In Methodist Stronghold, a Dialogue on Gay Rights
This sleepy, close-knit Jersey Shore hamlet has been a conservative Christian stronghold for 150 years. Until the 1980s, cars were not allowed on the streets on Sunday. Longtime residents recall moving their vehicles to neighboring Bradley Beach before midnight on Saturday. Today, the beaches stay closed on Sunday mornings.
Homeowners in Ocean Grove, an unincorporated community in Neptune Township, sign perpetually recurring 99-year leases from the sole landowner, a Methodist ministry called the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. But in recent years, tensions have flared as gay residents and vacationers have flocked to Ocean Grove, which is next door to Asbury Park, a city that has evolved into a thriving gay travel destination.