All Saints Church — Bay Head


A Summer Chapel

Before the framework for the church building was even erected, our first members—"summer people" from Philadelphia, northern New Jersey, and New York—opened their homes for Sunday services. With their numbers growing, these early church members decided in 1888 to purchase our present site at the southwest corner of Howe Street and Lake Avenue for a summer chapel.

The purchase was a success—with the understanding that (among other restrictions) the property would not allow “the sale of intoxicating liquors, the presence of hog pens or stables, nor the establishment of outdoor privies.” And that chapel, which is the nave of the present-day All Saints, was completed—for the princely sum of $2,163—in time for the first service on July 7, 1889.

From the outside, you would have seen a small box-like structure (our present-day nave minus the narthex, enclosed bell tower, crossing, sacristy, and most everything else). The transept, crossing, and sanctuary, which would extend the church approximately 45 feet to the east toward Lake Avenue, were added around 1900. The original building stood alone on pilings in the sand and tall grass marshes, against a backdrop of freight cars on the railroad tracks. (See the old photos in Bristol Hall.)

Early on, an iron fence enclosed the church property. Wooden walkways were built for sidewalks on Howe Street and as an approach to the church entrance. And, in the not-yet-enclosed bell tower, a locomotive bell from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, courtesy of one of our congregants, rang out, calling the faithful to worship. And, those worshipers would have knelt at the same brass altar rail we kneel before today.

The Year-Round Church

At first, All Saints offered Sunday services during July only, gradually expanding the “church year” to Labor Day, and then from Easter to All Saints’ Day. Finally, we became a year-round parish in 1984. During the past 125 years, we have been served by many clergy, including several bishops. Perhaps the most impressive of these visiting clergy was The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. F. Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, who officiated on September 4, 1977—wearing shorts and sandals beneath his robe, as many clergy at this seaside parish have done over the years.

One event, though, that put All Saints Church “on the map” was the event that tore the church building from its foundation and destroyed the rectory. On October 29, 2012, the New Jersey coast was slammed by Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest storm in U.S. history. At its deadly height, Sandy raged across Bay Head during a full moon at high tide, bringing with it a storm surge of approximately 13 feet and leaving 24 dead in New Jersey. What remained of the streets was buried beneath several feet of sand, parts of homes and boardwalks, personal belongings, and boats of all sizes.

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Aptly enough, All Saints’ sanctuary was truly saved by the baptismal font in the narthex, which anchored one end of the sanctuary and its connection to Bristol Hall at the other end. The storm had fiercely battered the church property, causing more than $2 million in damages and scouring out nearly 8 feet of ground around its old brick pilings. This damage caused the floors to sink and compromised the sanctuary walls. Watermarks and debris on the wainscoting suggested the church had been filled with 3 or 4 feet of water. Outside the church, the once charming landscape was buried under 4 feet of sand. Behind the church, the bulkhead had been torn away and with it about 6 feet of land. The rectory, though still intact, was rendered uninhabitable. Amid this devastation, it was difficult to know where to begin the recovery process.

Thanks to the grace of God and the kindness of many, we did recover—restoring our beloved church building and constructing an enitrely new rectory. We are especially grateful to our neighboring Episcopal parish, St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea in Point Pleasant Beach, which generously offered us office space and the use of their sanctuary so that we could carry on our parish life. After 14 months “in exile,” we returned with joy to celebrate our first service at All Saints Church on December 22, 2013.



exterior photo of All Saints Church

Follow us on social media:

Upcoming Events

Newsletter Deadline
Wednesday, August 21
Please submit all articles to Linda Gyurko.
Outdoor Eucharist
Saturday, August 24, 5:30
This special outdoor service takes place at 5:30 pm on Saturdays (Memorial Day weekend through the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, September 2) in the Memorial Garden. If the weather is inclement, we take the service indoors. With summer activities gearing-up, this could fit very nicely into your summer-Saturday schedule
Friendship Dinner
Sunday September 8, 4:00 pm
hosted by the Outreach Committee at Harvey Memorial United Methodist Church in Pt. Pleasant. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board for volunteers to help set-up, serve, and clean-up, as well as volunteers to make macaroni salad for the dinner. We hope you will support this ministry.
Church School Resumes
Sunday, September 15, 10:15 am
Registration forms will be available for you fill out at that time. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Concert at All Saints Episcopal Church
Sunday, September 22, 4:00 pm
The Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church cordially invite you to attend a concert and reception in honor of the 130th anniversary of the parish. Mezzo-soprano Melissa Juska, well-known in Monmouth and Ocean County areas for her concert and oratorio performances, will sing a varied program including such sacred favorites as Ave Maria, O divine Redeemer, and Panis angelicus. She will be accompanied by pianist Jeff Unger. A sherry reception will follow immediately after the program in Bristol Hall. For additional information, see Stephen L. Pinel after the service any Sunday, or ring him at (609) 448–8427. Parishioners and friends are encouraged to join us. All are welcome!
Blessing of the Animals
Saturday, October 5, 11:00 am
We will host our Fourth Annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Memorial Garden. If there should be inclement weather, we’ll be in Bristol Hall. Everyone is invited to bring their beloved animals to the church for a blessing. Horses and other large animals are welcome, too. Also, you do not have to bring an animal to attend—All are welcome! There will be refreshments for both humans and animals following the service.
Altar Flowers
Sunday
Please consider donating flowers for the altar in honor or memory of loved ones. Many weeks for this year are still available. The sign up book is in the Narthex. The cost for Altar flowers is $55 and Font flowers is $65.
Recurring Events
Sundays and Wednesdays
Please view our events page for specific times.

Other Information

Church Directories
Issued every six months
Everyone who receives email blasts via their email address should have received a digital copy of the Church Directory.
More details >