IN THIS ISSUE: Reflective Q&A with Congratulations to Rev. Vicki Brendler the Class of 2017 PAGE 4 PAGE 7
Save the Date: 4-H Fundraiser PAGE 8
Upcoming Events PAGE 9
A bimonthly publication of Bridgewater United Methodist Church MAY & JUNE 2017 VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1
Letter from the Pastor For almost 13 years now I have written newsletter greetings, weekly reflections, devotionals, and study guides in various forms and reincarnations. I pray that some of them have touched you or been life-giving for you in your spiritual journey. This will be the last time I write to you in this publication...there will be a lot of “lasts” for us in our journey together as pastor and people in the next couple of months...but I wanted here to take the opportunity to thank you for the privilege of serving God in your midst. Both the congregation and the world have changed significantly in the past 13 years. As I have been sorting and packing I glanced at the directory that we did soon after I came in 2004. Some of those saints have died, others have retired and/or moved away, a few have disengaged from the life of this congregation, while there are many also who are not pictured because they have come to be part of our church family throughout the course of my ministry among you. I am thankful for all of you who have been part of the intersection with my journey of faith throughout these years—you have taught me, we have had fun and been in mission and ministry together, you (hopefully) have learned a few things through my sermons and teachings that have helped you grow closer to God, and you have forgiven me (hopefully, again) for the times that I have made mistakes, even as I have forgiven you at times. For our mission and ministry at BUMC is bigger than one person, or one pastor. Our mission is about building up the Body of Christ—and reaching out to our communities to share hope, faith, and love—the grace and righteousness of God which are so vitally needed in our world today. We have laid solid foundations for this mission together. As I prepare to retire, I leave you in very competent hands. Rev. Dr. Jennifer Cho brings many gifts and a heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is a smart, gifted, and experienced leader, teacher, administrator, and pastor who loves God and people; and she will take you on the next steps that God has in store for you. Please welcome and embrace her warmly and with grace. I pray you will be as loving, accepting, giving, and forgiving to her as you have been for me. Enjoy the experience of getting to know her and the excitement of hearing the Good News in from a new perspective! Continues on page 3 1 | | May/June
Pastoral & Church Staff
651 Country Club Road Bridgewater, NJ 08807 908-526-1414 bridgewaterumc.org email@example.com 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. Vicki M. Brendler, Senior Pastor Rev. Ben Lee, 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 Childrenâ€™s Corner For questions or comments about this publication, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHILDRENâ€™S CORNER AT BUMC 651 Country Club Road Bridgewater, NJ 08807 We are a Stephen Ministry congregation and all calls/ emails are confidential. To reach a Stephen Minister, please contact stephenmin@bridgewater umc.org or 908.872.0503
908-526-9596 www.theccorner.org email@example.com Ages 2-6 Full and Half Day Programs
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Rev. Laura Quackenbush Steele, although young on the road to ordained ministry, brings much experience in working with children, youth, and families as a lay worker in a larger church than BUMC. She will bring fresh ideas and energy to these areas of ministry. I have known Laura since she was a youthâ€”she is fun and faithful. You are blessed to have Laura and her family among you. I pray you will also embrace them with love. Rev. June Tamburro, one of your own, will also serve among you but at a reduced number of hours; she will continue to work with small groups and teach about the love of Christ among you. She is also a gift from God for you! As you continue to support her in her work of ministry, she will also be engaging in other ministries in the world, which is the work of a Deacon in our church. Evan Currie, the new Director of Music/Organist, is also an awesome addition to the staff and I feel that he will serve you with excellence and faithfulness both in traditional music and in our contemporary work as well! It took us awhile to get it right, but I really feel that he is able to work well with you all! I will miss you; I will continue to pray for you and the work of Christ among and through you; and I am thankful for this time in my life. But I am ready for the quieter pace of life and the ability to help our parents, children, and grandchildren in ways that working among you full-time does not permit. Additionally, I look forward to more travel, more time in the garden, some time to pursue more exercise and hobbies which have been crowded out in the busyness of life, and time to read. I will still be in ministryâ€”it is just part of who I am. I have some preaching engagements already booked for some Sundays this summer and I will be working with Rev. Dr. Drew Dyson as a Circuit Elder to coach a handful of less experienced pastors in the Raritan Valley District. I am ever so thankful to my husband and partner in ministry, Larry. He has been a firm foundation for our home life throughout my years of ministry; I pray you have been blessed by his ministry among you too. Above all, I am thankful to God for a vocation which has been life -giving and I pray, faithful. I leave you with a full heart,
