Dear Friends ~
“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” – Exodus 2:23-25 (NIV)
Prayer plays a major role in the biblical narrative. Even though God knows the beginning from the end, God uses the prayers of the people to act upon the earth. This is a mystery, but as the Israelites cried for help God remembered God’s covenant. Did our Creator really forget? Probably not, but it’s interesting that God waited until people called upon that covenant in prayer. It seems that prayer puts the actions of heaven on earth in motion. The prayer Jesus taught, Thy Kingdom Come, is not just a pious phrase—it is a prayer that can begin a revolution!
Here is what’s happening at FRC this week:
Monday March 2
10:00 am Staff Mtg.
5:15 pm Bible Study
Tuesday March 3
Wednesday March 4
6:00 pm CIC-FRC Meeting
7:00 pm Adult Ed Class – Healthy Relationships, presenter Mariam Merced from RWJUH
Thursday March 5
Friday March 6
Saturday March 7
8:30 am ISP Work Group
11:00 am RU Volunteers
Sunday March 8
9:00 am Choir Rehearsal
9:30 am Breakfast & Banter
9:50 am Bell Choir Rehearsal
10:30 am Worship w/ Lord’s Supper
Bread: Lauren, Juice: Janet
Ushers: Margaret & Rod
11:30 am Coffee Hour: tbd
Prayer List March 2, ’15
Peace be with you,
Please take a look at this photograph. It is one of several pictures from the current demolition phase of our Dina’s Dwellings Project and shows the dismantled wall and ceiling in one of the Sunday School rooms. Following the fire in 1971, we built these rooms in the old sanctuary. It was an attempt to gain classroom space and to diminish the sanctuary space that was already then too large.
In this picture, just the studs are left. Behind them, we see a lot of the fire-damaged old sanctuary wall and ceiling. In a sense, the current demolition has brought us back to ground zero of the 1971 fire. You might say that our current endeavor is therefore part of the second reconstruction after the fire. Seeing it in a sequence like this may make the sight of the current demolition a bit more bearable.
It is interesting, however, to what degree the current physical changes affect us emotionally in many ways. Some of us got tears in our eyes when exposed to the sight of the changed reality during one of the few occasions that such visits were still spontaneously possible in early January. It hit me when I turned off the sanctuary lights on Friday, December 27 and thought that this was the last time after more than 14 years of me using that big switch board. But by the mercy of God, I was back in already on the following Monday. Continue reading
Town Clock CDC
By Susan Kramer-Mills, Executive Director
Over 30 of us were cheering, clapping, and enjoying the fact that the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team was leading the game against Michigan University from the get-go! In fact our team was so quick to gain a substantial lead, that some of us felt sorry for the losing team. But that feeling only lasted a short time. In the end, Rutgers Women led by 4 points. What a game!
Why are we attending the RU Women’s Basketball games?
Simple. Some of the team attended our Groundbreaking Ceremony, and there is certainly an affinity to connect, especially for the survivors who will eventually be residing within the walls of Dina’s Dwellings. Wouldn’t it be special for the RU Women’s Basketball team to be visiting with our residents, inviting them to games, and the like? Wouldn’t these strong team players be wonderful role models to the women and children?
I think there is so much GOOD that can happen, and so we are starting to build our connections to the team.
Won’t you join us for the next game on March 1st? Sherri Novack will be ordering tickets toward the end of this month. Let us know if you would like to attend with us. All we ask is that you purchase a ticket and wear a Town Clock CDC t-shirt.
Our First Wednesdays’ Class has a number of promising evenings and presenters. Each session starts at 7:00 PM. Registration is not necessary.
February 4 “Relating to Residents of Dina’s Dwellings”
Moderator of our discussion will be Carlos Cordero, the Program Director of Social Services at the Chandler Community Health Center in New Brunswick. Carlos is also a board member of our Town Clock Community Development Corporation.
March 4 “Healthy Relationships”
Mariam Merced, the Director of the Community Health Promotion Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, will reflect with us on the better side of domestic violence: What are healthy relationships? How do we recognize them, and what can we do to support them? Mariam is also a member of Consistory at the Suydam Street Reformed Church.
April 8 “Zionism as an International Movement”
Rabbi Bennett Miller from Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick will introduce us to the Zionist movement from the perspective of Reform Judaism. Rabbi Miller is the current chairperson of the Association of Reform Zionists in America.
In addition to the First Wednesday’s sessions, we offer now a Weekly Bible Study from 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM on Monday evenings. This weekly Study will not be academically oriented, but reflect on and pray over certain Bible passages and their meanings for our lives. Everyone is welcome
This month’s designated benevolence offering goes to the Catholic Charities Ozanam Men’s Homeless Shelter, which is located on 20 Abeel Street in New Brunswick. As you all know we help to support the Men’s Shelter by providing space for 15 men during the winter for two weeks. However, the Ozanam Shelter houses about 30 men throughout the entire year. Thus, they are in constant need of having financial support for their programming and housing.
At any time during the year, there are about 200+ people who are without housing in New Brunswick. We know this because of the Point-in-Time count, which is done over a 24-hour period each January. Since New Brunswick is a HUB city, where many social services are easily available, many homeless people come here in order to find support. We hope that through our giving, we can help support the least of these.
This year, the congregations of New Brunswick’s Interfaith Coexistence Project celebrated their Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial service at the United Methodist Church on Monument Square. The Rainbow Children’s Choir mirrored our diversity well: There were children and leaders from Jewish, Christian and Muslim backgrounds.
Sometimes, our culture looks with skepticism at organized religion. All too often, houses of worship are deemed ineligible to apply for certain grants. Sometimes we hear of attempts to exclude historic houses of worship from public preservation funds, if they still house a live congregation.
But imagine a world without these older houses of worship! Usually they are the ones who have learned over the centuries to be tolerant and to appreciate the diversity of different traditions. In a world filled with violent clashes and even wars, the contributions of these houses of worship are more important than ever! Where else would one learn from childhood on that living together in peace is not a vision for the end of time but indeed a reality in this world?
On Martin Luther King Day, we did not only say this, but lived and appropriated it as well. The experience may have been life-shaping for our children. I am grateful for having been part of it.
At the January stated meeting of Classis, we celebrated again the fact that there are numerous young people in many of our congregations, who swim against the general cultural stream when they embrace responsibility as emerging leaders.
For a second year in a row, our Classis honored these young people with a special award. Each pastor was asked to rise with the nominee from his or her church and to talk a little bit about the impact of the nominee’s work in the congregation.
Our consistory-appointed nominee was Fawn Stephens. She and Pete had spent the morning workshop with the Classis. It gave them a good overview of some of the Kingdom work that is being done in our congregations. When it was time for the award, I was privileged to present Fawn. I talked about her wonderful skills as clerk of consistory, but also about her participation in the adult education program of the church among other things.
We are blessed to have so many young people in our church who, like Fawn, pull their cart, so to speak, in order to make a difference in the community and with one another; ultimately to praise God with their lives. Thank you, Fawn, for all you do!