On Sunday, Oct 21st, we wrapped up the congregational part of our capital campaign, â€œOur Witness in a New/Old Placeâ€. The day was a full success. The church was already brimming during the pre-worship hours.
Contrary to other Sundays, Fellowship Hall was almost empty during this time because everybody was busy preparing something. Thanks to Ethel Salamoneâ€™s and Joan Feketeâ€™s cooking talents, the kitchen exuded beautiful smells. From the adjacent Randolph Room one could hear John Coakleyâ€™s clarinet, and later Ellen Hamiltonâ€™s flute. Led by Sandy Boyles, the children were enthusiastically rehearsing in the sanctuary, with a few members of Consistory (Bruce Bothwell and Joan Fekete) and us pastors joining them. At the same time, Stef Beemsterboer installed a PowerPoint projector we had borrowed from our Regional Synod office. Later Pastor Susan and Viktoriya Raufova, together with Liz Hance as soloist, had the young generation rehearse the childrenâ€™s anthem. It was a lot of fun.
During worship, we performed a play written by Sandy Boyles under the title An Extreme Church Make-Over. It was a revised version of the popular TV show. It did not lead to tearing down the old church but expressed great appreciation of the many historic features of our buildings.
At several points during the performance, our youngest children, dressed with the hardheads of true church construction workers, listed famous names of our churchâ€™s past: Theodorus Frelinghuysen, John Henry Livingston, Elias van Bunschooten, Jacob R. Hardenbergh, to name a few. It was a moving experience because it felt a little like passing the baton to another generation. When I thanked the children I said that some day they would make fine members of Consistory.
Then our architect, Margaret Westfield, delivered a mission moment and gave us some more insight from her perspective why our buildings are worth preserving. It was the first time she addressed the congregation on the whole.
Then the luncheon came, combined with Margaretâ€™s slide show. Thanks to great visual documentation for now almost 200 years, she was able to take us on a great history tour. We saw the familiar features of our church embedded in various periods of time, and we realized: Our buildings mean more than providing shelter for our current programs.
In total, we have now received pledges from our congregation and former members in the amount of $146,230.00. Thank you to everybody who committed him or herself to this great project! I am also pleased to announce that every member of our Consistory has submitted a pledge; our â€œboardâ€ is 100% in support of the project.
It is still a long way to go until we will reach the match of $750,000 for the state grant we hope to obtain next year. Yet there is more help on the way. We are approaching every congregation of the Reformed Church in America, we have requested help from the City of New Brunswick, as well as Middlesex County and various foundations. We are also planning on a larger external fund-raising event for Mar 9, 2008.