The recent developments at General Synod, the highest assembly of our denomination in the United States and Canada, have startled many. At first glance, the bone of contention is Resolution R16-16. If adopted by 2/3 of our Classes, it would bring a change to our Book of Church Order. The change would hold consistories responsible that their pastors do not officiate at same-sex weddings.
At second glance, the proposition entails even more: Binding consistories in this way is a severe change in Reformed Church polity, because it limits the authority of consistories in an area where there used to be freedom. This is part of an increasing centralization that goes through our denomination.
But there is more. The General Synod debate on the issue made clear that a majority of delegates had little hermeneutical awareness in terms of understanding the Bible. Warnings and concerns raised from both our seminaries were disregarded and replaced by the simplistic concept that God’s Word in any Bible passage means the same in all periods of time. Starting with the oldest texts of the Bible, the wrong assumption would be that a text like the story of Sodom and Gomorra with roots in the late Bronze Age was understood then the same as we understand it now – only that none of us can really know what it means to belong to a bronze-age culture, because we live now and not back then. Continue reading
The accompanying pictures give you a glimpse how colorful and diverse our life together as a congregation really is. All of these photos were taken in the relatively short time since we’ve moved into the new sanctuary.
Start with the picture of child musician Robert Dorsey. Sometimes, it’s just amazing who makes some serious music here! Robert and his father Paul have delighted us now for quite some time with their beautiful Renaissance and Baroque music. The simplicity of their instruments paired with the incredible skill of the musicians has given many of us unrepeatable experiences.
Then there is the Friesian costume that our Vice President Lauren Bernhofer wore on the occasion of our sanctuary re-dedication. It was her way of upholding our Dutch tradition. It also added a very dignified touch to a beautiful day.
Heather and her son Andy stand for the young life in our congregation. We are not a church defined by only older semesters! Everybody is welcome here; and this brings smiles to our faces.
Finally, there was the bridal shower for Thakshila and Josh. I know, phrasing it like this contains an oxymoron. But Sherri and Lolly, who hosted the affair, made it quite clear that the event would be open to men as well. So should we call it a wedding shower, then? Whatever, the food and the atmosphere on June 19 were superb and gave us a glimpse of what it means to be a part of the people of God.
July Benevolence— Middelburg Reformed Church in South Africa
Our friends at the Middelburg Church in South Africa had several exciting things to report in early summer. Among them was the church’s commemoration of the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising with a special outreach of their Youth Ministry.
Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the Soweto Uprising in the country. The day is celebrated on June 16 every year. The day is celebrated in order to recognize the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.
Please visit the firstreformedchurch.net website to learn more.
August Benevolence — New Brunswick Domestic Violence Coalition
The New Brunswick Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition seeks to increase community awareness of domestic violence, to help prevent violence, and to connect survivors to resources in their community. In October 2002, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, education and awareness raising activities were held in New Brunswick, culminating in a community march against domestic violence. The New Brunswick Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition led these activities and its mission continues today. The Coalition is comprised of numerous local human service agencies and each year, they host the Annual March and Rally against Domestic Violence that takes place in October.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-SAFE
Plan ahead and save the date for the 3 rd annual Jazzin’ For Funds event that is scheduled for Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 5 – 9 pm at the Old Bay. Tickets: $45 (at the door $50) per person.
Town Clock CDC
Wow so much has been happening now that we have residents. Here is a brief update:
- Town Clock CDC has hired a part-time case worker whose first assignment is to lead the 40-hour domestic violence training with two interns presently working with TCCDC.
- The residents are having dinners together to build relationship and foster a sense of community. TCCDC is happy to receive donations for these dinners either in food donations, or monetary. We have been fortunate to have local merchants donate dinners.
- The residents can also use regular donations of laundry detergent, toilet paper, and paper products, which are greatly appreciated.
- Plan ahead and save the date for the 3rd annual Jazzin’ For Funds event that is scheduled for Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 5 – 9 pm at the Old Bay. Tickets: $45 (at the door $50) per person.
- GREAT NEWS! The Development Team was able to garner a non-restricted $20,000 donation! Thank you to our Donor! The Development Team has also welcomed several new members, one of whom is a professional grant writer and is offering her services for FREE!
Submitted by Elizabeth Hance
Words of appreciation are extended to everyone at FRC who participated in the ‘Ethel Salamone birthday card project’ by writing birthday cards that were mailed to Ethel for her 86th birthday!
Ethel’s 86th Birthday – June 9th
This photo of Ethel was taken on her birthday (June 9th) at Ethel’s residence in the Parker-at-Monroe long-term care facility’s White Willows small-home.
As you can see from Ethel’s broad smile, Ethel truly enjoyed her flowers, cake, LOTS of birthday cards, and all the attention she received on her birthday.
The love and caring that the FRC ‘family’ shared with Ethel on her 86th birthday is best expressed in these words from a familiar hymn: “Blessed be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian Love…”