"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require
of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
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Welcome to Old First Church

Join us for our regular service at 10:30 AM.

Rev. Joyce A. Phipps


  March 2017
Pastor’s Message:
The Grace of Lent

Rather than looking at Lent as a time of denial, we should embrace it as a time that allows us, indeed, encourages us to engage in spiritual reflection. Such reflection clearly involves how we think about repentance, which should not simply be feeling sorry for ourselves as we consider our state of sin. Repentance involves forgiveness and healing – even celebration, as Keating said, for healing is something to be celebrated.

The grace of Lent is that it gives us the freedom to reflect, to take time for our spiritual needs and to open ourselves to the serendipity of grace for we don’t experience grace on schedule but often when we least expect it.

Lent is a disruption in our lives, a time that our normal schedule of daily living is supposed to be interrupted. Lent, like Christmas, is an excuse for giving, for giving to ourselves opportunities to take time for ourselves, to mediate, to pray in our hearts – for that is where real prayer occurs -- and to consider the beauty that comes with an Easter faith.


Saturday into Sunday, March 4-5: MOSAIC, an interfaith youth group will be packing materials and making sandwiches for the homeless in New York and we (including Pastor Joyce) will make a midnight run to a location near the Port Authority and distribute food and clothing to the homeless.

Sunday, March 12 -- Adult Education: Pastor Joyce will lead us in examining “Parables for Lent” Beginning at Noon following a pot luck luncheon.

Sunday, March 19 – Riotous Readers at 2 PM: This month we are reading A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, a novel set in the 1940s in Cajun Louisiana about Jefferson, a young man who happens to be at the location where several men are killed in a robbery. Join us for a stimulating discussion. Refreshments always served.

Joyce Antila Phipps, Esq.

An immigration attorney for 30 years, Joyce is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a strong advocate for an immigration policy that reflects our fundamental values as Christians and Americans. She received her J.D. from the University of Connecticut and her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School as well as her D.Min. from Hartford Seminary, specializing in interfaith relations. She helped to establish First Friends/IRATE and has taught in paralegal programs and law school clinics.
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Our newly redecorated Fellowship Hall with kitchen is a perfect place to have a celebration, whether it’s a baby shower, a going-away party, or an anniversary. Call the church office at 732-671-1905 for more details