Faith at Work, Part 3: Uncompromising Ethics @TheHighCalling

glory 4

Jimmy Dunne is, by his own admission, a man who sees the world in black and white. In a time when shades of gray are increasingly admired, this is not always a popular perspective. But Dunne’s singular vision became a bright light for others to follow after his workplace was decimated by terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Dunne is Senior Managing Principal for Sandler O’Neill, an investment banking firm that  suffered the loss of one-third of its 171 member workforce on 9/11/01.

At a 2010 Princeton University event, “Faith & Work Ethics in the Executive Suite,” Dunne spoke at length with Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow David W. Miller about his decision making process in the first harrowing days after he learned that his partners, friends, and coworkers had been killed. Nine-and-a-half years after suffering those losses, Dunne was still emotional about them.

He had survived the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, but was on the golf course the morning of September 11, 2001, when he learned of the second attacks. Thinking about the needs of spouses and children left behind, he quickly decided that these grieving families would receive salaries, medical benefits, and bonuses owed to their missing loved ones. …

Read the rest of this inspiring story at The High Calling.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: 6/27-7/1

Hitchhiker, NYC

  • New Laws, Shifting Demographics: Whether the issue is gay marriage, the ‘war on drugs,’ African American marriage prospects, or the plight of undocumented immigrants, Americans are confronting the issues.
  • Michael Tait: ‘Living Integration’: The dc Talk veteran and current Newsboys singer on race, politics, and the beauty of diversity in Christianity, music — and food.

Michael Tait at Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration May 22, 2011Michael Tait is lead singer of The Newsboys. He and the Grammy-nominated band performed an electric set at the Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, last month. Best known as a member of the pioneering Christian rock/rap group dc Talk, Tait’s career in the Christian music industry has been defined by stretching the boundaries of art, faith, and culture. Urban Faith News & Religion editor I caught up with Tait as he prepared to take the stage. …

  • Out in Greenwich Village: Should a church that helps people who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction be allowed to stay in one of the nation’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods?

The big news out of New York last weekend was the legalization of gay marriage, but The Village Church in Greenwich Village is under threat of eviction from the public school where it meets and a New York Times op-ed writer says it should be because its ministry to people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction doesn’t represent the community. I spoke to the church’s senior pastor, Sam A. Andreades, about the church and it’s unique position as the only Exodus International affiliate church in New York City. …

Family Recipe & Entrepreneur Program Help Baker Bounce Back after Lay Off @NJShorePatch

Seannee Harris combined a cherished family recipe with education to launch dessert business.

Dees Cakes at Dessert WarsSeannee Harris comes from a traditional family that places a high value on education, but when she was laid off from her auditing job at Merrill Lynch in 2008, she capitalized on a third generation family cheesecake recipe and took classes through the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to launch Dees Cakes in Freehold.

Although she’s only been in business for a year, Harris’s cheesecake was a judge favorite at the Dessert Wars competition at Branches Catering in West Long Branch May 24.

“We didn’t take the title, but we felt like such winners that day. It was an overwhelming positive response,” said Harris.

Entering Dessert Wars was part of a business plan that includes pursuing wholesale business first.

“The whole point of wholesale business first is for me to build capital behind the scenes until I can open my own retail store,” said Harris. …

To read more about this entrepreneur’s intelligent approach, go to Manasquan Patch.

A Fitting Tribute

Opening Ceremony at The Overnight Walk, NYC, 6/4-5/11
Over the weekend, my niece and I joined 2000+ suicide survivors for the 18 mile Overnight Walk through New York City. A record $2.5 million was raised for suicide prevention, research, and survivor support services. Our team contributed more than $5000 to the pot.

Lumaire dedicated to Gabe at The Overnight Walk, NYC, June 4-5/11

People assume, I think, that I write about Gabriel’s suicide and raise money for causes related to it, because doing so aides in my healing, or redeems the horrific reality, or brings meaning to my life. In reality, exposing this wound exacts an emotional toll that I’m increasingly unwilling to pay.

I shouldn’t be writing about my son killing himself; I should be writing about how he’s taking the world by storm with his many talents and passions.

What? by Gabriel G. Scheller

I’m sure Mariel Hemingway would rather talk about her grandfather’s literature than his suicide too. But there she was at the Overnight Walk speaking eloquently and tearfully to the crowd about her pain, and filming a documentary about suicide, because, I think, she recognizes the danger to the rest of her family (including her daughter) in not talking about its legacy of suicide.

