HISTORY OF ST. URIEL'S
The Church of St. Uriel the Archangel is as distinctive as its name - an attractive complex of buildings set amidst well tended grounds in a beautifully laid out small city marked by spacious boulevards running towards the sea.” (from, “Regent of the Sun” by Fr. James B. Simpson)
In agreement with Father Simpson, there is no other parish church, quite like Saint Uriel's nor, to the best of our knowledge, any others named after that Archangel referred to only once in Holy Scripture (2nd Esdras 4:1 - The Apocrypha). Indeed, St. Uriel's continues to practice the Catholic Faith true to the orthodox tenets of the Anglican Communion.
On January 13, 1901 Margaret Lennig Oglesby, a 56-year-old'widow, welcomed a group of fellow Episcopalians from the surrounding area to worship together in her summer home in Sea Girt, New Jersey. A parishioner of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Mrs. Oglesby summered in Sea Girt and perceived the need to provide the opportunity for Episcopal (Anglican) worship amongst the members of her summer community. From its very inception, St. Uriel’s was to be a parish that was to bear witness to the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Almost one year later, on January 4, 1902 Dr. R.S. Knight, destined to become the first warden and whose family would be integral to the St. Uriel's community for the next eighty years, donated the land where the church and its facilities now stand. On July 24, 1906 the Rt. Rev. John Scarborough, IV Bishop of New Jersey, consecrated the new church structure. Full parish status was achieved on December 19, 1919 when the first Vestry was elected at the Annual Meeting. Just three months before, on September 3, at the first Independent-Parish Annual Meeting, under the new Rector, Fr. Harold R. Lascelles, that St. Uriel's became a Mass centered parish.
The second Rector was the Reverend Father Frederick F. Snow, who served from August 1929 until September 1932. Upon his resignation for reasons of ill health, Father Snow was succeeded by the Reverend Harry J. Pearson, III Rector of St. Uriel's Parish. During his years of service, a rectory was constructed along with the rebuilding of the organ and installation of a new console.
Father Pearson stepped down as Rector in October 1935 and the Reverend Father Thaddeus Jerome Hayden, Jr. was installed as IV Rector of St. Uriel's late in the same year. During Fr. Hayden's tenure, a Parish House was built, including a kitchen, robe room, lavatories and basement. Sunday School rooms were added in subsequent years.Father Hayden left St. Uriel's in 1941 to begin his ministry at Christ Church, Elizabeth, NJ.
The next Rector of St. Uriel's was the Reverend Father Raymond H. Miller. During the post-World War II era, there was a period of significant growth in the size of the parish. As a result, additional property was procured to construct a Sunday School annex, to increase the size of the Parish Hall, and to build a new rectory. The fiftieth anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1953. In 1968 a choir addition was attached to the existing church building. The administrative wing, built with a bequest from Anna Browaski Bent, was dedicated in 1986. While serving as Rector, Fr. Miller was given the title of Canon by Bishop Banyard, then bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. Canon Miller retired on December 31, 1970.
Canon Miller was succeeded by Canon James E. Hulbert, VI Rector of St. Uriel's Church, in 1970. During his tenure, the Church continued to grow and flourish. Canon Hulbert's 25th anniversary as a priest coincided with the 75th anniversary of St. Uriel's. Under his guidance, St. Uriel's Foundation was established through the receipt of endowments from parishioners and other organizations. Its purpose was "to receive and supervise the capital assets of the parish for the welfare and extension of future parish needs." While serving as Rector, Fr. Hulbert had conferred upon him the title of Canon by Bishop Banyard. Canon Hulbert retired in 1988 and the Reverend Father John Bird became the VII Rector.
Being a shore parish, over the years the cold winters, hot summers and salt air began to take its toll on the parish complex. Restoring the parish facilities became a high priority during Fr. Bird's tenure as Rector. By the completion of his tenure, the embellishment and redecoration of the interior of the Church and the rectory had become a reality.
In 2000, Reverend Father Samuel Outerbridge was called as the VIII Rector of St. Uriel’s. During 2003 Fr. Outerbridge presided over St. Uriel's year-long 100th anniversary celebration which was marked by diverse programs and activities. Fr. Outerbridge retired in May of 2004.
On July 1, 2004, the Reverend Father Russell A. Griffin, SSC became the IX Rector of St. Uriel’s. Fr. Griffin’s mark on the parish has been an emphasis on teaching the Catholic Faith and fostering a deeper sense of community life. The fostering and strengthening of lay ministry, outreach and support of missionaries abroad has intensified the spiritual dimensions of the parish. The reinstituting of the Sunday Adult Forums begun by Canon Hulbert, and the newly begun Alpha seminars has become vital tools in the spiritual growth and life of the parish.
Along with the development of the spiritual life of St. Uriel's, during Fr. Griffin's tenure saw the renovation and restoration of the buildings. The in 2005, kitchen was completed renovated. In 2006, with the reopening of St. Uriel's pre-school, Miller Hall, which house the school was completely redesigned and renovated. In 2007, the Church ceiling was restored to it's original beauty. Along with the the restoration of the Church ceiling, the interior of the Church was repainted and the floor refinished. The parish hall was refurbished in 2010 and dedicated as "Hulbert Hall" in thanksgiving for the ministry of Canon James E. Hulbert, the VI Rector of St. Uriel's. In 2007 the exterior of the Rectory had a complete new facelift.
The Work of the Laity:
Parish histories are often measured by the list of Rectors. We must not forget the selfless dedication of the countless families who, over the years, has called the Church of St. Uriel the Archangel their parish home. They have endeavored to remain faithful to God in the proclamation of the Good News.
Our future in the life of the Body of Christ is going to be a very exciting one as we continue to seek the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. The call which God had put upon Mrs. Margaret Lennig Oglesby heart over 100 years ago is still bearing fruit as the parish community of St. Uriel’s continues to witness to Jesus Christ, both crucified and risen.