RED BANK: FIRST DEBATE DOWN

pilgrim-debate-night-092616-1Election_2016_DebatesAbout two dozen Red Bank residents gathered at Pilgrim Baptist Church Monday night to watch the first 2016 presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton and participate in a discussion afterward.

Did you watch? Did anything you heard change, or reinforce, your thinking about the candidates? Feel free to share your takeaway in a comment. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: FIREFIGHTER HELD FOR ARSON

just_inA Fair Haven volunteer firefighter was arrested and charged with arson Saturday, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Sunday evening.

Nicholas Joyce, 19, was alleged to have set a fire to a storage shed behind a church Friday afternoon. He then went to the borough firehouse, where he responded to the fire with other volunteers, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

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FAIR HAVEN: CHURCH COMES DOWN

fh church 101615 1img_3737100809The former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Fair Haven, seen in an archive photo at right, was razed this week as part of a plan by Kolarsick Builders of Rumson to construct three homes on the site, at the corner of River Road and Church Street.

The steepled church, built by volunteers in 1967, had seen its congregation dwindle, and was closed in 2009.

The ashes of 45 deceased parishoners interred in the church’s memorial garden were relocated to a cemetery in the Navesink section of Middletown in April, 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: CHURCH CONVERSION COMPLETED

211 broad 072815 5Space beneath the steeple, complete with spiral staircase, is now an office. The new First Church of Christ, Scientist worship space, below, is a fraction of the original size (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb church 072815Red Bank’s First Church of Christ, Scientist has a new home, just off to the side of its former one, and some new neighbors.

This week, and right on schedule, lawyers, healthcare providers, a ribbon manufacturer and a boudoir photographer started moving into 211 Broad Street, the steepled structure that was a church for 62 years. Read More »

RUMSON: TEMPERATURES ON THE RISE

rumson church 061015 2Workers atop the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson Wednesday. Roofwork could be particularly challenging Thursday, when temperatures are expected to peak at around 92 degrees, according to the Weather Channel. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: PLAN FOR CHURCH SITE WINS OK

fh church 100809 2The Episcopal Diocese plans to repurpose the windows of the church, which was built by volunteers in 1967. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh-churchA plan to demolish Fair Haven’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion won unanimous planning board approval Wednesday night.

The authorization, with no objections from the audience of about 10 onlookers, clears Kolarsick Builders of Rumson to raze the 48-year-old River Road church and two other structures and replace them with three homes.

“We understand it’s a landmark property,” said company principal Noah Kolarsick, who grew up in a house with a view of the church and still lives in town. But the church is “severely deteriorated,” and because it has no on-site parking, is impractical for use as a house of worship, he told redbankgreen Thursday.

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FAIR HAVEN: PLAN CALLS FOR RAZING CHURCH

img_3737100809The church, seen here and below in photos from 2009, would be replaced by three homes if a developer’s plan is approved. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD

fh church 100809 2Five and a half years after congregants celebrated their last mass there, Fair Haven’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion could be torn down.

A developer’s plan raze the steepled River Road structure and replace it with it three homes goes before the borough planning board Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: GREEN SPACE RISES IN OLD CHURCH

211 broad 102114 2The underside of the church roof, above, will remain exposed to the new second floor and mezzanine. Below, the church’s steeple also will be retained.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

211 broad 102114 1The pews and organ are gone. But touches of what made the former First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank a place of worship remain as the 62-year-old structure is transformed into an office building with the decidedly secular name of “211 Broad Street.”

The giant clerestory windows have been preserved, though their arched tops are now at eye-level on a second floor erected in what had been open sanctuary space. The original wood dentil molding has been retained. And there’s a small round window, hidden for years behind the organ, that will deliver light and views previously available only to the occasional maintenance worker.

Most prominently, there’s the steeple. For passersby, its storybook patina-green spire will continue to soar toward the heavens – though by this time next year, some office occupant who gazes upward will be able to get an eyeful of its guts.

“It’s like architectural sculpture,” developer Bob Silver, of Bravitas Group, said of the intricate lacing of timbers. “We never even considered taking it down.”

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RED BANK: STEEPLE STABLE, WEDDING’S ON

tower hill 110713Quick work by contractors and inspectors led to the reopening of the church Friday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The landmark First Presbyterian Church at Tower Hill in Red Bank was back to doing the Lord’s work Friday morning following a 10-day shutdown triggered by a dicey steeple.

That means Sunday services will be held, dozens of students will return to their school and – most pressing – a wedding will go off as planned Friday evening.

