The First Presbyterian Church

of Verona

a church of caring people

10 Fairview Avenue
Verona, New Jersey 07044

Telephone: (973) 239-3561



Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan- Temporary Session moderator
Diane Battersby- Director of Music Ministry
Christina Turkington- Christian Education Facilitator

Happy 121st Anniversary of our church!



Mission Statement: We are a caring and welcoming church fully engaged in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we live and worship in joyful fellowship with God, proclaiming the Good News through an active program of Christian education and music for children, families and individuals of all ages.  We are committed to sharing our gifts and talents to implement God's will and to assume leadership in our community, guided by the principals of Christian love.



Sunday Morning Schedule

10:30am- Worship in the Sanctuary
Sunday School
Child Care

(Handicapped Accessible)



Click here to see our church!




  • Joyful Noise & Sacred Singers Choirs
  • Senior Choir: Wednesday- 7:30pm

Children-Christian Education

  • Sunday School Program
  • Confirmation Class
  • Choirs
  • Teen Discussion Group

Women's & Men's Organizations

  • Caregiver Support Group
  • Bible Study Groups
  • Women's Breakfast Group
  • Knitting Club
  • Sunday Supper Program
  • Thrift Shop



Special Events for June



Congregational Meeting:
Sunday, June 5th following Worship
Celebrating Christian Education:
Sunday, June 12th   
Confirmation Sunday
       Sunday, June 19th




Church Calendar for June

Thrift Shop-     
          Open Sat. & Tues.- 10:00-1:00 
                   Thurs.- 5-7         
Choir Rehearsal Schedule:  
   Youth Choirs- Sundays following Worship
     Chancel Choir- Wednesdays- 7:30pm

June 1st
                 Care-giver's Support Group- 10:00 am      

June 4th

                 Breakfast Club at the Pilgrim Diner- 9:00 a.m.
 "Meet and Greet"- 3-5pm

June 5th

                   The Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
              Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am    
                             Pastor Lynn- preaching
              Congregational Meeting following Worship

June 10th
                         Ladies Night Out Picnic     
                Rev. Dr. Julia Dawson's Home- 5:30 pm 

June 12th

                  Christian Education Celebration    
             Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
                             Beth Shorten- preaching

June 16th
             Session Council Meeting- 7:00pm

June 19th
                  Father's Day- Confirmation   
             Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
                     Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan- preaching
                       Confirmation of David Karpinski

June 26th
                 The Thirteenth in Ordinary Time   
             Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
                     Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan- preaching



Camp Johnsonburg Retreat- January, 2016


Church Board Members  2016


  Session Council:
   Felicia Burgos   
     Djenane Duhaney- Pres. of Corporation
     Michael Duhaney

     Barbara Haimann
     George Hansen
     Donna Kiel
     Donna Lauckner
     Deborah Michelsen
     Marilyn O'Neill
     Joyce Pressler
     Margaret Whiting
    Dorman Craig- Clerk


Willie Burgos

     Kathy Dougherty
     Kelsey Dougherty
     Elizabeth Hathaway
     Amy Henderson
     Matthew Koroluk
     Grace McGough
     Liz McGough
     Mike McGough
     Marcos Mercado
     Perry Mescia
     Jennifer Quade
     Krista Shaw
     Beverly Winkler
     Cianna Winkler


                           Church Financial Secretaries: Kathy Dougherty, Donna Lauckner
                                    Treasurer: Joyce Pressler



       Rev. Ed Clydesdale's Sermon
      "Tabitha’s Legacy"                     

          April 17, 2016- Fourth Sunday of Easter


Acts 9:36-43

During these days following Easter Sunday, the church zeros in on the way the Spirit energized the young church. The followers of Jesus were breaking new ground and as time went on they spread out from Jerusalem and moved toward the Mediterranean coast and up into the area around Joppa, near modern day Tel Aviv. And they struggled with a lot of issues;  like what were they going to do with these non-Jews who were becoming followers of Jesus – and a number of them were becoming active in these little churches that were beginning to sprout up in so many towns. And remarkable things were happening as they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. Nothing seemed impossible when they acted in Jesus’ name, even calling forth life from death. Like similar resuscitation stories in the scriptures where Jesus raises the dead, the stories of Lazarus for instance, and Jairus’ daughter, there is a story of Peter raising a woman from the dead in the life of the early church, after Jesus’ resurrection.

