Pentacost Services NOT being held at FRC on Sunday, May 15th

RevHKMDear Members of First Reformed Church:

This is a reminder that we will not offer worship this coming Sunday, May 15. Due to President Obama’s speech at the Rutgers Commencement, it will be difficult to travel into New Brunswick.

Instead, we are offering a joint worship service with neighboring Christ Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 14 at 5:00 PM. The worship will be held at Christ Church; I will be preaching.

I hope that many of us can join us for this service, and it would be great if we did not appear in a minority. Let’s get out on Saturday as a live congregation to gather with our neighbors at God’s table.

Holy Communion will be served; it is open to all.

With fond wishes,
Pastor Hartmut

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Movie Night @ FRC

Dear Members of First Reformed Church:

TheWayI just want to remind everybody of an interesting movie night tonight at church. We will be showing “The Way ” with Martin Sheen. It’s a great opportunity not only to learn about an ancient yet modern pilgrimage, but also to talk about our own journeys of faith. We’ll start Wednesday night at 7:00PM in the church office.



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Weekly Update – May 2 – 8

Dear Friends,

Today’s Verse Illustrated


Even in our sound-byte world, far too many words are spoken in pledge to God that go unfulfilled. Let’s be thankful and full of praise. But let’s also realize that, while our prayers need to be persistent, our words don’t need to be elaborate or refined, just few in number.

Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:

Monday May 2
10:00am   Staff Meeting
7:00pm Pastor/Superintendent Support in Spotswood

Tuesday May 3

Wednesday May 4

12:15pm Last Spring 2016 Lunchtime Recital
7:00pm First Wednesday – “The Way” Movie with Martin Sheen

Thursday Ascension Day May 5
12:00pm National Day of Prayer at The United Methodist Church at New Brunswick

Friday May 6
9:00am-12:00pm Classis Supervision Group in Spotswood

Saturday May 7
8:00am          Wyckoff, NJ – Regional Synod

Sunday May 8
9:00am Choir Rehearsal
9:30am Breakfast & Banter
9:50am Bell Choir Rehearsal
10:30am Worship
11:30am Mother’s Day Brunch

Prayer List for May 2, 2016

Donna Rice
Office Secretary

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From Pastor’s Desk

Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk

It has been a long tradition at First Reformed Church that the pastor shares every year at the April of Consistory a Report on the Future of the Church. My predecessors chose this date because it constitutes the first Consistory meeting of the year with newly installed members. With the following, I would like to share some lightly edited passages from this year’s report. I do so, because pondering the future of our church is good for all of us and not just the Consistory.

Results of our Reconfiguration Project
With the completion of the reconfiguration of our church building, we are entering unique circumstances in 2016:

  • On one hand, we will use almost 75% of the building permanently and not only on Sunday mornings for a mission cause that most of our church members not only tolerate but with which they, actually, identify.
  • On the other hand, we are about to receive a new sanctuary that has been adjusted to our size and will soon be completely renovated – with the exception of the historic pews, perhaps. The sanctuary will also feature air-conditioning for the first time in its 200 year-old history.

With the reconfigured church building, we have unique tools for the future at our hands. To newcomers, we offer involvement in a social cause like the fight against domestic violence. Newcomers can join the work of our Town Clock CDC or represent us directly in various New Brunswick groups dedicated to this cause. In addition, all our former community outreach beyond the fight against domestic violence offers opportunities to those who want to get involved. To name a few:

  • The Interfaith Rotating Homeless Men’s Shelter
  • The Lunchtime Recital Series
  • The annual Crossroads concert
  • The Interfaith Coexistence Thanksgiving

The new sanctuary will contribute in its own way to attract newcomers who seek the ambience of a historic church that is well taken care of.

Staff and Volunteers
There are concerns, however. The small size of our congregation allows only for a limited pool of volunteer church leaders and paid staff. The work of the Property Committee could be greatly enhanced, if we had a professional building manager and not just a pastor who feels that he is sometimes neglecting his pastoral duties due to building demands. However, due to budget constraints, this is not likely to change. (…)

And nine hours per week for the church secretary is not enough to fulfill the demands of the office and the expectations of our volunteer leaders. However, given our annual budget deficit, it is not likely that we can change these things soon. I am grateful for several church members who have taken responsibility off the new secretary’s shoulders: Lolly Schenck has taken on the bulletin boards and showcases, and Sherri Novack is now not only editing the newsletter but also managing article solicitations and final distribution.

