Classis Becoming Younger

Before I start, let me define the term: “Classis” is for us what our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters would call a “diocese”. Except, we don’t have a cathedral and a bishop at its center, just delegates to an assembly from all congregations of the area. “Classis” is a Latin word and means “fleet” and carries a connotation of equality among congregations. The plural is “classes”. Our Classis is the Classis of New Brunswick. It consists of congregations in Central and South Jersey and one church in Maryland.

With this behind us, let me share with you what joy it is when we see a body like our Classis not becoming older but, actually, younger. There are three stated meetings per year, and the one on January 25 at Second Reformed Church in New Brunswick provided good testimony to this trend. During lunch, there was even an opportunity of recognizing young emerging church leaders from many of our congregations.

That day, there were a total of eleven young people. Each received a plaque, while the corresponding pastor introduced the honoree to the assembly.

Our Consistory here at First Reformed Church had nominated Ben Berman to receive this honor. Ben does much more than serving as music director on Sunday morning. He leads the Interfaith Rainbow Choir, is part of the Interfaith Coexistence Project, has a stake in our adult education program, and is one of our Dutch Dancers. Through all this he has become part of a growing group of young church leaders who represent the church of the next generation.

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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