Coastal School Ministries works in partnership with Horry County Public Schools to expose youth to Biblical Principles through Released-Time Bible Education.

Released-Time Bible Education classes are offered multiple class periods a day, five days a week throughout the school year. With parental permission, students may leave school during an elective or exploratory period to attend off-campus Bible classes at a host facility. Transportation is provided by Coastal School Ministries and a qualified teacher with a firm command of the Bible provides instruction using the Bible as the textbook. While students are taught the Bible academically, more importantly they are taught how to apply the Bible to their daily lives (devotionally).

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About Coastal School Ministries

CSMPages 0000 CSMPage01Our mission is to encourage and equip public school students in Horry County by teaching the truth found in God’s Word. We use Released-Time Bible Education classes to accomplish this goal. 

Released-Time Bible Education is the only legal means by which Christian education is allowed during the public school day.

We are:

  • A 501(c)3 nonprofit, interdenominational organization. 
  • Supported by generous donations from individuals, churches, and businesses. No government funds are used.
  • Governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors.
  • An affiliate of School Ministries, Inc. which provides training, curriculum and legal support, and affordable insurance to ensure that programs operate with in state laws.
  • Currently serving Socastee High School, Forestbrook Middle School, St. James High School, St. James Middle School, Myrtle Beach Middle School and Myrtle Beach High School.

Our Staff:

Laurie Ferguson, MSW, Executive Director,

  • Program Director- Laura Hucks
  • Teachers:  Forestbrook Middle School - Becky Morris
  • Myrtle Beach Middle School - Lynn Woodel
  • St. James Middle School - Bessie High
  • Socastee High School - Mike Morris
  • Myrtle Beach High School - Ken Woodel
  • St. James High School - Myron Pritchard

History and Facts about Released-Time Bible Education and Coastal School Ministries:

In the 1952 U. S. Supreme Court decision in Zorach v. Clauson Justice William Douglas wrote, “When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs.”

History and Facts

  • The first South Carolina released-time program was started in 1992 in Ware Shoals.
  • In South Carolina, released-time programs are active in 14 school districts with over 5,000 students attending daily.
  • In 2000, Coastal School Ministries (CSM), formerly Horry C.A.R.E.S., was formed under the guidance, direction, and support of national released-time ministry School Ministries, Inc.
  • In January 2001 CSM offered a pilot released-time program to St. James Middle School with 150 students attending and 40 giving their lives to Christ.
  • On August 7, 2001 the Horry County Council passed a resolution of support (#114-01) for released-time programs offered through Horry C.A.R.E.S. (now CSM).
  • On June 2, 2006 the South Carolina Released-time Credit Act was signed into law by Governor Mark Sanford. Now a law as Act 322, it states that released-time is legal according to the United States and South Carolina Constitutions and that local school boards have all the power they need to grant elective high school credit for Bible classes taken off campus.
  • Horry County School District has approved a released-time policy county-wide and granted approval for high school credit.
  • More than 3,000 students have been served by CSM at four schools – St. James Middle School, Forestbrook Middle School, St. James High School, and Socastee High School.

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Coastal School Ministries
Post Office Box 30329
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29588

What Our Students are Saying...

“This class helped me accept Christ into my heart.” 8th grader

Every day I got so excited when I saw the big white bus with a cross on it. I knew that I was going to pray to my Father (as we prayed daily). That is my experience at released-time class. 6th grader

“I made new friends and now I feel good that I am in school. I think this will change my school life forever. Thank you!” 7th grader