Management of an Historic Site

Oh, these are big words, when all we need is a tight roof, squirrel-free offices, and a steeple that does not shed angels’ wings. But we are working on it with all diligence!

Back in January, Architect Margaret Westfield met with our rather large Project Group. The group comprises volunteers from inside and outside of our church. They have knowledge in terms of property maintenance, fund-raising and grant-writing, and report directly to Consistory. Stef Beemsterboer leads the financial part, Ellen Hamilton the property part, and Patty Tsai spearheads the fund-raising efforts of the group – three great volunteers at the right time!

Margaret Westfield’s work has yielded first results: We had to exchange the basement entrance door to the chapel of the Triumphed Covenant House of Prayer and Margaret helped us doing so in a way that our expenses are eligible to count towards our match for a future state grant.

Margaret’s colleague, Sheila Koehler, who surveyed our premises for her, discovered a bad leak in the Sexton’s House that we did not know about. Because of her, we were able to address the situation quickly and without further damage.

Meanwhile, Ellen, Stef and Patty have also begun to work closely with our architect as they prepare the meetings of their respective committees. Margaret has already supplied several fund-raising ideas to Patty and connected Patty and her group with resources in our area. In particular, Patty’s group is seeking to learn from the Hightstown United Methodist Church that completed a very successful fund-raising campaign under the revealing title “NUTS”. Should there be another church suffering from squirrels? We will find out.

Finally, we are also getting involved in advocating at the state level for a renewal of the NJ Historic Trust program after 2008. This way, we combine self-preservation with usefulness to others. Margaret Westfield helped pave the way here as well. At First Reformed Church, we are fortunate to have such competent help.

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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