In July and August of the early 1900's vacationing ministers in central Ocean City held Sunday School in the afternoons and Vesper Song Services at the 32nd St. beach pavilion. Christian ladies of the community raised funds for a lot and chapel building by holding Strawberry Festivals and weekly ice cream sales in the pavilion through the summer seasons. Five ladies, both cottagers and residents, incorporated the interdenominational Central Ocean City Union Chapel as a non-profit NJ corporation on September 18, 1915. Seven gentlemen served as the original Trustees. The NW-corner lot at 32nd St. and Central Ave. was purchased on September 20, 1915. The chapel building was completed by then Mayor Joseph G. Champion and the doors were opened to the community on August 13, 1916. Sunday School and Vespers were then held indoors. Sunday morning Worship was added by 1922. To meet the needs of increasing attendance, the two-story Murdo MacKenzie Memorial Sunday School Building was added in 1951 in honor of his Christian service as Sunday School Superintendent and Trustee from 1920 to 1949. In the 1980's its first floor was winterized and configured as the "West Chapel". This enabled the sharing of the Chapel with an Orthodox Presbyterian Church Plant for 23 years and the Grace Bible Chapel for 4 years. Thinning leadership ranks of the Chapel's founders due to deaths and relocations led to oversight by the United Presbyterian Presbytery of Philadelphia from 1941 to 1957. During this period the Presbytery honored and continued the Chapel's interdenominational nature. Since then a Board of Trustees, consisting mainly of lay people, continues a Christian witness and provides for worship and study of the Word of God for those on vacation. The Chapel is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) organization and is supported entirely by freewill offerings.
Our History Project - 100th Anniversary - 1915 to 2015
History Display Open in West Chapel
- Sundays after Worship: Coffee and cake, Fellowship
- CDs and Booklets available
Booklet $10 + $3 shipping or CD $5 + $3 shipping by mail
32nd St. & Central Ave.
Ocean City, NJ
The purposes of Central Ocean City Union Chapel, Inc. are to advance the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to the greater Ocean City Community in furtherance of the Great Commission as revealed in the Bible and to foster the spiritual growth of people, pursuant to Biblical principles, through evangelism, discipleship, education and other means.
Marks of Biblically-sound visible churches are the true preaching of the Word of God, the right administration of the Sacraments, and the faithful exercise of discipline. Being independent, non-denominational and seasonal with volunteer Trustees as its only members, the Chapel focuses on the first of the three marks - Biblically-based preaching and teaching by guest preachers. When individual ministers perform Baptisms during Chapel services they do so under the authority of their own churches. Likewise when they perform marriages and conduct funeral services in the building. The Trustees' Chapel-membership does not preclude them from being members of churches they attend during the off season.
Central Ocean City Union Chapel