Weekly Update and Prayer List – January 12

Dear Friends ~

You are to help your brothers until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.” — Joshua 1:14-15

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
It is easy to think of our own needs and our own safety first. We may not want to be selfish, but when it comes to making decisions about the investment of our time, it’s so easy for us to see things only from OUR OWN perspective. However, with God’s people, it’s a “we” and “us” perspective that is important, not a “me” and “mine” perspective. The Eastern tribes of Israel had reached their Promised Land, but they were not to quit the fight and settle there until all God’s people were safely in their homeland. The same is true for us in God’s Kingdom today. We are to look not only to our personal needs, but also to those of ALL our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as everyone – because we are to love our neighbor. In our global word that means exactly that: the world!

Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:

Monday Jan. 12
10:00 am Staff Mtg.
12:00 noon TCCDC-Treasurer
7:00 pm Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: David Waanders, John Coakley, Molly O’Brien, Nick Cruz

Tuesday Jan. 13
0:00 am NB Domestic Violence Coalition Mtg.
7:00 pm Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: Gary Bernhofer, John Keller, Thakshila Upasena

Wednesday Jan. 14
5:30 pm TCCDC Board Mtg. @ Novack’s house
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal
7:00 pm Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: Hartmut & Susan Kramer-Mills, Sarah Beth Kaye

Thursday Jan. 15
7:00 pm Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: Lolly Schenck, Lola Kemp, Brendan Kaplan, Nick Cruz

Friday Jan. 16
7:00 pm Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: Eugene Rapoport, Ben Berman, Nicola Mammes, Jad Kaado, Marlana Moore

Saturday Jan. 17
8:30 am ISP Work Group
Men’s Shelter
Volunteers: Bruce Bothwell, Josh Bernhofer, Thakshila Upasena

Sunday Jan. 18
9:00 am Choir Rehearsal
9:30 am Breakfast & Banter
9:50 am Bell Choir Rehearsal
10:30 am Worship
Ushers: Josh & Thakshila
11:30 am Coffee Hour: tbd
4:00 pm ML King Inter-faith Worship @ Untied Methodist Church, New Brunswick

Peace be with you,

Prayer List January 12, 2015

January Calendar

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Music Notes

music_notesFirst Reformed Church will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. again this year, on Sunday, January 18 after worship. The time and place are TBA. Stay posted for more information. Please consider coming to this service, to support the Rainbow Children’s Choir.

The Rainbow Choir has been leading this event for the past 4 years, and we converge again on this important date in American history for a commemoration of a great Civil Rights Leader. Please talk to me if you are interested in getting a child involved in the choir. Also talk to me if you would like to participate in the service in any way. We can always use readers, helpers, cookies, and juice.

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New Consistory Members

Two new, young people joined the ranks of the Consistory in December: Gina Vingara and Brad Redeker! While Brad is a “returnee,” Gina is new to the Consistory and will be one of our youngest Deacons. We are grateful to their willingness to serve and excited about new ideas which will be generated by their participation in the leadership of our congregation.

New Consistory Members

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Christmas Party and Pageant Tableau

Now that it is already over it is fun to think back to the weekend of the Fourth of Advent. That Saturday, we rehearsed the Christmas Pageant – a Tableau Vivant after a short story by Bert Brecht. We have a very special congregation that let us get away with the Chicago stock yards of 1908 as the setting for the pageant!

Following the rehearsal, we celebrated “Christmas under the Evening Sky.” For this purpose, we had decorated a tree in our cemetery where sometimes a homeless person sleeps. There, we held candles, sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and listened to a devotion that tried to connect the sometimes harsh realities in this world with the message of Christmas.

After this, we had a lavish feast in fellowship hall with tables bent by the loads of food. Thank you to our Worship Committee, especially Sherri and Susan, for having prepared and coordinated all this! And thank you to John Keller, who directed the pageant the following day, and to Lolly, as she had organized the props and the costumes. George Street Playhouse was generous enough to lend them to us. And Liz topped it all with a fabulous coffee hour on Sunday morning.

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Christmas Eve Schedule and Prayer List

6:45 pm – Caroling on Hiram Square

7:30 pm – Candlelight Worship with Lessons & Carols

9:00 pm – Fellowship Hour with Cookies & Hot Cider
(Please bring a plate of cookies or other item!)

COME and CELEBRATE the Christ Child’s arrival!

Prayer List for December 23rd

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Designing New Worship Space

We are blessed to have the professional leadership of Architect Gary Wagner as we go about the creation of the new worship space in the church building. Gary has been a very sensitive moderator of our discussions, and he has come several times now to worship with us, so that he can know our ways.Gary’s discussion with the Liaison Committee and members of the Consistory on October 12 was very fruitful. Together, we gathered our dreams for the new worship space. So far, the wish-list encompasses the following:

  • Kids area
  • Projection capability
  • General versatility of the space for use by the community (moveable seats, instruments and chancel furniture)
  • Consideration of arts performances (readings, dance, etc.)
  • 200 seats
  • First class accessibility (elevator by main door will not require detour to hidden place).
    Sense of sacredness
  • The overall appearance of the space should be “simple” but still representative of “church”

In the light of the sad reality of the pews now removed from the lower part of the sanctuary, it is important for us to focus on the positive prospect of the new worship space and to funnel our efforts and energies into making it the best possible space.

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News from the Lunchtime Recital Series

It is always amazing to experience the quality and high standards of the performers at our Lunchtime Recital Series. On October 8, the Series featured Sean McCarther as baritone and Carlos Cuestas on the lute and theorbo. They played a selection of Renaissance and baroque music. And if there were any doubts that the predominantly Latino fifth graders from the Livingston School could relate to this, they were dispersed within the first few minutes. The class was mesmerized! So were our seniors from area nursing homes. The following Question & Answer session involved children and senior citizens and did not want to end. I had to intervene so that the volunteers in the kitchen did not have to serve cold soup and hot dogs.

I learned two things that day:

  1. Out of approximately 10 students of the Livingston School raising their hand when I asked whether they played a string instrument, none of them played the guitar. It was all violins and celli!
  2. After the concert, Mr. Cuestas explained to a few people the history of the theorbo. This peculiar string instrument has Moorish and Spanish roots and is therefore a bridge between the Muslim and the Christian cultures of its time. Then the medieval Medici family got involved when they needed particularly loud instruments for a wedding party. Since then, some theorbos are taller than the musicians who play them.

On October 22, we featured another very interesting concert, this time with Ben Berman on the harpsichord and Perry Sutton on a baroque trumpet. Mr. Sutton had even brought a collection of trumpets to show the audience various stages in the historic development of the instrument – until the 5th graders from the Livingston school were able to recognize the instrument currently used in many marching bands.

It is really unique how we are blessed here at First Reformed Church to bring together such interesting history, such superb musicians, and such an attentive and intergenerational audience. A great thank you goes out to Janet Waanders who has chaired these efforts for several years now.

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