First Reformed Church Does More than Co-Exist!

Often it is hard for our white majority to view itself as ethnic. For centuries, white customs and norms have set the cultural standard, and much of what might appear as ethnically biased if transposed into a different culture, has acquired the aura of apparent objectivity. Sometimes other ethnic groups can help us recognize this, and sometimes it will be just one exchange student who holds up a cultural mirror and talks about something we otherwise ignored as taken for granted.

But then there are times when we can help ourselves. In those moments, we remember our own particular ethnic past, its customs and costumes, its foods and its songs. Such a moment arrived, when our Dutch Dancers readied themselves for the opening ceremony of the CO-EXISTENCE exhibition on April 28th at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick. In full costumes, we walked from the church through the center of town to the museum. Our procession caused quite a bit of friendly attention. Some cars stopped or slowed down, and people took pictures with their cell phones, and others made friendly remarks.

What was this good for, you might ask? Well, if it helped us leave the illusion of ethnic objectivity and assume the heritage of one particular tradition, then it was a great exercise. When we finally danced at the Zimmerli, we joined the company of a great Chinese choir and a very sophisticated Hungarian dance ensemble. Together, we provided for a colorful overture. Thank you, Erie and Ellen, and you other Dutch Dancers from First Reformed Church!

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.
This entry was posted in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.