Dina’s Dwelling and FRC Worship Life

It was very exciting when our Community Development Organization received a delegation of 16 women from several Regional Synods of our denomination in order to explain Dina’s Dwelling to them. How far the circles reach that our project has created! We are blessed to be engaging in such meaningful ministry. Imagine – a part of our sanctuary and the empty rooms behind it will soon provide space for 10 apartments for victims of domestic violence.

However, with all the anticipated events concerning our sanctuary reconfiguration, it is especially important that we continue to build our worship life. Staying at home and letting the others worship without oneself is not a good option. It renders the rest of us just a little less joyful and a lot less complete. In fact, lacking funds are easier to deal with than empty pews. And so I say, “Come and mingle, because you are important, and you matter! And it is here that you will find life.”

We can see how special our life as congregation is when we compare the long time frame of new construction with the brevity of demolition. You can take down a house in one blow, but how long did it take to build? The great monastery of Cluny in France – perhaps the largest of its kind ever built – took almost a millennium to be completed. Busloads of pilgrims visited there every day, and where we receive one delegation, they must have had 50.

Yet it took Napoleon just over two decades to destroy the proud complex. Today, only one single tower is all that’s left. When Susan and I travelled there years ago, we saw the floor plan of the former monastery painted in white over the roofs of the present village. It was a sad memorial.

So why not take the opportunity that God has created here at First Reformed with its interesting people, its friendly atmosphere and its challenging discussions, all housed in truly special buildings? It is a place where you can truly make a difference. It’s a gift from God when we are offered a place in a story like this and continue the work of generations before us. I hope to see you Sunday!

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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