Lake Wateree Presbyterian Church welcomes new Pastor

Pastor Gary Bainton has found a new home at LWPC.

While attending an event at the Lake Wateree Veterans of Foreign Wars post #8346, I was introduced to the new pastor of the Longtown Presbyterian Church on Longtown Road in Ridgeway. As a way of welcoming him to the area and at the same time introducing him to those who do not know him, I have chosen him as my person-of-interest for this month.

His full name is Gary Arthur Bainton. Pastor Bainton was born in Milford, in the Southern part of Connecticut, to parents Warren and Audrey Bainton. The elder Baintons currently live at Lake Carolina and will celebrate their 66th anniversary this year. Pastor Gary’s father was in the military when he met his mother, who was a USO hostess. Although attending another church in their own area, they often worship at Bainton’s Longtown church. He has a sister, Stacy, who is married to Charlie and living in Augusta, Ga. Together the couple have a blended family of nine children, so Pastor Gary has many nieces and nephews to keep him busy. His own family consists of two grown children, a daughter Noelle who is married to Keith and living in Atlanta, and a son Matt who is married to Erin and living in Greenville. Each of them have baby boys under the age of 13 months. Bainton’s grandsons’ names are Levi and Truett.

He attended Marist Catholic boys Military School, a private school started in 1901 and located in Atlanta. After graduation he furthered his education with two years at William & Mary and Augusta College, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in history.

Entering the seminary at Erskine Seminary in the town of Due West in South Carolina, near Abbeville, it was there that he got his Masters of Divinity degree. After graduation he fulfilled a one-year internship. He then went to the Greater Augusta Presbyterian Ministries where he worked with inner city families and became an ordained deacon and ruling elder. He became an ordained pastor on July 31 of 1994 to a small country church in Columbia called Rose Hill Presbyterian where he stayed for the next 11 years.

Due to a personal family situation in 2005, Bainton took a break from the ministry, working at Staples and the University of South Carolina doing administrative work. He was called back to do God’s work in 2011 and ministered at several churches before his move to the Lake Wateree church at the beginning of this year. Bainton has been well received and immediately became a part of the Longtown church family.

His hobbies and interests include history, especially American history, vexillology and heraldry. In the past he has enjoyed woodworking. Since he has a degree in history and is interested in all pertaining to it, flags from the Revolutionary War are seen flying in the front of his home. One in honor of the Fourth of July, the Betsy Ross flag (or Great Circle), the Gadsden flag (lately identified with the Tea Party but is flown for its historical connection to South Carolina) the Fort Moultrie flag (an important American victory in Charleston) and the Naval Jack, which until 9/11 flew on the oldest ship in active duty. After 9/11 all American war ships fly this flag.

“I enjoy reading, teaching, preaching the Bible and helping people apply these great truths in their lives,” Bainton said.

He has said that he loves it here at the lake and while sitting on the porch of the church’s manse, he was reminded of the verse from the 23rd Psalm that says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” and that is what he sees as he looks around at the peace and the quiet of the area.

The Longtown Church is small in number but big in heart. They have a prayer service each Tuesday night in addition to their Sunday morning service and a brunch that is held one Sunday each month. His hopes for the future of the church are to increase membership and to revive the hearts of the congregation through prayer. He is a charming gentleman and a real asset to the church. We had a good visit and a prayer session during our visit.

Welcome Pastor Gary Bainton to the Lake Wateree area.