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Q&A with Rev. Vicki Brendler When did you feel a call to go into ministry? I felt a nudging to enter ministry first in high school. But the only people I knew who were women pastors (there were VERY few in those days) were almost like nuns. And Larry and I were in love and anticipating getting married (which we did shortly before my 19th birthday). So, I dismissed the nudging and went on to Montclair State to major in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I continued to be active in our local church all through college (my dad was the pastor). Larry and I worked with the youth both at our own church (Montville UMC in Towaco, NJ) and with the youth at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boonton. We led the youth choir at our church as well. During my final semester before my student teaching, I had to take a religion class (I had avoided it until then) and while I was reading H. Richard Niebuhr’s book The Meaning of Revelation, I heard a voice saying to me, “You can do this, Vicki...trust me.” It was like all of the cogs in the wheels of my life came together perfectly in that moment and I knew that God was calling me into pastoral ministry. So I enrolled in Drew seminary just after my 21st birthday.
What was a challenge you faced in early on in your ministry and how did you overcome it? Early in my ministry I was very young. When I went to pastor my first church I was only 21...but I felt SO mature and thought I knew a lot...don’t we all at 21? Anyway, I learned a lot in the first churches I served about listening and learning; and about humility. God used those experiences to help form me as a ministering person. I also had the challenge of being one of the first woman pastors in many of the churches I served. In the Fairmount Church, for example, half the congregation walked out before they ever met me, just because I was a woman. In two years we rebuilt the congregation to the same size it had been before I came (with new people) but it was quite disheartening. I think the gender issue is still hard. I tried to meet and talk with people, but some people just make up their minds and that’s it. I learned that God somehow provides whatever you need for ministry no matter how many or how few resources of money, people, and time you have—because it’s not about you...it’s about the mission and ministry of Christ.
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Q&A with Rev. Vicki Brendler How has the church (as a whole) changed over years?
What are some of the things you are most proud of at your time at BUMC?
I think the church has become more business-like over the years, partially because it has had to compete so hard to people’s time, energy, and money. In the early years of ministry, it was a given that most people would come to church. So it was easier to plan visitor follow-up evangelism and grow membership. It was easier to encourage existing church members to invite their friends to worship or activities at church, because it was seen as a normal part of life for most people. People expected to spend time and money for the work of the Lord...and things were simpler...
There are a few things that I think were significant during my ministry here. Being the lead church for the Bridgewater Habitat for Humanity build Initiating the Alternative Giving Fair at Christmas to really emphasize the Christ in Christmas Pioneering Contemporary Worship at BUMC...and staying the course to know its significance for the future in the face of much pressure to not give it the resources it needs to have a chance of being effective Working with Pastor Doris and Pastor Christina to begin Stephen Ministry Helping BUMC become more connectional...talking about the Special Sundays and preaching about our United Methodist beliefs and theology more That I held us together through some tough times with staff Growing the stewardship/giving base for our congregation. When I came there were a few families who would bail out the church budget every year; and many people hardly gave anything to the work of ministry. We still have a few VERY generous givers, but the bulk of the giving is more evenly borne by all of the congregation. And as hard as it has been, we are finally living within the limits of the giving of the congregation.
