Even though the biblical story has been told for more than 2,000 years, the congregants at Calvary United Methodist Church on West Madison in Dumont did more than a double take when they found an empty Jewish Coffin on their way into the sanctuary.
"I think we can become immune to the power of the resurrection story and this brought it home in a new way," said Deacon Bonnie Strain. Brian Chen and Madison Cook, both of Dumont, were the messengers or angels that greeted Jesus' followers arriving at the "Tomb" on Easter Sunday, March 31st. They invited the people to take a look inside as they said, "Jesus the crucified is not here, he is risen as he foretold!"
The scriptures continued to "come alive with surprises " as two young girls, Annabelle Best of Dumont and Emma Conforti of New Milford, ran excitedly toward the altar calling out "He is risen! He wants you to meet him at the mountain in Galilee!"
The reenactments were part of a theatrical twist given to Holy Week services at the church this year. A Good Friday Service for Young Children involved their acting out many of the events of Holy Week and the youth and adult Good Friday service integrated readers giving dramatic monologues with soulful music as the sanctuary lights dimmed with the approach of Jesus' death. The week before, two choirs of children and adults acted out a musical complete with the sound of an earthquake and punch lines to dramatize the scriptural story.
Rev. Elaine Wing, pastor of the church, expressed her appreciation to her youth and adults for their roles and to Frech Funeral Home of Dumont and William Basralian Funeral Services of Oradell for loaning the coffin and other props to the church for the creation of a believable tomb scene. She added, "The funeral directors laughed at me saying they are rarely greeted with such enthusiasm when a casket is brought to the church!"
New Covenant UMC in Hamilton, NJ was able to serve over 125 people at the Food Pantry thanks to all the support we received from our community including their donations of food, money, or their time. In addition, due to the unbridled generosity of still others, more than 70 children of those families received gifts. Words cannot convey the sincere thank you to Freeholder John Cimino and Rachel Holland for organizing the collection of all those gifts for our families. There was a genuine surprise, appreciation and sincere gratitude from all of the families served at the Food Pantry last night. Parents, struggling with competing priorities as well as poverty had their load lightened by your generosity. Thank you to all the people in our community who worked selflessly for the benefit of others. No one opened their presents that night---so they didn't know what was inside but all of them expressed sincere appreciation in the fact that someone took the time to shop personally for them. They were excited just by seeing their name on a present that was so beautifully wrapped. There was certainly enough for all who came. “K” won the Christmas tree - tree stand, decorations and all and she was so excited to have presents and a tree. She told us that this was her best Christmas ever. Wait till she opens all the beautiful things you got for her! And, “Z”. was jumping up and down hoping he got a car (and we knew he did). “R” s Mom was showing the stuffed pony to everybody that came near them! “G” could not believe those gifts were all for her! All of you have made my Christmas. May God continue to bless your families and please know that your actions and selfless efforts made a real difference in the lives of so many people young and old. This is what Christmas is all about.
World Communion Sunday 2012 marked the three-year anniversary of a new food collection project at the United Methodist Church at New Brunswick. Previously, food was collected on the first Sunday of each month. On World Communion Sunday 2009, re-usable grocery bags were printed with the United Methodist logo and the slogan Fighting Hunger is in the Bag and distributed to the members of the congregation. They were asked to fill a bag with food at their convenience, return the filled bag on any Sunday, and take home another empty bag. A group of dedicated volunteers deliver the food each Sunday following worship. At the three-year mark, the church has collected and delivered 1003 bags of food to Elijahs Promise, the local soup kitchen and food pantry. Donations of food increased by 5 times with the distribution of the bags!