Picnic of Reformed Area Churches

Dear Members of First Reformed Church:

After receiving the flyer, people have asked me what kind of program the collegiate picnic would have. There are several items:

  • Each church is asked to present an object symbolic of its current ministry. We plan on bringing the Dina Van Bergh doll as a symbol for Dina’s Dwellings.
  • The Reformed Church of Highland Park will provide songs and guitar accompaniment.
  • Mario Vargas, Elder at the Suydam Street Reformed Church, has been scheduled as keynote speaker.
  • There will be toys and games as well.

Personally, I find the event interesting not because of its activities, but because it allows us to connect and reconnect with people from the surrounding congregations. In some cases, there are friendships now spanning several years.

Please let me know, if you plan to attend. It’s Sunday, August 17, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Donaldson Park in Highland Park.


Pastor Hartmut

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Town Clock CDC: RSVP Now for Ground Breaking


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Weekly Update – August 11 – August 17

Dear Friends ~

Please respond to Pastor Hartmut about attending the Esther Award Ceremony at New Brunswick Theological Seminary on September 3, 2014, beginning with worship at 6:00 PM and the President’s Dinner at 8:00 pm.

All are invited to attend the Dina’s Dwellings Groundbreaking on September 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:

Monday August 11
10:00 am Staff Mtg.

Tuesday August 12

Wednesday August 13
5:00 pm TCCDC – Fundraising Mtg @ John’s House

Thursday August 14

Friday August 15

Saturday August 16
8:30 am ISP Work Group

Sunday August 17
9:30 am Elders’ Mtg. w/ new members
9:30 am Breakfast & Banter
10:30 am Worship – New Members & Baptism
Ushers: Lolly & Janet
11:30 am Coffee Hour: Thakshila & Josh
5:00 – 8:00 pm Church Picnic w/ New Brunswick Area Churches at Donaldson Park, Highland Park

Peace be with you,


Prayer List – August 11, 2014

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From Pastor’s Desk – June 2014

pc_hartmutWe are a blessed church in that so many young people have joined in the last few years. I was surprised on Sunday, June 22, when we had a good worship attendance, yet there were only three among us, who were already members in 2000 when Susan and I came. Currently, we have another three young people in our New Member Class. It is just wonderful.

If you, Dear Reader, have not already done so, please make sure to welcome our youngest active member, Devon Wade. Devon was confirmed on June 8, Pentecost Sunday. I include his Statement of Faith below, because it reflects so much interest and understanding. The confirmation process has really shown itself to be indispensible for good religious instruction. Bravo, Devon, and Bravo, First Reformed Church!

May you all have a most blessed summer!

With fond wishes, Pastor Hartmut

Confirmation Class 2013/14

Statement of Faith by Devon Kraig Wade

My Story:

At my Nana’s wake I was a believer of God. When I felt the presence with me at the wake everyone was down and sad. Yet I knew that Nana was with God and was at rest. After feeling the presence of God I decided to be baptized and learn more about God.

About Prayers:

God is the Almighty One, to whom we Christians pray. When Christian’s pray they usually do it for guidance or help. Not too often we pray to God for thanks. Rarely do we take the chance to personally listen and try to understand what God may say to us. Praying is a two way conversation that can let us talk to God and receive a sense of what God calls us for.

About Confession:

When Jesus was crucified Mary and Two other people stood by him in his final hour. Christians should stand by Jesus in his hour of grief. Likewise, Christians today should stand by victims of injustice, violence and oppression. This is how we confess. Confession is a way to give thanks to God and to let others know. This helps us become better Christians by giving us a chance to respond to our redemption.

About Christian Ethics:

In our session on Christian Ethics I heard of a woman during WWII, named Amélie. She was told to ring the church bells for Hitler just like all the other churches. Amélie decided to not ring the bells for Hitler for the bell should only ring for God. This decision caused her to be threatened by the people who wanted her to ring the bells for Hitler. This impressed me because of how strong hearted Amélie was and how she was able to do what she believed and only rang the bell for God. I hope that I could be like Amélie and, no matter what, never fall to the clutches of idolatry like the other churches did.


Inter-Faith in my life consists of having friends with different religions. I’m able to learn more about what their beliefs are in their religion. My religion is Christianity. It is grafted onto the tree of Judaism. Even though we are on the same tree we have different views on religion. Sometimes we can see eye to eye on things that enable us to coexist with each other with our different beliefs.


In my Confirmation classes I learned how to be a better Christian. Every lesson taught me more about my religion. One lesson I cherished was the lesson of our Church’s roots. I got to learn how our faith and tradition came to America and prospered over the years.

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Girl Scout Gold Award

GOLD-AWARD-IIAs parents, Susan and I were very grateful that our daughter Allison received her Gold Award during worship on June 15. Due to our work schedule we had missed the general ceremony in South Jersey, but Rona Whitefield from the Girl Scout Council of Central and Southern New Jersey made it possible to have the ceremony during church.

Allison’s Gold Award project was a children’s book on the history of the Buckelew Mansion in Jamesburg. This house of the town’s founding father had been in disrepair for years. At the same time, Jamesburg was undergoing significant demographic changes as many families from Middle and South America moved in.

Allison’s book was an attempt to make story of the mansion’s accessible to all residents of Jamesburg. Thus, the book was written in English and Spanish. A classmate had provided the illustrations.

Working with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America has a long tradition at First Reformed Church. Numerous troops have helped with a variety of projects in the past, and several of the church’s children are involved in either organization. Erin Eckert, for example, received her Bronze Award on June 8. Her brother Tyler Eckert celebrated his Arrow-of-Light and Crossing-over Ceremony on June 17.

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Greetings from Middelburg, 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. The Middelburg Newsletter has this information:

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.
The day is celebrated with musical concerts around the country in order to celebrate the energy of youth.
The Youth of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa Middelburg Congregation also commemorated the day but from a different angle, as the Church of Christ, we don’t only believe in the Spiritual fulfilment of the people but we also believe in the social wellbeing of the people, not only of the congregants but the community at large.
On June 16th 2014 the Youth of URCSA Middelburg Congregation went out and reached the community of Newtown in Mhluzi. Newtown is an informal settlement in Middelburg.
On that day, they touched some souls and made a difference in the people’s lives. They went out in their numbers to distribute Blankets, Clothes and Mats to the disadvantaged families to keep them warm this winter.

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Music Notes

music_notes A Spiritual Crossroads, our concert at Crossroads Theatre, was a great success this year. La Fiocco played a program of pieces which traced the development of New Jersey’s roots in Sweden, Netherlands, and Great Britain, ending with Revolutionary War songs sung by our very own Lynn Fergusson. Yue Yue sang beautiful choral anthems in Taiwanese and Mandarin, as well as an American favorite, “Flying Free” with a golden flute accompaniment. And we were accompanied throughout by poems of New Jersey residents, including Philip Freneau and Joyce Kilmer, read by our own John Keller.

With this concert, we had hoped to raise enough money to buy a set of new hymnals. I am happy to announce that we now have the funds to purchase a full set of our denomination’s new hymnal, Lift Up Your Hearts, which we hope to have by the middle of July for use in worship.

We were introduced to the new hymnal by Diane Dykgraaf and Joyce Borger of the General Synod on Wednesday night, June 25th. They led us in a worship service that progressed through the hymnal from creation to the new creation. We sang new hymns from the book that made us convinced that this is the right hymnal for us. I am so lucky to be able to preside over this renewal of our music ministry. And, I look forward to continuing to discover the hymns of Lift Up Your Hearts together with the congregation. We are about to enter an exciting new era of worship at First Reformed Church. We are truly blessed.

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