No Vacancy

Why do I keep thinking about no room in the inn when it’s time to be thinking about Good Friday and Easter? Some of us on the Building Usage or even the Invitation and Outreach Committees could answer that question. Better yet, ask our Sexton, Robert Longo, and he will tell you about all the groups – large and small – that have been using our facilities lately.

To give you an example, the last Friday through Sunday of March our buildings were almost never empty. It started with the Eric B. Chandler Health Center of UMDNJ holding a luncheon in Fellowship Hall. Also, Lisanne Finston dropped off dishes, bowls, and cups for the House of Manna. Of course, the Youth Empowerment Services were in the Music Office during the day. On Friday night, two congregations celebrated worship here.

Saturday morning, while a group of 20+ women and girl scouts cleaned the downstairs, a music doctoral student practiced on our organ, and the Young Life group moved into the Music Office, too. Yes, we have three groups using the Music Office: Ben Berman and Erie Beemsterboer for our music program,
Youth Empowerment Services, and Young Life (which is a campus ministry organization). Phew! Can you imagine that they are all able to work at different times in that space?

Also on Saturday, the Stoney Mae Productions held a concert, which was visited by over 200 people. Robert finished cleaning up at 2:00 a.m. And then Sunday we were all here again: First Reformed Church, Calvary Chapel, Word of Life, and Triumphant Covenant House of God, as well as the Dutch Dancers.

That’s right, the buildings were hardly ever empty. Can you believe it? In fact, on a regular basis we have diverse groups using our buildings: local theatre and arts group, weddings, concerts, songwriters, karate classes, choral ensembles, and so forth.

Our greatest difficulty at present is figuring out where to put things; hence, the ‘no room in the inn’ dilemma. Some of you have seen the beautiful chairs which were donated to us from Vien, a Vietnamese refugee whom our church sponsored many, many years ago. There are 70 chairs, which are too fine to use for regular use and are now stacked in the Randolph Room.

And then we have other ‘space’ issues. The House of Manna wants to hand out clothing, which is now hanging in Fellowship Hall, next to the wonderfully cleaned up choir robes. What can we do with these items? How can we accommodate the needs? Yikes! We are running out of space. Is that possible in this
huge place?

As your building usage coordinator (some of you might not have known this), I have often enough reported to the consistory that I receive about two building requests per week; however, recently requests have increased. I think it can best be explained that folks have heard about our church, since so many people are using it, and people know that we try to make accommodations; thus, we have become a community church, because our in space there is room for all.


Pastor Susan

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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