An Update from the Construction Site

Not much has changed since last month. The pent-roof in the front of the church nears completion as I write these words. The windows of the education building are being prepped for the removal of the old paint.

Progress may feel slow, but it is steady. And what is more important, it has proven to be sustainable! It is truly remarkable how far we have come.
Meanwhile, we have to thank Paul Nulton from our Regional Synod. He used his skills last month to renovate the little entry foyer to the Randolph Room. This means that, whenever we worship again in the Randolph Room, latecomers will not have to fear that the glass door entrance to the education building might be locked. It may very well be, but now we can enter the Randolph Room directly from the outside.

Finally, a thought regarding the often-asked question whether it is not more important to donate towards one of our ministries and programs instead of the Preservation Fund: In conversation with various potential donors, this question has come up again in recent weeks.

Here is my response: Our preservation project is not luxurious at all. It is neither a beautifying project, nor is it primarily something that satisfies historians or people with special aesthetic interest. From the church’s point of view, the main purpose of the project is to protect us from calamities like leaking roofs or more collapsing walls. The old truism applies in our case especially well: If we did not provide dry and safe space for our programs and ministries, we would not have these programs and ministries much longer.

To prove my point, I’d like to point out the brownstone windowsills that fell off the building on the Bayard Street side. There are currently no plans of putting them back in. Why not? Even though they are unsightly, still they do not pose a safety threat. We have filled the holes behind them. Unfortunately, we cannot afford energy or resources at this time to correct the situation.

Truly, even with this huge preservation project, we are doing only what is absolutely necessary to keep our interior dry and safe. We are at a point where every single donation towards the Preservation Fund benefits almost directly our programs, such as our family feeding “House of Manna”, the rotating homeless men’s shelter, or even our great lunchtime recital series. So that’s why our preservation project is so important!

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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