Demolition has reduced the interior of the Chapel By The Sea church to rubble.


Chapel By The Sea at 55th Street and Asbury Avenue in Ocean City is no more.

The congregation of the nondenominational church relocated to Marmora earlier this year after the property was sold.

On Thursday, the first day of demolition, a giant excavator began knocking down the large, white structure.

The building dates as far back as the 1930s, with additions over the years. The most recent one was in the 1980s, but there were several expansions throughout the span of time.

Little by little, the church and its history of being a fixture in the south end of the shore town was reduced to a mountainous pile of rubble. Twisted siding, broken boards, heaps of insulation and wires were all that was left of portions of the church.

As of Thursday afternoon, the front of the church overlooking Asbury Avenue at 55th Street was still standing.

The property was sold to Ocean City Development Group LLC for an undisclosed price.

Patrick Halliday, an owner of the development group, said Thursday that, “The site is planned for a residential development with mixed use commercial and residential on the corner lots.”

Over the past year, the church congregation and its pastor, Timothy Bromhead, kept the public apprised of the situation with the church and its future.

The congregation posted signs on the front of the church explaining that they were moving to a temporary location in the Marmora section of Upper Township and that the future of Chapel By The Sea would involve a new sanctuary, also in Upper Township.

While much of the back of the church was reduced to debris on the first day of demolition, the front and side appeared largely untouched in the early afternoon. An excavator sat idle while workers were likely on a break.

The signs detail plans for the church congregation.

The signs posted at the church were still visible Thursday.

“Over the past three years, our church has prayed about moving from our current location,” a large sign read. “The idea of moving has not been an easy decision. We have seen a change in the south end, as more and more investment properties have emerged.”

The reasons for the decision to relocate were also explained on the sign.

“The summer residents, the vacationers and the year-round residents are not coming to church here. It has been a challenge to grow year-round fellowship in the deep south of Ocean City,” the sign read.

The sign also spoke of the church’s mission.

“Our vision is to reach more people with God’s Word and God is leading our fellowship to build a church offshore. We are purchasing nine acres of land that will host a beautiful chapel, gymnasium, classrooms and ball fields,” it said.

Then a smaller church sign spoke of the church’s hope for the future.

“Lord willing this property will be developed in the fall of 2023,” it read. “Please join us as we begin our mission to reach the Upper Township community with the life changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

An excavator sits idle after carving out hunks of the building.