By PETE WALTON
The First United Methodist Church in Bradley Beach has been listed for sale.
The asking price is $1.29 million.
The building and property, last used as a church more than five years ago, is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.
Bradley Beach Mayor Gary Engelstad said he was recently informed that the association would try to sell the church.
The mayor said that the seller will have to pay an overdue tax bill, dating back to the time the building was last used as a church.
According to Monmouth County tax records, the property at 319 Laraine Ave. is valued at more than $3.5 million, up from just less than $3 million in 2018.
The 160- by 150-foot lot is listed by Jack Green Realty of Ocean Grove.
The property is being sold as is, with the buyer responsible for demolition, subdivision applications and related costs.
The church was legally known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Bradley Beach and had been previously known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ocean Park. Ocean Park was the community’s name when it was part of Neptune.
A legal dispute between the camp meeting association and the Neptune-based United Methodists of Greater New Jersey was settled out of court this summer. At issue was a reverter clause in the church’s original deed from the 1800s.
United Methodists of Greater New Jersey agreed not to contest the legality of the reverter clause in exchange for an unspecified donation from the camp meeting association.
“A new United Methodist house church has emerged in Bradley Beach to maintain and continue a United Methodist ministry and presence in the community,” United Methodists of New Jersey said in a statement this summer. “House churches build on a first century church model in which people gather for church in a home. Presently there are 11 worshipers who gather.”
The group said that other house churches may evolve in New Jersey based on the Bradley Beach model.
“House churches are a welcoming point for people who are new to church or like smaller intimate settings to gather with other believers,” the group said. “One of the benefits of a house church is that money is not invested in a building but people, ministry and mission. House churches also tend to be lay led.”