Weekly Update – April 21 – April 26

Dear Friends ~

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” —Psalm 145:3-4

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
What we know about God is confined to our small brains, our limited experiences, our willingness to read about the great deeds of God in Scripture, and our hearing of his incredible work through the lives of older Christians. There is nothing quite like listening to older, grace-filled brothers and sisters in Christ who know our Lord and his power through worship, obedience, and experience.

Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:

Monday April 20
5:00 pm TCCDC – Fundraising Team @ Novack’s
5:15 pm Bible Study

Tuesday April 21
All Day Polling Station – Election Day!
7:00 pm Consistory Mtg. @ Bernhofer’s house

Wednesday April 22
12:15 pm Lunchtime Recital
6:00 pm CIC-FRC Mtg.
7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal

Thursday April 23
10:00 am Construction Mtg.

Friday April 24

Saturday April 25
8:30 am ISP Work Group
10:00 am Rutgers Day

Sunday April 26
9:00 am Choir Rehearsal
9:30 am Breakfast & Banter
9:50 am Bell Choir Rehearsal
10:30 am Worship
Ushers: Janet & tbd
11:30 am Coffee Hour: TBD
12:00 pm South African Planning Meeting
3:00 pm Rainbow Choir Rehearsal


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From Pastor’s Desk

Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk

It is very special to receive four young new members at once! And yet, this continues a trend that began in 2013 when we received seven new members. In 2014 it was four. Our church is becoming a lot younger! Let me introduce our new members here:

Pete Connolly came to the church first inspired by Fawn and then because he found this church family very open. He comes from a Roman Catholic background and was impressed how actively people are involved in the life of the church, and how we take turns regarding the things that need to be done. Pete comes from a family of four brothers. Some of his childhood experience he sees reflected in how we relate to each other here at the church.

Ashley Petersen and Brendan Kaplan first encountered our church during a candle light vigil with Women Aware. Then they attended the Annual Rally of New Brunswick’s Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition hosted by our church in 2014. Both have a deep commitment to this social justice issue. Brendan’s professional background includes Marketing, Government Relations, Arts and Computers. He also has interest in performing arts, music, and community development. Ashley is a Community Manager and Associate Marketing Manager with interest in yoga, cats, theatre, strawberry picnics and books. Ashley will be baptized on Easter Sunday.

Meghan Trivett came to our church because she liked the rainbow sign by our doors. Not every house of worship is open and affirming, but when it is, it usually houses a very world-open congregation. Meghan moved recently from Middletown, NJ to New Brunswick. She is an Exercise Science student at Georgian Court University. In her free time she enjoys snowboarding and her new membership at a CrossFit gym. Meghan enjoys her time here FRC and appreciates the warm welcome.

Pete Connolly
Ashley Petersen
Meghan Trivett
Marilie Coetsee and Isaac Cowell

There are two more young people with interest in First Reformed Church, Marilie Coetsee and Isaac Cowell. However, Marilie and Isaac prefer not to formally join at this time. I would like to introduce them nevertheless, because they are very faithful in attending worship and other functions of the church. Continue reading

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Palm Sunday Skit Brought Special Meaning

It’s a long-standing tradition now that we have a special play during the Palm Sunday worship service. This year, the stage setting was that of a dining room in a 1st century Roman house. The actors embodied a mixture of apostles and other followers of Christ. They were immersed in a conversation about key events in the life of Christ when a courier (Bruce Bothwell) arrived with a package and became interested in the subject of their talk. It was the story of an emerging faith and well fitting our church’s current experience when, for three years now, we have received many younger adults into our fellowship. We want to thank John Keller for directing the piece. Continue reading

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Music Notes

music_notesThe Rainbow Children’s Choir has the honor of performing at the annual “Value of Women in our Community” awards ceremony at JFK Medical Center in May. Given the church’s concern with ministry to women – in particular our annual Advent Breakfast, our Dina’s Dwellings Project, and our position as the seat of the Women’s Guild – this performance is a unique combination of music outreach with that other great cause. The Peace Islands Institute will recognize small business owners Mimi Tenglei and Deniz Ozyildiz in this yearly event in Edison, NJ. It will be held on Sunday, May 3 from 4:00-6:00pm. Please make every attempt to be there to support both our Turkish friends and our Rainbow Choir singers. Continue reading

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Unique Session of “First Wednesdays”

After spending the winter month trying to familiarize ourselves with the issues and social justice needs of domestic violence, our First Wednesday’s adult education class will shift gears on April 8. And yes, in order to avoid Holy Week, this represents a delay of one week for the class.

Rabbi Miller

Rabbi Miller

We are fortunate that Rabbi Bennett Miller from New Brunswick’s Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple has accepted our invitation for April 8 to speak to us about Reform Zionism. Zionism is a movement in support of Israel as the Jewish homeland. What is interesting in the approach of Reform Zionism is the fact that it pursues Israel as a Jewish state but with religious pluralism.

This will be interesting for us as Christians in the Reformed Church in America! We are part of a denominational struggle, if not with religious pluralism, then with theological and ethical pluralism. Just think of the issues the Open & Affirming movement has raised in our classes. Continue reading

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Notes From the Rotating Men’s Shelter

Once again we have entertained the “Gentlemen of the Evening” for a week, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve them. It was a bitter and snowy winter and our gratitude for the chance to house our men is matched only by our gratitude that we had warm homes and jobs to go to after our night in with the men.

Yes, it’s hard to stagger off to work with not much sleep and no shower or much breakfast, but we know that we will be tucked up in our homes by nightfall. Our men don’t have that luxury and it is a gift to be reminded of how much we have and how little others have. Continue reading

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Full House for Manhattan Saxophone Quartet

Lunchtime Recital No. 2 this season was blessed with a full house! Nursing home and rehab center residents of the two Chelsea’s in Monroe and East Brunswick had joined with residents from Summerhill in Old Bridge and a large class of third graders from Livingston Elementary School. There were also quite a number of individual attendees and two children from Pine Grove Nursery School. Continue reading

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