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IN THIS ISSUE: A Moment with a Member PAGE 3

Souper Bowl of Caring PAGE 5

Upcoming Events PAGE 6

A bimonthly publication of Bridgewater United Methodist Church JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2018 VOLUME 2, ISSUE 5


Letter from the Pastor Dear BUMC Family and Friends: Happy New Year to you and all of your loved ones! If I told you that 2018 is promising to be a great and fruitful year at Bridgewater UMC, how would you respond? Would you say, yes? My response will be: “With God’s help and blessing, YES!” I believe with all my heart that we will have a great and fruitful year at our church in 2018, because:        

We have the most gifted and committed leaders in our church! We have the most gifted and effective church staff in our church! We are fully engaged in our new Visioning with 8 futuristic thinking leaders! We have outstanding church facilities in a very visible location! We are creating a culture of welcome and hospitality for more new people, young people and diverse people! We are creating a very effective team work among all people! We are so passionate about following Jesus as our Lord and Savior! And, most of all, we have a God who believes in us and guiding us by the power of the Holy Spirit!

On a practical note, we were able to fulfill all of our shared mission fund giving and cover all of our ministry expenses, and end the year with surplus in 2017. This was possible all because you have stepped up and supported your church financially with joyful and generous hearts. So, I celebrate with you that we are off to a great start for 2018. It has been said that “without vision, people perish.” In other words, “with God’s vision as our guiding light, we flourish!” I am putting “all of my eggs” into a basket of hope and determination, and am gearing up to work with all of you to guide our church forward and upward. Our new vision is “Welcoming, Engaging and Serving.” Let’s do all we can to make this vision a reality for God’s glory in 2018. Looking Ahead with Hope, Rev. Jennifer 1 | | January/February


Pastoral & Church Staff

651 Country Club Road Bridgewater, NJ 08807 908-526-1414 bridgewaterumc.org office@bridgewaterumc.org Vision Statement: We invite all people into an accepting and loving community of peace and refuge that makes disciples of Jesus Christ to impact lives through mission and service.

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Cho, Senior Pastor Rev. Laura Steele, Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation Rev. June Tamburro, Associate Pastor of Discipleship Evan Currie, Director of Music/Organist Mary Beth Gruber, Finance Manager/Treasurer Nick Jankucic, Property Manager Janet Ledbetter, Administrative Assistant Diana T. Berenter, Childcare Coordinator Jeanne Alusik, Director of Children’s Corner

For questions or comments about this publication, please contact Veronica Sydlowski at thebridgebumc@gmail.com

Social Media Posts ofCORNER the Summer CHILDREN’S AT BUMC

Like and follow us on Facebook651 to view pictures/videos find out what’s on at church Country Club Road,and Bridgewater, NJ going 08807

908-526-9596 • www.theccorner.org childbumc@gmail.com Ages 2-6 • Full and Half Day Programs Are you following us on Facebook? Have you liked our page yet? Our Facebook page regularly posts pictures and videos, links to the pastoral email and The Bridge, as well as information about upcoming events. If you have liked the page, but aren’t seeing anything on your news feed, be sure to like or share posts so that you see future posts. Find us at facebook.com/bridgewaterumcnj

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A Moment with a Member: The Manger Family By: Veronica Sydlowski Bridgewater United Methodist Church (BUMC) has become a second family to Nina Manger’s children Ally, age 6, and Allan, age 3. “They have an excitement about being at church. They love going to Sunday School and singing with Cherub Choir,” said Nina. “It is another sense of family and community that accept and welcome them.” Nina grew in Branchburg and attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church. She recalled being active in Sunday School and teaching Vacation Bible School as part of her confirmation project. She was active in college with her faith, but when she moved back home, she had a hard time getting plugged back into church. She was introduced to BUMC by a family member in 2009. “My grandmother had passed away and I felt I needed to connect to her, which is why I came back to church,” said Nina. She became an official member the day before she was induced with Ally in March 2011.

