Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2021 Blog Number 32

August 9, 2021

Vacation Blog #2

Pastor Mark is on vacation and is not writing blogs now. He pre-wrote and uploaded these vacation blogs before leaving on vacation. Because they are dated they may or may not reflect current event.

Ocean  Grove Non-Methodist Worship

The week before I left for vacation I took a daytrip down the shore. Specifically, I went to Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove and Asbury Park. I remember these towns well from my childhood. These were founded as Methodist towns along the Jersey shore. I was raised a Methodist and as a child I knew many people who had homes in this area. I was feeling nostalgic when I walked along those boardwalks again, hearing the ocean and smelling the salt air.

I remembered back to the days of Methodist programs on the boardwalk. It was not uncommon to hear area preachers giving messages and frequently area choirs performing Wesley Hymns. I grew up with this and enjoyed it. It always struck me, however, that even in my childhood, in the 1960’s, the attendance was largely older people. Few younger people vacationed in Ocean Grove or celebrated this rich Methodist history.

On this recent daytrip to Ocean Grove, I passed a boardwalk pavilion and saw a worship service in process. It didn’t look like or sound like one of the old Methodist service that I remember. It was being led by a local church with a significant mix of ethnic groups, many Latino look people. Back when I was a Methodist we had three kinds of people; White Methodists, Black Methodists and a small core of Korean Methodists. All of the groups in that era dress formally and sang traditional hymns with a piano. This new group attending worship dressed informally, and sang praise hymns. They may or may not have heard of the hymns written by John and Charles Wesley.

Personally, I like the beat and cadence of much praise music but I don’t care for how the words constantly repeat. I miss the “story telling” of many of the traditional hymns rather than the redundancy of praise music. And yet, this music attracts younger people of different ethnicities. Certainly, I can’t complain about that.

Some people like to frame things in terms of “better” or “worse.” In discussing traditional hymns or praise music I prefer to view things as “different but equal.”

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#OceanGrove                                                           #AsburyPark

#BradleyBeach                                                         #Pentecostals

# PraiseMusic                                                           #TraditionalHymns

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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