Ocean City, New Jersey has always been one of the most special places in the world for me. It was built on values I stand firm in and has always remained true to its origins. My knowledge of the enormous impact the Lake family has had on our society is still growing but what I do know makes me proud to live in such a nostalgic and honorable place. In 1879, the prominent Methodist ministers, Ezra B. Lake, James Lake, S. Wesley Lake and William Burrell chose our island to establish a Christian retreat and camp meeting. This in itself has impacted me because many of my summers are spent at Christian retreats where I am free to communicate my beliefs with people that are like me. To know that Ocean City was that place for many people makes me quite proud. The group of ministers would meet under the enamouring cedar tree which stands today at 6th Street and Asbury Avenue, home of the Tabernacle. The founders eventually chose the name “Ocean City” and started an “Ocean City Association”, which eventually began to plan out roads and sell cottages turning them into hotels and businesses. Camp Meetings were held by the following summer for all believers to attend. Looking back on its humble beginnings to what Ocean City is today is incredible. The Tabernacle has become a meeting place for concerts, sermons, and community events in general. It is such a focal point of Ocean City that will be appreciated forever. Still today, the Tabernacle is run by an incredible Board of Trustees that uphold the mission of bringing Christ to locals and visitors alike. Although the town is an attraction for many tourists, the locals stay because of its commitment to community and its GodCentered roots.
Not only did the Lake family create Ocean City to be a location of fellowship for Christ’s followers, but Simon Lake built the first bridge and highway to Atlantic City along with his brothers. There were also important in getting railroads to Atlantic City as well. Without these inventions, Ocean City, and much of the shore towns would not be anywhere near as significant as they are today. Think about 4th of July weekend when the Expressway and Parkway are packed bumper to bumper as well as the 9th Street and 34th Street bridges. It’s not everyone’s favorite sight to see but it just goes to show how loved our town is to people near and far. Without these crucial bridges and roadways our town would be secluded and desolate and people would never be able to experience America’s Greatest Family Resort.
One of my favorite verses frequently brought up in my church and youth group is, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). I feel com abundantly blessed that we live in a town that accepts and encourages one another to love god and spread his good news. Ocean City was built on those values: there was a need for a gathering place of Christians, and the Lake family filled that need. I am so thankful for their hard work and determination in building this wonderful town. Next fall I will be furthering my education at Liberty University where I’ll be studying Psychology and Youth Ministry. My hope is to influence my peers with the same core values I have been taught here in Ocean City: to serve God and each other and to share his word. Thank you for your consideration in my application and God bless.