Interview with Aurea Vega, Church Secretary

Hartmut: Aurea, our circle of friends and supporters is large, and many do not live in New Jersey. But they can meet you through this interview. So let me ask you on their behalf: Where do you come from, and what do you bring to First Reformed Church?

Aurea: I was born in Puerto Rico. My family moved here when I was four years old. Today I feel that English is my first language, and Spanish is my second one.

 I come also from the Suydam Street Reformed Church, where I serve as Deacon on Consistory and volunteer in the church office.

 Finally, I am a retired employee of AT&T/LUCENT where I worked for 25 years and gained good office experience.

Hartmut: Coming to First Reformed Church, what’s your overall impression?

Aurea: There are so many nice people every day. Stef Beemsterboer has come twice to get me settled in, and Taronn has called just yesterday again to ask how I am doing. This is a very caring place.

Hartmut: I’m glad you feel that way, because “caring” is something our church family values very much. Is there something that you particularly look forward to when you open the office door each day?

Aurea: It’s the people, the whole environment. You know, I’m not the type of person that’s very wordy. But everybody here is very patient. This makes me feel at home. Also, Joan Fekete is a tremendous help.

Hartmut: The Suydam Street Reformed Church is situated in the middle of a vibrant community. Hiram Square, at first glance, looks a bit different. What do you think is special about our location?

Aurea: You know, my husband and I lived for a long time in this community that surrounds First Reformed Church. Our apartment was in what was then called “Bishop Tower” (now Riverside Towers, right on the corner of Commercial Avenue and Route 18, separated from the New Brunswick Apartments by the ramp to the new Commercial Avenue bridge). Our girls grew up there. For me, 20 years after my husband’s passing, coming to First Reformed Church and its neighborhood feels like coming home again.

Hartmut: Thank you for this interview. And thank you for accepting the position, and thank you also for being a voice from our neighborhood.

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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