From Pastor’s Desk

Pastor’s Desk
July / August 2012

Summer is here, and with it the hot temperatures. It seems, though, as if we were having a different kind of a hot summer as well. With Stef and Erie Beemsterboer announcing their family’s return to the Netherlands, and with General Synod declaring support for gay and lesbian fellow Christians a “disciplinable offense” it is not easy to stay cool.

Thanks be to God, we have good structures here at First Reformed Church! They allow us to deal with these adversities in good and orderly ways. Consistory and Finance Committee will meet on July 5 in order to reorganize the personnel situation in our Finance Department. And on July 22, we plan on inviting everybody after worship for a gathering in order to discuss the situation as created by General Synod. Since members from the New Brunswick Collegiate Churches have asked to take part, this meeting will be a collegiate gathering.

This is, however, only one side of the coin. The other is the human situation. Please pray for the Beemsterboer family at this time of heavy transition. They need all the love and support that we as a church family can provide. We will miss them terribly, and wish them every blessing possible.

Please pray as well for all of us who are deeply disturbed by the ruling of General Synod. This does not just pertain to our congregational leaders who have taken an open and affirming stance. Much more important is the question how this message from General Synod will be received by the gay and lesbian Christians in our midst. We preach inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity, and yet we represent a denomination that is denying these values on this particular issue. Let us pray that people will not equate this misguided human ruling with the message of Jesus Christ! And let us continue to strive for an ever more comprehensive realization of God’s love in this world.

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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