A Song for First Reformed

In this day and age, when many small churches are facing the challenges of coping with daily business requirements, it is very important not to lose sight of the first call of any church: ministry and worship. At times, the business of daily life requires a little outside help in this regard.

We here at First Reformed Church received such assistance when Lorraine Nelson Wolf, together with husband, Godfrey, and daughter, Lauren, provided us with a most meaningful Song Gift weekend. Lorraine has built her reputation inside and outside the Reformed Church in America. She has performed in over a dozen Broadway shows, and her compositions are featured on Norman Vincent Peale’s Guideposts website. Lorraine and her husband also composed the theme music for CBS NASCAR. She has performed for General Synod as well.

Our song gift weekend took place on September 11th and 12th. It combined a concert on the evening of the anniversary of 9/11 with our Rally Sunday the following day. That Sunday marked the beginning of the new Sunday school year. During worship, Lorraine presented her gift of a song to the congregation. It was entitled There Is Joy (please see the lyrics below).

Lorraine’s music and texts are so interesting because they seem to build bridges for those divided by their preference for either traditional hymn singing or contemporary praise music. While modern in rhythm and instrumentation, Lorraine’s lyrics are as serious and educated as many of our old hymn texts. Some of the criticism against modern praise music simply does not apply to them. In addition, many of Lorraine’s themes are developed from traditional ones. We were especially delighted to hear her intonation of the first article of the Heidelberg Catechism. What better way to celebrate a new school year?

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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