By DON STINE
The Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park continues to serve it’s the Lord and its community as it celebrates its 130th anniversary Sun., Oct. 11.
“We are known for our very giving nature. We still feed people through our food pantry, help people in the neighborhood, and help youth in the area. The church is still very much involved in the community,” said Dan Harris, a deacon and chairman of the church’s Men’s Ministry group.
A special anniversary church service will be held Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. and the public is invited to attend. Congregants of the First Baptist Church on Grand Avenue will also attend the service. The Second Baptist Church, now at 124 Atkins Avenue, was created from the First Baptist Church in 1885.
A special reception will then be held at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune at 3 p.m. to honor members, a new minster, and to celebration 130 years of religion and community service.
“The congregation is very enthusiastic about the anniversary. We still have members whose families date back to the inception of the church 130 years ago. We have a very rich tradition,” Harris said.
He said that many church members are still from the Asbury Park area but that the congregation has grown over the years to include members from throughout Monmouth County.
In 1885, some members decided it was time to break away from the First Baptist Church on Grand Avenue, then located on the southwest corner of Main and Bangs Ave. The church membership was predominantly white and some black congregants decided they wanted their own place of worship. The First Baptist Pastor Rev. Frank C. Colby and the officers were duly informed and gave their blessings
At first, the Second Baptist Church held worship services in a rented Salvation Army building located on East Springwood Avenue and Rev. R. A. Bolden of Newark was selected as the first pastor. The membership began to increase and a larger meeting place was rented- the upper story of a building on the northwest corner of Springwood Avenue, the site of the old West Side Drug Store.
On September 20, 1891, a meeting was held to elect Trustees and the Second Baptist Church was officially incorporated on October 2, 1891.
The rented worship site continued to be used until October 25, 1901 when a one-story, used furniture store and a vacant plot of land (present site of the Second Baptist Church) was purchased at 124 Atkins Avenue. The furniture store was then moved to the new property.
Eventually, under the leadership of a number of successive pastors, and as the congregation grew, the building was remolded, brick replaced the wooden framework, a choir loft, organ and balcony were installed, and the pulpit redecorated. In 1944, the Parsonage on Union Avenue was completed. Other repairs and improvements were made to the church over the years.
The Edythe Douglass Food Pantry Ministry was established in 2010 and has become a major ministry at the church, helping hundreds of individuals in Asbury Park’s West Side community to supplement their food and clothing needs.
In the spring of 2013, Second Baptist started a Boy Scout Troop #241 and a Cub Pack #241 at the church, and in August 2013, Second Baptist completed work on its new parking lot on the vacant lot it owned behind the church.