Her name was Tabitha. In Greek, Dorcas, a name that is literally translated “gazelle.” And you get the picture of a fast moving, motivated woman who buzzed around that early church in Joppa doing good things.

Tabitha’s particular gift was sewing and knitting and caring for all the widows in town. Luke says “she was devoted to good works and acts of charity.” In fact, after she died all the women in town showed up to mourn her, holding the layettes and baby sweaters and booties and mittens that Tabitha had made. She was the sort of person who, when somebody died, was the first to come with a casserole in hand. She was the one who would offer to baby sit for the kids when you had a doctor’s appointment. The one who called when she sensed there was something wrong after she passed you on the street.

Every now and then someone comes along in your life who is like that, sensitive to others, outward directed, selfless and compassionate. Somehow the church always has a few of these folks. They organize the collection of canned goods for food panties. They volunteer to bring food to people who are ill; they put together lunches for grieving families; they do things like that and even more acts of kindness that you never hear about. Every church I’ve ever known has had people like that. At a church I served in Trenton there was a woman named Ruth Messersmith, who, instead of complaining because no one really supported her or her family when she was seriously ill, put together a group called the Circle of Silver and Gold, to make certain that nothing like that ever happened to anyone in that congregation again. These folks make great deacons. They are the salt of the earth, an inspiration to a church. No wonder when Tabitha fell ill they sent for Peter to hurry as fast as he could and come and help her get well. They couldn’t do without her. Tabitha, after all, was a one-person gazelle of compassion and help in that little town of Joppa. A singular Little Sisters of the Poor, all wrapped up in one package. And they couldn’t afford to lose her.

So they grabbed all the little things she had made as symbols of their affection for her and they went to her bedside, these women of Joppa. And when she died they were devastated.

Peter, standing in Tabitha’s room, with all of these friends whose life she had touched was moved with compassion, and seeing how much Tabitha meant to them, he cleared the room, and fell to his knees and prayed for her life. I don’t know what you make of this, but he spoke to her a word that broke through the death that held her captive, and she opened her eyes and sat up. Then calling the grieving women outside the door, Peter invited them back into the room, and they entered with amazement and gave thanks to God for Tabitha’s deathless life.

Now I suppose you might wonder at a story like this. We all have lost someone that we might have loved to be able to call back to life from death, whose absence is so great in our heart, and whose loss weighs heavily upon us. So why Tabitha? Why is it that she is the one called back to life, and why is it that her story is remembered, the story of a woman who served others?

I can’t fully know the mind of Luke in remembering this story, but one thing I see, for sure, is its confirmation of the life of Tabitha and the work that she did, and the lives that she touched.

 It’s a wonderful story, don’t you think? The story of the continuing power of God present in the world after the resurrection, confirming that God’s love and life giving grace did not end with the earthly life of Jesus but continues in the life of the church as it is carried forth in the ministries of the likes of Peter and Tabitha and the women of Joppa who learned from her what it is to be the church.

The Bible is selective, after all, about who it remembers. And the fact that a woman in Joppa is remembered by name and by the grief that followed her death, and the influence and impact of her life in the church, is a strong witness, and a powerful claim on our attention. It’s not just everyone that gets this much ink on the pages of the Bible.

