The Pews Are Gone but not the Church!

The pew removal was a sad task, and, understandably, many of us could not help to move the boards out of the sanctuary. But folks from the Suydam Street Reformed Church helped! This is what it’s all about when we say that we are sister churches. The event took place on October 11.

On October 19, we received help from the Princeton Athletic Club: Rugby. Their team members removed the two 18-feet pews that we will retain for display purposes later. We are so grateful for all this help from the near and far community without whose help we would never have gotten the job done.

I have heard now several voices cautioning against emphasizing the feelings of sadness and pain of that day. Rather than dwelling in negativity, it is better to look forward and to anticipate the great things the reconfigured church building will allow us to do. I agree wholeheartedly with this advice, but have some additional thoughts:

Maybe some of the sadness is good lest we forget that this is not a self-serving endeavor!

The grandeur of the Dina’s Dwellings project has it that there is not too much time for the more usual community activities of our church. We don’t offer the graveyard tour, and there is a host of other issues and causes in which we are currently not participating. But the reason is not that we have now turned self-serving, rather, we are pursuing something truly big: the provision of permanent supportive housing for a group of women and children who need it the most, because they are completely underserved in our state! And serving costs effort and pain. Otherwise it’s not serving. So, from this vantage point, it is better not to completely deny some of the blue feelings we have. It’s just part of what it means to take up the cross and follow the Lord.

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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