She wants it to stop.

Mariel Hemingway and her daughter at The Overnight Walk, NYC, 6/4-5/11

In the last four years, with the help of both loved ones and strangers, I’ve raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 for causes related to Gabriel’s death, not because it’s fulfilling, but because I felt compelled to do something to stop the pain for others.

NF Endurance Team 2008

Now don’t hold me to this statement if I change my mind, but I think I’m done with public fundraising campaigns that draw attention to my loss. This means no more big events that require $1000 minimum fundraising goals in order to participate, unless I can afford to write a $1000 check myself. It was incredibly difficult, for example, to tell my neighbors that I was hosting a block party to raise money for suicide prevention because my son killed himself.

Overnight Walk Block Party 026

It was a great party, but I really hated exposing myself like that. I don’t want to do it again.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’ve given to one or more of my fundraising campaigns, I offer my sincere gratitude. Your money was well spent, so well spent in fact that I hope you’ll keep giving to The Children’s Tumor Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention until neurofibromatosis and mental illness no longer threaten the well being of those whose lives they touch.

However, instead of continuing to focus on Gabriel’s death, in my new position as News & Religion editor at UrbanFaith.com, I’ll honor his life. He cared deeply about the issues Urban Faith reports on, so I think it’s a fitting, subtle tribute to work on these issues too.

I’ll be updating the site too frequently to post links to my articles as they’re published, but I’ll try to post a weekly update. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

There’s much more to come.

As you read my words at Urban Faith, it can be our little secret that they’re written for Gabe.

Ginger Ice Cream Spices Up Dessert Wars for the Win @LongBranchPatch

Mr.Green Tea Ice Cream Company takes top prize.

It was a packed house last night for Dessert Wars at Branches Catering in Guiness Cupcakes at Dessert WarsWest Long Branch. The event was hosted by 94.3 The Point with proceeds going to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Mr. Green Tea Ice Cream Company’s Ginger Ice Cream confection took the top prize in a field of 23 desserts.

“The fresh ginger in the ice cream was the top one for me. It was in a martini glass with a nice balsamic wash on the inside of the glass, so when you scooped the ginger ice cream, you brought it up past the balsamic and they had little chocolate covered chop sticks. One of the chop sticks had like a chili sugar on it,” explained judge Bob Sickles of Sickles Market in Little Silver.

“It was creative. It was well presented. It looked great. They froze the glasses so the ice cream didn’t melt. There was something else going on that I can’t remember, but something underneath the ice cream, and it tasted great,” he said. …

My favorite was the cheesecake from Dee Cakes. Here’s a bit of the story.


Dees Cakes at Dessert Wars

Seannee Harris, owner of Dees Cakes, works out of a commercial kitchen to replicate her mother Dee’s recipe for creamy cheesecake.

“I used to tell her all the time when we were younger, ‘You should sell this; everybody loves it.’ So she did it locally, but my mom has 7 kids. I think it was a lot to do. …Everybody who’s tried it, even people who don’t like cheesecake, love this cheesecake. That’s how I know it’s special,” said Harris.

Dees Cakes can be purchased online at DeesCakes.net or by phone at 732.303.1332. Free delivery is available in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, said Harris. …

For more on the Dessert Wars deliciousness, go to Long Branch Patch.

Thousands Attend Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration @NJShorePatch

Jersey Shore WIll Graham Celebration

13,821 listen to evangelist Billy Graham’s grandson preach at Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove.

When Billy Graham preached at Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium in 1955, he was 36 years old. Last weekend, his grandson Will Graham preached three messages in the same venue at what the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) called the Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration.

At 36 years old, the younger Graham’s vocal tone, delivery, and message reverberate with his grandfather’s influence.

Graham made the most of media hype overFamily Radio founder Harold Camping’s failed prediction that the Christian rapture would take place Saturday evening at 6 p.m., mentioning it in all three messages, but saving his strongest statements on the topic for Sunday afternoon.

There is increasing interest in the “end of days” theme, Graham told 4135 people Sunday. He’s heard Muslims and Hindus talk about it, he said, and the topic permeates pop culture and movies.

