On July 31, 1869, twenty-two participants of the holiness move of the Methodist church accrued to hope on a seashore at the New Jersey shore. prior to lengthy, Ocean Grove used to be demonstrated as "God's sq. Mile, " the 1st everlasting camp assembly devoted to the pursuit of either holiness and leisure actions. during this richly illustrated account, Troy Messenger appears to be like on the various casual amusements of summer time lifestyles at Ocean Grove and gives a glimpse right into a interesting second within the improvement of either nineteenth-century faith and an American rest culture.
Like different beach inns of the time resembling Atlantic urban and Coney Island, Ocean Grove boasted a competition surroundings and provided such diversions as child parades, oriental bazaars, pageants, seashore video games, ushers' marches, and drills by way of the younger tough Riders. whereas site visitors have been forbidden to drink, smoke, play playing cards, or force their vehicles on Sunday, they have been inspired to get pleasure from different goals that will have scandalized pious Methodists of an previous period, akin to stress-free at the seashore, taking the summer time off, attending renowned amusements, and staging comedian gender satire with cross-dressed males. At Ocean Grove, even if, even probably frivolous actions had a better function: each point of way of life was once fascinated about the attainment of perfection and all have been performances of "holy leisure."
The genius of Ocean Grove, Messenger argues, was once in extending holiness from the parlor assembly to the seashore. the following, conservative evangelicals stumbled on an ethical important to take pleasure in relaxation and sport. by means of praying and enjoying jointly, the folks of Ocean Grove bought a different knowing of self and neighborhood, person who illuminates theliberal social-reform hobbies of the nineteenth-century spiritual heart type and the early rest industry.