Lecture Seminar – If These Walls Could Talk

Fascinating information was presented at the Lecture Seminar on April 21st, our second event in our series for the 200th Anniversary of the Sanctuary. Since the day was fairly warm, the lectures were held in the sanctuary. Russell Gasero, the RCA Archivist, video-taped the entire event so that it will be placed on the digital highway. The Luncheon provided by Ethel Salamone, with the support of Joan Fekete and Lolly Schenck in the kitchen, was superb!

John Coakley, Robert Belvin, and Christine Miller Cruiess each had their own style and type of information. What stood out was the question: Why was such a large sanctuary built at this location? Both Drs. Coakley and Belvin worked on an explanation for this. Dr. Coakley compared the location of New Brunswick in the light of where the rest of the Dutch settlers were located. First Reformed Church was really located at the southern end of these settlements. By no means was this area deemed influential. Yet, this was the location that won out, so to speak, for the seminary to be founded. Did this influence, then, the building of a large church?

Dr. Belvin raised some further points, namely, New Brunswick in 1812 was a small town with a population of 3000. Strange that such a church would be built, one that would seat 1200. Doesn’t that seem like a bit too large?

The lectures were really quite challenging and enjoyable. Rarely does one get such well-prepared local history presented. To John, Robert, and Christine we express our heart-felt thanks!




About Susan Kramer-Mills

Susan Kramer-Mills' journey as a pastor has led her to a variety of places. Before attending McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago she was a Volunteer-in-Mission for two years West Berlin, Germany. After returning to the United States and graduating from seminary, she returned with her husband Hartmut to Germany. From 1990 to 1992 she was campus chaplain and registrar at Naumburg Seminary in former East Germany. With the closing of the seminary she assumed the pastorate for the yoked congregations of Stoessen, Goerschen and Rathewitz in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. At the same time she taught Religious Instruction at two public elementary schools until 1998. During this time she was assigned six additional congregations to the original three. In 1998, she received a call as Associate Pastor to Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She served in that position until 2000, when she and her husband accepted a call as co-pastors to First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Since April 1, 2004, Rev. Kramer-Mills has also been working part-time as Classis Minister to the Classis of New Brunswick.
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