The Book of Acts, tells us what happened next, after Jesus’ resurrection. And what happened? Churches began to form and the gospel began to spread. And not just Jews believed the message, but Gentiles too, like Tabitha. And women became believers, and they were leaders, and their works and deeds of witness and service touched the lives of many. And for her efforts even Tabitha was blessed with resurrection power as she was raised from the dead, demonstrating that that love and power that comes from God had not died with Jesus, but was experienced by his faithful followers.

And so the work and ministry of Tabitha is affirmed and confirmed in this story of the early church. It is part of the family album that we thumb through every now and then, looking at those in the church who have gone before us, and whose example inspires us, and whose legacy and heritage is our own legacy and heritage. The individual story and heritage of a particular church is always part of a larger heritage and tradition as well, all the way back to Jerusalem and Joppa and Jericho and Jordan roots, the land of the Bible, the land of Jesus, the promised land of God’s covenant people. Always good to know from whence you’ve come, because it helps to inform where you go. And on this Sunday at First Church Verona I want to claim for us Tabitha, and her ministry of self-sacrifice and service and compassion. I want to claim and lift up the people of this church who, like Tabitha, have served Christ by serving others, and continue to do so, and who by so doing, share the power of the resurrection in a world whose fear and dread and despair deny the gospel.

I want to celebrate the folks here who have shown up with the casseroles and knitted the layettes, and brought the canned goods, and worked on the fairs and the suppers and have used the proceeds to help others.

I want to celebrate the people who’ve taught Sunday School and shared their faith in word as well as example. The people who put arms legs and passion into their faith. I want to celebrate them. The Tabithas of this church.

We have many blessings in this church. A wonderful mix of humanity that gathers here each week. It’s a great church. Nevertheless, if there are not some folks like Tabitha, baking the communion bread, calling on homebound folks, knitting blankets, and doing all the things that need to be done, all the other things would not be enough. Now I could start naming names of the Tabithas I have come to know in this church, and their male counterparts. And there are many of you. I never cease to be amazed at how hard so many of you have worked to hold this faith community together during this interim period.

But at risk of embarrassing her, I do need to single out a Tabitha in our midst – and that someone is Julia Dawson. Perhaps it is just coincidental that this passage about Tabitha was one of the lectionary readings for the day, perhaps not. But I learned a few weeks ago that some generous person, who wishes to remain anonymous, has made possible a marker for the little garden that’s at the corner of the church property at the intersection of Pine St. and Fairview Ave. I’ve driven past that corner for years without really noticing it or realizing how special it is. And today we will dedicate that garden with a stone that simply says “The Dawson Garden.” When Julie’s second son, Jeffrey died of Cystic Fibrosis in 1961 at the age of 12, her husband, Chet, asked the Trustees of the church if he could start a garden there at the corner in his memory. That corner had always been a muddy eyesore, because people would use it as a shortcut. For almost 30 years Chet lovingly maintained the garden, even after their third child, Julie Ann died at the age of 39. Every Easter Sunday morning, Chet would arise at 4 am in order to plant lilies to mark the day of Resurrection. And after Chet died in 1991, Julia continued to maintain the garden in memory of her three children and Chet. And you all know Julia’s story. If ever there were to be a Presbyterian saint, it would be Julia. With her family gone, Julia told me that she had a choice. Either she would become en embittered old lady – or she would let God use her and her experience of loss to help other parents who experienced the death of a child. You know the rest of the story. Graduating from Drew Theological Seminary at the young age of 70, being called to work with families at the children’s hospital at St. Joseph’s; achieving her Doctorate in her 80s, and as recently as yesterday morning, holding an annual service of remembrance for families who have lost children at St. Jo’s. Tabitha was a great woman in First Church, Joppa, for all that she did to help others, but let me tell you, our Julia here at First Church, Verona is living testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to bring hope out of despair and to call forth life from death. And so, at the conclusion of the service this morning, we shall walk from here to the garden, the Dawson Garden, and dedicate that stone and offer praise for the Tabithas and the Chets, and the Julias of the church and their witness to the power of the resurrected Christ in our midst.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!






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