History of Celebration
The Presbyterian Church (USA) formally chartered Celebration Presbyterian Church on September 26, 2002. That day was the culmination of years of work and preparation on the part of New Harmony Presbytery.
When International Paper announced plans for it’s property west of Myrtle Beach, now known as Carolina Forest, in the mid 1990’s, several parcels of land were designated for churches, schools, and public safety. New Harmony Presbytery purchased 11+ acres in 1998 to be used for a New Church Development and the planning began. In the spring of 1999 a meeting was held for representatives throughout the Presbytery on how to proceed with forming a new church. A search team was formed in the fall of 1999, which consisted of members from churches on the Strand and representatives from Presbytery. One of those serving was Jim Coulter, a charter member of CPC.
Over the next 18 months this team met, reviewed, and traveled to interview prospective candidates. On March 1, 2001 Rev. Olin McBride started serving as the organizing Pastor. Space was rented in Big Deal’s Flea Market on Rt. 501 for offices and worship space. Rev. McBride began meeting with various groups in the neighborhoods about forming a new church. The first worship service was held July 8, 2001.
The first building was constructed and dedicated on June 26, 2002. The church was officially commissioned September 22, 2002.
New Harmony Presbytery has provided substantial financial support since 2001 to assist in the formation of CPC. Although the Presbytery purchased the land, CPC is responsible for the mortgage on the building.
Rev. McBride resigned as pastor effective July 30, 2003. An interim search team was formed to secure an interim minister until a permanent pastor could be called. Rev. Thom Giuntoli started serving September 14, 2003 and served in that capacity until February 2005.
Rev. Gary Lowe was called and started serving as permanent pastor on February 28, 2005. Rev Lowe resigned as pastor effective July 11, 2010. Celebration was served by interim pastors David Mote, Don Stein, Lewis Johnson and Howard Hansen.
Dr. Tom Dendy was called to be a Designated Pastor and started serving on November 20, 2011. He was installed as our Permanent Pastor on March 15, 2015. He continues to faithfully serve.