The Asbury Park Historical Society is scheduled to host the author of a new book on the history of the Holy Spirit Church Thurs., Nov. 2 at the Asbury Park Library at 6:30 p.m.
Brick Township resident John P. King said he was “bitten by the Holy Spirit bug” and has now published a history of the more than 100-year-old church on Second Avenue in Asbury Park. He will discuss his history of the historic, and now-controversial church beginning at 6:30 p.m. The book, “The Church of the Holy Spirit in Asbury Park, N.J.: A History,” will be available for sale at the presentation.
The future of Holy Spirit church became the center of controversy after it was sold in 2020 to a developer for $1.7 million with plans to build residential units on the site and raze the church. The diocese cited the condition of the building, the lack of parking, and low membership as reasons for selling the buildings.
The Holy Spirit parish was founded in 1879 and ground was broken forthe construction of Holy Spirit’s current granite structure, trimmed in limestone, in December 1909.
The redevelopment project brought out protest against razing the church and preservationists filed lawsuits. The deed for the church property was handwritten by Asbury Park’s founder James A. Bradley and states that the property, where the church has stood for more than 100 years, could not be used for any other purpose. The deed, however, has been a point of contention between those who want to save the church and the developer. The fate of the church is still up in the air, but some large artifacts have already been removed.
King, who lives in Brick Township, is a parishioner at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in the township, where one of Holy Spirit’s large marble altars was recently relocated.
“There was a big ceremony, it looks terrific, but it made me think about other church artifacts and about its past. The church is probably going to disappear, and I felt something needed to be done to preserve the history of the church,” he said.
King said he worked daily on the project for about six months.
“I found it fascinating, about who was there and what was accomplished there. I find it to be an interesting subject and I got a lot of encouragement to write it,” he said. King said he “believes that the spirit of the church must not be allowed to die” and he hopes his book will preserve that memory.
The public is invited and refreshments will be served.
King’s book will be for sale at the event and light refreshments will be served.