Visitors from Japan at First Reformed Church

What beautiful hours were brought to us by the month of March! A delegation of 29 visitors from New Brunswick’s sister city Fukui arrived in fellowship hall. They came under the leadership of Mr. Teruo Yoshida and Mr. Koji Hirata. They brought with them examples of such diverse activities as Ikebana (the arranging of flowers), Origami (the art of folding paper), folk dance and calligraphy. Among the guests from our community was a class from New Brunswick High School, a class from the Livingston School, a large group of Rutgers students, and many individual New Brunswick residents.

Personal encounters between people are the best means to world peace available to common folks. And with our guests offering us so much, it was easy to connect! I am always surprised how the language barrier diminishes in proportion to the growth of both sides in one subject. It was a lot of fun. And, on a personal note, those of us who saw the very skilled Japanese dance teacher were a little melancholic that Erie Beemsterboer is no longer here to teach us these things from a Dutch perspective. May we use this Japanese incentive!

I also found our congregation’s support of this otherwise non-religious event exceptional and want to say “thank-you” especially to Lolly and Liz, but also Ellen and Janet. As you, dear Reader, can see, world-openness is a serious trade mark of the reformed faith here at this church. I am grateful for it. We owe thanks also to City Hall, Mayor Jim Cahill as well as Jane and Mike Tublin of the Sister City Program.

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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