“There is nothing left to be fulfilled for the rapture to take place,” said Graham. …

Go to Manasquan Patch out what else he said and what else happened at the three day event.

What Does the Missional Church Look Like? @TheHighCalling

The story of ORB.

Christian Andrews was in his sixth year of studies at Princeton Theological Seminary when he walked away from those studies to help a small proof of the garden stategroup of Christians reach out to youth in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey.

“This group over time began to sense that God had called them together to do ministry with high school students. They sensed that in the joy they received from doing it, in the effectiveness of their work, and in the way it brought them to life,” said Andrews.

“They wanted someone to live in this town and facilitate their doing the work they felt called to—not someone to come and do ministry for them, but to equip them to do ministry,” he explained.

Andrews began to live in Red Bank “with eyes that were formed by this idea that what God had done in Christ was done for all people and that the difference between me and another person might just be that they haven’t come to know it yet and I’ve been given to know it and that I should live in such a way that maybe God would use me to help them see,” he said….

Read the whole thing at The High Calling. You’ll be inspired or challenged or both.

Will Graham on Preaching, Public Statements, & His Famous Family @ManasquanPatch @TheHuffingtonPost

William (Will) Franklin Graham IV is the grandson of Billy Graham and the son of Franklin Graham. Graham is an associate evangelist at Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and assistant director of The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. He just returned from the Philippines, where he preached to 97,000 people in four days. Graham is a graduate of Liberty University and holds an MDiv. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kendra, live near Asheville, North Carolina with their three children.

Last time we talked, I asked you if you thought the press was unfair to your father, Franklin Graham, because his public statements generate more coverage than the humanitarian work he does with Samaritan’s PurseNow, he’s drawn criticism for making statements to Christiane Amanpour of ABC News that seem to imply that he doesn’t really believe President Obama is a Christian and that he does believe there is merit to the claim that President Obama was not born in the United States. I have two questions about this issue. First, do you believe President Obama is an American citizen and a Christian? 

It seems from all standpoints that we can tell, yes. I have no reason not to think it. Do I know him as a Christian? I’ve never spoken to the president about his personal walk. I’ve never met him. …My father and I, we’ve never discussed the president’s [faith]. My father’s had more intimate conversations with the president than I have, so I can’t speak to that. He claims to be a Christian, I do know that. …

His job is the toughest job in the world. I don’t think anybody really knows the pressures the president goes through. I know for certain, my grandfather, my father, and my family, we all pray for our president, just in the sense of  “God, give him wisdom.” He’s got to make decisions that you and I will never know about in human history. We know that that burden falls on his shoulders and his alone. God’s put him in that place to make those decisions. We just pray that God will direct him on the decisions to make. Not to make our decisions, but to make what God wants to do and those are tough.

When it comes to his birth certificate—if he was born American—it looks like he’s produced documents that say without a question anymore, it’s laid to rest. I think even [Donald] Trump waved his white flag.

That brings me to my second question. Many BGEA staffers have told me over the past few months that you are more like your grandfather than your father. When it comes to making political statements, whose footsteps do you intend to follow? …

To find out the answer to that question and others, go to Manasquan Patch. To find out what HuffPost readers think, go here.

Christian Music, Divorce, & Triathlons: An Interview with Big Tent Revival’s Spence Smith @TheHuffingtonPost

When I talked to Spence Smith, a founding member of the five-time Grammy-nominated band Big Tent Revival, he had just come back from a run, which was appropriate given that Smith is a triathlete who took up the sport after a divorce left him feeling like a failure.

These days, if Smith picks up his drum sticks, it’s usually to play with one of the bands he collaborates with as an artist relations professional with the international aide agency Compassion International. He’s also a social media and marketing consultant.

On a trip to Ecuador earlier this year, Smith asked a Compassion coworker to marry him. She said yes.

Scheller: How do you maintain your faith and spiritual life both in the Christian music industry and traveling so much?

Smith: I grew up in the Church of Christ, which is notorious for no instruments in worship. … So when our band formed, I was not listening to Christian music. I did not know there was a Christian music industry. I just knew that there was this guy named Michael W. Smith and this girl named Amy Grant out there. …

When we started the band, we started because we really loved music and we really loved Jesus. That was about it. Walking out of the Church of Christ and into that environment was pretty eye-opening because I literally had grown up thinking — because that’s what we were taught — that we were the only ones going to heaven.