The bride-and-groom-to-be, whose names were not disclosed, held a rehearsal Thursday night at their fallback sanctuary, the United Methodist Church on Broad Street, “but tonight they’ll be having their wedding here,” Tower Hill spokeswoman Karen Gyimesi tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: STEEPLE CRACK SHUTS CHURCH

tower hill 1 103013The 61-year-old steeple, which rises to 128 feet from the ground, has a failing timber inside, a church official says.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tower hill 2 103013A cracked timber in the steeple has forced the temporary closure of the landmark First Presbyterian Church at Tower Hill in Red Bank.

Borough officials ordered the church and an adjoining school closed Tuesday morning after structural engineers could not rule out a catastrophic collapse of the 70-foot tall steeple, said construction official Stanley Sickels.

“In these situations, you either get to see it before it collapses or after,” he said. “There’s no way of knowing” what might trigger a failure.

The discovery prompted the shutdown of the Tower Hill School, as well as the relocation of Sunday services and community group meetings that serve hundreds of congregants and visitors each week, church property manager Rob Wallman tells redbankgreen. It could also derail a wedding planned for next week.

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RED BANK: O LORD, I NEED A DRINK

cocktail 2 050411The merriment no longer has to wait until 11 a.m, in Red Bank bars on Sundays. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Six mornings a week, those with a yen to wet their whistles in Red Bank can do so in a bar as early as 7 a.m.

For decades, though, they’ve had to wait until the ungodly hour of 11 on Sunday – a whole nine hours after closing time, the poor things.

The borough council fixed that injustice Wednesday night.

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RUMSON: CHURCH HALVED FOR A TRIPLING

Contractors have sheared away more than half of the original 1886 Holy Cross Church in Rumson as part of a massive remodeling that will boost the number of seats from the present 220 to 648. Architectural renderings of the planned addition may be viewed here. (Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: SOLAR RECHARGES CHURCH

20130430-130451.jpgReverend Antonio Parenti, right, and congregant Ken Walsh with the church’s new money-saving solar power system. (Photo above by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

First Assembly of God Church in Shrewsbury describes itself as a “multi-cultural congregation who welcomes and values people from all walks of life.”

Now, thanks to some significant environmentally friendly upgrades, the church can claim to be stewards of the earth, decreasing its environmental footprint and in the process blazing a “green” trail that they hope others will follow, according to Reverend Antonio Parenti, senior pastor.

ho first proposed the idea to install photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the sun’s rays into usable electricity, on the roof of the church and it’s office building.

“We’ve definitely become more environmentally conscious in the past few years,” Parenti, who is in his ninth year at the First Assembly, told redbankgreen in his office, adjacent to the Sycamore Avenue church. “Number one, the panels will serve to make the buildings more environmentally friendly, and number two, over time they will save us money – allowing us to use our funds for God more efficiently and effectively.”

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Last week’s photo was of a scruffy sign that read “QUAKER PARKING” with a bent arrow painted on it.

“Too obvious,” wrote Sandra Talarico, who along with 15 other readers identified its location as the Quaker Meeting House at the historic Four Corners in Shrewsbury – the intersection of Broad Street (Route 35) and Sycamore Avenue. (We had one incorrect answer: Hudson Street in Red Bank.)

“Thank you for an easy one that brings to an end our dry spell,” wrote Wheregulars Carl, Kathy Lou, Bob and Debbie Colmorgen, aka the Colmorgen Kids.

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UNDRESSING IN THE CHURCHYARD

On the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank, atop Tower Hill, is a wonder of a nature: a paper-bark birch throwing off its clothes in paper-thin layers to reveal something purer underneath.

Red Bank arborist Bill Brooks tells redbankgreen that the exfoliation process occurs “pretty much year-round” for the trees, also known as white birch and canoe birch, because Native Americans used the detritus to waterproof their vessels.

To see more redbankgreen videos, visit our YouTube channel.

ORGANIST ADMITS TO CHILD-SEX CHARGE

hot-topic rightA Red Bank man who worked as an organist for a Shrewsbury church faces up to five years in jail for his admission that he sexually assaulted a minor, according to a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Kenneth Clayton, 66, pleaded guilty to third-degree child endangerment May 31 in state Superior Court in Freehold. The plea came to light after an inquiry Monday by redbankgreen.

According to assistant prosecutor Christopher Gambiccioni, Clayton admitted that he touched a seven-year-old boy’s penis while the child was asleep in Red Bank last September 9.

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ORGANIST CHARGED IN CHILD SEX ASSAULT

just_in1The organist at the Presbyterian Church at Shrewsbury is facing charges arising from an alleged sexual assault of a child, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

Kenneth Clayton, 65, of Red Bank, who also serves as the church’s choir director, was arrested September 17 by Red Bank police and charged with second-degree sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor. A Superior Court judge set bail at $100,000, according to first assistant prosecutor Peter Warshaw.

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