When Permanent Fixtures Move

Now that Christmas is over, let me share with you the experience I had when Jim Hance prepared our sanctuary lights for the high holidays. Jim’s involvement with the lights has become somewhat of a tradition by now – last year he was pivotal in the exchange of all of the sanctuary’s ceiling lights. This year, he wanted to make sure that the upper chandeliers were all appropriately lit.
But what a feeling it is, when these permanent fixtures came silently soaring down, as if directed by a supernatural hand. This happened in complete silence with Jim working a crank reel in the attic space of the church. We were connected through walkie-talkies that I had brought from home. Usually we use the walkie-talkies to keep contact while kayaking; now they provided the line of conversation between Jim in the beams and me in the choir loft. Whenever a chandelier was lowered enough for the bulbs to be reached, I would send a signal up and say, “It’s deep enough, Jim!” This happened on December 6th.

The following day, Jim exchanged 80 light bulbs. Can you imagine this number in your home? With so many, chances are you would not need heat.
On December 8th, we did the reverse, that is, Jim cranked up the chandeliers while I assisted on the walkie-talkies. Silently, the huge fixtures moved back towards the ceiling, and it occurred to me how symbolic this moment was. There is so much in any given church that is encrusted, does not move any more, and has become a permanent fixture. Sometimes only God himself can alter this, open stiffened veins and breathe a new wind into things. I hope that we will see some of this during this New Year.

There are just so many plans being made here at church, and so many of you are involved in this: 

  • The preservation project with architect Margaret Westfield.
  • The interfaith project with women of the Raritan Turkish-American Foundation.
  • The introduction of John Bell music and liturgy into our worship life, possibly ending with a supplemental hymn book.
  • The church retreat to the First Reformed Church of Astoria in Queens, NY.
  • The planned joint after-school program – and if it is only to bring it back in its place renewed.

Have a blessed New Year!      

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.
This entry was posted in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.