by Shannon Onnink, Covenant OPC, Orland Park, IL (June 2017)
“What is the Boardwalk Chapel?”
“Where is it?”
These were the questions we started with as we were trying to find a place for our youth group to get involved. As one walks along the Boardwalk in Wildwood, there is a lighted pizza sign, “ANGELO’S,” advertising next to the Boardwalk Chapel. Set among the vendors of pizza, salt water taffy, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, t-shirts, novelties, and other local fare is the Chapel. Since 1945, the Chapel has opened its doors every summer to visitors as an outreach to Wildwood, New Jersey, tourists and residents. The Chapel offers gospel presentations several times a week.
Covenant OPC youth from Orland Park, Illinois, heard about the Boardwalk Chapel and wanted to take part in the summer program. The youth expressed interest in growing in their faith as well as learning to share their faith with others. In order to make a trip possible, there needed to be fundraising. It took some brainstorming and the question was raised, “What is a better way to fundraise than to replicate the boardwalk atmosphere and a Chapel service for the congregation?” It was decided. Covenant youth would bring the Boardwalk experience home to Illinois.
Everyone was very excited to have Pastor Jim Zozzaro, Director of the Boardwalk Chapel, commit to joining us for the night. A few skits were picked and practiced. Songs were chosen and committed to memory. Molly Rose and Kim Zaagman coordinated the music and skits while Peter Onnink built the Chapel Facade. A Boardwalk themed dinner was prepared with tables that were fitted out colorfully like a Ferris wheel. Attendance was about 120 people. There was even an ice cream cart.
The evening was a success on many levels. Foremost, the youth were encouraged to grow in their faith. However, there were other benefits including Covenant Church becoming more aware of the Boardwalk Chapel, the delight of having a visit from Pastor Zozzaro, and raising money to make the trip a reality.
As this is being written, the youth group is busy planning out details for their trip coming up in July. Everyone is so excited to roll up their sleeves and get to work down on the Boardwalk.
- Steven Boss and Kyle DeBlecourt managed the sound system
- Molly Rose and Lindsey Hoffman
- Jessica and Sara Grace Baugh singing
- Angelo’s Pizza sign by Sara Grace Baugh
- Sam Jouf and Stephen Pesole, actors in one of the skits
- Our Boardwalk Chapel entryway
- Tables set up.