The Voice of FRC - February 2022
The Franklin Reformed Church
Web site www.frcnutley.org
From the Pastor’s Desk
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So, Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary; so, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword. Exodus 17.8-13
It has been a tough couple of years, to say the least. All of us have faced challenges in both our home and business lives. COVID fatigue has reached into our workplaces and our homes, our schools, and our communities. It has been a difficult road to travel. Yesterday on Facebook a colleague posted a rather long reflection on how clergy in particular have been affected by these ongoing challenges. He addressed his thoughts to those who are members of congregations, to seek their empathy, support, and encouragement for their pastors. First be assured that while it has been difficult, I do not find myself among those who are ready to leave the ministry, take a sabbatical, or retire. I found that I really like Bible Study via ZOOM. Several people stepped up to manage our hybrid worship services and meetings, so I did not have to do so, and still others checked on the building, attended to small issues, and brought in the mail while the buildings were closed. I first became aware of this text in Exodus (which we are studying on Sunday Nights at Bible Study) through my work with the Center for Parish Development. What I learned in looking at this short story was that ministry is a “team sport.” Moses needed the support of Aaron and Hur to keep doing what God had called him to. In my first “brush” with this text, one of the questions that we asked was: “Who in your congregation are your Aarons and Hurs? Who are your Joshuas?” I have found here in this community that my “Aarons and Hurs and Joshuas” showed up again and again when I was too weary, emotionally drained, and just plain over COVID. They helped Consistory decide about how and when to resume in-person worship; they provided support to each other when compassion fatigue set in; they supported the reopening of the church buildings with their financial gifts. They checked in to see how I was doing; they said, “thank you” and supported the ongoing work of ministry in their care for me. I trust that you know who you are. In a world where 20% of the people in any volunteer organization usually do 80% of the work, here in the community of the Franklin Reformed Church I find 80% of the community are engaged in one way or another in the life and ministry that we share beyond worship. And I am grateful that I work beside a congregation who knows how to support their Pastor and the ministry that God has called us to mutually carry out. God has seen your faithfulness, your compassion, and your work on behalf of God’s church. And I want you all to know that I have seen it as well. I continue to thank God for the call to serve here among you even during, or perhaps in spite of, the pandemic. We can defeat any of the enemies of God’s church as we work together. I am grateful for a community committed to just such a ministry.
This and That Discovering God, our adult Christian Education program, will meet in February on the 13th, 20th, and 27th at 10:00 am. This year we are studying Women in the Old Testament. In February we will consider Jezebel, part of whose story you can find in 1 Kings 21. If you do not regularly get the emails for Discovering God and would like to join us, send an email with the subject title “Discovering God” and you will be added to the list. Our meetings are currently hybrid, unless otherwise noted.
On February 6th we will celebrate Communion. We will also receive and dedicate our annual Commitment Cards. If you have already returned yours, thank you, if not there is still time. You can either bring it with you to Worship or drop it off in the vestibule of the Cone Building, where there are also blank cards if you need one. We will continue to have hybrid Worship and Christian Education. Bible Study on Tuesday and Sunday will continue to be on ZOOM for the time being.
At its September meeting the Consistory decided on the following COVID precautions for all groups - including church groups - which will be reviewed each month going forward: • Everyone entering the buildings should be masked. • Hand sanitizer will be stationed at strategic places for general use. • No eating or drinking is permitted in the building - the kitchen is currently CLOSED. • Please refrain from coming into the buildings if you are not feeling well. • We encourage everyone to be vaccinated.
On Wednesday and Thursday, February 2nd and 3rd, we are hosting a staging site for Miramax films (They have their own COVID monitors who will be on site) which will be filming in Nutley. We have closed the building to other groups for those two days. A donation will be made to the General Fund as a “Thank You” for the use of the building.
It takes a church! I am grateful to God for all those who have lent a hand, taken on a task, and shown their commitment to the ministry of our congregation over the last month: • Jeff for continuing to oversee the Flower ministry. • Tricia for continuing to update our web site and oversee Facebook pages
• Linda B. who returned to FRC in October as our Administrative Assistant
• Linda R. who has taken over the duties of Treasurer • Tricia who has agreed to take over Linda R’s duties as Clerk of Consistory
We are in the planning stages of our Lenten Book study with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The book that we will be reading is Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginners Guide to Holy Week by Amy-Jill Levine.
"Jesus’ final days were full of risk. Every move he made was filled with anticipation, danger, and the potential for great loss or great reward. Jesus risked his reputation when he entered Jerusalem in a victory parade. He risked his life when he dared to teach in the Temple. His followers risked everything when they left behind their homes, or anointed him with costly perfume. We take risks as we read and re-read these stories, finding new meanings and new challenges. In Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. She shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience." (From Amazon.com)
The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and e-reader form. We will meet again this year on ZOOM, on Thursday evenings, beginning on March 10th through April 7th, from 7 to 8:30pm. Pastor Nancy, the new Pastor at Holy Trinity, will share leadership with Pastor Jill. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Lenten Book Study.” We will once again invite folks from the Nutley Clergy Fellowship churches to join us as well.
As a reminder: with the exception of Elders meetings, all church gatherings, including Consistory meetings, are open to every member of the Congregation. If you are interested in attending any gathering that is announced, contact the church office for more information. Consistory minutes and financial reports are available upon request. The next Consistory meeting will be held on Sunday, February 6th.
At the March meeting the Consistory will be considering a new class of Elders and Deacons. Several of our members have stayed on beyond their terms in response to the COVID epidemic. God may be calling you to serve the church in this way. Prayerfully consider your response. Please speak to a current Consistory member for more information. Elections for Consistory are at our Annual Meeting in May. The new term starts in June.
