Hartmut:Â 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:Â 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.
Â I come also from the Suydam Street Reformed Church, where I serve as Deacon on Consistory and volunteer in the church office.
Â Finally, I am a retired employee of AT&T/LUCENT where I worked for 25 years and gained good office experience.
Hartmut:Â Coming to First Reformed Church, whatâ€™s your overall impression?
Aurea:Â 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:Â Iâ€™m glad you feel that way, because â€œcaringâ€ 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:Â Itâ€™s the people, the whole environment. You know, Iâ€™m not the type of person thatâ€™s very wordy. But everybody here is very patient. This makes me feel at home. Also, Joan Fekete is a tremendous help.
Hartmut:Â 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:Â 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 â€œBishop Towerâ€ (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 husbandâ€™s passing, coming to First Reformed Church and its neighborhood feels like coming home again.
Hartmut:Â Thank you for this interview. And thank you for accepting the position, and thank you also for being a voice from our neighborhood.