“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
Earlier in this passage, God stated that God was not moved with Israel’s dead religious activities. Their pious observances had become a way to avoid true responsibility. In a time when there was no social security or welfare, orphans and widows were relegated to poverty and great need. One of the results of a relationship with God will be a desire to help the weak and helpless. This statement is an imperative, meaning, this is what faith does. Wouldn’t the world be a delightful place?
Bring sausages and rolls to the annual Collegiate
Ash Wednesday Worship at 7:30 pm!
This year we will be celebrating at the Suydam Street Reformed Church
(corner of Suydam and Drift Streets).
Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:
Wednesday, March 5
6:30 pm Combined Choir Rehearsal
7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Collegiate Worship Service at Suydam Street Reformed Church
Thursday, March 6
4:00 pm TCCDC – Finance Meeting
Friday, March 7
5:30 pm Hall Ed. Fund – Wine Tasting Fundraiser
Saturday, March 8
8:30 am ISP Work Group
12:00 pm Rutgers Students help with church move
Sunday, March 9
Turn Clocks FORWARD ONE HOUR!!!
9:00 am Confirmation Class
9:00 am Choir Rehearsal
9:30 am Breakfast & Banter
9:50 am Bell Choir Rehearsal
10:30 am Worship – First Sunday in Lent
Ushers – Lolly Schenck and tbd
12:00 pm Finance Comm. Mtg.?
Peace be with you,
Soon, we will enter the season of Lent again. We will follow the stages of the liturgical calendar, and we will be together with the wider Church in this. Our Collegiate Ash Wednesday service on March 5 at 7:30PM at the Suydam Street Reformed Church will provide a taste for this. It’s one of our best attended collegiate activities. We expect over 100 worshippers from the four participating churches. Following a tradition started by the Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli in the 16th century, our worship service will be followed by our famous “Feast of Sausages”.
Yet in all this emphasis on the institutions for Lent, whether they are pensive or fun, let us not forget that “church” is also a deeply human response to God that happens prior to any form of organized religion. Church happens when people gather at the Table of the Lord. It occurs when we find access regardless of our intellectual or physical capacity or level of awareness. It includes a bed-ridden homebound member like Anna Mariano just as much as little Andy Epstein whom you can see in the attached picture looking through the door.
Since this is so, we all have an opportunity to feel and experience the grace of God just by thinking of the church. Obviously, God’s grace is not predominantly manifest in our leaders, scholars or even pastors. Rather, it is in the midst of our congregation as it tries to embrace really everyone, from Andy to Anna, if you will.
It is very much in sync with these considerations that we offer an exciting Adult Education Lenten Program this year. It is called “Journeys of Faith” and will take on these for Wednesdays: March 12 and 26, and April 2 and 9, each time from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM (the hour before choir). The program is designed to raise our awareness regarding issues of global mission in an age when mainline mission can no longer be summarized as “saving souls for Christ”. But what exactly is it then? Well, come and see! You might be surprised at what you find.
With fond wishes,
Despite mutual roots in The Netherlands, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and its sister denomination, the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) have not always been friendly. The relationship may not have mattered as much here on the East Coast, but in the Midwest or in Canada, where the two denominations have shared the same geographic areas, the contrast between the two could run through entire families. Yet even here, in the East, the CRCNA has never just been a virtual reality, since many of our Reformed church folk have personal roots somewhere in the CRCNA. Continue reading
It is not easy when friends move away, and it is especially hard when this happens after 48 years. Bruce and Ellen joined First Reformed Church in 1966, a young couple who, together with others, set out immediately to bring change to the church. Bruce and Ellen were especially interested in reaching out to a neighborhood that was beginning to be challenging at the time. Here at First Reformed Church, we will remember Ellen and Bruce among other things for the following:
- Sunday Afternoon Center for Neighborhood Children,
- Plant growing program for neighborhood people,
- Girl Scout Cadette Troup #79,
- Sunday School, Women’s Guild, Sewing Circle, Consistory,
- Serious support for the pipe organ,
- Dutch Dancers,
- Property Committee and historic preservation (including the breezeway construction in 1995),
- Choir, bell choir, and Ellen’s beautiful flute,
- And Bruce saving the baptismal font in the fire of 1971.
But truth be told, we are not only grateful for what Bruce and Ellen did in our midst, but also for who they were and continue to be as human beings. Their generosity, their sincere interest in social justice, their personal life style and authenticity were a blessing to us all, and so was their sense of cultural identity – even if Bruce never tired stating that the lack of Dutch roots on his side of the family made him a descendant from the town of Bogus.
Ellen and Bruce bought a house next to their daughter Mary’s family in North Carolina – a safe haven for this stage in life. Here at the church, we said farewell with a festive worship service, a lavish lunch and much Dutch dancing. Ellen and Bruce, we love you and wish you that God may continue to bless you on your journey!
It is not every day that we see images like these: The main pulpit moved over rows of pews, and the Church Library with empty shelves. Yet there is a certain historical logic in all of this as it was a group of extremely motivated students from Rutgers University, who accomplished all this on February 22.
I say “historical logic” because it was our denomination that founded the university in the form of Queen’s College in 1766. Until 1873, our very sanctuary hosted commencements and other academic events. Now the students returned to usher in another chapter in our long history. We are blessed by their selflessness! Continue reading
Here is what this is all about:
- In order to raise awareness on global issues and to prepare for a more meaningful support of our missionary Rev. Elly Kajaminyo, we offer a Lenten program on four Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:00PM (the hour before choir). The dates are 3/12, 3/26, 4/2 and 4/9. The title is “Journeys of Faith“; see program description below. Since the program is linked to a project at Rutgers University, we need to know the number of participants in advance. Please call our office and not Sherri Leonard as the flyer suggests.
- Please see also the sign-up sheet for this year’s Lay Recognition Dinner of Regional Synod. Our honorees are Lolly, Ethel and Ben. You can help by buying a ticket and joining us for the occasion. These have been fun evenings in the past, and our honorees would enjoy being surrounded by a circle of friends. Ethel, however, will not be able to participate in person. Please see the attached Invitation Poster for details.
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