The Most Important Grave

Can there be such a thing as the most important grave? I thought, in death we are all equal before God? While this holds true for those who have gone before us, it does not quite hold true for the survivors.

Naturally, some graves have more significance than other graves. In our cemetery, the box tomb of Dr. Henry Livingston is very important. Not only was Dr. Livingston pivotal in organizing our denomination by negotiating a corresponding treaty with our mother church in the Netherlands, he also drafted much of the constitution of the young denomination. In addition, he served as president of Queens College, now Rutgers University, at a time when the situation of the college was rather difficult. In 1812, Dr. Livingston served as interim pastor of our congregation. In this function, he dedicated our church in September, 1812. Later, General Synod honored him by erecting a box tomb above his grave.

Some time ago, a large part of an adjacent pine tree fell on the tomb and destroyed much of it. Fortunately, the damage was covered by our insurance company, but we were responsible for a $2,000 deductible. This we received as gift from three anonymous donors. This summer, Christine Miller and colleague from Cultural Heritage Research Services, Inc. in North Wales, PA, repaired the box tomb. We are blessed to have this grave again intact.

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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