The First Presbyterian Church

of Verona

a church of caring people

10 Fairview Avenue
Verona, New Jersey 07044

Telephone: (973) 239-3561
Email: veronapreschurch@verizon.net

 

 

Rev. Dan Martian- Temporary Session moderator
Charlotte Cunningham- Minister of Music
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

10:15- Worship in the Sanctuary
Sunday School
Child Care

(Handicapped Accessible)

 

 

Click here to see our church!

 

Programs

 

Music
  
Choirs:

  • Praise Choir: for grades 2-Middle School: Tuesday- 4:30pm
    Senior Choir: Wednesday- 7:30pm
    Senior Handbell Choir: Tuesday- 7:30pm

Children-Christian Education

  • Sunday School Program
  • Confirmation Class
  • Choirs
  • Rainbows
  • Weekly Evening Fellowship
  • Youth Fellowship Program

Women's & Men's Organizations

  • Caregiver Support Group
  • Women's Bible Study Group
  • Men's Bible Breakfast
  • Senior Fellowship Luncheons
  • Single Parents
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network


   

 

Special Events for April

 


Thursday, April 2nd
         Maundy Thursday Supper & Worship
Friday, April 3rd
         Children's Workshop
       Good Friday Worship Service- noon

Sunday, April 5th
         Easter Sunday 
 


         
   

 

Church Calendar for April

Thrift Shop-     
          Open Tuesdays & Saturdays- 10:00-1:00
                
 
Choir Rehearsal Schedule:  
     Praise Choir- Sundays following Worship
     Senior Choir- Wednesdays- 7:30pm

 

Wed.
April 1st
      Caregiver's Support Group- 10:00 am

Thurs.
April 2nd

                   Maundy Thursday
       Supper and Worship Service- 6:00pm


Fri.
April 3rd

                        Good Friday
       Children's Workshop- 10pm-2pm
       Worship Service- Service- 12:00pm


Sun.
April 5th
                        Easter Sunday
                Worship Service - 10:15am
 
                Rev. Bob Pryor- preaching
                            Communion

Thurs.
April 9th

        Session meeting- 7:30pm


Sun.
April 12th
        Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
 
                Beth Shorter- preaching
                Teen Discussion Group

Sun.
April 19th

        Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
 
                Rev. Deborah Oosterbaam, preaching
 


Sun.
April 26th

        Worship Service & Sunday School- 10:15am
 
                Rev. Deborah Oosterbaam, preaching
                          New Member & Baptism
                             Teen Discussion Group

  Worship and Music Committee Meeting following worship


    
                     
 
   
 

Camp Johnsonburg Retreat- January, 2015
 

 

Church Board Members  2015

    

 Session:
     Barbara Haimann
     Donna Kiel
     Joanne Kim
     Eileen Kuhn
     Deborah Michelsen
     Marilyn O'Neill
     Janice Tierney
     Margaret Whiting
    Dorman Craig- Clerk

   

 Deacons:
     Felicita Burgos
     David Haimann
     Kathy Dougherty
     Kelsey Dougherty
     Matt Koroluk
     Eileen Kuhn
     Liz McGough
     Marcos Mercado
     Jacqueline Mescia
     Jennifer Quade
     Marion Shine
     Beverly Winkler
     Cianna Winkler

    

 Trustees:
    Sue Betcher
    Michael Duhaney
    Douglas Hathaway
    Donna Lauckner
  
    Joyce Pressler
    
   
  

 

     

                           Church Financial Secretary: Doug Hathaway
                                    Treasurer: Joyce Pressler

    

       Rev. Ed Clydesdale's Message
"The Love of Power vs. The Power of Love"
    
           March 29, 2015- Palm Sunday

Psalms 118:19-29
Mark 11:1-11

You have to love Palm Sunday; more people in church, which is always a nice thing. The sun is shining. The Spring flowers are ready to pop. Driving through Branch Brook Park yesterday the blush of pink is beginning to show on the buds of the cherry trees. Who can’t feel a sense of joy that the long, hard winter is finally beginning to yield it hoary grip on all of us.

And Palm Sunday is a dash of relief from the harsh discipline of Lent. I love Palm Sunday with the waving Palms and the traditional hymns and all the pageantry.

And yet, in the background lurks the Cross and all that that means. In her book, The Undoing of Death, Fleming Rutledge, an Episcopal preacher, got it right. “I remember a teen-aged boy,” she wrote, “an acolyte in my former church, standing with the cross at the head of the palm procession. He turned to me and said, “I don’t understand what I am supposed to be feeling.” Rutledge went on to say, “He well captured the ambivalence of the day.”  It is the tale of two cities, two different views about life, two very different belief systems. Palm Sunday might be prefaced by that line “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” It is the tale of the cities of Jerusalem and Rome. New Testament scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan reflect on this in writing about Palm Sunday. They have this creative suggestion that there was not one triumphal entry into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday; there were two. There was the entry into the city of Jesus riding in on a colt, the foal of a donkey, with the disciples gathering and shouting in joy at the entrance to the city of the hoped-for savior, the messiah, the king, singing their hosannas. “We are saved!” And, giving thanks in the words of the psalm, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” That’s one procession.

Borg and Crossan invite us to imagine that on the other side of Jerusalem there is the second procession that day. That is the triumphal entry into Jerusalem of the occupying power, the empire, Rome. A procession led by the governor, Pontius Pilate, who has been placed there by the emperor, leading the centurions and Roman troops into the city in order to be ready to quell any disturbances that might arise against the occupying power during the nationalist fervor of the Passover celebration.

These two different processions symbolize two different understandings of humanity and the way of the world. Pilate and the Romans symbolize what’s known as the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, which is the peace that exists across the empire due to the absence of war and because of the subjugation of any dissent against the empire by the Roman troops. It was harsh, rit was oppressive; it did not tolerate dissent; and there was a cross waiting for anyone who got out-of-line.

Now the other procession, the humble man riding in on the donkey—symbolizes the Pax Christi, the peace of Christ. Peace that is rooted and grounded in self-giving love. Peace that promises shalom, the fullness of life lived together in community. Peace which passes all our understanding.

Make no mistake about Palm Sunday: these two different worldviews will clash, and never more so than during the week we call holy. In some Christian traditions like the Episcopal church and the Catholic church, Palm Sunday is also marked as Passion Sunday.  After the liturgy of the palms with the procession of the children, the congregation hears the story of the passion, the suffering of Jesus through Holy Week up to the crucifixion on Good Friday. There is a tension about Palm Sunday. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. And that clash, Pax Romana versus Pax Christi, that clash takes place during Holy Week and is occasioned by these two triumphal processions into the city. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

One of the realties we have to recognize around Palm Sunday is that we are entering into a place where faith encounters politics. Now don’t be all shaking your head and saying here we go again, religion and politics. I’m not talking about Democrats and Republicans or Liberals and Conservatives, Left and Right. I mean the very act of Jesus entering the city and being proclaimed king is a political act. You remember the word politics has its root in the Greek word polis, city. In entering the city and drawing in people from the rural areas of Galilee and Nazareth and Capernaum into the city with the message of the peace of Christ, Jesus is challenging the status quo of the powers that be of the empire that control the city.

George MacLeod, the founder of Iona community in Scotland, once preached a sermon in Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City in which he said this: “The love of power has ruled the world since the beginning of time. Only one force is sufficient for our day: it is the power of love.” The love of power. The power of love. That is what is meant by those two worldviews, the Roman peace and the peace of Christ. One is rooted in the love of power, the other in the power of love. But this is not just a tale of two cities from two thousand years ago; this is precisely about how we come together and understand how we order our lives in the context of power. It is how we order and live our lives.

The name Mo’ne Davis may not mean anything to you, but perhaps you will remember her as the 13 year old girl, the baseball player who pitched for the team which made the finals of the Little League World Series last Summer in Williamsport, Pa.before losing to a team from Nevada. She astonished everyone with her ability to compete with the boys and with her maturity. She made the national news as well as the cover of Sports Illustrated, and just a week or so ago the Disney Corporation announced that it was about to make a movie about her astonishing accomplishments. When a young man on the Bloomsburg College baseball team heard about it, he took out his cell phone and tweeted, “What a joke! That slut got rocked by Nevada!”  It didn’t take long for his comment to blaze across the internet. Bloomsburg was embarrassed.

He was ejected from the team. People were outraged. But not 13 year old Mo’ne Davis. After learning that the player had been thrown off his team as a result of his insulting remark, Mo’ne emailed this to the President of Bloomsburg College:

“Everyone makes mistakes.” “Everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way.  I know people get tired of seeing me on TV. But sometimes you got to think about what you’re doing before you do it.”

Davis suggested that a lifetime of hard work shouldn’t be erased by a single mistake: “I know how hard he’s worked. Why not give him a second chance?” The love of power versus the power of love!

And so it is within each of us: this ongoing tension between the love of power and the power of love. The love of power leads to the Cross. The self-centeredness that puts our needs and our self-importance first.  That causes us to disparage someone else, to begrudge their accomplishments, to be jealous of what they have achieved. To gain the upper hand; to grasp for power; to look down upon people of other races, other religions, other income groups to belittle them - all things that speak of the love of power; all things that lead to the Cross.  In the words of the hymn:

Ah, holy Jesus, how have you offended, that mortal judgment has on You descended?
By foes derided, by Your own rejected,  O most afflicted!
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon You”
It is my treason, Lord, that has undone You.
T'was I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied You,  I crucified You.

And it happens every time the love of power rises up within us at the expense of the power of love.  It is in the Cross that we find the power of love.  Again, the words of the hymnwriter;

For me, dear Jesus, was Your incarnation,  Your mortal sorrow, and Your life’s oblation,
Your death of anguish and Your bitter passion
for my salvation.
Therefore,
dear Jesus, since I cannot pay You, I do adore You, and will ever praise You,
Think on Your pity and Your love unswerving,  Not my deserving.

Jesus is our second chance.

Kathy Galloway, a fine theologian and preacher, in a Palm Sunday sermon said this: “Palm Sunday is always happening, and we are always being confronted by the challenge of that different way of being. The way of peace that does not shrink from conflict, but refuses violence. The way that sees the people who are overlooked and not counted. That is the way of self-offering.”

And so on this “ambivalent” day, this day of the joy of hosannas and children singing and laughter in the Sanctuary, this day when we also prepare ourselves to take the journey of suffering into Holy Week, it is the best of times and the worst of times. It is an ambivalent time. It is to this that we are called. As the triumphant shouts of hosanna fade into the background and the way of the cross lies ahead, we are called to face the temptation of the love of power and to see it undermined by the self-offering of the one who will be put to death by power on Friday but who will rise on Sunday, establishing for eternity the ultimate victory of the power of love. Thanks be to God. Amen.

 

 

 

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