Murrells Inlet gearing up for Blessing of the Inlet festival

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Anita Crone/For South Strand News Lynn Sebald displays this year's Blessing of the Inlet T-shirts at Lee's Inlet Apothecary and Gifts.

The word is out and it's a good one.

It's proclaimed on the shirts that for the 18 years Belin Memorial United Methodist Church has sponsored the Blessing of the Inlet to bring in funds for the church's overseas missions.

This year's shirt, which is being sold at Lee's Inlet Apothecary, the church and Lee's Inlet Kitchen, started with the phrase “Behold his glory among the nations…,” and grew from there, with the design that reflects the cross at the seawall and the live oak that marks the church's landscaping.

As always, the design — and the shirts, usually unveiled two months before the actual event — become collector's items.

Choosing the right design and the right Biblical verse is not always easy, especially when the design is put together by a committee.

The work for this year's shirt, as in years past, began with the Biblical verse and the design flowed from there.

It took about eight weeks from the time the design is approved until the shirts gain the final OK.

“We want the shirt to reflect the blessing on the community,” said Alice DuRant, who uses her artistry to create the shirt's design.

“This is for the glory of God, not for us, or for Belin.”

Sometimes what works on paper, needs some help to be transposed to the shirts, and that's where the other artists, including Lari Roper and Colleen Welch. And, of course, everything has to be done by a set deadline.

Each year, the committee comes up with some tweaks. For instance, this year there were long-sleeved shirts, which were available for pre-order only.

But one thing remains the same.

“We feel that too often, that praising God gets lost in the shuffle,” DuRant said. “We want to praise him with our efforts.”

The people directly involved with the shirts always are looking for new ideas for shirt designs. If you have one, send an e-mail to blessingshirtdesign@gmail.com before Dec. 1.

The shirts go far beyond the actual Blessing of the Inlet. While the goal is to have no shirt left over, but enough shirts to sell so that everyone who wants one gets one, invariably there are extras, which go with the various church ministries on their mission trips.

Members of Belin's youth ministry will sell the shirts May 3 during the festival. The actual blessing is planned for 11:30 a.m.

Food, as always, is available, more than 20 vendors will be offering snacks, entrees and desserts, including strawberry shortcake, with proceeds going to the church to benefit community groups. Ten groups of dancers and singers will entertain, and a host of crafters will be on site.

Games and children's activities also are planned.

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