At its June meeting the Consistory decided that all funds that are designated for the “Repair Fund” will be, going forward, deposited in the Capital Improvement Fund account. The Fund is with Edward Jones whose offices are not in Nutley, so please be patient if your donation takes more than a week to be deposited.
We continue to collect items for the NFSB Food Pantry and Vincent UMC Care Pantry (personal care, paper goods and cleaning products) There is a basket in the vestibule of the Cone Building; the outer door remains open for this purpose.
Things are certainly changing. The nature and future of the church come into question in the current situation as well as the post-pandemic world. Who will we be? How will we connect? What changes do we need to make to move into this coming reality? The Mission Church Team continues to wrestle with these questions and the discernment of God’s future for us. Please continue to pray for the Mission Church Team, as well as God’s leading this congregation in this time of change.
For your information the assessment, monies that we send to the Reformed Church in America to assist in funding regional and national denominational activities, is $91.00 for 2022. Our Classis collects these funds for disbursement to other church bodies. There are envelopes in the offering boxes for the Assessment - which you can contribute as a one-time donation or in four increments. Some people include this amount in their regular giving, others choose to designate their contribution. The Consistory also covers the cost of those who are unable to make this contribution from our General Fund. Last January we cleared a debt to the Classis for outstanding assessments from prior years.
On the FRC website 1) You can sign up on a virtual sign-up sheet to buy a share of vegetables from the Purple Dragon farm share group to be sent to Marion House in Newark. Just go to frcnutley.org and push the DONATE button. You will be taken to the DONATE page. On the right side of the page, you will see a box that says “Purple Dragon Co-op.” In that box it says “To sign up to donate a half ($30.00) or whole share ($60.00) click here.” Click there and you will be brought to the sign-up sheet. To pay for your donation you may select “Marion House-Purple Dragon” in the dropdown menu of the Tithe.ly App or send a check to the FRC church office at 45 Hillside Crescent, Nutley, NJ 07110. 2) There is now a page called “Prayer Resources.” On this page you will find a virtual prayer walk that went with our real-life Good Friday prayer walk last year. Other prayer resources will also be available and will continue to be added and changed.
Weekly Bible Studies Tuesday Morning is studying the Gospel of Mark. We meet at 10:00 am. We continue to meet via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to email@example.com with “Tuesday Bible Study” in the subject line, and you will be added to the invitation list. Sunday Evening meets at 5:00pm. We are studying the book of Exodus. We continue to gather via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Sunday Evening Bible Study” in the subject line, and you will be added to the invitation list.
Over the past year we, as a congregation, have been able to assist both organizations and individuals through our Deacon’s Fund. Our funds for this purpose are running low. A donation to the Deacons Fund will help keep us active in the support of our members and friends.
Pastor Jill will be out of town from Tuesday, February 8th through February 16th. She will be attending the CERCA (Christian Education Reformed Church in America) conference in Chicago. While she is away, please be in touch with a member of Consistory if you need Pastoral Assistance.
From the Historian Sunday, February 27, 1977, is the day I joined Franklin Reformed Church! Ron W. was installed as a Deacon that day. By that time, we were coming out of what was called "The Deep Freeze of '77."
The month of February certainly brings many memories of FRC family members over the past 45 years: Uncle Joe D. - Joseph Nelson D., Jr. - born February 13, 1904 February is also the birthday month of Carol R., Dian W., Betty G., and Mary Anne F.. Annual Meetings were held in February on Wednesday evenings with a Potluck Supper. In 1978 my father was elected to a 2-year term as an Elder. Also at that meeting, Hugh G. asked if I would teach 7th and 8th graders. Allan R. had been teaching the class since September, and now he and Mildred were moving. I began a few weeks later. February 1988 was the 75th wedding anniversary of Mary Anne's parents Eli and Mary W. They are the only couple I have known to reach that milestone! Henry and Corinne P. died in this month, he in 1995 and she in 2007. February 24, 1996, was the Memorial Service for my father, Patrick, who died on February 18th at the age of 75. Bette W. recommitted her membership on the day my mother and Barbara C. joined the church. Bette lost her husband John in July of 1967 and moved in 1968. She was a neighbor of my family for just a few years. From 1977 until her death in 1993, I enjoyed a long friendship with her. For years, whenever I mentioned Franklin Reformed Church to friends, their reaction was, "Gerry T.'s church!" Gerard T., 1912-1992, a lifelong Nutleyite, as was his wife Loretta, was known for his work at The Bank of Nutley, which by the time he retired in 1977 had become First National State bank. Gerry was for many years a volunteer driver for The Nutley Red Cross. I succeeded him as Sunday School treasurer in January of 1984. From my February, 1982 Newsletter a reminder of other Sunday School students and teachers I served with: January 24th was observed as Youth Sunday as designated by the R.C.A. We thanked the Jr. and Sr. High School classes and teachers.
From the Hart Last fall I contacted a local tree service to clean up the trees in my backyard. They cut down a line of unwanted saplings, pruned trees that were overgrown, and lopped off a bunch of dead branches. When they were done, the backyard looked terrific – neat and tidy. Then I looked inside the house. Not terrific, not neat, not tidy. Sigh! I determined that when the holidays were over, I would tackle the pruning of my indoor mess. I have amassed quite a pile of stuff to be donated to the Family Service Bureau or the Vets, but I still have a long way to go. I expect that by the time I am done, I’ll be able to call it Spring Cleaning. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to my neat and tidy house – even if it doesn’t stay that way for very long. Till next month, Lin