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The Voice of FRC - March 2024

The Franklin Reformed Church 973-667-7022

From the Pastor's Desk:

O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43.3

Have you ever had to go someplace that you didn’t want to go: a dentist’s appointment? A class when you hadn’t finished the homework assignment? Your first wake or funeral? Aunt Betty’s for Thanksgiving? I will confess that while I do like to travel, the “build up” to the travel can be fraught with anxiety.

Certainly, we have all been in that place, having to go somewhere that we really, really didn’t want to go. During this season of Lent, we have committed ourselves to journey with Jesus and the twelve to Jerusalem. Even though Jesus has tried to tell the disciples that going to Jerusalem meant “undergoing great suffering, being rejected and being killed... and on the third day being raised,” (Luke 9.22) the disciples weren’t hearing Jesus. They most likely thought that they were “just” going up to the Holy City for the Passover, a requirement under Jewish law. Boy were they in for a surprise.

So, along the road toward Jerusalem Jesus, knowing what is to come, tries to teach the disciples everything that they need to know. I said to someone recently it might be what today we call “the last lecture.” Again and again as they stop along the way, Jesus has the opportunity to impress on the disciples the core of the “good news” that is his message: look out for those who are hurting or in need; confront those in power when necessary; take time to stop and eat a meal with someone even, or especially, with your enemies; see the people who are usually invisible and put your spotlight on them.

And then they arrive, as we will, in the Holy City. Although we have heard and been invited into the story again and again, it can still overwhelm us: the excitement of the entry into the city, the teaching in the Temple courts, relaxing into the Passover feast, the fear in the Garden of Gethsemane, the grief and shock of crucifixion. So much to take in, so much to process.

We need to be willing to follow Jesus wherever God might be sending us. It will not always be easy, or pretty, or even where we WANT to go, but when we are called by the gentle voice of the Savior, it is a hard call to ignore. But like the disciples we are assured that we do not take any of those journeys alone. Jesus has promised to give us all we need to make the journey, and that we will not be left to confront all of our demons alone.

So come along, travel the road to Jerusalem with Jesus and the twelve. There are many lessons to be learned, many people to meet, and God’s purposes to be encountered and understood.

Thanks be to God!

This and That

Communion will be celebrated on March 3rd. Generally, this 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.

We will “spring ahead” on Saturday night, March 9th. Don’t be late for Discovering God or worship on March 10th! .

Discovering God meets on March 10th and 17th at 10 am. The sessions are hybrid. The theme for this year is “Sacred Places”, where does God meet God’s people in the Biblical narrative? In March Jeff will be our guide to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Join us as we travel to Jerusalem.

Lent and Easter Schedule







March 3, 2024

1:30 PM

Book Discussion (see below)

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Palm Sunday

March 24, 2024

9:15 AM

Blessing of the Palms

Municipal Building

Palm Sunday

March 24, 2024

10:00 AM

Potluck Breakfast


Palm Sunday

March 24, 2024

2:00 PM

Doorjam “A Pilgrim’s Psalm”

FRC Community House


March 28, 2024

6:00 PM

Maundy Thursday: Dinner & Communion at table


Good Friday

March 29, 2024


Cross Walk

Gather at the High School

Good Friday

March 29, 2024

7:30 PM


Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Holy Saturday

March 30, 2024

10:00 AM

Decorating the Sanctuary


Easter Sunday

March 31, 2024

10:00 AM

Easter Breakfast


Easter Sunday

March 31, 2024

11:00 AM

Easter Celebration Worship


doorjam would appreciate donations of desserts to share with our guests after the presentation of the Oratorio on March 24th. Please speak to a member of the band if you can help out.

Saturday, March 30th, we will decorate the sanctuary for Easter. Join us at

10:00 am; remember that many hands make light work! And we will go out for breakfast afterward.

The Mission Church Team continues to gather members and friends in order to discern what future God has planned for us. We will meet next

after worship. Having identified core values, we will begin a conversation regarding the next steps. Lunch will be provided. Please join us to continue to seek God’s wisdom as we look towards the future of the congregation.

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, Gail and Jainie who are working with contractors to get information about our building needs

  • Robert, Tricia, Jainie, and Loretta who participated in the “Ministry of the Car” when Brad was in the hospital

  • Herman who has been giving us advice and referrals for dealing with our building issues.

  • doorjam who is preparing for the presentation of “A Pilgrim Psalm” on Palm Sunday, March 24th.