Future Growth
It is widely understood that membership increase cannot and should not be pursued with the primary goal of bringing us back into financial stability. It is practically not feasible, because it would require 200 members giving at a very high level when the new sanctuary cannot even seat that many people. It would also theologically be wrong to try to grow the church for financial reasons. Instead, we will have to continue to expand income from building usage, grants and fundraising events like the Crossroads concert.

Nevertheless, we need to grow, because our community and the world at large depend on the voice of a strong, educated mainline Protestantism. It is our recipe for peace and understanding within the city of New Brunswick and elsewhere. Besides, we are uniquely situated to expect at least some future growth. Matrix is completing a complex of 393 new apartments in our immediate vicinity, and, according to the official website of the City of New Brunswick, our church is located within walking distance to over 5,000 New Brunswick residents! Following the re-dedication of our sanctuary in June, we should therefore renew our efforts for outreach and congregational growth.

It will be of help that our Classis has adopted a corresponding program, the Focus Church Program. Each Classis church is eligible to apply for the position of “focus church” for one year. During that year, the successful applicant will receive help from the Classis Community Development Corporation to develop its own membership growth campaign. Since I helped launch this program during my term as Classis president, I am not sure we should apply for this already during the first year of this new program. It would look a bit self-serving. However, I continue to be actively involved in this program and hope to bring some of the program experiences back to the church. It will prepare us for a possible application when the second program cycle begins in the spring of 2017.

Here ends my report. I hope that it helps all of us recognize the important paradigm shift that takes place in these weeks, as we leave the years of historic preservation and then new construction behind and venture into a new period of time. May God continue to bless our congregation!

With fond wishes, Pastor Hartmut

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Missions – One Sunday

Pentecost: It is the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the New Testament church, and the commissioning of Christ’s followers to boldly testify to our Lord’s resurrection and make disciples of all people.

The Pentecost Offering, which will be received May 15, 2016, provides an opportunity for you, your church, and your classis to partner in the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit by starting new RCA congregations in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Hundreds of congregations will come together in prayer, in commitment, and with expectancy in the four weeks leading up to the Pentecost Offering, and on One Sunday.

One Sunday-Tom De Vries from RCA on Vimeo.

One Sunday – Brochure

RCA: One Sunday

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RUSpiritual— May Benevolence

Rutgers Protestant Campus Ministries, Inc.
— by Rev. Jeanie Collins,
Director, Canterbury House, 5 Mine Street , New Brunswick, NJ 08901,
(609) 317-0451

RPCM flyerRPCMimages

Rutgers Protestant Campus Ministries exists to support the spiritual needs of Rutgers students. We worship with, feed, and enter into thoughtful discussion about how God works through us. We’re not afraid of asking difficult existential questions. That what this organization provides. Just as any relationship needs time, conversation, fun, shared experience and conflict, we believe an adult relationship with a Living God deserves the same! From this foundation, we reach out to the community and those in the margins with service projects and trips.

This ministry is supported and endorsed by:

  • The Presbyterian Church (PCUSA),
  • The Lutheran Church (ELCA),
  • The United Church of Christ (UCC),
  • The Reformed Church (RCA),
  • & The American Baptist Church (ABCUSA)


Join our email list. Follow us on all the socials.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel!
RPCM flyer

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The Ordination of Peter Connolly

Whenever we pray over someone on the occasion of his or her ordination to one of the offices of the church, it is a special moment. You may wonder why, because contrary to other traditions in our Reformed understanding the offices of deacon, elder and pastor do not constitute a permanent change in the person’s character. You enter an office, you fill it with God’s help, and then you step back and let someone else continue.

But look at the postures and faces in the accompanying pictures, and you will realize that my theological correctness is somewhat theoretical. Something is happening there! And it is important for us to carry the memory of these Spirit-filled moments whenever we give witness of what it means for us to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.

dscn6271 rev

When Peter was ordained and installed to the office of deacon, we also reinstalled Fawn and Josh to the same office, and Liz and Lolly to the office of Elder. May God bless them all as they continue to serve on our Consistory!

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