george_hancockstefanAmong all the liberties that we have in this country is the liberty of advertising what we do by various means.  It can be in print, radio, TV, distribution of leaflets and road signs.  These announcements can be about business, politics, religion, private, or public. 

We at Central Baptist Church have advertised what we do as a church for as long as we have been here – since 1893.  With the exception of the Board of Deacons meetings, all of our meetings are open to all the members and friends of the church and anyone from the community.  We count our openness in all things as a privilege.

Likewise, we have invited the community to use our facility for meetings. We have Boy Scouts meetings, we have music recitals by various teachers and students from the area, both members and non-members can use the sanctuary for weddings and funerals, the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council has used the sanctuary and the adjoining rooms for regular concerts.  The Alcoholic Anonymous Chapters use the fellowship hall of our church every evening of the week and Saturday morning.

For the advertisement of the Good News at the Gazebo we use a number of venues – the internet, various groups that publish information about us, and the various merchants in our community.  I have to thank all the businesses of our community, that with the exception of those who do not allow advertisements, all the community businesses have been very receptive and praising us for the work that we do in the community.

When it comes to the road signs, we have been learning.  We never place our road signs until the FilmOneFest collects their signs.  We do not want to compete with an organization that has placed Atlantic Highlands on the international map.  We also make sure that we never block anyone else’s signs such as the Friday Farmer’s Market.  I also ask the people from our congregation to watch over their signs and to collect them after our last concert.  We do not want any of our signs to be on the road after our last concert.


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I place about 40 of our 100 road signs. I have to say that about 80- 90% of the signs stay for the duration of our concerns.  For this, I am very thankful to community.  However, there are parts of our town that systematically destroy our signs.  They have been destroyed in the past years and they have been destroyed this year. This year, it has become a game that we play – I place a road sign and by the end of the week, it is gone.  I place another sign and at the end of the following week it is gone.  One day, I looked around and found the mutilated sign tossed in the nearby woods.  I never find most of the missing signs.

In view of the high percentage of the road signs that stay for the duration of our concerts, I am truly thankful to our community.  Yet, I must confess that I am intrigued by the people who are so offended by our signs that they delight in systematically destroy them.  I wonder if they have ever advertised anything in the community and have appreciated the fact that they had that opportunity to see their road signs stand for the duration of their intended advertisement?

We have a couple more Good News at Gazebo concerts left.  We hope to see you at the remaining Saturdays in August at 7pm. When the last concert is finished we will collect our road signs!

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...