When you get outside of that and realize there’s tons of people in the world that love Jesus just as much, if not more, it really questioned my faith. What I realized after a few years of being in the band was that I wasn’t in this band because this band needed me or that God needed me to be in this band to help lead people into relationship with Christ. I really felt like I was in this band because it’s where God needed me to be to keep me in check and help me to grow.

So it was a growing experience for your faith rather than a destroying one?

Right. But because of that, you start walking through all these different denominations, playing for everything from Southern Baptists to the most Charismatic church out there. So you see everything in between. None of us spoke in tongues, so we played shows where promoters spoke in tongues and if they found out we didn’t speak in tongues, it’s like they were trying to get us saved again and that just wasn’t us. …

We ended up seeking out different people to walk alongside of us as road pastors or advisors or mentors. A guy that we had for a really long time who still does this for a bunch of mainstream artists is a guy named Michael Guido, and he was pivotal in our growth and in how we handled things relationally within the band. …

People always thought that we had tons of groupies and girls hanging around our band. For whatever reason, we just weren’t that band. … We took steps to make sure we were being accountable to each other and to the people we were working with. And so, I think that set us up for some pretty big success when it came to relationship and family and how we lived out our lives.

I will say this: there are lots of things that I experienced in Christian music that makes me very leery of Christians in general. Me, being a Christian, I walk very gingerly into situations where I know it’s going to be a heated discussion or a controversial issue, because most of the time I think they’re uncalled for.

What do you mean by that?

It could be anything. It could be walking into a church that you’re going to play at and all of a sudden you find out that the pastor is pretty egotistical. You basically want to kind of separate yourself from having to play to the whims of the senior pastor. If you walk into a situation where the senior pastor or the youth pastor is the big man on campus, and all of a sudden you’re 10 times bigger in popularity than he is, then it becomes an interesting situation.

We stayed away from issues that people fought about denominationally. For instance, our lead singer was very adamant about presenting the Gospel at as many shows as possible and giving people the opportunity to come to Christ at the show, and we were fine with that. That’s just part of who Big Tent was. In the process, we would go hang out during the day in this town, and we would ask questions like, “What’s it like for the church here in town?” Nine times out of 10, people would say, “We’re having a real problem getting the churches to come together to help this town out. These denominations just will not work together.”

Our lead singer would get up and he would present the Gospel and all these people would come forward and pray to receive Christ and it was all good. … Then he’d go through the whole line of denominations and he’d say, “We talked to people in this town and you guys have a real problem about churches coming together. Why does it take a show coming to town to get you guys all in the same room?” He would just encourage them to get in a room together more and to do things together. We really wanted to try to bring people together.

Coming out of working in Big Tent and working for Compassion has been an even more incredible experience because I got all that experience dealing with different denominations and people, and now I work for an organization that is very adamant about staying non-political and non-denominational. … When you walk up into the office in Colorado Springs or hang out with any of the staff, the denominational lines aren’t there at all. It’s that way politically too. … We have one goal and that is to help release children from poverty in Jesus name no matter where we go to church.

Tell me about Big Tent Revival. Did the band break up or go on hiatus?

We basically started forming in 1990. By the time we got on the road and started playing shows, it was around 1993. Our first record came out in 1994 and then we came off the road at the end of 2000. When we officially came off the road, we told people we broke up. There was all this record company politics of saying, “No, tell people you’re taking a break.” We said, “Wait, man, we gotta go get jobs. We can’t just tell people we’re taking a break. No one’s going to believe us.” We worked that all out and, about a month after we got off the road, I got this job with Compassion.

Since then, we get together and play shows every once in a while. … We left as friends and we’ve become better friends since. I think for us it’s just a matter of wanting to play together because we miss hanging out with each other.

How did you come to work for Compassion International?

Big Tent represented Compassion International and I really fell in love with the organization the first time I went on a trip. … I told the guy who was our artist guy, “If anything ever happens to this band, I’m coming to work for Compassion.” I didn’t realize that years later that would actually happen. …

When I got the job, it was a big risk for them because they’d never hired a musician. It’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life. … My job specifically is to work with artists and creative people. Part of my passion is to bring people into a bigger worldview than just what they’re dealing with locally.

Your other passion, I know, is triathlons. When did you start doing that and why?

