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Voice of FRC - February 2024

The Franklin Reformed Church 973-667-7022

From the Pastor's desk

You desire truth in the inward being, Therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Psalm 51. 6-8

Psalm 51 is an amazing work of poetry in and of itself. It is a song to God: neither praise nor love nor thanksgiving, instead a song of confession, a sad song, and a song of hope. The psalmist tells us that this is the song that David sang after the prophet Nathan confronted David with his desire for Bathsheba, which became murderous towards her husband Uriah. (I’d encourage you to read this story which is written in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12. 1-25). As we enter the season of Lent, a season of prayer, fasting, repentance and simple living, we would do well to mirror Psalm 51.

As many of you know I am a “fan girl” of Brene Brown, research sociologist and author. One of the things that she recognized through her doctoral research was that one of the key factors in living “whole heartedly,” a life full and meaningful, was vulnerability. In its short form vulnerability is to allow our weakness to be seen and known. This is the precise gift that Nathan gives to David, the encouragement to be vulnerable.

We all have secrets, and as my friend Emily says, “everybody lies.” We lie to others; we lie to ourselves; and we even try to lie to God. We want to “look good” to those around us. We want to be acceptable and loved, so we present ourselves to the world, and to God, as we think they want us to be. So, we pretend to be who we think we should be and hide our authentic selves deep within.

But God doesn’t want that from us. Instead, God wants for us to be who we were created to be before God and others. In this is great risk. We risk being disliked, hurt, or shamed. Brown speaks about this in a thought-provoking 2011 Ted Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” (a 20-minute watch that I highly recommend). We risk being humiliated - and here I use a definition of humility I learned in

a 12-Step Program, “admitting that we do not know everything.” We are humiliated when we present ourselves as perfect to the world and to God, when we know full well that we aren’t (think Adam and Eve right after the fall, Genesis 3.5-11).

Lent is a season for us to look inward, to search inside ourselves and find those places where we have tried to hide or denied who we are and how we choose to live our lives. We need to be willing to confess and repent of the wrongs that we have done, intentionally or unintentionally. We need to be willing to just simply be who we are; beloved child, made in the image of God.

Vulnerability is the path to a more meaningful spiritual life, as Brown has written. And I believe that Lent is the perfect time to begin to follow that path. I hope you will join me, and that at the end of these 40 days we will find ourselves at the cross deeply moved by the love and the vulnerability of our only Savior, Jesus Christ.

This and That

Communion will be celebrated on February 4th. Generally, this occurs on the first Sunday of each month, unless otherwise decided by the Consistory.

On February 4th the Consistory is having a conversation regarding our buildings during the first hour of our regular monthly meeting. We will look at what we have done and spent on our facility in recent years. As we look towards the future it is important to discuss whether our current buildings and location are helping or hindering our ministry. We meet after worship. We encourage members and friends of the congregation to join us. Your input is important as we are making decisions regarding the buildings going forward.

Walk the Labyrinth at Brookdale Reformed Church on Wednesday, February 7th, 5:30 to 7:30pm. “Walking the Labyrinth is a prayerful and meditative experience that can be especially meaningful as we travel through life.” The church is located at 16 Bellevue Avenue, Bloomfield, NJ.

Discovering God meets on February 11,18 and 25, 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 February we will consider Wells and Springs, Gail M. will be our tour guide. I hope you will join us.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year is February 14th. At 6:00pm we will have a Pancake Supper, and Worship will be at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. More information on Lenten opportunities is below.

Year-End Giving statements have been distributed. If you have any questions, or perhaps did not receive yours, please contact Linda R. ( or the church office. As a reminder, donations for the Door Project/Capital Improvement Fund were acknowledged with a thank you letter and will not appear on the Year-End Giving statements.

If you have not returned your commitment card, please do so as soon as possible. It is helpful for the Consistory to make plans and decisions knowing what we might expect our income to be from congregation members over the 2024 year.

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 on Sunday, February 25th 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.

  • Loretta and Gail who coordinated the fund-raising efforts for the doors in the Community House, and Linda B. who coordinate thank you letters.

  • Kerrie and Linda R. for preparing Year-End Giving Statements.

  • Pastor Jill returned to her classes in the D Min program on Monday, January 22. Her classes this semester are on Monday and Thursday evenings. Her Intensive Week is March 4th to 8th; she will have limited availability that week.

  • Pastor Jill and Pastor Nancy have been in conversation regarding our joint Lenten programs for 2024. Currently the schedule is:







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

Easter Sunday

March 31, 2024

11:00 AM

Easter Celebration Worship


This year during Lent we will be changing things up a bit. Instead of weekly gatherings around a book study, we will be 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 1:30 PM at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church for a “Book Club” discussion. Come and join us!

We are grateful to God for the ways that provisions are made. There has been an overwhelming response to the request for donations to fund the replacement of the doors on the east side of the Community House. All funds over and above the cost of the door repairs will go to the Capital Improvement Fund, to address building issues as we move forward. If you have donated, a thank you letter will be sent to you, which will include the amount of the gift, which can be used for tax purposes. These donations WILL NOT appear on the regular year end giving statements.

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 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 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.

Orders for Easter plants will be taken in Mid-February. The price per plant for tulips is $10 and lilies $12. Jeff G. will be handling the orders. Those who have ordered in the past will be contacted by email.

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 web site. Or you may call the Church Office.

The RCA General Synod made decisions in 2022 regarding the annual assessments. Each congregation will be assessed according to a percentage of our annual income. We have received some information, and this issue will be discussed at our February Consistory meeting.

From the Historian

50 years ago, at the Congregational meeting, Ida Cone, Robert F., and Fred Mitschow were elected as Elders. Those elected to be Deacons were Florence Bowkley, Jim L., Warren Reiners and Sue Reilly. During the weeks following the Ash Wednesday Service on February 27th, weekly topics based on verses from I Corinthians were presented and discussed in the Community House at 8 pm.

  • March 6 "Being Moral in an Amoral Society" I Corinthians 5:1-6:20

  • March 13 "When It's Wrong to Be Right" I Corinthians 8:1-11:1

  • March 20 "Women's Rights in the Church" I Corinthians 11:2-16

  • March 27 "What Communion is for" I Corinthians 11:17-34

  • April 3 was Family Night with a Potluck Supper. On February 4, 1974, Rev. Leonard Jones, and several members from the congregation along with other Nutley Clergy and members of the community attended a Memorial Service for Rabbi Hyman Danzig of Temple B'Nai Israel. Rabbi Danzig was a Past President of the Nutley Clergy Fellowship and for nearly 25 years active in civic matters in Nutley. 75 years ago, on March 23, 1949, Group 5 of the Women's Guild was organized for the younger ladies of the congregation. Doris Epworth served as the chairman of the group. Along with Doris the founding members of the group were Shirley Selser, Marie Austin, Doris R. and Mrs. C. Wesley Brush.

  • From the Hart You know I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and I know better than to announce a Grand Plan for the year. However, I have decided that 2024 is going to have a theme at the Hart Hacienda. And that theme is (drumroll please): Use It Up or Get Rid of It! It is time for major de-cluttering. I have already started going through closets, shelves, and drawers, amassing piles of stuff to donate. Right now, my focus is on my sewing room. I am making two quilts using just the scraps left over from many previous quilts. A lady on You Tube calls this conquering “Mt. Scrapmore”. So far, I’m having fun with the challenge, and I hope I don’t lose interest before I make some good progress. My house will never be called austere, but it could be a wee tad less cluttered. Will I succeed? Stay tuned! Till next month. Lin


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