Summer Worship Time

Dear Members of First Reformed Church:

Please be aware that our worship time will change to 9:30AM for the summer. We start this coming Sunday, June 12.  Our last Sunday on summer time will be on September 4.

There are also changes regarding parking. After conversation I had this morning with its director, the Parking Authority was generous in replacing our old meter bags. But at the same time, the Authority will no longer allow individual use of these bags.

This means that we can use the bags only on two occasions:

  • On Sundays (just to mark our territory, so to speak, because parking is free on Sundays otherwise).
  • On occasions that we have called in ahead of time (like the Lunchtime Recitals).

If bags are used outside of these times, the cars parked there may receive a ticket.

However, as we shift our worship life to the church building, parking at the Church Street Parking Deck will become more attractive; and we have vouchers to park there free. But the old glass door entrance will remain attractive for those of us who require ADA accessibility.

Thanks for your continuing support!

Pastor Hartmut

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A Wonderful Retirement Party

Wednesday, May 11th marked a special day for New Brunswick Seminary, the Reformed community of New Brunswick, and also for First Reformed Church. We celebrated the retirement of Dr. Coakley after 32 years of teaching church history at the seminary. The picture shows Rev. James Hart Brumm presenting to John a Festschrift filled with academic contributions on a variety of subjects and published by an international publishing house. Russ Gasero, the general archivist of our denomination, and Dr. Greg Mast, the president of our seminary, supported James in his presentation. (I heard someone whisper: “So what’s a Festschrift?” It’s a compilation of essays written in honor of a distinguished scholar and presented on the occasion of a festive act – a retirement, birthday or the like.)

We have many reasons here at First Reformed to be grateful to John and his wife Margaret. Both have been deeply involved in the life of the church. Margaret made the Consistory the focal point of her attention. She has also served on several committees, most recently the Worship & Music Committee.

John’s clarinet has been indispensible to our music department, and our choir would be a lot poorer without John’s and Margaret’s voice. John has preached regularly here and
used many occasions to invite interest in the history of the church and our denomination. Sometimes, he did this through lectures and presentations, and at other times through his expert opinion to certain issues. But the most fun of these occasions were the ones when he reenacted someone like Dr. John Henry Livingston during one of our graveyard tours. And several of John’s books have a firm place in our church library.

We wish Margaret and John God’s rich blessings on their way into a new period of life.

They are a cherished part of this church family.

retirement

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Interfaith Work as Important as Ever!

National Day of Prayer on May 5th created another highlight for interfaith work in the town of New Brunswick. Organized by the Mayor’s Office, it included participants of Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions. City Hall’s community organizer Keith Jones, II put once again his remarkable skills to work to bring us all together. He also changed the theme of the day to give the event more relevance in our community: Instead of “Wake up, America” our theme was “A Servant’s Heart”.

If these world religions worked together in the rest of the world as they did that afternoon in New Brunswick, this planet would be a lot more at peace!

Natday-of-prayer

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Amazing Day of Service!

It was with great pride that 8 people volunteered to be Ambassadors at the Rutgers University Commencement on May 15, 2016, where President Barak Obama was the speaker. The volunteers represented First Reformed Church and the church was recognized on the Jumbo Tron inside the stadium. The recognition stated: “Thank you Commencement Ambassadors! And the Volunteers of the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick.” Those representing FRC were: Lauren Bernhofer, Uta and Allyson Burke, Danica Cotov , Jonathan J. Kunkel-Jure, Siobhan McLaughlin, Ken and Sherri Novack.

Sherri organized the group and was the liaison with the University Commencement office. This was the first time Rutgers singled out a group to recognize. Sherri had to ask Chris Retzko, the commencement volunteer organizer, if such recognition was available and Rutgers agreed. Knowing how often Rutgers students volunteer at FRC, she felt it only right that a group of volunteers would come from FRC as a “give back” of service.

The FRC volunteers were assigned to help people with special needs; another mission of the church. The greatest service was at the end of the commencement as everyone poured out through one gate of the stadium and the rush was particularly overwhelming for all.

The anticipation and excitement of Commencement Speaker, President Barak Obama , made for a most memorable day! Regardless of politics, President Obama gave an inspiring speech to the over 10 thousand students, and their guests. It truly was an Amazing Day of Service.




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Footstools with Meaning

They may not have received much attention on normal days. But Saturday, May 21 was certainly not a normal day in the lives of the footstools of First Reformed Church. At the East Jersey Olde Towne Village in Piscataway, Middlesex County offered an archaeology symposium on two excavation sites in New Jersey. One of them was First Reformed Church. Here, archaeologists helped twice in recent years to prepare the property for construction work: First in 1995 when we built the breezeway, and then again in 2014-15 when we prepared for the construction of Dina’s Dwellings. Mark Nonestied, museum’s curator and Division Head at the County’s Cultural & Heritage Commission, gave the presentation on our church. He ended with an introduction to the world of our footstools and their owners throughout history. It was fun and interesting and also highly informative to learn whose feet had all been supported once by these stools.


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Lunchtime Recitals as Ministry

We just completed another highly successful season of our well-tried Lunchtime Recital Series. The pictures show Janet Waanders, the main organizer of the series, and Maureen Hurd Hause, the clarinet player of the concert on May 4.

  • Why is this series a form of ministry? Well, it bears several qualifying marks:
    It is a selfless endeavor whose costs are shared by the church, the County and the NJ Council of the Arts.
  • It builds community in that it brings populations together that would otherwise not meet – for example students of middle school age and residents of area nursing homes. The meals following the concerts are very important in this regard.
  • It supports integration efforts for immigrant children as they can relate to the music and the performers and become aware of the international origin of much of what is being played.
  • The Question & Answer moments afterwards oftentimes provide opportunities to reflect on the music, the composers, and even the meaning of life.

Thank you, Janet, for enriching our lives with this very special Series! A great thank you goes also out to the many volunteers who work in the kitchen for our success: Joan Fekete, Lolly Schenck, Margaret Coakley, Lilie Suabedissen, Sherri Novack, Liz Hance and many others.


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Town Clock CDC

Town Clock CDC

Town Clock CDC

By Susan Kramer-Mills, Executive Director

Quite Moving!

No joke! I cannot tell you have often the church’s green hand truck has been employed these past few weeks.

First we moved new furniture: Folding tables and chairs for the Conference Room, books from Susan’s old office, etc.

Then we moved donations, such as: clothing closets, clothes, various donations for our pantry.

Then we moved in California Closets for each apartment! The residents LOVE them!

Then we said good-bye to Elizabeth Dennin, our MSW intern. She was with us for an entire school year.

We moved nine residents and four children into Dina’s Dwellings and even have held two potlucks and an official resident meeting. The tenth apartment will be filled by June 1.

Tom Toronto, President of Bergen County’s United Way, one of our residents, and Susan were interviewed by the Housing & Community Development Network of NJ about the need for affordable housing in NJ. We were honored that they came to our offices for the interview.

We are excited about Erin Eckert’s Silver Project, which will establish a Library Corner in our Community Room for children and young adults. We are also seeking books for our residents. If you have gently used books to donate to any age, that would be great.

Our residents are regularly in need of a few items, which we hope people would be willing to supply: paper products – especially toilet paper and nonperishable foods: canned vegetables are great too!

Thanks for your continued great support of Dina’s Dwellings.

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