I was coming out of a divorce about six years ago and I really needed to get my head together. I felt like a complete failure. I had failed in one of the greatest gifts we are given in life and I (we) just couldn’t make it work the way it was supposed to. The YMCA had this sign on the board that said “Running Group: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00, Brentwood Y.” I thought, “I work from home. I can do that.” I went the first time, I walked in this room and there’s like 20 ladies standing in this room. … I was the only guy that ran with them and they just totally took me under their wing. … It was cool and I did it for a year and I loved it.

I noticed at that time that I wanted to get stronger as a runner. I used to be a swimmer and I heard about this swimming group that was in town and I went to check them out and lo and behold, they were a swimming group that trained for triathlons. … I started swimming with them. … I did one triathlon at the end of the summer, and I fell in love with the sport. The next summer, I trained for triathlons for the whole summer. I did eight triathlons that next summer, sprint distance and Olympic distance. At the end of that summer, because of all the community and friends that I’ve made through that process, a bunch of us decided to do Ironman Louiseville for 2009. … I’ve been doing it ever since.

How do running and triathlons nourish the rest of your life?

There are good days and there are bad days when you run. There are some days when your legs are sluggish. I think life is like that. There are some days you wake up and you feel like you can tackle the world and things are going to be good, and there are some days when you get up and you’re like, I don’t even want to get out of bed. I can’t do this. But you have to make a choice. Part of this comes from going through my divorce. I chose to say, “I’m not going to be one of those guys who’s going to wallow in this and let this get the best of me. So, I’m going to choose to get up and make the best of it.” …

What I learned through training for Ironman is that there are a lot of Type A personalities that do triathlons. They’re very competitive. They’re very high energy. But doing something that’s an endurance sport separates those who are driven from those who are determined. Driven people usually quit. What happens is they drive, drive, drive and they go for it; and then they decide when they hit a roadblock, they’re not going to do that anymore because the path isn’t that easy, so they go a different direction.

Determined people will see the end result and when they hit a roadblock, they go, “All right, here’s a road block. How do I get around it? Does that mean I have to back up a few steps, take a break? If I get injured, do I have to call it off for a little bit? But I still have this goal ahead of me and even on the days that completely suck, I’ve still got to recognize that these are sucky days and I’m OK with that. There’s going to be a better day coming. So, let’s just get through.”

That helped me get through Ironman. It’s helped me get through difficult times in my life. It helps me walk with my relationship with the Lord in a way that’s much more honest and real than it ever has been because I have days where I have to recognize that my relationship with Christ is truly a relationship and he is perfect. I in no way can expect to be perfect. So I treat my relationship like I would with anyone else that I dearly love. And that is, some days I’m going to have bad days and some days I’m going to have good days. That if a friend is truly a friend, they’re going to be there for you no matter what.

Because you’ve talked about your divorce, I want to get some context for it. Was being on the road so much a contributing factor?

I was off the road by the time we divorced. I was traveling still, about half as much. No, it was definitely a relational thing.

How did you navigate that within the Christian world that you move and work in?

It was difficult, to say the least. Part of it was because she and I together in town were kind of high profile in the circles that we move in. She does publicity and we both work in the Christian music industry. So we definitely had to deal with a lot more than probably the average person would have to deal with in a divorce when it comes to stuff like that.

What I basically did was I just laid low. I set some ground rules in my personal life and I just made sure to not cross those lines so that I could be very accountable and know that I walked through things the best way that I could. There’s nothing easy about divorce. When we went our separate ways, even though it was rocky, when it comes to the friends and people that we deal with, we didn’t lose that. In fact, I think it kind of enhanced some friendships.

We only see each other two or three times a year at an event, but I would say over the past year, we’ve had some pretty good reconciliation on the level of friendship and respect. When it comes to dealing with each other in work-related matters, we’re both right on top of it. It’s been a real blessing for me and I’m really proud of her. She’s remarried and she’s doing a lot of cool things in her life, so it’s just been good.

I think the interesting thing is that it’s taken something like that to bring me into really discovering the person that I am now. I think walking into this next marriage, had I not gone through the divorce and learned what I’ve learned about myself, I don’t think I could walk into this marriage as well as I feel like I’m going to.

Congratulations to you both!

This interview has also been published at The Huffington Post.