  • Jim T who continues to keep the cemetery in shape

• Robert who keeps the grounds in good order

Pastor Jill’s DMin Intensive Week is March 4th to 8th. She will have limited availability that week.

This year during Lent we will be changing things up a bit. Instead of weekly gatherings around a book study, we are inviting people to read the novel The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride. The novel is widely available in both hard cover and e-reader editions. It should also be available through the public library. We will gather on Sunday, March 3rd at 1:30pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church for a “Book Club” discussion. Come and join us!

We value supporting each other as a church community. Please let Pastor Jill or an Elder know if you or someone you know in the church needs Pastoral care.

We are looking for volunteers to arrive at 10:45 on Sunday mornings to act as greeters. If you are able to commit to arriving 15 minutes early, chatting with people, and getting newcomers acquainted with our church once or twice a month, please sign up on the sheet on the radiator in the sanctuary by the door to the Cone building.

Our thanks to God and each person who contributed to the repair of the doors in the Community House. While our members have been quite generous, we also received significant donations from the Wednesday Night Knights and Boy Scout Troop # 147. All funds over and above the cost of the repair will be held in the Capital Improvement Fund. The work on the doors will begin when the weather is warmer.

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.

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.

Weekly Bible Studies

  • Tuesday Morning: We gather at 10am on Tuesday mornings. We are studying the Gospel of Matthew.

  • Sunday Evening: We have currently suspended this Bible Study.

  • Both of these studies are 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 G. 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 supports each 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 website. 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 decided to do the same. For 2024 our total assessment is $2,901. We recorded 23 members, so a “per-member” accounting it would be $123.00 per member.

From the Historian

Sunday, March 24, 2024, is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Carol Peschel. Her parents were Philip King Smith and Marian French Smith. Carol King Smith graduated Nutley High School in January of 1942. She is most certainly among the many wonderful folks I have known from our church. Her letters and phone calls were always a joy to receive. I called her on her 90th birthday.

After the death of her husband Bob, who was ill for a few years, she returned and joined the Senior Choir and Thursday Morning Bible Study. I first met her in January of 1980 at our first 125th anniversary meeting. She served one term as a Deacon and was President of the Flower and Christian Service Guild before moving to South Carolina in 1988.

May 17, 1988, the women of Group 5 from the Women's Guild and the Flower and Christian Service Guild met at The Robin Hood Inn for a farewell dinner for her. Carol was given a gold charm in the form of an anchor. Flower Guild members gave her a crown emblem.

From the time she moved until her death in December 2014, she always kept a special place in her heart for our church and continued to support us financially. I recently came across a note she sent dated September 16, 1988:

She began with, "Where have the last 3 months gone? Sometimes I'm really busy and other times I just putter (very good at that). I miss all of you, and never more than Monday when so many of you were at Lillie's pot-luck supper." At the end she wrote, "I'm getting the newsletter and do enjoy hearing the news. Love Hugh's columns! God bless you. Love, Carol

In 1994, Carol came to visit for two weeks and stayed with Lillie Binn. I sat in the balcony with her on the two Sundays she worshipped with us.

The May 2005 Newsletter contained a letter from her: "Thank you, thank you, thank you! What good friends you are! And how lucky I am! It really choked me up, nearly bringing tears, but the good kind. The newsletter is good to receive, making it seem a lot shorter than 17 years since my move away from Nutley. All things considered; it was the right thing to do. Having Ellen so close, 6 miles down Lakeview Drive, has been the best, but I still love you and won't ever forget my friends at FRC. Thanks again, Love, Carol.

From the Hart

Saved by the snowstorm! Now there’s a phrase I never in my life expected to write. But last week, the nor’easter that pretty much closed down all of New Jersey, also kept me from having to go to jury duty. The courts were closed on Tuesday, which was the day I was supposed to report. Then on Tuesday evening I received an email telling me that my jury duty was canceled, and that they would see me again in three years. Now, between you and me, they will NOT see me in three years, because I will have aged out of the jury pool by then. So, I can now relax, hopeful that I will never again hold someone’s future in my hands. I don’t feel at all guilty (see what I did there?) about this, since by my count I have served jury duty six times already. I think that’s quite enough for one lifetime. And so, I thank you, snowstorm! I may have had to shovel my sidewalk, but that was a small price to pay for freedom.

Till next month, Lin


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