A Humming World at Our Feet

Dear Friends:

Kick-off Sunday this past September was a full success in that we had more children than in the years before, and a real electric airplane flying from the choir loft. The latter was part of the children’s sermon and flown by none other than Stef Beemsterboer, the chair of our Finance Committee. If he dares to fly a model like this, you know there was no risk to the interior involved.
However, apart from these more spectacular moments, I would like to point your attention to a few things around Kick-off Sunday that usually go by unnoticed.

First, when newcomers hear on future Sundays like this that All Are Welcome, they will now know our church means what it says. Proof is the two new rainbow signs that Joan and Julius Fekete organized – Julius built the frames. Many churches say, “All Are Welcome”. Yet, this proclamation sounds very different, indeed, when displayed in connection with the rainbow colors – the traditional colors for an open and affirming place.

Second, we prepared for this year’s Kick-off Sunday with another block-walk into Riverside Village. It was the fourth such walk this year. Riverside Village is the development that emerged across New Street, five walking minutes away from our church. In contrast to Hiram Square, it houses many young families and is interspersed with social housing.
It is ethnically and culturally extremely diverse. The cleanliness of its streets does not leave any memory of the former projects that the city removed from here a few years ago. A day before Kick-off Sunday, Joan, Susan and I and our daughter, Allison, rang doorbells there and talked to numerous children, grandmothers and young mothers.
We handed out invitations to our Sunday School, answered questions, and introduced ourselves. Allison, of course, wore a T-shirt with the telling imprint “I already forgot your name”. Yet nobody seemed to mind, and we had a good time. Riverside Village is an exciting part of our neighborhood.

About Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills

Hartmut Kramer-Mills, a native of Jena, Germany, began his theological education at Heidelberg University. After the Middle Exam in 1986 he received a scholarship from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from McCormick with a Master of Divinity in 1988. He graduated from Marburg University in Germany with the Ecclesiastical Exam in 1990, and received a Dr. theol. from Greifswald University, Germany, in 1997. From 1990 to 1991 he was vicar at St. Wenzel in Naumburg, Germany. He was ordained minister of word and sacrament in 1993 through the Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony. From 1993 to 1998 he served as assistant pastor in Stoessen, Goerschen, and Rathewitz, Germany. At the same time he was lecturer for Church History at Erfurt College in Germany. From 1999 to 2000 he served the Spotswood Reformed Church in New Jersey as interim pastor. Since 2000 he and his wife serve the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as co-pastors.
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