Voice of FRC - January 2023
Newsletter of the Franklin Reformed Church
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your ancestor’s house to the place that I will show you...’" Genesis 12. 1
The narrative of Abraham and Sarah is one of faith. In fact, we often refer to Abraham and Sarah as the parents of our faith story. They are claimed not only by us, but also by our brothers and sisters in the Jewish and Muslim faiths. A heavy burden to be the ancestors of such a diverse and varied clan, especially since Sarah was barren.
As some of you know I have been in the process of applying to New Brunswick Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry program, in the area of Pastoral Care and Counseling. This adventure for me started back in 2018 when a friend asked me about planning for my retirement. I babbled something about 403 (something) pension and social security. She pressed me a bit further by asking, “What will you do the first day you get up in the morning and you don’t have a church office to go to?” A great question, for which I did not have an answer. So, I began to think and pray. What was it that I would do that first day? Over the course of the pandemic, I had a lot of time to think and pray about it.
The first answer to that question was that I want to be “useful.” That is a pretty broad horizon. But when I think about and look at where my gifts, interests, and skills lie, I come back to my background in counseling. The more I worked at this question, the more I received a sense of call to prepare for this new future. A call like that of Abraham and Sarah, a call to go “to the place that I will show you.” While I am not certain what that will look like four years hence, I know that I am leaning pretty hard on my faith that God knows what He is doing with my life.
On December 20th I received word that I was accepted into the program at New Brunswick. So back to school I will go. While it’s a surprise to me that at my age I am embarking on this adventure, it was no surprise to my adult children who remember their mother lamenting year after year in September that THEY were going back to school, and I was wishing that I could as well.
The program is a professional doctorate, which means that they expect for the students to be engaged in fulltime work, so the process accommodates for flexibility of time. The program is hybrid: some classes and gatherings are online, others in person. (Thankfully the Seminary has tech support for people like me whose learning curve with technology is challenged). In anticipation, I am stepping away from both the Warwick Conference Center and Camps and the Center for Parish Development Boards during 2023.
Where will this all lead? God knows - and I mean that literally. My current interest is in the area of Clergy and trauma. But then again there are miles to go before a dissertation topic is decided upon. I trust that this is the path that I am called to today.
What has God called you to do or be? I ask because I am certain that God both calls and sends each one of us, not just Clergy or Elder or Deacon, but as a gifted and beloved child of God. Whatever the future is that calls you, I pray that you will walk boldly into the future with the one who holds that very future in His hands. Your adventure, and mine, awaits.
This and That
A Great Consistory meeting will be held on Sunday, January 15th immediately following 11am worship. We are hoping to do a potluck lunch, but we will need to await advice if the transmission rates remain high - stay tuned. At our initial meeting in December those gathered agreed that we needed to look towards the future and make intentional decisions about this community. We are not looking to make hasty decisions, but decisions that are well thought out, including the resources we will need to move towards that future. Please pray AND join us as we seek to follow God into the future.
After a two-year and very frustrating hiatus, doorjam was able to share Advent and Christmas music to a gathered “crowd” on December 18th in the Sanctuary. The State of New Jersey posted the COVID transmission rates late, so there was a scramble to create a safe event for all at the last minute. There are many folks to whom we are grateful. The concert went off as planned. Instead of the Soup Supper (which Kerrie and Loretta had planned for), friends of doorjam stepped up and created 50 “goodie bags” of Christmas sweets for our guests. For those of you who baked, who shopped, who bagged the treats, we are grateful. As usual there was a free will offering, which was $630 which was given to the General Fund.
New Year’s Day is a Sunday. We will gather for worship at 11 am to bid farewell to 2022 and welcome in the year 2023. Communion will be celebrated.
The Consistory meets next on Sunday, January 8th, following worship. Please continue to pray for those who have answered God’s call to leadership of our local congregation.
Discovering God is studying Women of the New Testament. In January we will be invited to meet Mary and Martha (Luke 10.38-42 and John 11.1-44). Gail Morchel is our leader for this month. We will meet on the 15th, 22nd and 29th, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays. We meet at 10 am. The meetings are hybrid.
