TIP in Ocean Grove, a wave of progress

Talking with Neptune, NJ Mayor Randy Bishop in Ocean GroveMorning of September 6, 2012

In this short video clip below, Randy describes the relationship between the LGBT Ocean Grove United members and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association board, and how they've grown since four years ago. At that time the the OGCMA (United Methodist Church related) wouldn't allow a civil union ceremony to take place on their land even though domestic partnerships had just been legalized by the State of NJ.

The Ocean Grove community is in the City of Neptune, but all the land is owned by the OGCMA; therefore, the board felt that they could not allow a same sex union ceremony to be performed on their land because it is owned by the church and church law prohibits these ceremonies from being held on church property.

More recently OGU protested the Association's invitation to an vocal anti-gay speaker Kirk Cameron to be a featured speaker in the Association's lecture series. In the four years in between, conversation between members of the LGBT community and the OGCMA board members have improved relations. By the way, the Ocean Grove community at large is very open and has many LGBT citizens.

From posts on facebook: September 5, 2012

Great food and conversation today at lunch with Barbara Burns and Joan Caputo of Ocean Grove United with a major thunder and lightning storm rumbling overhead bringing pouring rain that immediately filled gutters with fast running water. How we wish change on human rights issues would run this strong and fast, but even a slow and steady drip changes the shape of a stone. Ocean Grove United (OGU) has made it clear to their fellow citizens that they aren't going anywhere nor are they going to ignore when blatant discrimination is being given a voice such as when Kirk Cameron was in town to speak at the Camp Meeting Association. At the same OGU knows that fostering ways for neighbor to meet with neighbor to learn about each other is key to a community finding ways to embrace their diversity. Keep the conversation real and keep it going.

Afternoon of September 6, 2012

Asbury Park boardwalk. An amazing two days. Video coming. Tonya and I had a couple of hours this morning to stroll thru Ocean Grove shops and randomly hear from shopkeeper her thoughts about the "gays and lesbians and the others. They disagree from time to time. Last one about Kirk Cameron but they had a peaceful protest...". She also told us that burned out casino building was from the riots in the 60's because of segregation. Everywhere a story.

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All photography above by Tonya Easbey