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The Voice of FRC - May 2024

Newsletter of the Franklin Reformed Church

973-667-7022 Church Office

From the Pastor's Desk

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9. 16-17

Tuesday mornings we have been studying the Gospel of Matthew. What I love about the Bible is that it is a “living word.” Each time we enter into its pages we will find wisdom that not only has lasted for the ages, but that is also able to engage the times and places in which we find ourselves today. Each time we turn the pages of the Biblical narrative we will find words and stories that both convict and challenge us.

As we continue with our conversations about discerning our future I am struck by these two verses in Matthew. They might even be familiar to some of you. Our roots run deep in the Nutley community. But we are currently trying to look ahead and discern how God is leading us into the future. Not surprisingly our 165-year-old campus of buildings continues to pose challenges to us. With a small congregation, who I recognize as being deeply generous, our monthly costs to keep the building “running” and the pastor paid (which I deeply appreciate) outpace our monthly income. We are able to keep current with our bills by utilizing invested funds from the sale of property. These funds are limited.

I am sure that every one of us has longed for a time that we remember as being a “better time.” But the reality is that we are where we are today. In this chapter of Matthew, the teaching of Jesus is pointed toward the future, which for Jesus was quite different from the vantage point of the Pharisees who had been questioning Him. In many ways one of the missions that Jesus had been given by God was to bring Israel into the new day, the new Kingdom that was already at hand, that Jesus’ incarnation had initiated. Not surprisingly the religious institution of the day did not like being challenged by this upstart Rabbi from the lake country.

I think that these two verses in Scripture have something important to say to us in 2024, as we long to connect with the future that God has in store for us. My prayer these days is that we will not allow ourselves to sew unshrunk cloth onto an old garment, nor put new wine into old wineskins.

I want to affirm the work of the Mission Church Team and its perseverance in keeping us to the task at hand, no matter how difficult or chaotic it may seem. I pray daily for a clear understanding of the next steps that this community needs to take. I honor our struggle both with our current reality and also with the difficulty of welcoming a future that can look alarmingly different than our past. But I also know that God calls us always forward and has promised never to abandon us in our search for the future that God is calling us to.

This and That

The Worship Team, and anyone who is interested, will meet via ZOOM on Wednesday, May 1st at 4:30 pm. If you are interested in attending, a ZOOM link will be sent to those who receive the regular invitation to Sunday Worship. We will be talking about Worship this Summer, the current liturgy that we use on Sunday mornings, as well as other issues that participants bring to the meeting.

May 2nd is the National Day of Prayer. You are encouraged to gather with the Nutley Clergy Fellowship for a brief prayer service for our nation, state, and community. We will meet in front of the Town Hall at 12 noon. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 5th there will be IN PERSON WORSHIP ONLY. Our tech team will be out of town that day.

Discovering God will meet on May 12th and 26th 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? There will be a discussion to review this year, and to look towards the 2024-25 Christian Education year.

Pastor Jill will be on vacation May 6th through May 12th. If you need pastoral care during that week, please call the church office or one of the Elders - Jeff, Tricia, and Nancy W.

The congregation of St. Paul’s has extended an invitation to FRC to attend worship with them on May 12th. There will be a service of scriptures and hymns at FRC on that morning, but anyone interested in worshiping at St. Paul’s will be welcome.

Communion will be celebrated on May 19th at worship prior to our annual meeting. 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.

The Annual Congregation Meeting will be held on Sunday, May 19th after worship. We will take a look at the past year of ministry and mission and elect a new class of Consistory members. Lunch will be provided.

The grocery carts will roll once again on Monday, May 27th, for Carts of Caring, in the Memorial Day Parade. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. We hope that you will join us.

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. This is a great chance to meet the campers and staff whom we support with this mission. Pastor Jill will be the Camp Chaplain July 14 -19. Items still needed for the Welcome Kits are: 80+ deodorants, 50+ soaps, 10 large bottles of shampoo, 25+ packs of tissues, 25+ washcloths, and monetary donations of any size. Please place these items in the CAMP SUNRISE box in the sanctuary. Thank you!

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!

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.

  • The Mission Church Team who continues to lead us towards the future.

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

  • Kerrie and AnnMarie, our faithful counters, and

  • Jainie and Tricia who filled in when needed. The Consistory continues to work towards understanding and means to address our building 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. Consistory minutes 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 G. will be handling 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 made the 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. From the Historian

May 6, 2024, is the 169th anniversary of the founding of our church. During the past six months I have found some typewritten histories by Frank B. Speer. One essay tells of how the Sunday School was organized before the church was officially organized and a building was built. The Sunday School began in 1826 at the farmhouse of John T. Dodd, on the Vreeland Estate. When more space was needed, it was moved to the barn of John J. Kingsland from Garden Place, Belleville near Joralemon Street. The next home of the Sunday School was at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Centre Street, Nutley. The building was known as "the little Red Schoolhouse," built in 1825. The Methodist church recorded that on April 14, 1833, the Sunday School of the Dutch Reformed Church commenced at the schoolhouse over by Captain Speer's.

The final move was to the foot of New Street. Mr. Speer wrote, "Their quarters were known as the lecture room of the Blue Meeting House so called because of its color. This was in the spring of 1839, and the proprietor was Richard Booth, who was a pillar in the Dutch Reformed Church. In this building the church was formally organized in May 1855, and it was done by the section of Bergen of the Reformed Church of America."

Sixty years ago, on Pentecost Sunday May 17th, among those confirmed were Vicky C., Patty Ebert, Susan H., Judy G., Ruth P., and Kathi T.

Received into membership from the East Side Presbyterian Church of Paterson was Hugh Gambaro.

From the Hart

What a month it has been for experiencing the awesomeness of our God! There was the perfectly normal Friday morning when I was seated right here at my “office,” a TV table with a laptop on top in my living room. Suddenly, a great big truck rumbled down Hillside Avenue. We don’t get a lot of truck traffic on my block, so I extracted myself from under my ever-present lap cat, Joey, to check out this mighty behemoth. Except there wasn’t one. Odd! Of course, my phone informed me moments later that my big truck was really a 4.8 earthquake, the first one I had ever experienced! WOW! Of course, I was much more sanguine when I felt the just slightly weaker aftershock later in the day. At least, by then I knew what was happening. Joey, by the way, was completely unfazed both times. Then a mere three days later, I joined a group of my neighbors in the front yard to witness the last solar eclipse I’m likely to see in my lifetime. Yes, we all had our special glasses on. It wasn’t quite total, but I was still pretty impressed. How wonderful it is to be reminded every now and again that no matter how big and important I may seem to myself, I am just the tiniest speck in the majesty of God’s creation. Well done, Holy Lord, well done!

Till next month, Lin


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