Metro Atlanta pastor Charles Sineath dies at 83: Preaching was his passion

The Rev. Charles A. Sineath, former pastor of Marietta First United Methodist Church and, later, founder of the nondenominational Wesleyan Fellowship (which later became RiverStone Church). He was a longtime preacher at the Marietta Campmeetings. Sineath died at 83.

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The Rev. Charles A. Sineath, former pastor of Marietta First United Methodist Church and, later, founder of the nondenominational Wesleyan Fellowship (which later became RiverStone Church). He was a longtime preacher at the Marietta Campmeetings. Sineath died at 83.

The Rev. Charles A. Sineath retired three times from pastoring a church, but he never stopped preaching.

“We gave up on him retiring because he loved to preach,” said daughter Mindy Schwartz, who lives in Atlanta. “He just loved to share the good news and many of his sermons included the phrase, ‘good news, good news, good news.’ ”

Sineath served as pastor of Marietta First United Methodist Church for 26 years and was a longtime preacher at the Marietta Campmeetings every summer. After leaving Marietta First United, he founded the nondenominational Wesleyan Fellowship church.

In all, he preached in 12 states and eight nations.

Sineath, 83, died July 23 after a short illness.

Even as the years wound down, he continued to preach at Wellstar Atherton Place in Marietta, where he lived, and had recently begun a series on the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. He preached his last sermon three weeks before his death, according to the family obituary.

Another daughter, Jeanine Marlow of Clarkesville, though, believes her dad’s death was hastened by a broken heart.

Ann, his wife of 62 years, died the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2021.

“He really just wanted to be with her,” Marlow said. “You just kind of saw his zest and energy go down and down.”

Schwartz and Marlow said while people know their father as a good preacher, they also want to remember him as a great dad to them and a brother, Charlie, who died in 2003.

On car rides, Schwartz would fall asleep and her dad would carry her to bed. It was so comforting that she used to fake sleeping just so he would cradle her in his arms and carry her to her bed.

Marlow said he taught them all to snow-ski and ride a boogie board and passed the love of the sports on to his grandchildren as well.

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Sineath, who was raised United Methodist, was born March 29, 1939, the son of the late Charles and Frances Sineath of Moultrie. The family later moved to Atlanta, where he graduated from Sylvan High School, Emory University and Emory’s Candler School of Theology.

He began his ministry with the United Methodist Church in 1961 in the Meriwether County area. From there, he preached at a number of United Methodist churches including St. Andrews UMC in Carrollton, Mt. Zion UMC in Marietta, Norcross First United Methodist and Marietta First United Methodist. He left the Marietta church and the denomination over the issue of same sex marriage after the Emory University board of trustees said such ceremonies could be performed in certain circumstances, according to a 1999 article in The New York Times.

“To him it felt like the United Methodist Church was walking away from the biblical principals it was founded on,” Marlow said. “He loved everyone, but he felt there was biblical heresy going on in the church in different areas. He sought peace but it could not be found.”

Sineath retired again in 2002 as the founding pastor of Wesleyan Fellowship and moved to Bent Tree development in Jasper. While living in Bent Tree, he came out of retirement and pastored at Mountain View Alliance Church from 2005 to 2010.

Sineath “was the ultimate encourager” said Barry Lancaster, who met him about 30 years ago.

“He always preached positive messages,” said Lancaster, who led the music program at the Marietta Campmeetings. “He preached uplifting messages. He challenged you to be a better Christian and to love people the way Christ loved people.”

Lancaster said Sineath had a practice of mailing handwritten letters to people who participated in the services. Even today, when he’s having a bad day, Lancaster said he will pull out some of those old letters.

“It’s amazing how much better you feel.”

In addition to daughters Jeanine (and Dan) Marlow of Clarkesville and Mindy Schwartz of Atlanta, he is survived by grandchildren Frances, Daniell, Coleman, Catherine-Ann (Ezekiel), Eddie, Charles and Haley.

Services will be held Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. at RiverStone Church, 2005 Stilesboro Road N.W., Kennesaw. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to TMS Global at www.tms-global.org/give or Tranquility WellStar Hospice at www.wellstar.org/community/foundation/ways-to-give/give-to-hospice.