The Voice of FRC - December 2021
From the Pastor’s Desk
“And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this light shining in the dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1.19
Part of what we observe during the season of Advent is the turning to the promise that Jesus, who once lived among us, will come again. To Paul and other New Testament writers, this promise was to be fulfilled soon - as in the praise song: “soon and very soon we are going to see the King.” But it has been over two thousand years and yet the day still has not come.
But still we wait, with our Jewish siblings, for the Messiah to come. What is it that we are called to do in the meanwhile? The Gospels and the Epistles give us guidance again and again.
Here in Peter’s second letter, in the 19th verse of the first chapter, we find a synopsis of the work as a whole - that the “great and terrible day of the Lord” will come as proclaimed in the prophets whose words we read during this advent season. Both minor and major prophets (Zephaniah, Amos, Obadiah and Joel, Ezekiel and Isaiah) give us a glimpse of what is to come. And further, Peter tells the church in this letter that the day has been delayed due to the forbearance of God who desires that “all shall reach repentance.”
So, while we wait, with patience and with hope, we are called to pay attention to “this light shining in the dark place, until the day dawns.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8.12) So first we are to pay attention to God’s messengers, the prophets. Secondly, we are called to look to Jesus who declared Himself the light of the world. And finally, we are to be that light, as Jesus tells His disciples, and us, YOU are the light of the world (Matthew 5.14).
We do live in dark times, no matter where you look or how you look at it. But we also live into a hope that has been held for us by the generations that have gone before us. We look to the Jesus of John’s gospel, about whom John says “In him was life, and the life was the light of all. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
So, in this season, as the hours of darkness are longer than the hours of light, live into this light, until the promised day when the “bright and morning star rises in your hearts.”
Even so, come Lord Jesus!
This and That
We will gather outside the Sanctuary to sing Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve at 7:30pm. Worship will begin at 7:45pm in the Sanctuary. Worship will be hybrid.
Discovering God, our adult Christian Education program, will meet in December on the 12th, 19th, and 26th at 10:00 am. This year we are studying Women in the Old Testament. In December we will consider a trio of stories of Mary, mother of Jesus, Hannah, mother of Samuel, and the mother of Samson. Their stories appear in Luke 1. 45-56, 1 Samuel 2. 1-10 and Judges 13. If you do not regularly get the emails for Discovering God and would like to join us, send an email to FRCNutley@optimum.net with the subject title Discovering God and you will be added to the list.
The sanctuary has reopened for worship. On December 5th we will celebrate communion. 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.
doorjam is planning our annual Christmas Concert, which will be recorded live and posted on the frcnutley.org website on (or before) December 19th which is the date the concert would have taken place in the Sanctuary.
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 to the buildings if you are not feeling well.
We encourage everyone to be vaccinated.
It takes a church! We are 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:
The Church Ladies who were instrumental in realizing the Afternoon Tea on November 27th for Linnea and Anna at Warwick.
doorjam for their participation in the unveiling of the Unity Sculpture
Loretta and Lin who continue to come to the church buildings to do cleaning.
Jainie, Tricia, Linda R and Joe who have been doing the work of providing the virtual part of hybrid worship and Christian Education.
Kerrie and Ann Marie who continue to count and make weekly deposits.
Robert Wilson for the many things he does in and around the church.
Tricia, Jainie and Lin who helped to set out candles for the All-Saints Day remembrance on November 7th
As a reminder: except for Elders meetings, all church gatherings are open to every member of the Congregation including Consistory meetings. 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 December 5th.
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 annual Stewardship letter has been sent out, written by Elder Linda R.. We will have an ingathering of Commitment cards on Sunday, January 2, 2022. If you will not be at worship that Sunday, please return your Commitment card to the church office before that date.
This month a copy of the most recent deed was sent to the County of Essex, which moves us one step closer to a closing date with the Nutley Board of Education for the property on the east side of the church. In the meantime, the Consistory prayerfully requests that you continue to financially support the church as generously as you can.
