Back on the Map!

How can a church like ours retain its place on the map of the community? Very simple: by staying involved. And that’s just what we did during the month of Advent. It started with the official treelighting ceremony of the City of New Brunswick on Dec 3rd. Our Dutch Dancers were invited to take part in the show. This year, we accompanied the performance with a little invitation table. Passers by received a brochure with our programs. We also gave candy canes to the children. Many good conversations accompanied this. Please see the accompanying pictures.

On Dec 12th, our Adult Choir performed at the State Theatre of New Brunswick as part of the Irish Christmas show of Eileen Ivers. This gave us yet another opportunity to make the general public aware of our preservation project — the program had an insert with pictures from the construction site.

On Wednesday, Dec 15th, we had an interesting meeting of the City Council. That night, the Council resolved to use the current opportunity of scaffolding around our steeple to restore the four faces and the corresponding hands of the town clock. As you know, the City owns the clock to this day. The restoration is no easy enterprise! There are four faces, and each is larger than a person. The work entails not only painting, but also carpentry, as parts of the faces are in need of repair or even missing. It was very rewarding for Susan and me to attend the meeting of the City Council. It gave us an opportunity to speak and to have more conversation afterwards. Several of these conversations were continued the following day when we were guests at the Mayor’s Holiday Party at City Hall.

All in all, we can only be grateful for the role our church begins to play in town. Why is that important, you might ask? It is because it creates ties that benefit many. This year, we introduced our friends from Pine Grove Nursery School and from the Turkish Interfaith Dialog Center to the world of City Hall, and we hope that their arrival in town will make our wonderfully diverse community just a bit more complete. That’s what maps are all about — they should not have too many blank spots.

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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