St. Mary’s by the Sea is an Inclusive, Flexible, Dynamic, multi-aged Community of Christians who regularly come together to worship God, Reach Out to neighbors, and Support one another. We believe that by accepting one another without reservation, we can move to a greater acceptance of ourselves. We also believe in the central importance of an encouraging community inspired by the Spirit to continue the work of Jesus Christ.
Members of St. Mary’s by the Sea often describe our church community as their family because they feel welcomed and cared for by the parish. As a family, we are diverse in age, race, family status and sexual orientation. We come to know and minister to one another through our common worship and fellowship activities both within St. Mary’s and the greater community.
"There is one Body and one Spirit; There is one hope in God’s call to us; One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; one God and Father of all."
On August 31, 1873, members of St. Mary’s Church in Burlington, New Jersey held the first service of St. Mary’s by the Sea. Their decision to found a mission in the area where they spent their summers not only gave us our name but established what is now the oldest church in Point Pleasant Beach.
In July 1879, Capt. John Arnold gave land to St. Mary’s on the corner of Point Pleasant’s Whitelawn Cemetery and a gift of $100 to build a chapel. On May 15, 1880, ground was broken and on the following July 4th the first service was celebrated in the new church.
Our current location, on the corner of Bay and Atlantic Avenues, was purchased in 1889. In 1902, the original church building was moved on rollers to the foundation of an old underground ice house that had been used by a nearby hotel. It continues to be the highest elevation in Point Pleasant Beach.
Over the next 100 years a number of structural changes have increased the original chapel to three interconnected structures which serve the needs of a continually growing congregation. The original chapel was first modified to contain the adjoining Chapel of the Holy Child now used for small, intimate services. The original rectory next to the church was removed and replaced with a home on Forman Avenue, directly behind the church. With that change came the addition of a parish hall, named in honor of the Reverend Hugh Farnsworth, a rector who served Saint Mary’s for 29 years.
Later expansion and subsequent renovations were made to the parish hall to create space for Sunday School classrooms and administrative offices. The Jones Room, which is a combined meeting room and office area, was dedicated in 1966 in memory of Arthur Duane Jones who went missing in action in World War II. This room is a replica of a room in Thomas Jefferson’s house at Monticello.
St. Mary’s unique and vibrant history comprises the achievements of countless individuals and defining events. The story of St. Mary’s by the Sea continues to evolve as it is written by the spirit, lives and ministries of her clergy and congregation. The members of St. Mary’s by the Sea are the stewards of a precious legacy that had its humble beginnings in the small fishing village of Point Pleasant.
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