Town Clock CDC – Old Things Come to Light

Susan Kramer-Mills, Exec. Dir.

First of all, the construction is moving along beautifully. If you are interested in peeking inside, please contact me. I lead small groups through on a weekly basis.

And that brings me to my next point… Recently, I received a phone call. A kind woman on the other end said, “I believe that you are building something which is baring my great, great, great, great grandmother’s name.” I was astonished, as you can imagine. Yet, indeed, Dina Van Bergh’s great( x 4) granddaughter, Sharon Burke, stopped by to see what we will are building and to learn a bit more about Dina. Sharon’s son works for an ancestry TV show by doing the research into the old records and things. One day he decided to look into his own family lineage and found out that they are direct relatives from Rev. Johannes Frelinghuysen and Dina Van Bergh. It was quite a ‘welcome home’ for Sharon. She plans to visit us again soon and bring her son along, too! Continue reading

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Rod’s Grill Night Brought Joy

Fellowship has a high value here at First Reformed Church. It is, however, a fellowship that quickly combines prayer and small talk, dinner table and holy table, fellowship hall and the peace of the sanctuary – even though the latter is, for the time being, just the parlor also known as the Randolph Room. As in countless previous years, Rod’s Grill Night exemplified all this again in its well-tried form on July 18. We want to thank especially Rod Gray and the team from the Invitation & Outreach Committee under the leadership of Janet Waanders for organizing the event. Enjoy the pictures from a summer that went by too fast!




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Music Notes

music_notesSummer at First Reformed Church is normally a great time of reflection and the music becomes somewhat more contemplative as the choir breaks and in its place there is instrumental music. Music without words can be glorious, it can enhance worship with the beauty of God’s musical world, and it is suitable as an offering to God. But nothing in this world of culture can replace the harmony of our voices, singing the great texts of faith. Our adult choir and bell choir will resume on Zegen Sunday or “Sunday of Blessings” which will be on September 13th. We will begin this year singing the great texts our faith has to offer on the theme of love.

Recorder players and father-and-son duo Paul and Robert Dorsey offer the sonata in G Minor by George Frideric Handel for worship on Sunday, August 23, 2015. This musical family joins our worship services to provide music on occasion, and it is exciting to see how Robert is growing in musicianship and confidence.” Continue reading

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Ministry Outreach

On World Communion Sunday, Andrea Reynolds from Restore One will give us a presentation during coffee hour regarding a very serious issue of our time: human trafficking. On December 2, she will address our adult education class “First Wednesdays”. We publish the following article in preparation of these two events.

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An Important Ministry

By Andrea Reynolds

Restore One is a ministry that seeks to open shelters offering faith-based residential recovery programs, free of cost to American boys who are survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Restore One will treat every survivor as a unique individual by using holistic approaches and proven clinical methods that nurture healing and restoration. Restore One also counteracts human trafficking and human exploitation through community awareness, education, outreach and partnerships. Restore One’s goal is to see DMST survivors live in complete freedom and to generate communities that are intolerable to the problem of human trafficking and human exploitation.

A study by The John Jay College and the Center for Court Innovation estimated that, in 2008, as high as 50% of the commercially sexually exploited (CSE) children in the United States were boys.* In a related study done in Alberta, Canada, Dr. Susan McIntyre notes that “residential and supportive services were seen as needs by 84% of CSE men and boys.”*

Data and statistics prove the reality. For us, though, there really is no need for numbers. One male, one boy, is enough for our hearts to be moved beyond compassion and to be moved to action. Restore One is convinced that restorative care for boys and men is more than a necessity; it is a long overdue requirement. Continue reading

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Irony of History

I consider it an irony of history that some of the most famous members of our church of centuries past left their marks on the footstools of the church! Voorhees, Abeel, and whatever other well-known name they may have carried, aside from the cemetery and the record books of the church we have the most complete collection of their names under the footstools that once graced every pew.

You know, of course, that these footstools were not prayer benches as in the Roman Catholic tradition. Our ancestors did not use them to kneel but to put pans with hot stones beneath them while they were resting their cold feet on these stools. Thus they were part of the heating system of the church when steam and hot water were not yet available.

history 1

As the pews were owned in former eras by individuals and families, the footstools, in addition to the plaques on the doors off the pews, bore the names of their owners. Sometimes, ownership would change, and the result would manifest itself on the underside of the footstool. A modern researcher can follow these traces for quite some time.

We want to thank Mark Nonestied and his team from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for spending a part of this summer with cataloguing the footstools, so that their historical significance can be preserved for future generations.

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Exciting Design

At its last meeting before the summer, Consistory had cleared the way for an open meeting of the Liaison Committee to decide on the colors for the interior design of the community space beneath the new sanctuary. This means that the meeting was open to all interested church members.

When the meeting took place on July 16, we enjoyed great professional support: Architects Jeff Venezia and Gary Wagner were present, and so was Designer Peter Saechew from Jeff Venezia’s office. Ten members of the church were present. Continue reading

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