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:
- Jainie for her assistance with the Christmas Eve service
- Joe R. and doorjam for their music ministry on Christmas Day
- Jim T. for his continuing work in the Cemetery
- Michael H. who helped to move tables and chairs
- Jeff G. who purchased and hung wreaths on the Sanctuary doors
- Linda R. for creating the 2022 FRC Christmas Card
- The folks who decorated the Sanctuary for Christmas
- The NHS Patriot Club and their advisor, JD V., who placed wreaths on veterans’ graves inconjunction with the Wreaths Across America project
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 2 1⁄2 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 gather on January 3rd at 10am. On January 10th we will not meet.
Sunday Evening: We gather at 5pm. We resume our studies on January 8th. Email reminders will be sent.
Both of these studies are held via ZOOM. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to mailto:email@example.com with Bible Study in the subject line, and you will be added to the invitation list.
Pastor Jill has become aware of an opportunity to assist the people of Ukraine through the Pequannock Valley Rotary Club. They are working with the Ukrainian Cultural Center to supply thermal underwear to the people of Ukraine. This seems just so practical! If you are interested in donating, checks should be made payable to Pequannock Valley Rotary or cash will be converted to a church check. Monies would need to be to Pastor Jill in the church office no later than January 22nd.
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 supported this effort; we fully subscribed 2022. The sign-up sheet for 2023 is posted in the Cone Building and will be on the frcnutley.org web site. Or you may call the Church Office.
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 $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
Fifteen years ago, at the start of 2008, the Worship Team took over from the Flower and Christian Service Guild handling the weekly flowers, Easter and Christmas decorating and other planning for various celebrations.
The 2023 Flower Chart has been posted. Flowers may be given in memory of a loved one, a thanksgiving, anniversaries, birthdays etc. The cost is $30 per Sunday. Especially when flowers are given out to someone outside of our church community, a tag with wording that the Flower and Christian Guild used for many years is attached to the flowers:
"These flowers have been on the altar of the Franklin Reformed Church. They have heard the hymns that were sung, the prayers that were offered, and the sermon that was preached. Now they come to you in their silent way, telling you all about it. God Bless You!"
The first notes from January 27, 1913, mention that Miss Millie Schunck, as secretary, notified the Consistory that a new organization had been formed to be known as The Flower Guild of the Reformed Church of Nutley. The duties of the group were to furnish the weekly flowers every Sunday and to attend to the decorating on special occasions. Previously there had been a flower committee within the Women's Guild organization. Along with Miss Pearl Lux and Miss Bessie Biddell, Mrs. Harry K. Holt, Mrs. Louis E. Carman, and Mrs. Charles B. Van Dewater, from the committee established the goals for the Flower Guild which led to including Christian Service.
Starting in January 1923 on the second Monday of each month meetings were held in the Ladies' Parlor of the Community House. The President was Miss Gladys Holt.
On February 2, 1923, Miss Holt and Miss Madeline Atchison held a meeting to establish a Girl Scout troop in the Community House. Girls from age 10 and up were invited to come to the meeting. They met on Friday afternoons.
P.S. to my December piece: Also, in the Nutley High School 1952 Graduating Class were Herbert L., Joseph C., William P. and Virginia S..
From the Hart
Title this piece “Pride Goethe Before a Freeze” or “How Duct Tape Saved Christmas”. I was doing so well. I was on time, even ahead of schedule with all of my holiday tasks. Everything was wrapped, decorated, baked, or cleaned, and I was very pleased with myself. It was Christmas Eve, and the temperature was in the teens with a strong wind blowing. I just needed to do one last load of laundry, and I’d be all set for Christmas. The clothes went through the washing machine and into my brand-new dryer which had been installed three weeks earlier. For reasons I never understood, the installers had not replaced the dryer vent which was quite old. They brought a new one but assured me that I did not need it (you know what’s coming next, don’t you). Suddenly, the vent pretty much disintegrated, and there was artic air blowing in through the hole in the wall. Are you kidding me????? I called PC Richard and talked to a young lady who assured me that no one was working that day, and she wasn’t even sure what SHE was doing there. She would open a ticket, but no one was coming on Christmas Eve. I really did try to put the new vent on myself, but you all know just how handy I am NOT. So, I stuffed towels into the hole in the wall, duct taped over the whole thing, and hoped for the best. When I told my brother Wayne, who IS handy but lives in Virginia, about it, he said that was exactly what he would have advised me to do. So, hooray for me. As of this writing, I have been told that someone will come tomorrow and take care of it. I certainly hope so. And I hope I will start 2023 all toasty warm in my house.
And so, I wish the very same for all of you. Be warm, be toasty, and have a Happy New Year! Till next year,