The Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
Because we’ve been friends for a very long time, and old friends get together to renew their bonds of affection, that’s why. If old friendships really are the best, then the friendship between Holy Innocents’ and Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club is among the best in Beach Haven. For 105 years of its 135 year life, the parish has enjoyed the friendship of many members of the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, and vice versa. Both institutions find a common ancestor in Captain Charles Parry of Philadelphia and Beach Haven.
Captain Parry was President of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia in addition to owning a local hotel called the Parry House. The Rev’d Dr. James Hart Lamb, a physician and the Rector of Trinity Church in Moorestown, took a room at the Parry House when he came to the Island to conduct services in 1881. Early on Friday, 12 August 1881, a fire started in the hotel. Dr. Lamb discovered the fire, awakened the guests and evacuated the building. The Parry House was a total loss, but no lives were lost.
Captain and Mrs. Parry fully funded the first Church building in gratitude for the lives spared when their hotel burned down, and in memory of their daughter Clara Parry Hilger, who had died in childbirth in February 1881. The Church was erected over the Winter/Spring of 1881-1882. The first service was held on 9 July 1882, when The Rt. Rev’d John Scarborough, IV Bishop of New Jersey, consecrated the building; the Canons at the time stipulated that no Church building be formally Consecrated by a Bishop until it was debt free. Holy Innocents’ was Consecrated at first service because it was debt free the day of that first service owing to the generosity of Captain & Mrs. Parry. That building still stands at the corner of Beach and Engleside, and is used as the Museum of the Long Beach Island Historical Association.
Thirty years later, descendants of Captain & Mrs. Parry helped to found Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, and descendants of the Parrys are members of both Holy Innocents’ and LEHYC today.
The Baldwin Hotel, a Victorian seaside spa-hotel, stood on the block bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Marine Street, Beach Avenue, and Pearl Street; the Baldwin burned in 1960. The Rector of the parish at that time, The Rev’d Walter Jocelyn Reed, and a friend and LEHYC member named Howard Colehower, had the energy and vision to persuade the Church Wardens and Vestry of Holy Innocents’ to buy the site of the destroyed hotel- the entire city block where we are right now. Mr. Colehower donated half the purchase price. The generosity of Mr. Colehower’s legacy continues to provide annual support to the music program at Holy Innocents’.
There are more than a few cases where four and even five generations of LEHYC families have been tended by parish clergy; wherever else they may live during the Winter, these families mark their lives as they worship here, are Baptized and married here, and are buried from Holy Innocents’.
These two institutions- The Episcopal Church of The Holy Innocents and Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club- have been a part of the fabric of Beach Haven for a long time. Our people and lives are intertwined, and Holy Innocents’ and LEHYC have made important contributions to the common life of our town.
105 years is a long time. Welcome old friends, welcome.
The Rev’d Frank B. Crumbaugh III
Beach Haven, 9 July 2017, being The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost