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 120th Anniversary to 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 February & March


Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10th
       9:30-11:00- Ashes, Anointing, Prayer and Meditation
Lenten Bible Study
Sunday mornings 8:30, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13
Congregational/Corporation Mtg.

Sunday, February 28th, following Worship
Maundy Thursday Dinner & Worship
     Thursday, March 24th
Good Friday Service
     Children's Workshop- 10:00am-2:00 pm        
      Friday, March 25th- Noon
Easter Sunday
      Sun, March 27th- 10:15: Guest Instrumentalists 



Church Calendar for February

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

Feb. 3rd
        Care-Giver's Support Group- 10:00am

Feb. 6th

        Women's Breakfast Group- 10:00am- Pilgrim Diner

Feb. 7th

                    Souper Bowl Sunday        
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
                 Rev. Ed. Clydesdale, preaching

Feb. 10th
                     Ash Wednesday        
    Ashes, Anointing, Prayers & Meditation- 9:30-11:00
       Rev. D. Oosterbaan & Rev. Dr. J. Dawson presiding

Feb. 14th

                    First Sunday in Lent       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
                Beth Shorten, preaching
                        Teen Discussion Group
                    Lenten Bible Study- 8:30am
         Worship & Music Committee Meeting- following Worship

Feb. 21st
                   Second Sunday in Lent       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan, preaching
               Nancie Lederer, guest violinist
                 Lenten Bible Study- 8:30am

Feb. 25th
        Session Council Meeting- 7:00pm

Feb. 28th
                    Third Sunday in Lent       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan, preaching
     Congregational & Corp. Meeting following Worship                 
                 Lenten Bible Study- 8:30am          

March 6th
                    Fourth Sunday in Lent       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Bruce Comisky, preaching     
                 Lenten Bible Study- 8:30am          

March 13th
                    Fifth Sunday in Lent       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Dr. Julia Dawson, preaching     
                 Lenten Bible Study- 8:30am          

March 21st
                         Palm Sunday       
    Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Ed. Clydesdale, preaching     
                All choirs and Guest Instrumentalists          

March 24th
                       Maundy Thursday     
    Soup, Salad Dinner  and Hand Washing, Communion

March 25th
                         Good Friday     
    Children's Workshop- 10:00am-2:00pm
    Worship Service- noon

March 27th
                       Easter Sunday     
  Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
            Rev. Deborah Oosterbaan, preaching     
                All choirs and Guest Instrumentalists   

Camp Johnsonburg Retreat- January, 2016


Church Board Members  2016


 Session Council:
   Felicia Burgos   
     Djenane Duhaney
     Michael Duhaney

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


     Kathy Dougherty
     Kelsey Dougherty
     Elizabeth Hathaway
     Amy Henderson
     Matthew Koroluk
     Eileen Kuhn
     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
    'The Tough Work of Waiting'        

                 November 29, 2015- Advent

We wait together for the coming of a savior. We wait as men and women have waited down through the centuries for a word of
comfort and hope. With music and words
from the past, we wait for Jesus to be born among us.  So speak the word you have for us this morning.  Come into our lives again, with love and challenge and kindness and hope. In Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


I wait all day long,” the psalmist said. Be alert. Watch,” Jesus said. Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

You know, there is an almost perfect secular equivalent to the major biblical theme of waiting and watching in hope for the kingdom to come. It’s in the air these days. Everyone knows the words:

"O, you better watch out, You better not cry, you better not pout, I’m tellin’ you why: Santa Claus is coming to town."

There is something almost painful, but at the same time delicious, about a child’s waiting for Christmas—counting the days, anticipating, wishing, hoping, until the night of December 24; the waiting is so intense, so focused, that little ones have trouble falling asleep. Those childhood memories stay with us, no matter how old we are.

It’s a variation on the waiting we do all our lives: we wait to be old enough to go to school, to ride a bicycle, to get a driver’s license, to graduate. We wait to land a job, meet the right person. We wait for a promotion, a raise, and we wait for success. We wait all our lives for security; we wait for retirement. In Chicago, fans of the Chicago Cubs have been waiting in hope, year after year, for more than a century to win the World Series. And, of course, you at First Pres., Verona, have been waiting a long time for a new pastor - and it isn’t because the Search Committee hasn’t been working diligently.

There is something about waiting, Barbara Brown Taylor says, that so focuses your attention that you cannot hear or see anything else. Lying in bed at night, unable to sleep, waiting for your teenager to come home, listening for the sound of the car in the driveway and the back door opening, is so galvanizing—I know, I’ve done it—that you literally shut out every other sound (Bread of Angels).

Waiting is such a universal and deeply human experience. Some literary scholars think the most important work of literature of the twentieth century is a play, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The play is read and taught and discussed by students of our culture as a metaphor for the spiritual tenor of our times. Two men sit down to wait for Godot. They talk and talk and you’re not sure who Godot is, although Godot is spelled G-O-D-O-T. It seems like an obvious synonym for God. The play ends and Godot never comes.

And, truth be told, we are actually not very good at waiting. The late Henri Nouwen, Dutch priest and theologian who lived and taught in the United States until he died, was a very astute observer of American culture. He wrote. Waiting is not very popular. In fact, most people consider waiting to be a waste of time. The culture says, ‘Get going! Do something! Don’t just sit there and wait.’ For many people waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to be.”

