An accessible account of the first permanent religious meeting ground in the U.S.
Recreation and Religion in God's Square Mile
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Winner of the the Outstanding New Book on New Jersey award from the New Jersey Historical Alliance, 1999
The beach has always been the place to shake off the stresses of urban life, and to relax with friends and family. And yet, as Troy Messenger shows, the beach has been a site for religious revival for as long as it's been a haven from the workday world. In this history of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, the first permanent camp meeting ground for religious revival, Messenger examines how the emergence of the beach appeared hand in hand with America's need to escape the secular world of work through leisure and religious renewal.
"Messenger masterfully evokes a holy time and place summers at Ocean Grove, New Jerseyand reminds us of the ways in which religious practices tell us who we are and shape how we relate to each other, to our own bodies, to the rhythm of life, and to God. This is a fascinating account, both insightfully analyzed and wonderfully written and illustrated."
"...the author does some creative things, largely stemming from his use of a performance orientation to examine how spirituality becomes enacted and practiced.... I would recommend this book to those interested in thinking about how time, space and body have been linked historically to theology, religious organization and the practice of spirituality."
Prologue: A Day in Godís Square Mile
Part I: The Camp Meeting at Ocean Grove
Part II: Performing Holiness
Troy Messenger is director of worship and a lecturer at Union Theological Seminary.