A Mother’s Day Prayer for Those Who Have Lost a Child

peonies

Is there a holiday more challenging for mothers who’ve lost a child than this one? If there is I don’t know it. Where once there had been homemade cards and breakfast in bed, now there is a glaring reminder of what will never be again.

The day doesn’t have to be a morose tribute to our pain though. Instead we can honor ourselves for having loved our children well and for having the courage to continue living in a world without them. If we have other children, we can decide that their love and presence alone are worth celebrating. As people of faith we can rest and rejoice in the hope that we will one day be reunited with all those who’ve gone before us into the next world, especially our children.

We don’t have to like what has happened or even understand it, but we can choose joy over sadness, love over loss, life over death. Annie Dillard helps me do this with these words from Holy the Firm:

We do need reminding, not of what God can do, but of what he cannot do, or will not, which is to catch time in its free fall and stick a nickle’s worth of sense into our days. And we need reminding of what time can do, must only do: churn out enormities at random and beat them, with God’s blessing, into our heads–that we are created, created, sojourners in a land we did not make, a land with no meaning of itself and no meaning we can make for it alone. Who are we to demand explanations of God? (And what monsters of perfection should we be if we did not?) We forget ourselves, picknicking; we forget where we are. There is no such thing as a freak accident. “God is at home,” says Meister Eckhart, “We are in the far country.”

We are most deeply asleep at the switch when we fancy we control any switches at all. We sleep to time’s hurdy-gurdy; we wake, if we ever wake, to the silence of God. And then, when we wake to the deep shores of time uncreated, then when the dazzling dark breaks over the far slopes of time, then it’s time to break our necks for home.

There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and tales for other times.

If the death of a child teaches us anything, it teaches us that we’re not in control and that the world makes little sense apart from God. If we’re wise, it will teach us where to love and whom.

My prayer for you is that you will love well those whom God has given you to love in the absence of your child, and that you will have the courage not to waste your time with those who increase your suffering. Be kind to yourself. Thank God for the glorious privilege of being a mother. Cry if you need to you, and then have a Happy Mother’s Day!

High School Social Studies Classes Confront Islamophobia @LaceyPatch

I’ll be dealing with some of the issues raised in this lecture in my next NJ Shore Patch column. I didn’t have the opportunity to do so in this article.

Lacey Township High School is attempting to break cultural boundaries as guest lecturer Engy Abdelkader, a Muslim American, spoke to students about Islamophobia.

Social Studies teachers Julie Ferenc and Joe Humenick hosted Abdelkader in an effort to increase tolerance and reduce bullying, Humenick said. Although previous classes have learned about intolerance and a holocaust survivor is scheduled to speak before the school year ends, Abdelkader is the first person invited to speak on the topic this year, he said.

Abdelkader is a Monmouth County attorney of Egyptian descent. She was born, raised, and educated in the United States. Her goal for the event was to reduce conflicts, misunderstanding, teasing, and bullying, and to build trust and supportive relationships so that a more effective learning environment is created for all students, she said.

Abdelkader opened the discussion by asking students what stereotypes they have heard about Muslims and/or Arab Americans.  …

To learn more and to see how Lacey residents are responding, go to Lacey Patch.

Brookville Community Church Celebrates Easter @BarnegatPatch

Tiny but devoted congregation meets monthly in historic one-room church.

Easter 2011 at Brookville Community Church, Barnegat, NJEaster service at Brookville Community Church in Barnegat began at 11:30 a.m. At 11:20, Dave and Tammy were sitting in their car chatting with Bill, who was leaning into their window. My husband and I pulled up and said hi.

Tammy and Dave have been attending the one-room church for almost two years. They live in Beachwood, but park their motor home at Brookville Campground down the street, said Tammy.

“We saw this little church. We’re very fond of it. We love it. It’s just beautiful, ” she said.

The little building reminds her of an old Victorian chapel, she said. She’s equally fond of Brookville’s pastor, Eileen Murphy.

“She’s a wonderful speaker,” said Tammy.

At 11:25, I pushed open the church door and Bill turned on the light. He lives in the neighborhood and had the keys to the church. Dave began searching for a brochure that would tell me about Brookville’s history. He gave up a few minutes later when three women arrived.

One woman sat in a chair at the front of the sanctuary facing the congregation – eight of us altogether. She asked if anyone had joys to share.  …

Read the rest at Barnegat Patch.