From Pastor’s Desk

Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk

Soon, we will enter the season of Lent again. We will follow the stages of the liturgical calendar, and we will be together with the wider Church in this. Our Collegiate Ash Wednesday service on March 5 at 7:30PM at the Suydam Street Reformed Church will provide a taste for this. It’s one of our best attended collegiate activities. We expect over 100 worshippers from the four participating churches. Following a tradition started by the Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli in the 16th century, our worship service will be followed by our famous “Feast of Sausages”.

Yet in all this emphasis on the institutions for Lent, whether they are pensive or fun, let us not forget that “church” is also a deeply human response to God that happens prior to any form of organized religion. Church happens when people gather at the Table of the Lord. It occurs when we find access regardless of our intellectual or physical capacity or level of awareness. It includes a bed-ridden homebound member like Anna Mariano just as much as little Andy Epstein whom you can see in the attached picture looking through the door.

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Since this is so, we all have an opportunity to feel and experience the grace of God just by thinking of the church. Obviously, God’s grace is not predominantly manifest in our leaders, scholars or even pastors. Rather, it is in the midst of our congregation as it tries to embrace really everyone, from Andy to Anna, if you will.

It is very much in sync with these considerations that we offer an exciting Adult Education Lenten Program this year. It is called “Journeys of Faith” and will take on these for Wednesdays: March 12 and 26, and April 2 and 9, each time from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM (the hour before choir). The program is designed to raise our awareness regarding issues of global mission in an age when mainline mission can no longer be summarized as “saving souls for Christ”. But what exactly is it then? Well, come and see! You might be surprised at what you find.

With fond wishes,
Pastor Hartmut

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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