The Voice of FRC - March 2022
The Franklin Reformed Church 973-667-7022 www.frcnutley.org 45 Hillside Crescent, Nutley NJ 07110
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Confession invites us to speak words that are remarkably honest about our own sin, words that do not come naturally in our relationship with God or with our fellow human beings. Such honesty, perhaps more than we could ever generate in our own strength, becomes remarkably liberating when we sense the immensity of God’s grace. In this way we can think of confession not as an onerous obligation but as a gift of grace.” -The Worship Source Book
Some interesting things come up at Bible study. Not only do we consider the words, the context, OUR context, the reasons that things are left in or kept out... but sometimes we wander into a place where the words are familiar, but we are not sure that we actually KNOW what they mean or what their significance is. I think that is true about confession, which came up in conversation one Tuesday morning when we were studying the book of Daniel, one of the four major prophets in the Christian Bible.
Daniel confesses on behalf of the people of Israel and Judah. Confessing that they have been unfaithful and thereby have found themselves exiled from the land promised to them by God. And you thought that confessing your personal sins was difficult; try confessing for the whole of Christianity! In considering that conversation, I began to look at places in the Biblical narrative where confession is made. Then in a turn of thought, it occurred to me that not only do we use the word “confession” for recounting the ways in which we have troubled God by our words or actions, but we also use it when we communally affirm our faith. All of us have experience with both these kinds of confession. None of us is sinless, none of us is without fault, although some of us at some points have trouble acknowledging that. And all of us at some time or another have made a “confession” of faith. For members of this church community, you did that when you joined the church, often at the time you confirmed the baptismal vows that were made on your behalf by your parents or guardians. We do it when we recite the common Creeds: Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, or with words from the Reformed Confessions of the RCA: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Belhar Confession. Over the course of Lent, the six weeks that begin on Ash Wednesday and end at Holy week, we will be considering confession, both sorts of confession, where they appear in the narrative and what their effects might be on our lives and our faith. I’d like to recommend to you a film that I watched while I was in Michigan. In fact, I was so taken by it that I actually watched it twice. The film is on Netflix, and it is entitled The Two Popes. It is a fictional account of the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and then Cardinal Jorge Bergogilio who would become Pope Francis. The most moving scene, which comes later in the film, is one between these two men, and there is an opportunity for each of them to confess. It is not only touching, but the characters seem to physically show the relief that comes with confession - it is the gift of grace onscreen. Interestingly, when I have spoken to colleagues about this series, to a person they want to jump to forgiveness - which IS important, but equally important is for us to tarry with our own sin, the sins of the church and of the world in which we live. To feel the weight of them, and the way that weight can be lifted by very acts of confession of sins, and confession of faith. I am looking forward to going on this journey with you during this season of Lent.
This and That Discovering God, our adult Christian Education program, will meet in March on the 13th, 20th, and 27th at 10:00 am. This year we are studying Women in the Old Testament. In March we will consider the women in the life of Moses: Jochebed, Miriam, and Zipporah, part of whose stories you can find in Exodus 6.20, Numbers 26.59, Exodus 2 and 15, Exodus 2-4, 24, 26. 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.
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 - as follows and 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. The Consistory will review these and make changes as they deem prudent in light of the changes in the CDC recommendations.
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:
Loretta and Robert W. for their oversight of our campus
Bruzzi Landscaping who is tending to our snow removal this year
Lin who was the leader for Discovering God in February
The Mission Church Team which has been re-energized and is meeting again
Jainie who preached while Pastor Jill was away
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, e-reader and audio book form. We will meet again this year on ZOOM, on Thursday evenings, beginning on March 10th through April 7th, from 7:00 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 http://www.frcnutley.org/ with the subject line Lenten Book Study. You will receive a confirmation email prior to our first meeting.
Orders are now being taken for Easter tulips and lilies. Tulips are $10 each and lilies $12. Those who placed orders in 2021 are being contacted by Jeff G. The deadline is Sunday, March 5.
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. Consistory minutes and financial reports are available upon request. The next Consistory meeting will be held on Sunday, March 6th.
The Consistory is considering a new class of Elders and Deacons. Several of our members have stayed on beyond their terms in response to the COVID pandemic. 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 an investment firm whose offices are not in Nutley, so please be patient if your donation takes more than a week to be deposited. If you have not completed your Commitment Card for 2022, please do so and return it to the Church Office by the end of March. This is important information for the Consistory as we consider our finances.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 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 email@example.com 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.
