Consistory Corner – January 19th

Consistory met on Jan 19th for its regular meeting. One of its first actions was to celebrate the lay leadership of our church by nominating Heather Epstein, Erie Beemsterboer and Pam Gray as guests of honor to the lay recognition dinner of our Regional Synod. Whatever progress we experience as a church family, there are always dedicated individuals behind it. We are grateful for a chance of celebrating this year the work of these particular women.

Among the many committee reports Consistory received that night was also a report from the Finance Committee. It delineated the design of our first Annual Pledge Campaign. Consistory reviewed the written material that will be sent to our active members, as well as the timetable of the campaign. Then it passed the campaign by vote. The Finance Committee emphasized that the campaign was not intended to provide a special measure for dealing with the annual budget deficit. Instead, the Committee hopes that the campaign will serve all our members as an educational tool on congregational giving. In addition, the Committee hopes that the campaign results will provide the church with more predictability as far as its projected income is concerned.

However, Consistory did not just talk about money that night. There was also a report on the coordination of some of our preservation efforts with neighboring Christ Episcopal Church. The combined Coordination Committee has just met for a second time.

Then there was the news of a special Baptism on Sunday, Feb 21st. This is a result of the current new member class and fits well with the baptism-centered liturgy we will employ during Lent.

We began and closed the evening with prayer. In gratitude, we lifted up to God the signs of growing life in our church: The new member class, the successful completion of our men’s shelter week, and the recent increase in our fund-raising for the preservation project. We also brought our concerns before God: The situation in Haiti, the struggles of some of our churches without installed pastor in the Classis of New Brunswick, and the situation of the Western troops in the Middle East. It was a meaningful evening.

Consistory will meet in a special session on Saturday, Jan 23rd, in order to find ways to decrease or eliminate our annual budget deficit. Due to the newsletter deadline, we will have to report on this at another time.

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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