The Voice of FRC- January 2022
From the Pastor’s Desk
Now that the presents have been unwrapped, the leftovers are in the fridge, and the Christmas cookie tins are empty, how can we “keep Christmas” in these waning days of the year? As God’s people who recount throughout the Christian year the mighty deeds of God, we travel a circuit of days that tell and retell the story of our redemption by God. We do this as a community, as the church.
Henry van Dyke, a clergyman and author in the 20th century says it best...
"There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
Are you willing...
to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you.
to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world.
to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more
than your duty in the foreground.
to see that men and women are just as real as you are and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry
to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of
life, but what you are going to give to life.
to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where
you can sow a few seeds of happiness.
Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children.
to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old.
to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough.
to bear in mind the things that other people must bear in their hearts.
to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell
to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will
fall behind you.
to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open—
Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—
stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of
the Eternal Love?
Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone."
And to this I say... AMEN!
This and That
COVID has come calling! While our precautions have been prudent and our restrictions adhered to, we have had a case of COVID 19 among those who worshiped together in the Sanctuary on December 26th. Those who had close contact with this individual have been contacted. Because Pastor Jill had close contact with this person (who is currently being treated at home) we will move back to ZOOM for worship until it is clear that we can gather again safely. If you are in doubt about worship, please contact the church office. Updates will be sent out regularly to those who receive worship notifications each week. If you would like to be added to that list, please email email@example.com with "Worship list" in the subject.
Commitment Cards have been sent out. If you have not received one and would like one, please contact the Church Office. We had planned to dedicate the commitment cards on January 2nd, but due to the brush with COVID we will delay this until we are able to worship in person again. Please send or drop off your Commitment Card as soon as possible.
Offering Envelopes for 2022 have been ordered, but may not arrive until mid-January... supply chain issues? We are now able to order fewer box sets (which saves on cost and waste since they are date sensitive). This means, however, that the “number” of your box set will likely change this year. Thanks for understanding, and we will work diligently to make this transition go smoothly.
The flower chart for 2022 has been posted. Memorials, birthdays, and anniversaries are some of the ways the flowers can be given during the year. The cost is $30. Checks should be written out to FRC Sunday School.
Since November Tricia has been posting photos of our weekly flowers. They can be viewed under Altar Flowers at our FRC website. Thank you, Tricia!
Discovering God, our Adult Christian Education Program will meet on January 9th, 16th and 23rd at 10:00 am. This year we are studying Women of the Old Testament. In January we will begin the new year with Eve, whose story we find in the first chapters of Genesis.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study (10am-12pm) and Sunday Evening Bible Study (5:00pm) continue on ZOOM. On Sunday evenings we are studying the book of Exodus. On Tuesday mornings we are finishing the book of Daniel and will be choosing a new book early in January. If you would like to be included in the ZOOM links for either, please send an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org with Bible Study in the subject line and you will be added to the list.
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.
Jeff for continuing our ministry of fresh flowers each week
Those who gathered to decorate the Sanctuary for the Christmas season
Loretta and Lin who continue to clean and organize
Gail who provides us as a community and as individuals with COVID updates and who answers our questions.
Tricia who created this year’s Christmas card
Jainie who crafted the Christmas Carol booklets for Christmas Eve
Linda R. and Gail who pitched in with hybrid worship for 12/24 and 12/26
Michael H. who helped with the lighting during the Christmas Eve service
Joe who played for the Christmas Eve service
Kerrie and Ann Marie who count offerings and make bank deposits
Robert who has taken over as the Church Handy Man (a position previously held by his father, Ray)
Thanks in profusion are due to Diane M. who stepped into the Treasurer’s position several years ago. With common sense and organizational skills, she has kept us in the black year in and year out. In December Linda R. assumed the duties as Treasurer. We give thanks to God for both of these women who have been and continue to be willing to use their time and talents on behalf of God’s church.
The best laid plans... doorjam had been excitedly working on sharing a Christmas Concert this year, recording our music live in the Sanctuary, with plans to upload the Concert to the website. But Omicron interceded! Along the way members of doorjam were exposed to individuals who had COVID. As precautionary measures we delayed recording several times, as we were singing together without masks. We will be meeting this week via ZOOM to decide if we should move forward. I am grateful to God for Linda, Joe, Vicky, Jainie, and Tricia for their gifts and dedication to this musical ministry and their efforts to put on a Christmas event again this year.
