an outreach of St. John to summer vacationers at the lake.
Services are casual, with some people arriving by boat in swimsuits. Coffee and donuts are usually served afterwards.
In case of rain, worship is moved to a nearby lodge.
This year, there’s enough water that the pulpit, which sits on a floating dock, “actually floats,” said Curt Strickland, Patty’s husband and the organizer of the summer services at St. John. “For the first time in years, we’ve got plenty of water up there.”
Services begin at 8:45 a.m. and will be held each Sunday through Aug. 25. See stjohnumcaugusta.com for more information.