Block Party 2011

Part of our ministry here at First Reformed Church is the offer of space to various groups of the neighborhood. With this, we hope to not just support our utility costs, but, indeed, to build community. In order to be even more intentional, we invited representatives from all eleven groups to a “block party” in the end of the year. Ben Berman, Lolly Schenk and Susan and I prepared a feast with food from the Phoenician Supermarket in North Brunswick.

It was long overdue that we met in this round. For some, it was the first time that they saw each other face to face. So there was a lot of sharing. We even started painting a community canvas together – something Raíces Cultural Center had introduced. It’s a canvas showing our community in the shape of a tree. Participants were invited to paint parts of the tree according to their own need for expression.

Finally, the round decided to engage in some community service together. We discussed two possibilities: The Family Dinner Program “House of Manna” always appreciates accompanying offers. It would not be difficult for our various groups to rotate their presence during the meal times of House of Manna. Another possibility was the idea of a kiosk prepared by our groups for young people in New Brunswick, preferably during sports games at various locations. The kiosk would offer an invitation to our groups and thus offer an alternative to hanging out in the streets.

Upon conclusion, we all agreed: The block party was an evening filled with laughter, fellowship, serious talk, planning for the future and, last but not least, good food from our Lebanese neighbors.


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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