SEA BRIGHT: ALL-WELCOME WEEKEND AT UMC

Sea Bright United MethodistSea Bright United Methodist is the place to be this weekend for the official dedication of the relocated Sea Bright Public Library on Saturday, plus a Christmas Cantata and free community dinner on Sunday. 

Even as the people of Sea Bright got to work putting their beloved borough back together in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the loss of the town’s permanent public library continued to leave a hole in the heart of community life.

While the library’s circa-1976 J.W. Ross Cultural Arts Center building — razed amid some controversy in early 2014, as reported here on redbankgreen — sustained relatively light damage in comparison to other hard-hit neighboring structures, the decision was made to temporarily relocate rather than restore. This past summer saw the “small, friendly” Sea Bright Library open its doors inside the host walls of United Methodist Church at 1104 Ocean Avenue — and this Saturday, the borough officially cuts the ribbon, in an all-welcome event that boasts a bonus helping of seasonal cheer.

Between the hours of noon to 2 pm, the library hosts an open-house reception, during which attendees can take a close look at the layout and resources of the cozy facility (stocked with the inventory that was successfully rescued from the old building), learn about its slate of programs for kids and adults, and enjoy complimentary refreshments plus live seasonal music (even as “one of Santa’s elves will be handing out small gifts”).

As  library director Jane Farmer has pointed out, the pleasantly scaled space remains a temporary home while discussions continue regarding the construction of an under-one-roof “beachfront community center” that will combine the functions of the library, beach pavilion and public amenities.

And on Sunday, all are again welcome as UMC hosts the assembled voices of the Northern Shore Cluster Choir in its annual Christmas Cantata presentation.

The program, which the long-established vocal organization takes to various venues each December, is presented free of charge — and the 4 p.m. performance will be followed by a free community dinner, with reservations available by calling (732) 530-7003. Leave a message with your name, phone number, and the number of people in your party — and bring a nonperishable food item for the Food Pantry initiative of the church’s Nurture Ministry.