george hancock stefanI love to give tours of this area to visitors and friends. I walk on First Avenue and show them the historic houses, then drive slowly up Ocean Boulevard to give a mini-lecture at the 9/11 Memorial on Mount Mitchill. As we move past Grand Avenue, we come upon a street called Auditorium Drive. I ask my friends why they think it has that name, since it does not fit in with the nomenclature of the streets in this town. But according to Randall Gabrielan’s Images of America – Atlantic Highlands (p. 84), there was an amphitheater and auditorium there which had 4,000 benches in 1893. The auditorium was used for many local and religious events, including spiritual revivals.

The Third Avenue Churches—Central Baptist Church, The First Presbyterian Church, and the United Methodist Church—continue that tradition of open air worship and praise in the summer. We have just moved down the valley to the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Gazebo.

During the month of August, Central Baptist Church will have musicians praise the Lord every Saturday evening from 7:00 – 8:30 PM at the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Gazebo. The motto of the event is “Free Music, Free Food, Free Gospel.” Each year, we plan different styles of music for each concert. On August 5, Old Faithful Bluegrass will perform and on August 12 we will have the Resurrection Band, comprised of musicians from many of our local churches. On August 19, we will have a hymn sing and a brass quartet. Carl and Laurie Gentry, a well-known musical duo in the community, will be performing on August 26.

Starting on July 23 and concluding on August 27, there will be two worship services on Sunday mornings at the Harbor Gazebo. The United Methodist Churches of Atlantic Highlands and Navesink will hold a worship service at 8:30 AM, followed by the First Presbyterian Church’s service at 10:00 AM.

The Bible tells us that the Lord is worthy to be praised, so come on Saturday evening at 7:00 PM or on Sunday morning at 8:30 AM or 10:00 AM and join others in the community to praise the Lord. As you worship in the open air, praise God for the religious liberty that we have to worship God unhindered in our sanctuaries and in the open spaces of this country.


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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...