St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey started out as a mission of Trinity Church, Asbury Park under Father A.J. Miller as a result of Cottage Mission services he conducted in the Fall of 1890 for the people who lived on the west side of Asbury Park. The first service was held in Marrow’s Hall about sixty persons attended the first service. Father Miller was assisted in the services during the summer months by Lay Readers from Payne Divinity School in Petersburg, Virginia.
In 1892 Bishop Scarborough D.D, the Bishop of the New Jersey Diocese, took great interest in the work of Father Miller, and decided to turn over the Advent offering of $637.43 for the purchase of property and construction of a Chapel. Through hard work a lot was purchased and on All Saint’s Day of 1893, Father Miller laid the cornerstone for the Chapel of St. Augustine on Sylvan Avenue. The bishop came to bless the Chapel on Wednesday, January 3, 1894. The fir Eucharist (Holy Communion) was offered on Sunday, January 14, 1894.
From this first “building program” and for the next five years, the congregation and countless friends made donations, besides money, to the Chapel. They supplied the interior furnishings, an organ, and the Altar, and much later, donated the stain glass windows, all in the memory of family, friends, former priests and members of the church. In 1899 an addition, doubling the original size of the original Chapel, was constructed and used as a Sunday School and lecture room
Father A.I. Longley succeeded Father Miller as Rector of Trinity Church and took charge of the Chapel of St. Augustine’s. In 1903-04 the first pews, a Bishop’s Chair, and a furnished kitchen were added to the Chapel. With continuous growth of the congregation, Father Longley recommended application for Parish status and issued a call for a permanent Priest.
It was Father August E. Jensen who answered that call and became the first Rector of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. Under his leadership form 1904 through 1918 the church continued to grow, not only is membership, but in physical size. The building was raised to two stories, with a bell tower, and a new pipe organ. A rectory was constructed next to the church.
From the 1930s through the 1960s, the Women’s Auxiliary, Young People’s Fellowship, Men’s Club, St. Ann’s Flower Guild, and the Junior Choir were organized and Church Bulletins and Coffee Hours were instituted. In 1969 ground was broken to build a new church. The new St. Augustine’s was dedicated in 1971 at the current site. It still has the same Altar, Bishop’s Chair and original stain glass windows from the old church.
From the 1970s, St. Augustine’s increased it community involvement and outreach ministries. The church hosted the first Service of Witness of Black Ministries in the Diocese and launched the Sunday Soup Kitchen in 1995.
Over the years St. Augustine’s has had twenty rectors and interim rectors, each contributing in their own particular way to the various needs and concerns of a growing and sometimes declining congregation in its witness to an everchanging community.