Lenten Liturgy

When thinking of the calendar year of the church, many of us anticipate spending much of 2010 with brick and mortar. We allocated six weeks between the end of February and the beginning of April to the reconstruction of the Women’s Bathroom. Later, in May, construction of Phase 1 of our Preservation project will begin: the steeple, the church roof, the church attic, and the soffit of the education building.

With so much physical work, it is necessary that we take care of our spiritual balance. The time of Lent offers itself for this, as it provides us with some great opportunity to find center in our worship life. As every year, we will begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, Feb 17th, at 7:30 p.m. with a collegiate worship service here at First Reformed Church. Folks from the Highland Park Reformed Church, Second Reformed Church, and the Suydam Street Reformed Church will join us for the occasion. Our organist and choir director, Ben Berman, has found great music for the combined choir.

Following the Ash Wednesday service, we will offer a special confessional liturgy during the beginning part of our Lenten Sunday worship services. This liturgy centers on the baptismal font and is based on words from Psalm 51. Each time, we will pour water into the font, reminding ourselves of the beginning of our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we will adapt a format that comes to us from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

In addition to this special worship liturgy, we offer a Lenten Adult Education Class. It has the title, Living Your Faith in a Messed-up World, and comes to us from our sister denomination, the Christian Reformed Church. Each session will focus on a short film or interview that provides an exemplary insight into the relevance of the Reformed faith today. The sessions will be held on Friday nights at 8:00 p.m., beginning on Mar 19th. We are trying to hold these sessions in various homes rather than at church. If you would like to host a session, please call our church office (732-545-1005).

A Presbyterian Lenten liturgy and a Christian-Reformed adult education class — this also reflects where we are as the people of First Reformed Church: firmly embedded in our Reformed tradition and, yet, always eager to broaden our horizon and outlook.

May this year’s Lenten journey be meaningful to you!
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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