The Mission Church Team will meet again on Sunday, March 20th, after worship. Please speak to Jainie for more information.
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.
FRC website update! You can now see the dedication and a photo of the bouquet of flowers which is displayed during worship each week on our website. You can find this under "worship flowers" in the menu or click the photo of flowers in the gallery on the home page, then click "go to link." You can also view the Newsletter "The Voice of FRC" on the frcnutley.org website. The Newsletter online will feature news and information that might be of interest to the general public. There are also lots of other interesting things to see on the website, like our schedule of events calendar, the Prayer Walk, and the Donate page. We hope you will visit it! (Our policy for using names on the website is to use the first name and first initial of any living person and the whole name of anyone who has died except when that name is the same as the person who is living or we have permission from the living person. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please feel free to contact Tricia at firstname.lastname@example.org )
The new sign-up sheet for Purple Dragon (which is our donation of fresh fruits and vegetables to Marion House in Newark) is available. You may sign up on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the church office or through the website. Either way we appreciate your participation! To sign up online 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.” Just 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.
From the Historian The first ones to welcome my mother and me after we joined FRC were Elizabeth and Elsie Weischedel. Elizabeth was retired from the business world and mentioned that she had been a teacher at Spring Garden school. She was from the January 1930 Class of Nutley High graduates. I recently read what she was recognized for in The Attic graduation publication: best student. She studied Operetta, played for two years on the Varsity Basketball team, was an Usher, member of the Bulletin and Assembly committees, and served as Class Treasurer. During my 45 years as a member, I have been here during the ministries of Leonard Jones, Gene Roberts and since March1, 1991 Pastor Jill as well as our Interim John Hart who remained with us after marrying Lin on November 23, 1991. The Sunday School: 1982-83 the students in my class were: Janet, Jane, Steve, and John. 1998-2000 at Discovering God I taught the 7th and 8th grade classes again and had Eric, Paul, Andrew, and Elaina. I later joined the Sunday Morning class led by Shirley. Through teaching and doing outreach to shut-ins, others homebound for short periods of time, and those who had moved out of the area, I got to know and learn much about the older members of the congregation many of whom wrote to the children throughout the year: Alma Paine, a retired Lincoln School teacher, Olive Wilson, Nina Page who had moved to Pennsylvania, Ruth Yanelli in NH, Lynn T's aunts, Dorothy and Harriet Austin, Elizabeth Laird, mother of Herbert, Ed and Gladys Canis, Eli and Mary Will, Gertrude Crawford, Arthur Livingston Roosenraad, son of Rev. Roosenraad, our longest serving Pastor (1927-1962), Hendrika Dikkeboom, whose granddaughter Debbie was in my class, Edna Stoddard, aunt of Betty Drummond, Fred and Elsie Jacobus in AZ, who made many visits to Ida Cone, Carolyn and Irving Crabb, Helen and Howard Wolferz and Aubrey and Dorothy Garrett.
I served with many over the years with the Sunday School as a teacher and Treasurer as well as being involved with parties and special events. Among them were Betty, Hugh, Jainie, and Tricia, Ruth, Dian , Mary, Laureen, Lillie, Wanda, Debbie , Rebecca, Barbara, and Sue.
From the Hart It seemed like a good idea last August... I am not a teacher; I don’t have the patience for it, and the thought that anyone would look to me to know a lot about any subject, especially the Bible, is terrifying. Also, I hate standing up in front of any group of people. This always comes as a surprise to people who know me as an actress. But it is much easier to get up and recite someone else’s dialog than to make up my own. Also, I get terrible stage fright when I act too. So, I have always made a point of excusing myself when people get their assignments for Discovering God subjects. And yet, last August as we were debating which Women of the Old Testament we should study, the idea of presenting “Bad Girl” Jezebel was irresistible. And I heard myself volunteering to do her presentation. What was I thinking?? Fast forward to January when it became time to do the research (not too bad - kind of interesting) and then February when it was time to actually get up and do this thing. I think the Lord took pity on me and made it snow so I could make the presentation from home via ZOOM with a cat on my lap to keep me calm. No knocking knees – but also no feedback as everyone else was on Mute. Nothing is perfect. I managed to get through the next two weeks without making a fool of myself, and I think we had some very interesting conversations. Now it is over, and I am tremendously relieved. So, when we start talking about which women from the New Testament, we want to study next season, will I open my big mouth and volunteer again? Dunno. As Rachel Maddow would say, watch this space... Till next month, Lin