Shandon United Methodist Church
“A natural progression.” That’s what the leaders at Shandon United Methodist call their church’s ongoing service to community. For more than 100 years (they celebrated their Centennial in 2009), this Methodist congregation has witnessed and served its Christian faith in Columbia. Now they’re looking to the future.
This church has always functioned in the heart of Columbia’s Shandon neighborhood. It began life in 1909 at the corner of Lee and Queen streets, soon followed by a move to Maple and Preston streets nearby. That building was destroyed by fire in 1914, and quickly rebuilt, but soon outgrown.
In 1931, the church acquired the old Heathwood School building, near the present– day Dreher High School. And in 1949, as the church observed its 40th anniversary, Sunday School classes marched up the street to a new building on the corner of Adger and Devine streets.
The first worship service was held in the new sanctuary in January, 1950. Today, thanks to a PUD certification from the city, Shandon Methodist’s campus will allow for possibly one more building for full capacity.
A membership of 2800 is actively involved in the life of Columbia as well as around the world. Their mission trips to Haiti, in particular, have been active and ongoing. Over a period of years, and especially with the emergency stresses of 2010, Shandon Methodist members have traveled to Haiti and helped build a medical clinic and an orphanage.
Locally, the charity support has extended to Harvest Hope Food Bank, shelter for the homeless, and medical clinics, to name a few.
Young families are joining the venerable congregation in large numbers. Programs are in place for all age groups and interests. And this sanctuary building is well known for acoustics well suited to musical performances.
Dr. Michael Guffee has been senior pastor at Shandon Methodist for some 13 years. He is a native South Carolinian whose entire career has been based in this state. He was born in Pendleton and holds degrees from Southern Wesleyan, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and Candler School of Theolo- gy at Emory University. He served pastorates in McCormick and Bath– Clearwater before settling down in Columbia at Shandon. His wife Winni teaches sixth grade at Hand Middle School; they have two children and two grandchildren (with another on the way).
“ Next year, we’re setting up a study group to develop a strategic plan for Shandon,” he says. “We do this every 10 years, to assess where we are and plan what we can do next. We have just completed a $ 9 million renovation of our physical plant. There’s a lot to look forward to.”