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The Voice of FRC - June 2024

The Franklin Reformed Church

973-667-7022 Church Office

From the Pastor's Desk

In May I was invited to write a piece for Faithward, (you can see this online magazine of the Reformed Church in America at on Community Discernment. It was a request that helped me to articulate our process and to be reminded how much we have already learned. From the Pastor’s Desk this month is an excerpt of that article. If it is posted online, I will let you know.             Pastor Jill


For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.   Jeremiah 29.11


     When I was first asked to share some thoughts about community discernment, the words that came to me were messy, slow, and frustrating. We have stumbled through gatherings that were tense, unfocused, and sometimes painful. But along the way we have also learned a great deal.


            Discernment begins and ends in any theologically Reformed community with Scripture. Each season requires community members to discern where God is leading us within the Scriptures, and to engage it in terms of what it meant when it was written which meant a deep dive into the culture of ancient Palestine. How would the people who first heard these words of faith actually hear them? We learned that Jesus, in his day, could be funny, cryptic, honest, hyperbolic, and culturally relevant. For our part, in this season, we have been studying the parable of the Pearl of Great Price in Matthew 13 for six months. Our leadership team, made up of lay leaders with the Pastor as “consultant,” determined as we moved forward, that we needed to identify our values, why we do what we do as a congregation.


            During this process we have hopped down rabbit trails, learned that we needed to refresh our listening skills, created through community consensus ground rules for conversation, and consented together that we would see each person as God breathed who deserved to be treated with dignity and respect. We have learned to be still and listen. We discovered that questions are often more important than answers. We have learned to wait on God’s good time and wisdom. We have engaged in seasons of intentional prayer. We have discovered that what we were hoping to discover may not be what God intends. We have learned that we need to be ready to be surprised. We have learned how to disagree. We know now that we have both much to be thankful for, and many losses to grieve.


            As of this writing we are still at work. We do not know where this time of discernment will lead us yet and if nothing else, we have learned to be “better” with one another. We are honoring our past, understanding and accepting present trends, and still looking forward hopefully towards the horizon of our future, the one which God holds gently in His hands.


This and That


June 2nd we will celebrate Communion during Worship. The Consistory will meet after Worship.


At the Annual Meeting we elected Jainie G. and Linda R. to serve in the next class of Consistory, as Elders. We are grateful to Jeff G., Tricia G., and Lin H. for their three years of service to God’s church.


 We begin our summer schedule for worship on Sunday, June 23rd. We will worship at 10 am in the Memorial Garden, under the Japanese maple tree on the east side of the church. Bring your favorite lawn chair; we do have folding chairs as well. We will continue this schedule through Labor Day weekend, and perhaps into September if the weather holds. On inclement weather days we will be in the Conference Room.            


 Discovering God has completed our season of learning about Sacred Places. We visited gardens, the wilderness, Bethlehem, rivers and seas, wells and springs (and cisterns!), Jerusalem, the Upper Room, and mountains. We have begun discussions about the 2024 -2025 program year. Stay tuned for more information.


Pastor Jill will be Chaplain at Camp Sunrise the week of July 14th to the 19th.


Generally, Communion occurs on the first Sunday of each month, unless otherwise decided by the Consistory. If you are unable to attend services in person the Pastor is available to bring Communion to your home. Please call the church office to make a request.


Thanks to all who attended the Annual Congregational meeting in May. We celebrated thanksgiving. As part of our gathering, we each noted something we were thankful for in our congregational life. If you were not able to be with us, take a few minutes to think what you are thankful for, and give thanks to God.


We are again collecting items, and donations, for the Welcome Kits that we send to Camp Sunrise in the summer. There are five weeks of Camp Sunrise this year. There is also a sign-up sheet to bring and distribute the Welcome Kits on Sundays: June 30, July 7,14, 21 and 28. Pastor Jill will be the Camp Chaplain July 14 -19.


doorjam will be returning to the Ocean Grove Oceanside Pavilion on Saturday, July 6th at 3:00pm. We hope that you will consider joining us!


The Worship Team met in May. We will continue to have opportunities for everyone to engage in conversations around our worship, which is laid out for us in the Directory for Worship, which is part of the Constitution of the RCA. Keep an eye out for when these discussions will take place.

                  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, Lin, and Tricia who have served their full 3-year terms on Consistory

  • Nutley Veterans Council and the Department of Public Affairs for their work in our Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day activities.

  • Jeff who assisted Pastor Jill in welcoming students from Nutley schools for a tour of our cemetery.

  • Loretta, Robert, and Jim T. who continue to watch over our buildings and grounds


The Consistory continues to work towards understanding and means to address our buildings’ issues. We are especially grateful to Gail and Herman for sharing their support and connections as we move forward.


 As a reminder: with the exception of 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. Consistoryminutes and financial reports are always available upon request.


We continue to collect items for the NFSB Food Pantry and the Care Closet (personal care items, paper supplies and cleaning supplies).There is a basket in the entry way of the Cone Building (which is usually open) for your donations. Over these past 4 years donations to the Food Pantry have slowed, and the need in Nutley has risen. Please remember our neighbors in their need and your abundance.


