Summertime Dynamics

Dear Friends,

Summertime has its own dynamics and most of us know it to be a myth when we hear that it is calmer, with less work, and relaxed deadlines. Fact is that things are only different, but not really less.

Here at church we had a few extracurricular activities that kept us busy: On July 14th, RCA Archivist Russell Gasero and I moved a substantial amount of archival material to the denominational archives located at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Those who saw us climbing up and down the stairs to the basement that day may have taken us for the poor machinists on a hot desert steam engine, furnace devils so to speak. It was, however, a job that satisfied, because these files were very valuable but had been left water damaged in the basement since the fire in 1971. I am glad we were able to preserve this piece of our history.
The other summer activities took place, generally speaking, in open air. The pictures elsewhere in this newsletter are from our end-of-the-school-year service at Rutgers Gardens. We had a dance pole and celebrated the goodness of God in a world torn by hunger, war, and selfish political interest. We danced and sang and prayed, setting signs of God’s dawning kingdom so much at odds with the news from Lebanon or the reality as portrayed in the 2005 movie Syriana with George Clooney. (The latter is an eye-opener as far as the international wrangling over dwindling oil reserves in the Middle East is concerned, and it raises the question in whose slipstream we really sail the cargo of our privileged lives.

Then came our annual retreat to Camp Warwick where we learned about God’s soaring promise of grace and salvation, built kites, pondered the eagles’ passage in Isaiah 40:31, and painted a fence for the conference center there – see the article here.

A week later we joined our collegiate team of Reformed churches for Vacation Bible School in Highland Park, a dry ski exercise for our group from First Church, who will host the event in 2007. And did I mention Rod’s Grill Night, our Sunday School canoe trip on July 16th (see article in this issue), or the special worship services with David Waanders, John Coakley, Maria Owens, Erie Beemsterboer, and Pam Gray? The wedding of Heather and Dan at the beach in Sea Bright, or the meetings of the Vision Group that made us ponder the future course for our church family?

It was a good and busy summer. But now it’s time again for rallying at church. Fall is in front of our doors, and so is God’s call to leave the huddle, to expose ourselves in the surrounding communities and wherever else our ministry may have an impact. Your presence at God’s Table is as important as ever, because it enables us to serve the needy, to raise the political and environmental awareness so characteristic for God’s stewards, and to find meaning in following the Lord whose openness affirmed the meek, the powerless, and the peacemakers alike. It is a privilege to welcome you back!

Your 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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