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.
Kerrie is collecting donations for the RCA Global Mission project. Over the past few years, we have successfully helped to change lives through the "Gift of Hope." We have sent money for a cow, sewing machines, goats, and chickens. If you would like to participate, please send a check made out to "Reformed Church in America," to the church office (45 Hillside Crescent, Nutley, NJ 07110). Kerrie will be collecting through the end of December at which time we will decide what to give. If you would like to see what missions are available go to giftofhope.rca.org and select “all gifts”. Thank you!
The flower chart for 2022 has been posted. The cost is $30. Jeff G. continues to handle the orders.
Weekly Bible Studies:
Tuesday Morning is studying the book of Daniel. We meet at 10:00 am via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to FRCNutley@optimum.net with Tuesday Bible Study in the subject line, and you will be added to the invitation list.
Sunday Evening Bible study meets at 5:00pm. This fall 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 FRCNutley@optimum.net 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 is usually at the church on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. If you would like to see her, please call, and make an appointment (973) 667-7022.
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 the questions and 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. In January we cleared a debt to the Classis for outstanding assessments from prior years.
From the Historian
This month FRC Sunday School memories are from Jane D.. Jane, the daughter of Corinne and Henry, is a 1971 Nutley High graduate. Her parents, as Isabel Sargent once wrote me "were for their generation the Jennie and Joe Day of our church." I was blessed to have known them as were many others. Henry would pick up Alma Paine for Sunday Worship. Monday through Saturday Corinne and Henry were out and about visiting and often doing shopping for those who were sick or shut in. Their generosity, caring ways, and service in many areas of our church come to mind. Sunday mornings when Henry asked anyone "How are you?” or “How are things?" he really wanted to know. Sometimes when I pass by their old home on Bloomfield Avenue, I recall that if I met Henry in the area, he always invited me to come in. Or if I was dropping something off, within a few minutes out came Corinne with coffee.
From Jane: Here are some of my memories: Mrs. Mildred Riddle being the Superintendent of the primary department and us marching and singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" as we dropped our offering in the collection plates.
Having Mr. Hugh Gambaro, as my 5th grade teacher, and being so excited when he and Mrs. Gambaro had Tricia!
Both Mr. and Mrs. G. were our youth group leaders, and they were the best!!! We painted the youth group room, collected newspapers to earn money, played volleyball every Sunday night in the Community House, waited on tables for the Women's Guild fish and chip dinners, had scavenger hunts and went to Palisades Park.
My dad (Henry) was always a driver and on one of the trips to Palisades Park, spent the afternoon listening to a band named Slade that was playing there and had me find and buy him the album when we got home!
Christmas brings memories of the Sunday School program in the Community House, followed by the appearance of Santa Claus (I believe then played by Mr. Bill Scholes) who gave each child a gigantic orange and a box of chocolate star candy. And we can't forget Christmas caroling, followed by hot chocolate and treats back at the Community House. New Year's Eve meant going to a gathering at the Community House sponsored by Aunt Jennie and Uncle Joe Day.
From the Hart
November 23rd is always a rather tricky day for me. Thirty years ago, it was the date of my wedding to John, and for the next 21 years it was a day of celebration. But after he died, November 23rd took on a note of sadness. I usually try to find some activity to keep me occupied, but the pandemic has not helped with this. I was not looking forward to the date this year. But then Pastor Jill gave a sermon in which she said, “Lin , while it’s easy to be grateful for all the bright and happy things in life, it is also important to be grateful for the difficult things.” Well, maybe those weren’t her exact words, but that’s what I heard. So, I decided to try it. Instead of feeling sad and alone, I focused on being grateful for those 21 years and being grateful for the years ever since. Now, I can’t say that this made the day joyful, but it did take the edge off the sadness, and that is a step in the right direction.
Wishing you all a happy and safe Christmas!
Till next month,