There are much higher expectations now...we live in a culture where people are used to having lots of choices and demanding to have things their way. There are many more demands on pastors now for expertise in fields that were not part of the work of ministry 40 years ago. There are pressures from needed technological prowess for media and websites; much more competition and comparison with TV preachers; more emphasis on the importance of children’s sports in the community; greater emotional and mental health needs; and many more people working longer hours farther away from home. 5 | | May/June
What is your outgoing hope or prayer for BUMC as you leave? I hope and pray that you will work together with your new pastors to live into the church God is dreaming you to be. I pray that I have helped people grow in their journey with God and in living out their faith; that those of you I have hurt or disappointed will forgive me; that you will know healing in the midst of some broken relationships that were caused due to needed staffing changes; that I will leave you with some good memories; and that I may have made a difference for the Kingdom of God while I served among you. What do you hope people remember about you and/or your ministry?
That I love praising God in music; love teaching and preaching. That I stayed calm and had faith during the Egyptian Spring when our group was caught in Cairo. That I was praying for them when they needed it most. What are you looking forward to the most in retirement?
The Gift of Time. Time to be...time to attend to aging parents and in-laws...time to spend with children and GRANDCHILDREN! Time to read, time to travel, exercise, garden, and play. I will also be teaching a class on United Methodist polity at Palmer Seminary next fall—going to try that out...and I will still be mentoring some less experienced clergy, so that will be fun too!
That I truly love God and was real with you.
Churches/Positions Served 1975-1977—Buttzville & Free Union (while a student) 1977-1979—Irvington 1979-1984—Family Leave be home with our girls while they were preschoolers 1984-1988—Union Village P/T Associate Pastor for Youth, Children, Family Ministry and Missions 1988-1990—Fairmount & Gladstone 1990-1996—Belvidere 1996-2004—Raritan/Raritan Valley District Superintendent 2004-2017—Bridgewater May/June | | 6
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS The annual Senior Banquet will be held on Sunday, June 11 and some of the seniors reflected on their favorite memories, what they will miss when they leave, and those that have had an impact on them during their years here. Cathi helped me grow in faith. Since I went on the DC Trip back in 2011 I was skeptical about getting involved. She helped me to feel comfortable with the group and be the leader that I am today through her example.
Grace Carlsen Julia Cline Brian Cooper John Dombrowski Hannah Drew
Being a part of BUMC made me a stronger person. I am able to walk a little taller because of the people who had the confidence in me and my experiences on the main trips. When you go on a mission trip, you leave as friends but come back as family. I would not give those memories up for anything.
Serena Evans-Lutterodt My favorite memory from BUMC is the 2015 summer mission trip to Fort Myers, Florida. On the trip, the youth group worked with children in a low income area who, amazingly, all were some of the happiest children I've ever come across. Despite of being poor and coming from rough families is some cases, these kids still smiled all the time. In turn this made myself and the rest of the youth very happy.
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Kirsten Kim Rishona Kumar Edward Roberts Michael Snow Katie Stone Thomas Vanicky Ryan Zaborowski
The one thing I will miss about BUMC is the people. The people in the youth group, both the youth and the advisors, really made church fun and I will truly miss them next year when I am gone.
Save the Date!
August 9-11, 2017 4-H Fair at North Branch Park This is one of our biggest FUNdrasiers and is a great way to meet others in the community! Drink donations and volunteers will be needed to man the pizza booth. More information to follow in June!
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May & June Highlights To see more events and details, please visit our online calendar at bridgewaterumc.org. All events take place at church unless otherwise noted. MAY 2017 Su
Time Out! Retreat & Lunch Children & Family Ministry (infant-4th grade)
JUNE 2017 M
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Times throughout the day
Turtleback Zoo Children & Family Ministry (infant-4th grade) - Meet at Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, NJ
High School Mission Trip The Philadelphia Project
United Methodist Women (UMW) Garage Sale
National Day of Prayer
Farewell Reception for Rev. Vicki Brendler Following the 9:30am service Children & Family Ministry Planning Meeting 7:30pm Farewell Reception for Pastor Ben Lee Following the 9:30am service Senior Banquet Early Afternoon
Change in Worship Schedules in June On June 4 and June 11, there will be one
service at 9:30am and then a reception afterwards to celebrate and say farewell to Rev. Vicki and Pastor Ben. The two service schedule will return on June 18. June 4â€”Rev. Vicki Farewell
June 11â€”Pastor Ben Farewell
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