Rick Geffkin, author of Stories of Slavery in New Jersey, will speak about the history of the African American community in Atlantic Highlands and the surrounding communities Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Highlands Navesink United Methodist Church at 96 3rd Ave.
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ The Area Association of Churches (AAOC) is announcing a new community forum: “Loving Your Neighbor – How to build a more inclusive community” to support local efforts to address equity and justice issues in the local community.
The first forum, scheduled for Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Highlands Navesink United Methodist Church at 96 3rd Ave, will feature local author and historian Rick Geffkin who will speak about the history of the African American community in Atlantic Highlands and the surrounding communities followed by a period of questions and answers.
Geffken has published five books, including Stories of Slavery in New Jersey which was released in 2020. He has spoken at the New Jersey History & Historic Preservation Symposia, Rutgers and Monmouth Universities and dozens of libraries and historical societies throughout the state. He is currently heading up a project called the New Jersey Slavery Records Index.
“When we learned of the movement in town to raise awareness of equity and justice, we knew our churches needed to be involved,” said The Rev. Jill Hubbard-Smith, pastor at Atlantic Highlands Navesink United Methodist Church. “Offering a safe place where the community can learn from each other and have room to talk about inclusion is exactly what the church should be doing right now.”
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The goal of the AAOC is to hold a series of forums with guest speakers to go deeper into the issues of inclusion. More events will be announced later this fall.
“To love our neighbor is fundamental to faith – even neighbors whose lives may be very different from ours,” said The Rev. Debbie Cook, Rector at All Saints’ Memorial Church. “I hope this forum helps our congregations and the communities we serve come to understand one another and learn from one another, so that we can continue to foster acceptance and inclusion.”
The plan is for the forum to rotate between churches in the AAOC so that community members can consider how the racial history of the area intersects with the congregations that worship here. Two churches, Quinn Chapel AME and St. Paul Baptist are historically African American congregations with a rich history relevant to how the Atlantic Highlands community has changed through the years.
The forum is open to all free of charge and is expected to last one hour. Masks are recommended and video will be available for those uncomfortable joining in person. An offering will be taken during the forum to help fund future events.
The AAOC is comprised of eight churches
All Saints Memorial Episcopal Church
Atlantic Highlands Navesink United Methodist Church
Central Baptist Church
Kings Highway Faith Fellowship
Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church
Quinn Chapel AME Church
St. Paul Baptist Church
For more information, contact the Church office at the Atlantic Highlands Navesink United Methodist Church at 72-291-0485 or [email protected]. Streaming will be available on Facebook www.facebook.com/AHNMethodist.