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The Voice of FRC - September 2023

Newsletter of The Franklin Reformed Church / 973-667-702 /

From the Pastor's Desk

The book of the generations of Adam... Genesis 5.1

Genealogical research has become all the rage over the last decade. This is in part because of the new technology that allows for us to find out about our origins with a mere swipe of a swab. With sites like Ancestry, Family Search, My Heritage and Find My Past among them, we can often trace our family lines down generations. Interestingly Albert gave Linn a 23andMe test kit a few years ago for Christmas. What startled me when I finally looked at the results was that her primary Scandinavian heritage was not Swedish, as we all had assumed, but Norwegian. Now from a North American standpoint, there isn’t much difference, but within Scandinavia that’s a BIG DEAL! While I was surprised, it didn’t matter that much to me. So instead of telling people I am Swedish, I now will say that I am a Norwegian who was raised as a Swede.

The Biblical narrative takes its genealogy seriously. We quite often hear the genealogy of Jesus during Advent, from either the Gospel of Matthew or Luke. The genealogy in Genesis is less familiar to many. It takes us through the generations between Adam and Noah, a span of 126 years or 20 generations (so Mr. Google tells me). Who we are has become intimately tied to where and who we “came from.” For our Jewish brothers and sisters, as I have often said, the Tanakh is not just a gathering of religious writings, but a family album.

My trip abroad during August was a trip “back to our roots” for my mother’s maternal family line. First 17 of us, all but one from the US, gathered in Denmark. Then we gathered in Lexby, Sweden with 50 Swedish kin. It was an amazing journey.

I think the most powerful moments for me came on August 20th when I worshiped at the Swedish Lutheran Church in Partille, Sweden. It is the church of my ancestors. The Christianson family plot in the cemetery holds my kin. It is the church building, the current building built in the 13th century, where my maternal grandmother was baptized and confirmed into the body of Christ. Walking up the aisle to receive the bread and the cup filled me with a sense of the depth of my roots in that place. I was reminded of the “great cloud of witnesses” that the writer of Hebrews refers to in the first verse of the 12th chapter.

As we together look towards the future of this congregation, I am reminded again of those saints who have gone before us here. I am filled with gratitude for their presence and work as a people of God. I am humbled at their faithful witness to the Nutley community and beyond. And all the while I wonder how we will be remembered in the genealogies of faith when this chapter of our history is written. It is my prayer and my purpose to work together in a way that those who follow us will say that we were faithful and fruitful, no matter the outcome of our current situation. That we will hear the words of the King in Matthew 25, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that will be my joy.

This and That

Communion will be celebrated next on Sunday, October 8th.

Beginning on September 10th our worship schedule will change back to 11am on Sundays.

The Consistory will meet next on Sunday, September 10th after worship. If you would like for the Consistory to consider any ideas or issues regarding the church, please contact Jeff G. our Vice President. Visitors are always welcome to join us. Continue to pray for the leaders of the church as we seek to know God’s will for this, God’s church.

Discovering God will resume meeting on Sunday, September 17th. Our September meetings will be a time for us to plan and consider our theme for the 2023 - 2024 year, and set up a schedule. Everyone is welcome. Bring your ideas for our learning together over the upcoming educational season. (Discovering God is an intergenerational activity, but right now the participants are all adults. We are happy to include children as we are blessed by their presence.)

We will gather with the Mission Church Team on Sunday, September 24th after worship. Please join us to continue to seek God’s wisdom as we look towards the future of the congregation. Keep a lookout for details of this meeting.

The office of RCA/CRCNA Disability Concerns is hosting a workshop “Nurturing Belonging: Exploring Hospitality, Disability, and Theology” on Wednesday, October 11th, 1:30 to 6:pm (EST). The event is virtual. We have not had a Disability Advocate in our church community since Ron H. moved to Maplewood. If you are interested in attending this workshop or serving as our Disability Advocate, please speak to Pastor Jill.

Mark your calendars if you would like to join a group who will again participate in the Camp Warwick Trick or Treat the Cabins. The date is October 14th. We had some great ideas last year about what we might do this year. Come help us make them happen! And support Camp Warwick, Camp Sunrise and Linnea, the Minister of Camps.

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 months:

• Everyone who assisted in the filling and delivery of the Welcome Kits for Camp Sunrise

• Jim T. for his continuing to work in the Cemetery

• Jainie, Tricia and Linda R. who led worship while Pastor Jill was on vacation

• Robert W. who facilitated the repair and replacement of window screens in the Community House

• The team that has been setting up for Outdoor Worship on Sundays

• The Consistory who work year round to oversee the work of the church

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 the past 3 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 will return to our regular schedule on Tuesday mornings at 10am on September 5, 2023. We continue to study Deuteronomy.

Sunday Evening: We are currently on hiatus for the Summer. We will return in September; keep an eye out for our beginning date.

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 2023 Flower Chart is 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 2023 is posted in the Cone Building and is on the web site. Or you may call the Church Office.

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 $97 for 2023. 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.

From the Historian

The Summer 1995 issue of our newsletter introduced a name, The Voice of FRC, with a note:

"The editor (Dian W.) wants to thank Ron H., L.W.T., Vicky C.,

Corinne Porper and Ruth Keenan for participating in the Newsletter Name contest. Ruth contributed the winning name, Thankfully, we didn't want more, she said it would cost us." Dian was our Editor until L.W.T. debuted with her issue on October 1, 2000. From the Historian, which was Linda's suggestion, has been part of the newsletter now for 20 years. Before that it was called Our Story.

50 years ago, the Summer - October newsletter included a full-page list of Franklin Reformed Church Nutley High Class of 1973 students and their achievements. There were 11 graduates. 

Jean S. was the Class Valedictorian. She received the Chester H. Ryan Memorial Award from Nutley Rotary. David W. received the Rotary Craftsman Award, Chester H. Ryan Memorial.

  On September 16th after Worship a Church picnic was held. Doris Epworth chaired the event. The roofing fund for the church building was underway, and by October 28th $5,958 had been raised. 

  On October 14th, Rev. Joyce Stedge became the first woman to be ordained as minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church. She was a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York and was the mother of six children. She preached at our church two Sundays in August.  She was ordained and installed as the Minister of the Rochester Reformed Church by the Classis of Hudson. 

On September 8, 1963, Rev. Leonard A, Jones was installed as our Pastor by the Classis of Newark. Rev. Jones and Marjorie were the parents of four children.

From the Hart

I hope you all had a lovely, if somewhat damp, summer. I am pleased to report that mine was largely uneventful. I got some of the basement organized, then turned my attention to the upstairs bathroom, bedroom and spare room (or Spare Oom for all you CS Lewis fans). I went through lots of old letters, pictures, and cards which left me feeling very nostalgic. I have been thinking back to summer evenings when I was a kid in Bloomfield. We lived next to my father’s parents, and every evening we would sit under their pear trees and talk until the lightning bugs came out and it was almost too dark to see our way home. Well, mostly the adults talked, and we young’uns listened. I heard stories about family members long gone and life back in Germany. And the local gossip. Sometimes we had ice pops or some other treat. One of my favorite pictures is of one of those gatherings. I was a baby sitting on my Grandma’s lap, and is stuns me to think that I am now the only one left. Summer evenings are so different now. When David Muir (World News Tonight) says goodnight, the cats and I head upstairs (to the newly cleaned rooms), They get their treats, and I watch a movie. It’s all fine, but I do miss those evenings under the pear trees.

Till next month,


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