An Evening of Honor

The Lay Recognition Dinner that our Regional Synod organizes every other year is about the best piece of Synod work we can experience as individual church members. The Synod does other great things. It manages the Reformed Church Home and the Warwick Conference Center, for example. But nowhere is the Synod as close as during the night of the Lay Recognition Dinner.

This year, the dinner took place on April 8 and again at the Imperia in Somerset. First Reformed Church managed to fill a table of ten. Our honoree was Gary Bernhofer, who also gave a speech that night on inclusive ministry and our work with Walter Boyles. The program brochure had this Bio for Gary:

Gary has been a member of First Reformed Church for 30 years. For much of this time, he has served with his wife Lauren on the Christian Education Committee, which he oftentimes chaired. He taught Sunday School and organized for many years our annual camping trips to Camp Warwick. Together with his wife, Gary has mentored a great number of youth by building personal relationships. This involved lunch invitations, visits to sports games, and other excursions. For many years, he has also served on our Task Force for persons with developmental disabilities. He was pivotal in the confirmation process of Walter Boyles, a young man with Autism. Gary has served numerous terms as Deacon and Elder on Consistory. In recent years, Gary joined the choir of First Reformed Church where he sings as tenor. At the same time, he took on the responsibility of co-chairing the Property & Housekeeping Committee with his son Joshua. The work of this Committee exceeds the task of a traditional Property Committee, because it regularly includes a good part of historic preservation. Here, Gary’s experience with young people has become invaluable, as he regularly leads groups of student volunteers from Rutgers University on work days dedicated to historic preservation. Gary is also a great organizer of congregational festivities like our annual Mother’s Day Breakfast. Finally, we need to mention Gary’s involvement in the Rotating Interfaith Homeless Men’s Shelter, his serving on the Board of Rutgers Protestant Campus Ministries, and his participation in the Mobile Eucharist Team of our church.

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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