Over the years Nina has become a lot more active in the church—especially as her children have gotten older. Her children

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have attended Children’s Corner (her son still attends) and she is a board member for them. She is part of the Children and Families Ministry and this year became a Sunday School teacher for 3-5 year olds. “I miss having the conversations from Adult Sunday School,” said Nina, “but children conservations are cute and knowing that they are retaining information about God and Jesus is sweet.” A few years ago, when Nina was going through a difficult time, she was appreciative of the support of various church members and staff. Even during her difficult time, she said, “There were people there listening and supporting me and there was a light, God’s light, shining through.” She credits former pastors Rev. Brender, Rev. Lovallo and staff members Mary Beth Gruber and Diana Berenter with helping “keep me afloat” by reaching out or sending texts to check in on


Ally and Allan with their friends over the years

her. She noted that she felt very supported by all of them. Through the support of the church “I rediscovered my faith and trust in people,” said Nina. “I’m glad I stuck with the church.” One of her favorite experiences so far was attending the Sunday School Leadership Retreat in September. “It was the first time I had ever done something like that and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Nina. “It was fun meeting new people, planning, and talking about things.” Ally has also enjoyed becoming involved at BUMC. She said her favorite part of church is “Cherub Choir because we get to sing loud in front of people.” She was just recently an angel in the Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve. She said church makes her really happy “because I get to be with all of my friends like Grace, Daniel, Andrew, Matthew, Sophia, Ben, and a lot more

people!” Allan also enjoys coming to church and said his favorite part is “Sunday School because I get to learn and Mommy teaches me.” Nina says she hopes that as her children get older that they will continue to grow in their faith and “know that they have a second family here at church to guide, support, and love them.”

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Let’s #tacklehunger By: Veronica Sydlowski Over the years, the congregation has been supportive of an initiative called Souper Bowl of Caring. The initiative started in 1990 with 22 churches in Columbia, South Carolina raising money to help local community organizations that assist with poverty and hunger. Over the years it grew to national event and eventually it became an official non-profit organization. The thought was to take a weekend that is traditionally about food and fun and focus it to a positive service project to help others. The statistics show that 1 in 7 kids in New Jersey are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from. Just under a million people in New Jersey struggle with hunger and 70% often have to make the decision between food and utilities, medicine, or housing. In Somerset County, an estimated 7.3% of people are food insecure and while this statistic may be on the lower end compared to the entire state, there is clearly a need for assistance. Although there are government programs in place to help people, such as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], charitable organizations are often the ones who help bridge that gap for families. This year all of the items collected 5 | | January/February

will be donated to The Food Bank Network of Somerset County. They work with various food pantries and county agencies to distribute food. This year we will be changing up our collection. We will start three weeks before Super Bowl Sunday (collection starts Sunday, January 14 and runs until February 4) and you will places your items on the “Angels” (last name A-M) table or the “Saints” table (last name N-Z). We will keep a tally to see which team can collect the most items. We will also have a “challenge” item each week – an item that the food bank is particularly in need of. We will be collecting any canned or boxed items that have NOT EXPIRED – please check the dates before you bring them! Many of the people who rely on food banks and pantries often have health problems, so please consider donating items that are low in salt (or “no salt added”) or low in sugar (think fruit in water instead of syrup). Canned meats are almost always needed and plastic containers are preferred over glass. Whatever you can do to help support this cause will be appreciated! Let’s help fill up our local food bank this winter and #tacklehunger as a community.


January & February Events To see more events and details, please visit our online calendar at bridgewaterumc.org. All events take place at church unless otherwise noted. JANUARY 2018 Su

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Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group Meeting 7:30-9pm

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Souper Bowl of Caring Non-perishable goods will be collected and donated to The Food Bank of Somerset County

Bridgewater DDD—Dinner Chimney Rock Inn, Bound Brook, NJ

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Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper 5-7pm

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Ash Wednesday Service 7:30-8:30pm

16-18 Covenant Free Meals Program

JYF (Middle School) & MYF (High School) Keswick Retreat Whiting, NJ

Covenant UMC, Plainfield, NJ

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Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Tuesday, February 13 • 5-7pm Seniors (60+): $7 Adults: $9

Children (3-9): $5

Children under 3: Free

Buy early and save $2 per ticket——-tickets will also be sold at the door

Pancakes Crepes Sausage Fruit Beverages

Live Dixie Music Crafts and Raffles for Kids

All proceeds benefit the music ministries of Bridgewater United Methodist Church

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The Bridge - January & February  

Bridgewater UMC || The Bridge || January & February 2018 || Volume 2, Issue 5

The Bridge - January & February  

Bridgewater UMC || The Bridge || January & February 2018 || Volume 2, Issue 5

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