The End of an Era

Heavy machinery – ah, we workers in the Lord’s vineyard have a special affinity to this. Perhaps this is so because much of our daily work centers on spiritual matters that are just so different from a decent back hoe or a nice round tanker truck. Well, on Jun 9th, we had all of this and much more at church, as PREFERRED TANK SERVICES began the work of retiring our underground oil tank.

Unfortunately, the task proved more difficult than anticipated, and we ended up with Plan B – for which Consistory had wisely prepared. The tank will now be excavated, and we’ll have to deal with some remediation costs. At the same time, however, we hope for support from a program funded by the State. But be this as it may – the end of our oil tank marks the end of an era. It is clear that we now have left behind so much more than a mere heating method. We have left behind the Modern Age that was built on oil.

What do I mean by that? Very simply, from the moment the Industrial Revolution took off, it required oil, first as lubrication for the new steam engines, and later as fuel for all sorts of gas-guzzlers. Oil was a staple of Modernity even before we tapped into the planet’s reservoir of fossil oil – think of the whaling industry, Nantucket, and Moby Dick, and you realize what we did before we could exploit the oil fields in Texas or the Middle East.

First Reformed Church seems to have had enough of that! We now heat with natural gas. This is cleaner, cheaper, and a clear sign that we have made it, finally, into the 21st Century!

A big thank you goes out to Julius Fekete, Ellen Hamilton and Jim Hance, and many others who have all helped with the transition.

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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