As a reminder, with the exception of Elders meetings, all church gatherings are open to every member of the Church Community, including Consistory meetings. If you are interested in attending any gathering that is announced, please be in touch with the Church Office. Consistory minutes and financial reports are available on request. The next Consistory meeting will be held on January 9th.
At its June meeting the Consistory decided that all funds that are designated as “Repair Fund” will be, going forward, deposited in the Capital Improvement Fund account.
We continue to move forward, albeit slowly as usual, in completing the sale of the property on the east side of the buildings to the Nutley Board of Education. There have been a couple of items that needed to be updated for the title company. In the meanwhile, the Consistory prayerfully requests that you continue to financially support the church as generously as you can.
The Assessment for 2022, which supports the larger Reformed Church in America, has been set at $91.00. We are assessed by the number of active members on our roles. There are envelopes for this purpose in the boxed sets, or you can indicate in the memo line of the check that is for this purpose.
On the FRC website: You can see the flowers and dedications that appear in church every week. It is the page called "alter flowers". You can also read the newsletter, which you already know because you are reading it now! You can still also get updates on goings on, see our schedule and events, go on a virtual prayer walk, donate (to the church, the Nutley Family Service Bureau, Purple Dragon) find us, contact us, find out about ministries we partner with and much more! Take a look!
From the Historian by Jeff G.
As we begin a new year, Franklin Reformed Church memories are from Donald B., my 7th grade Science teacher. When I began teaching, his daughter was in my first class. Don was on hand each week with the Sunday School students and teachers. I am reminded of other staff including Gerry Taylor who served 18 years as the Treasurer. For many, many years his assistant was Cesar Torres. Gerry and Cesar were members of The Men's Association. Cesar was also a Church representative to our Boy Scout #147 troop. Gertrude Crawford was the Secretary of the Sunday School for 50 years. She was home bound when I came, and she was among those my students wrote to during the year. Don B. came to Sunday School at FRC at age 5.
“FRC, I worked there as church Sexton (custodian of buildings and grounds). I replaced Joe Day. He created the job and was the expert at it. He instructed me all the way: changing bulbs in the cross, cleaning inside both buildings, cutting the lawns, trimming the shrubs, removing grass for new burials in the cemetery, etc.
One time I preached a sermon on Laymen's Sunday. It was great and what an honor to do it.
I [lived and worked in Nutley]. Since I got groceries at the Shop Rite there was no need to own a car because I could walk to all these locations.
Vicki and I met at church and were married there 45 years ago by Pastor Leonard Jones with my father assisting. A basket full of fond memories!”
Yes, indeed Don surely does have some wonderful fond memories. He and Vicki both served at various times on Consistory as Deacons. He and Hugh Gambaro were our first Community School Representatives when the school was founded.
Don's mention of walking to school - there were many other teachers who also did such as Nutley High School teachers Harold Kahley, Loretta Taylor, and Maxine Hoffer.
From the Hart
Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some kind of drama, and this year it was my turn to provide it. The plan was for me to drive out to PA on Christmas Eve morning to spend the weekend with Katie and Steph. I was excited. Last year we did Christmas via ZOOM. The car was packed and ready to go. But I woke up in the middle of the night with chills and a bad sore throat. So, at 1:30am I was online Googling COVID symptoms and fretting. I have all my shots (I sound like a puppy, don’t I?), and I am very careful to wear a mask whenever I go out. But I hadn’t thought to keep a few test kits around for just in case, and now they are very hard to find. I called Nurse Gail as soon as it was daylight, and she offered some excellent advice. Then Jainie dropped a spare kit off on my porch, and I was soon swabbing my nose (ick). The test was negative, and it was just (just?) a bad cold. I am grateful that I was able to get myself out to PA and spend Christmas with my gals. I’m grateful to Gail and the Gambaros for coming to my rescue. And I am also grateful for the luxury of being able to spend this week drinking tea in my PJ’s.
I hope that 2022 will be safe and HEALTHY for us all. May we finally kick COVID to the curb. I wish you all the best always. Happy New Year!
Till next month,