The Voice of FRC -Summer 2022
The Newsletter of the Franklin Reformed Church 973-667-7022 www.frcnutley.org
From the Pastor’s Desk
“By the waters of Babylon, we lay down and wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth saying “Sing one of the songs of Zion” How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” Psalm 137.1-4
With many congregations around us, we are trying to discern what the future of God’s church might be. We have weathered the worst (one would hope) of the pandemic. But there is no guarantee that our life together in worship, service, and fellowship will return to pre-pandemic levels or be strengthened in the days, weeks, and months to come. We are not the first, and will not be the last, congregation to face these challenges. And we have some serious work to do as we move forward towards the future that God has in mind for us - the community known as the Franklin Reformed Church.
Wandering on the internet one day I came across a blog that talked about “7 Bad Decisions in a Declining Organization.” Now I am not usually enamored of lists like this - they are often prescriptive and general. But since we are considering what it means to be a resilient organization, it seemed like something to take note of at this moment in time. The “7" are: Rejecting the vision in which we previously believed; Playing the blame game; Trying 1,000 bad ideas; We quit taking risks; Failing to admit there is a problem; Not addressing real problems; Focusing only on the losses.
Our Vision and Mission statements are posted near the entry of the Cone Building. We continue to follow where God leads as we continue to embrace these documents (1). We can say that our problems are related to current world events, changes in our local community and even blame those who have left this church community (2). We should be wary of doing something just to be doing something - that wastes our time and the talents that individual members bring to the table (3). I think that we have recognized that there is a problem, but again we need to keep asking questions in order to say exactly what the problem is. We cannot solve a problem until we understand what we are looking to solve (5&6). Every one of us can recall a past where there was more, more people, more funding, more volunteers, more excitement. But we are called to look back only in order to recognize the foundation on which we stand, always with an eye on what is to come. As we all know we can never go back (7)!
I believe that we are capable of making decisions that will help us to discern God’s will, and to boldly follow where God leads us. What that will look like no one, well at least not I at the moment, can say. What we can do is to live faithfully today in order to make our way to that very future. I would invite you, encourage you, to pray. Ask God to show us the way and to boldly take on the journey that lies ahead.
Those who lamented in Psalm 137 were exiled to a foreign land, a people seemingly without hope for the future. They could not: sing the God’s songs, affirm God’s abiding presence, see a future beyond their present circumstances. But we know that God returned these exiles to their homes and their lands. Let us live in the promise that is unspoken; that God’s future is for our good and the prospering of God’s church - whatever that may be.
This and That
At the Annual Meeting the Mission Church Team challenged us to think about resilience. Beginning on June 19th we are considering the “8 C’s of Resilience “as we might find them in the Biblical narrative. Our text for the series is from Romans 5. 3-5 (The Message): There’s more to come; We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary - we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.” The 8 C’s are: confidence, competence, connection, character, contribution, coping, control, and change. (Not necessarily preached in that order)
Discovering God, our Adult Christian Education program: We have completed the year’s study of the Women of the Old Testament. A “wrap up” session was held on June 12th. A meeting will be scheduled (one Sunday after worship in August) to plan for the 2022 - 2023 education year. Our conversation last year was that we would study Women of the Old Testament and then Women of the New Testament. A notice will go out via email when the meeting has been scheduled.
We will celebrate Communion next on Sunday, July 3rd. This summer the Consistory has decided that we will worship outdoors, when the weather is good, in the Memorial Garden on the east side of the church. You are encouraged to bring a chair. In case of inclement weather, we will worship in the Sanctuary. The services will continue to be hybrid.
We have collected all the things needful for our Camp Sunrise Welcome Kits. We are still in need of folks to deliver the kits on Sunday July10th, and 17th. This is a great opportunity to meet Sunrise Campers and Summer Staff. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board if you are able to assist in this way.
doorjam is preparing for a Summer Concert on the church lawn on July 24th at 4pm. We are hopeful that we will all remain healthy during our prep time between now and then. UPDATE: Things are looking good!
In last month’s newsletter we asked for assistance in providing supplies in order to reduce costs from our General Fund. THANKS TO SO MANY our supply closet is currently filled. When we need to re-supply, we will let you know.
