For the Week Beginning December 22, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent and

Christmas Eve



Saturday – 5:00 p.m. Service of Holy Communion

Sunday – 9:30 a.m. Service of Holy Communion

Sunday – 4:00 p.m. Service of Holy Communion geared towards families with children

Sunday – 9:30 p.m. Festival Service of Holy Communion with Candlelight

Wednesday – 10 a.m. Eucharist followed by Prayer Ministry


Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas

The office will be closed Monday & Tuesday for the Christmas


Our bulletin board in the gathering area still has beautiful wooden Christmas ornaments available commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  Please place your donation in the locked box by the bulletin board and feel free to take your ornament home immediately to add to the decorations on your tree. All donations will be used for the upkeep and refurbishing of the SCS wing.


 As we began our new church year, we too began our new prayer lists.  If you have someone on the prayer list and you would like them to remain on the prayer list for the new church year, please call (732-229-9180), email (reformationwlb@gmail.com) or leave a note on Debbie’s desk. Please remember, unless otherwise asked, we will put your loved ones name on the weekly spoken prayer list for 4 weeks and then they will remain on the prayer list below and in the monthly messengers indefinitely (until you let us know we can remove them).


 Amy Applton, Phil Apruzzi, Baby Arabella, Haley Brunner, Allan & Christa Buergin, Amanda Ferraro, Coralee Gleason, Thomas Jansen, Don Keller, Joe Lombardo, Mark Mercerino, Beth Nilsson, Joan Nolan, John Powlesland, Francesca Rashid, Glen Robinson, Dolores Strockbine,

Christian Sympathy to the family and friends of Ralph Brighton, Barbara Miller’s dad


Saturday, Dec. 23rd – On Saturday, Dec. 23rd at 5 p.m. we will have a special service of Holy Communion acknowledging the struggles many face at this time of year while trusting God’s shepherding love for us.


Sunday, Dec. 24th – Decorate the altar after worship with the poinsettia we are all ordering Please consider staying to help Barbara Aussicker place the poinsettia on the altar. And, we also need to put out our luminaries.

Sunday, Dec. 24th – Ushers needed for both the 4 and 9:30 services. Please see Curt Aussicker or Craig Munson.

Sunday, January 28 – Annual Congregational Meeting following worship


Christmas Eve


In response to changes in our congregational demographics and attendance practices, we made adjustments in our worship times for Christmas Eve last year that seem to have worked for most of our families. We will continue in this pattern this year, offering two Services of Holy Communion on Christmas Eve.


4:00 – This will be a service geared toward families with young children, though all are welcome. The Children’s Sermon will be the primary sermon at this service. Some hymns will be shortened, and portions of the liturgy will be done in call and response form, allowing non-readers to more fully participate.


9:30 – This will be a Festival Service for Christmas Eve and will include lots of carols, choir, brass, handbells and candle lighting.




There will be no Christmas morning service.


On Saturday the 30th at 5:00 pm, and Sunday the 31st at 9:30 am, the 6th and 7th days of Christmas, we will gather for services of Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion.




Dinner Church, January 6th at 5:00 pm

13 days after Christmas, the Church keeps The Feast of the Epiphany. This feast marks the end of the Advent and Christmas cycle with remembering the coming of the Magi, Kings or Wise Men.


As Epiphany falls on a Saturday Evening this year, the Worship and Music and Fellowship Committees have chosen this for our next Dinner Church event.


We will gather for a 3-course pot-luck dinner and Eucharistic celebration. As we share the meal we will also pray, sing, read Scripture, hear preaching and share Holy Communion.


Those who have participated in our previous dinner church events have raved about how wonderful it is to spend an evening in prayer, praise, thanksgiving and Communion, all in a relaxed and casual setting. Why not give it a try!


We are planning to include some child-friendly “3 Kings” related activity as part of the gathering.


Keep an eye and ear open for further details, and be sure to sign up to participate as the date draws nearer.



Baptism of our Lord – Baptismal Recognition

At our morning service on January 7, The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, we will invite for a time of blessing and recognition, those who have been baptized in the previous year.


We will also offer an opportunity for all those gathered on that day to affirm the covenant God made with us all in Holy Baptism.


Come and celebrate the gift of Baptism and God’s great love poured out over us as God names us and claims us as children of God!

Bishop Tracie Bartholomew


 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us,

and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,

full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NRSV


This is a familiar passage of Scripture for us at this time of the year. We hear it spoken, read, and sung in our worship. “The Word became flesh” – in The Message, the next part of the sentence reads, “and moved into the neighborhood”.

“And moved into the neighborhood”…often we hear that phrase, or something like it, in a negative way. When we want to highlight that someone or some group of people has moved in and is changing the face of what we have come to consider “our neighborhood” you can hear neighbors using phrases like – “look who’s moved into the neighborhood”. It isn’t usually said with excitement and joy.

So how do we hear this phrase when it is used to describe where Jesus dwells? Does it still carry some tinge of concern? Do we desire for God to take up residence in our neighborhood or does it challenge us to take a fresh look around?

Pope Leo I spoke of the word becoming flesh and taking up residence in our neighborhoods and our lives in this way:

“Truly wondrous is the whole incarnation. From the time Christ came, the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, and the speech of kindliness diffused. A heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth.”

If this is what it means when God takes on flesh and moves into the neighborhood, then we should be dancing in the streets! Or at the very least, joyfully celebrating with those around us. This is the promise of the One who has made a home with us. This is what we proclaim on Christmas. This is what gives us hope as the people of God.

We need this promise of life-changing love to be made real in our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, and our world. We need to be reminded that Jesus does dwell with us. We need to know that God is in the flesh healing and restoring and freeing and empowering us to live for one another.  We need Christmas to come again.

As you mark the miracle of Jesus’ birth, I pray you will hear the words of promise and love spoken into your life:

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John 1:14 The Message

Blessed Christmas,

Bishop Tracie L. Bartholomew



Wednesday, January 10th at 7:30 p.m. – Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Congregation Torat El, 301 Monmouth Rd. Oakhurst.  All are welcome to attend but please do RSVP to 732-531-4410 to help Torat El plan. It’s an evening of learning and remembering with a dessert buffet reception afterwards. The flyer is on the kiosk in the gathering area with more details


Sunday, January 28th at 11 a.m. – Meet Judy Singer author of In the Shadow of Alabama at Congregation Torat El. $10 per person with a light bagel brunch.  Plan to read the book prior to attending.  It is a deeply personal novel based on the experience of the author’s father, a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, who as a master sergeant during WWII, is put in charge of an all-African American platoon in the segregated South.  The flyer is on the kiosk in the gathering area with more details


Summer 2018 – YES – SUMMER 2018 (it’s the 1st day of winter by an hour as I write this!) We’ve received the Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center full summer camp schedule.  There are a few new camps and all of the very many choices of old favorites.  Please be sure to check out the flyers in the gathering area. There is something for everyone – all ages – all seasons – not just summer!!!