By ED SALVAS
Asbury Park is known for its many houses of worship, large and small, and has recently seen a change take place at one of them.
Triumphant Life Assembly of God, led by Pastor Lyddale Akins and his wife, Traci Akins, has left Asbury Park and moved to a new location at Fort Monmouth. The church has purchased the former post chapel and expanded their reach into several new communities. At the same time, the newly formed Boardwalk Vineyard Church has moved into their old church at 1003 Asbury Ave. The smaller Boardwalk Vineyard had been holding services at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Neptune.
The Rev. Lyddale Akins said they had been looking for a new location for some time as the congregation grew and parking on Asbury Avenue became a real problem.Triumphant Life won the bidding for the post chapel, paying $1 million and they will have a ribbon-cutting at the new church on Sunday, October 29 at 4 pm.
The church at 500 Malterer Ave. sits on five acres in Oceanport, according to Rev. Akins who said, “There are 600 seats in the sanctuary,15 classrooms, eight offices, and a 150-seat banquet hall with a full kitchen.”
He said they will add an additional 115 parking spaces. Sale of the Fort Monmouth Chapel was negotiated with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA.) The chapel is located in the Fort’s Historic District but the building itself is not considered historic, according to a statement from FMERA. Triumphant Life is also the first religious organization to establish a presence at the former Army post which officially closed down on September 15, 2011.
Despite the move, Rev. Akins said Triumphant Life will maintain a connection to Asbury Park.
“Our presence is completely there,” he said, for events such as National Night Out and the Back to School event as it has been for the last 25 years. At the same time he looks forward to welcoming new members from Eatontown and Long Branch to worship at Fort Monmouth. Rev. Akins said some members of the Asbury Park congregation chose not to make the move to Ft. Monmouth
The co-pastors of Boardwalk Vineyard Church are Bill Maciunski and his wife, Ali, who founded the church in their Neptune home on Easter Sunday, 2015 and whose mission is to minister to the homeless and recovery communities.
In addition to renting space to the Boardwalk Vineyard Church, Triumphant Life Assembly of God will continue to have the congregation of Vida Abundante, a Spanish language congregation, hold its service there on Sunday evenings.