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:
People who donated paper and cleaning products
Jainie for leading our music at worship
The “Tech Team”: Jainie, Tricia, Gail, Linda and Joe R. and Loretta
Loretta and Robert W. for their oversight of our campus
Gail M who has agreed to return to Consistory
Linda R. for preaching and leading worship on June 12th
Frank Turrano (American Made Custom Cabinet Co. in Nutley) who donated and replaced the sink in the Sitting Room
As might be expected, our Shop Rite gift card ministry slowed down over the past 2 years. At our March meeting the Consistory decided to continue this fund raiser (the church receives $5 for every $100 sold) for the next six months and reconsider its future at the September Consistory Meeting.
As a reminder: with the exception of Elders meetings, all church gatherings including Consistory meetings are open to every member of the Congregation. 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. In the summer there is a specific need for items that supplement lunch items for children who often receive meals at school. Peanut butter, jam/jelly, fruit cups (low sugar or natural juice), granola bars, fruit snacks, individual serving sizes of snacks or chips would be welcome. Vincent UMC Care Pantry (personal care items, paper goods and cleaning products) works in consort with NFSB with bi-monthly distribution of these items. There is a basket in the entry way of the Cone Building (which is usually open) for your donations.
Weekly Bible Studies Tuesday Morning is taking a break for the summer. We will gather next on September 13th at 10am.
Sunday Evening is on hiatus for the summer. We will return on Sunday, September 11th at 5pm. Both of these studies are held via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 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.
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 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 There are lots of great things to see on our website! You can see the dedication and a photo of the bouquet of flowers which is displayed during worship each week and the Newsletter "The Voice of FRC" on the frcnutley.org website. Other interesting things to see on the website include our schedule of events calendar, a Prayer Walk, and the Donate page. We hope you will look around!
From the Mailbox
Dear Pastor Jill, Please accept our donation as an expression of our appreciation for your support of our Annual Beefsteak by allowing us to house our gifts in your church. We are truly grateful. Warmest regards, Daniel A. Carnicella President Rotary Club of Nutley _____________________________ From the Historian The Consistory in the bulletin on Sunday, June 13, 1926, announced that a daily Vacation Bible School was to be held in the Community House from July 12 - August 6. The daily program was to include Opening worship, memory work, Bible stories, recreation (games), health and citizenship lessons, hand work, and closing exercises. To secure materials and meet expenses the cost was $.25 per week or $1 for the entire course. Children between the ages of six and twelve were eligible to attend from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Miss Elizabeth Messinger (1893-1978 and is buried in our cemetery), a church member, was appointed to be the Superintendent of the program. She had a completed a year of work in the Auburn School of Religious Education. 1982-1987 Vacation Bible Schools were held in the Community House. Dian W. directed in 1982, Susan H. in 1983 and 1984, and Mary Ann E. in 1985. Ruth P., daughter of Marie and Munford E., has memories to share about the July 2 - July 13,1984 VBS:
“It was back during the time that my sons Andy and Charlie were little. Some of their friends and their moms also participated, along with grandmas and other adults offering their time and help. I remember how we all worked together with our Bible study, crafts, recreation, and snacks too. Pastor Roberts played a big part during this time. He was always present offering any assistance and led the devotions each day. Yes, a lot of time and work went into planning and doing all we did, but it was a special time of fellowship and fun. We all worked together for the benefit of our children. That will always be remembered in such a special way.“
From the Hart So, after two years plus of mostly staying at home, I really made up for lost time in June, and am I ever tired! I went on my first cruise in three years with my traveling buddy Loretta. We sailed from Chicago to Toronto, visiting all five Great Lakes along the way. A really grand trip! Then two days to do laundry and reintroduce myself to the cats followed by a weeklong visit from my sister-in-law Sue. Days of chatting, laughing, shopping, dining out, dining in, and a day of strolling through Grounds for Sculpture (I am now a member!). Yesterday I took her to PA so she could be with her dad on his 90th birthday. Today I am enjoying the luxury of sitting with my feet up as I type this newsletter. I am looking forward to a quiet couple of months. But come September, lookout – Lin is going to be on the move again! Have a great summer – and See you in September! Lin