Patience is a challenge. A flight delay at the airport, an unanticipated traffic jam on the Turnpike, a meeting that drones on and on beyond the point of relevance or usefulness, or even a sermon that does the same thing. A doctor’s appointment that leaves us sitting in a waiting room for an hour becomes a real crisis, emotional and physical, with elevated stress, heart beat, and blood pressure. And of course, we can’t even wait even an extra nano-second when we’re downloading something online. Fios and Optimum battle perpetually over which system can download a movie or a document faster.

Our culture does not reward or applaud patient waiting. Nouwen was right: culture celebrates action, results, instant gratification. We want it all—and we want it NOW! We are entitled to it—not years from now, but now.

Someone said that the very best advice anyone could give an American is not “Don’t just sit there, do something,” which continues to get us in all kinds of trouble, but the opposite, “Don’t just do something; sit there.”

     Waiting is a major biblical theme: I wait for the Lord all day long,” the psalmist wrote and we read together this morning.

     Psalm 27:14: Wait for the Lord     Psalm 130:5: I will wait for the Lord    Hosea 12:6: Wait continually for your God   

     Micah 7:7: Wait for the God of salvation

And my favorite:

     Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength

     They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,  they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40: 31)

That’s a lot of waiting. And in the Bible, it happens in a situation that is bleak and not at all hopeful: the exile, when God’s people have been defeated, humiliated, expelled from their homes and homeland. Not all that different from what we have seen in Syria. They have watched their beloved city and its magnificent temple be destroyed. That is to say, waiting, in very real hopelessness and despair. We sing about those people in Advent: O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here.” Over and over again their prophets and poets advise them to wait, watch and wait in hope, for their God will come. The Messiah!

In the Gospel reading this morning, for the First Sunday in Advent, waiting for God, waiting for the kingdom to come, is cast in dramatically apocalyptic language, disturbing, frightening images.

Jesus and his disciples have just arrived in Jerusalem, and his Galilean friends are dazzled by the wonderful sights, like tourists on Fifth Avenue—the shops, busy streets full of people, and the magnificent temple, so big and glorious, like nothing they had ever seen before, the House of God. All of it, Jesus said, all of it could be gone in a minute. And some of them lived to see it happen—the destruction of the city and the temple, when Rome crushed a rebellion and leveled the city and drove out its inhabitants. It was the end of the world as they knew it.

The passage is a favorite for modern apocalypticists—the authors of the enormously popular Left Behind books a few years ago, for instance—who see in current events a fulfillment of Jesus’ first-century warnings: portents in the heavens, signs in the stars, storms, wars. The modern version leads to Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil, the defeat of the anti-Christ, and the rapture. And for many, the way to get ready for it is to find an unused bomb shelter, stock up with water and food, arm yourself to the teeth, and watch and wait for the battle.

Jesus seems to have something else in mind. Be alert,” he says. Watch, stand up, raise your head.” The waiting he has in mind, the coming of God, apparently is not to be dreaded but eagerly awaited, hoped for. It will be a redemption, a fulfillment, a world coming as God intended it: a world characterized by justice and peace, a world where people will be secure and content, a time when little children will not be shot in the streets, where people do not die for lack of health care, a world where weapons are transformed into farm implements, a world characterized by kindness and compassion and love—love of God and love of people for one another.

Barbara Brown Taylor writes, be on guard, Jesus said, not so you will know when to grab your crash helmet and head for the basement, but so you will know where the kingdom of God is. So you will not miss God when God comes”

Advent is the time when we begin serious waiting for Christmas, for the birth of the child, but it is also when we think about the future the child promised and embodied and taught and lived, the kingdom of God he promised was coming but is already present in the world, if you can wait and watch patiently enough to see it.

Waiting for that promised time is not waiting it out,” sitting around whiling away the days and weeks and years of your life, killing time. No, Advent waiting is living into that future, working for the kingdom, supporting with your resources, advocating, arguing, voting, fighting for the kingdom. It is not the mindless, ultimately meaningless waiting of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which some think is merely waiting for death. It is active waiting, confident waiting, waiting in hope.

William Sloane Coffin told his congregation at Riverside Church in Manhattan, I don’t want Riverside to be an institution for those interested in things religious. I want it to irrigate the community with hope”

What a great image for the church: irrigating the community with hope.” Waiting for the kingdom by working for the values of the kingdom, joining in the work Jesus Christ is already doing in the world, working for his kingdom of justice and peace and kindness and generosity with a fierce hope that never dies.

That’s what it means to watch for the kingdom by irrigating the community with hope.

O, you better watch out,You better not cry, you better not pout, I’m tellin’ you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.

For the little ones, it’s a time for serious waiting.
And for, us on the first Sunday of Advent, we wait too, for the coming of God into our world and into our lives.
God comes in ways we do not expect—like the birth of a baby to a peasant couple in a remote outpost of the empire.
And God comes with comfort through the kindness of a friend when we lose someone we love.
God comes with healing through gentle touch, a nurse, a dear one.
God comes with reassurance when we are afraid.
God comes with energizing spirit when we are discouraged and life-giving love when we are depressed.

And God comes in programs of churches, in people who understand a little of who Jesus Christ was and what he was about; people who love him and love the idea of his kingdom and a bit of that kingdom appearing right here in the life of the world when they share his love with someone who needs it.

The message of Advent is that God comes into the world—to lonely exiles centuries ago and to you and me. But you have to watch and wait in hope and do the good work of waiting and hoping.

God comes quietly—in the birth of the child of Bethlehem long ago and in the birth of love today, now, in the world, in your life and mine.  Amen






    Please contact us for further information