Traditions

Asbury Grove is packed with opportunities to serve, play, worship, exercise mind and body and enjoy the outdoors, especially in the summer! Request a copy of The Pine Echoes, our weekly newsletter, delivered to the cottages during July and August and/or emailed to a your email address. You will discover current event details, various meetings, community updates and other "Inside-Grove" news.

Although the Grove “season” officially starts and ends at July 4 and Labor Day, the traditional beginning for Vesper services is Memorial Day weekend.  On that Saturday volunteers gather at the pool to start preparing the area for the summer.  There is much work in taking off the large winter cover, getting the bathhouses and grounds cleaned and ready.  Each cottage owner is responsible for maintaining the area around their cottage. Help with the communal areas is always appreciated.  There is always a covered dish supper at the dining hall at 6:00 on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, and the 4:00 pm Sunday vesper services start the next day.      

The Pine Echoes is a weekly newsletter either received by e-mail by those who choose or delivered to the cottages during July and August.  It will list the recurring activities and the weekly special events.  Various suppers and other events are held on Saturday nights and some Fridays – always check your Pine Echoes each week to see what’s happening and if there are any changes to the schedule printed in the brochure. Normally hand-delivered to the cottages in the summer, if you want your Pine Echos to be sent to your email address, we can do that too!

Sunday afternoon Vesper Services are held at 4:00 pm at the Vesper Circle, weather permitting, otherwise in the Chapel.  Guest preachers are welcomed each Sunday  during July and August; the Grove resident pastors and lay preachers do the services during the month of June.  

The Fourth of July is a big day in the Grove.  A parade that includes costumed children and adults of the Grove and their families begins at 1:00 pm in the center; everyone is encouraged to participate.  After a couple turns around the pump before the spectators for viewing and picture-taking, everyone follows the parade down to the ball field where judging takes place and prizes are awarded.  Races for the children and egg toss for all ages follow. The pool will officially open, and there is a communal charcoal fire for a cookout.  This is the first real “gathering of the clan” and people mix and move from table to table, greeting old friends and meeting new people, and often stay as long as the weather and darkness permit.  

Sunday School  for younger children meets in the Johnson House dorm at the back of the Vesper Circle  during the 4:00 pm Vesper service; Men’s Class takes place at 11:30 am Sunday at the Vesper Circle; Bible Study  is Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the Jesse Lee Hall. Midweek Service is in the Chapel Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; often these services will have a missions emphasis.

An annual Auction sponsored by the Men's Class is held the second Saturday night in July.  Preview of the auction items is at 7:00 pm with the auction beginning at 7:30 pm.  The Auction is a fun evening which depends on the donations of the residents in order to continue. The Grove truck will go by on the morning of the auction to collect any item you may have.  If you should have auctionable items at other times, you can check with the superintendent for a storage place.

There are Youth Chapel Groups for those aged 8-12 and 12-16 which meet weekdays for the children. Check the Pine Echoes for times and events as they may vary.   There will be Saturday Night suppers organized, prepared and served by each youth group on two of the Saturday nights .  This is the main fund-raiser for the kids to do something special at the end of the season - plan to attend.  Youth leaders are hired by the Grove for each group.

A Hymn Sing is held in the Chapel at 7:30 the last Sunday evening in June, July and August. This is a fun evening when everyone gets to choose the songs to be sung.  

A morning Communion Service sponsored by the Men’s Class is held the first Sunday of August at 7:30 a.m. in the Chapel, followed by muffins, donuts, coffee and juice in the dining hall.  

Illumination Night, when residents light their cottages with white or colored lights, Japanese lanterns, candles or other sources of light, is held the Saturday evening before Camp Meeting begins. This dates back to the beginning days of Camp Meeting when there was no electricity in the Grove and lanterns would be set out to mark the roads leading to the Camp Meeting services.  People gather in the center in the evening and walk the avenues, looking at the lights and singing hymns, offering prayer at the buildings to be used during Camp Meeting Week, and for those members of the Grove community in need of prayer..

Camp Meeting, the reason Asbury Grove was developed, is usually held the second week of August, although this sometimes changes to accommodate a speaker.    Worship services are held each day Sunday through Friday at 7:30 pm. Bible studies are held Monday through Friday at 10 am. Suppers are served at the dining hall at 6:00 pm each evening for a nominal fee. Sign-up sheets will be at the dining hall and tabernacle.  There is an informal time to meet the ministers for the week at "The Ministers Reception" to which all are invited, held on Monday after the service in Jesse Lee Hall.
 
Monday night Road Races led by Roger Perham have become an Asbury Grove tradition.  There are races for all ages and participants range from toddlers to 80+ year olds, with the length of the race suitable for the age. Runners, walkers and spectators meet at the pool area where the first races begin at 6:00 pm. There is a one-time yearly fee of $1 per participant. Ribbons are given. There are also 2-3 longer races and a duathlon on Saturdays during the summer. Roger will be looking for help with those.

All cottage owners’ agree to belong to the Cottage Owners Association when applying for approval to purchase in the Grove.  A meeting is held the Saturday closest to July 4, mid-summer, and the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Plans of the various Grove groups, i.e., Men’s Class, Ladies’ Aid, Sunday School, Worship, Recreation, etc., are given and joys and concerns of the resident’s raised.  Owners should plan to attend these meetings. The Association sponsors the Lobster Bake which is traditionally held the last Saturday of July or first Saturday in August and is held on the lawn beside the dining hall.  Reservations are required for this supper; watch for the announcement in the Pine Echoes.

The Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend there will be a special service in the Chapel or Tabernacle followed by a Candlelight Circle and Hymn Sing in the center.

The Labor Day Cookout begins at noon and is similar to the 4th of July cookout, minus the costumes, parade and races.  It is the “official” end to the Grove season.