Tuesday Morning Bible Study: We gather at 10am on Tuesday mornings. We are currently studying the Gospel of Matthew. Bible study is held via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to with Bible Study in the subject line, and you will be added to the invitation list.


The 2024 Flower Chart has been posted. The flowers may be given for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, in memory of a loved one, etc. The cost for each Sunday is $30. Jeff handles the orders. While blessing us with beauty on Sunday mornings, the flowers are given to a member or friend of the church after each worship service. They go with our prayers for those who receive them.


The residents and staff of Marion House regularly express their thanks for the Purple Dragon Farm Share that the congregation supportseach month. Thank you to those who have already signed up this year. The sign-up sheet for 2024 is posted in the Cone Building and on the web site. Or you may call the Church Office.


The RCA General Synod made decisions in 2022 regarding the annual assessments. Each congregation is being assessed according to a percentage of their annual income, as opposed to the number of members that we record with the denomination. The Classis of Passaic Valley and the Regional Synod of the Mid-Atlantics have made a decision to do the same. For 2024 our total assessment is $2,901. We recorded 23 members, so if it were a “per-member” accounting it would be $123.00 per member.


Summer Set up crew. We will need people to help when we move outside for Worship (on Sunday, June 23rd). We need some people to help carry equipment and chairs out and back in the building. We will also need people to be greeters/ushers who can welcome people as they arrive (or greet them as they pass by walking their dog) and make sure each person has a seat. We start setting up at 9:30 but 9:45 would be enough time to be a greeter/usher. If you are able to help in any of these ways, please sign the sheet on the radiator in the sanctuary or on the bench outside.

Social Media Team leader needed. We are looking for someone who will be in charge of calling meetings and making an agenda for the meetings. We have people who have agreed to participate in our Social Media production but we need to identify someone who will gather us. If you feel called to this position, please email the church office at with "Social Media" in the subject line. You can also email questions about the position. 

Speaking of Social Media... We do have quite a few Social Media outlets where you can connect with other members and the greater community. We have a public Facebook page that you can share to your page to let your friends know what's going on at your Church. We also have a private page which is a Facebook group called FRC Notes and News. You will need to join this page, but you just have to say how you know the church. Anyone who is a member of the Facebook group can post on this page. It can be used to share your own news or get announcements about the life of the church. It is as private as anything on the internet, but we ask members not to share personal information that is posted. You can also write recommendations on our Facebook page. Tell people why you are a member of FRC! We have a website where you can find information about our schedule and special events, our Mission statement and people with whom we partner. Also, if you are trying to tell someone about FRC you can tell them to check out our website! These are just some of the ways you can participate in FRC's Social Media program!


From the Mailbox


Dear Jill,

            Thank you so much to you and the members of your church, including the Consistory, for your good wishes. I am 90. Wow, I’m really old! Your wishes made me very happy. I will never forget my years at FRC.


Mary T.


From the Historian

 In the 1960's as members of the Flower and Christian Service Guild died, letters were sent to their families.

Elsie Ryan (Norma Elsa Ryan) was born in 1890, and on June 4, 1965 a letter was sent by Blanche Weisel, Alma Paine, and Gertrude Crawford who in remembering her wrote:

"Elsie will always be remembered by us for her faithfulness and devotion to duty. She served many years as the Treasurer of our organization and was a faithful worker. She was loyal to her church. Elsie did much to help the young people in our community and taught in our Public Schools for many years and won the friendship of her scholars. Many became fast friends of hers long after they no longer attended school. Many hours she devoted to our Local Red Cross. She was greatly missed in all the organizations when she no longer could attend because of failing health. Her achievements are a monument to her, and they will ever be a challenge to us".

On June 21, 1921, Elsie Ryan organized Lincoln School's Girl Scout Troop #4 and was the first Captain of the Group. When letters were sent, various people were selected to write them. Alma Paine also was a Lincoln School teacher who came to Nutley in 1914 and began at the school when it opened in 1915.”

            In coming across a sheet of early information about our church, I share with you the fact that women voted for the first time at a Congregational meeting on March 27, 1869. At that meeting David Bachelor was elected as an Elder, and Deacons elected were Cyrus Broadbent and Abram Tuers.

            On Sunday, May 26, 1974, through a provision of the will of Frank B. Speer (1883-1972) a new pulpit was dedicated in his memory. This was selected by his wife Lillian as he wanted her to choose what she thought was needed in the church. There is a memorial plaque on our pulpit.


From the Hart

           Well, I guess it had to happen eventually. I recently attended an event, and the souvenir I brought home from it was Covid (and no, I was not the only one). I confess that after four years of avoiding it, I had gotten a little cocky, thinking that maybe I had some special immunity, and maybe I would never get it. Nope! My cat Joey was thrilled because I spent three days barely moving from the sofa (mostly just to feed him and his brother, Griffin), which meant that he could spend those days happily dozing on top of me. The fever and congestion eased up after a few days, but the exhaustion lingered for weeks. It was miserable. And yet, thanks to the vaccine and advice from my favorite nurse (thank you, Gail!), it was much less severe than it could have been. So, I am back on my feet again, as is everyone else who got it, and life is pretty much back to normal. And for that, I am VERY grateful!


Till next month,




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