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Sunday Bible Study – “Advent of the Savior” – On a seemingly ordinary day, in a manger in the middle of an overcrowded and bustling Bethlehem, the promised Messiah slipped into the world as a tiny baby. Thousands had longed for his coming, few witnessed his entrance, but many millions have been changed by his life. Our current study, Advent Of The Savior examines the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, reminds us of God’s faithfulness and power to fulfill his promises, and draws our attention deeply into the love that brought Christ to earth. A great way to prepare our hearts for Christmas – Sundays, 9:15 AM in the church hall – we’ll put the coffee on for you!

Community Meal – Calling one! Calling All! Have you heard?  On the LAST Saturday of every month Brookdale offers a FREE meal to everyone in the community! Yes – free! Yes – for everyone! If you are local to Bloomfield NJ and have never joined us you don’t know what you are missing! You’re missing out on scrumptious food prepared by Brookdale’s awesome chefs – served right to your table – and the menu changes every month! But even more, you’re missing out on great camaraderie – a time to catch up with your friends and maybe make some new ones. You say “I knew all of that”! Well then, don’t keep it a secret – there’s always more than enough to go around, so pass the word and maybe next time bring a friend! (Serving starts at around 4:30 PM)

Tres Dias Christmas Secuela – Secuela is a Spanish word, best translated as “sequel”. Brookdale Reformed Church is a strong supporter of Northern New Jersey’s Tres Dias and traditionally hosts the Christmas Secuela which will be held this year at the church beginning with a time of fellowship at 7:00 PM on Saturday, December 9. To learn more about Tres Dias visit www.tresdiasnj.org

Blue Christmas Service – Christmas can be a painful time of year for some people.  It may be the 1st or 20th Christmas without a loved family member(s) due to death or the many reasons for being apart.  The constant refrains on the radio, TV, in shopping malls, and churches, about the joy of the season remind many people of what they have lost or are missing.  This anguish can make us feel alone in the midst of the celebrating and joy.  Sometimes we need space and time to acknowledge our sadness; we need to know that we are not alone.  We also need encouragement to live the days ahead of us.   Again, this year, as we have for several years, we will offer a ‘Blue Christmas Service to give people a time and space to do all of this and still be able to wait with anticipation the birth of their Savior. Monday December 11 at 7:00 PM. Join us.

Christmas Eve Schedule – Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year it makes for a busy day. Here’s the lineup: 9:15 AM Bible Study (final lesson of “Advent of the Savior” – see same above), 10:30 AM Morning Worship (4th Sunday of Advent), and 5:30 PM Fellowship and light refreshment followed by our annual Candlelight Service). We’d love to see you at one (or all) of these special celebrations!

A sampling of Past (and some ongoing) Events

Advent Prayer Gathering – On November 27  we again this year put some time aside  to take a deep breath, clear our minds, and remind ourselves of the many gifts God provides to us, particularly that special gift above all gifts that we celebrate during this Advent season. The service was a blessing  to all who participated.

Operation Christmas Child – Christmas in the heat of summer ?! OCC is a project of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse. Brookdale participated in this project for the first time last year and repeated again this year.  Folks pack shoe-box gifts for children in need around the world at Christmas time. Churches and groups of all sizes participate, collecting new toys, clothing, school supplies and hygiene items throughout the summer and then, in November, packing and wrapping gift boxes. This year we held a “wrapping party” during the Fellowship Hour on November 12 and our boxes were delivered to the collection site the next day – on their way to bring a little bit of Christmas joy to some needy kids. This year our gifts are being tracked and we’re looking forward to hearing a little something about the kids receiving them. When we do, we’ll share what we hear with you.

Pasta Dinner – Our most recent Pasta dinner/fundraiser on November 11 was a great success. So much for dieting! Kudos for the chefs who outdid themselves, those who set the tables in class, and the musicians who entertained throughout the evening!

Labyrinth Prayer Walk – Recently (on Wednesday, Oct 25) we offered a Labyrinth meditation walk to our members, friends, and folks from the surrounding community.  What is the Labyrinth you ask? – The Labyrinth is a circle with a single path to and from the center. Walking the labyrinth is a way of praying with the body that invites the divine presence of God into an active conversation with the heart and soul. It has been used as a walking meditation to assist in finding inner peace, managing stress, and healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually for centuries, inviting one to quiet the mind, calm the body, and stir the spirit on a journey of presence and deep transformation surrounded by God’s love and mercy. 28 folks took advantage of the opportunity. We will probably offer the experience again, possibly in the spring. Watch here or our Facebook page for information.

Harvest Fest – We were there  on Broad Street in downtown Bloomfield again this year  on October 7, this time right in the middle of the action with a larger display than last year and lots of free materials to give away. The event ran from 11 Am to 7 PM so we covered it in three shifts. A long day indeed, but lots of opportunity to talk with folks about who we are and what we’ve all about (which is being the hands and feet of Jesus). A big sign in front of our table asked, “How Can We Pray For You” and several took us up on the offer.

Caribbean EveOn Sept 9 a grand time of music (featuring Sterling “Sugar” Sample on the steel drum), food (teasing the palate as advertised) and yes, even dance (Caribbean style) was had by all.  The weather was a bit on the chilly side, but best we can tell everyone had a great time – for sure no one went away hungry!

Solar Seminars For the third time on October 4, 2017 we opened our doors to Geoscape Solar of Livingston NJ for a seminar about “going solar”. At each of these seminars several folks from the surrounding community took advantage of the event to learn how solar works and how to  convert to solar with NO money out of pocket. We see promoting solar as good stewardship and plan to continue periodically hosting educational seminars in the future.

Living Water – On Friday evenings throughout July and early August Essex County again this year offered free concerts at the Brookdale Park and several members and friends of BRC took advantage of this outreach opportunity by distributing free water in the park (and on two of the evenings water/ lemonade at a table on our front lawn). We went out five times, each time distributing between 100 and 150 bottles. Most folks we met were genuinely appreciative and several expressed surprise that we would do this for free, thus providing us the opportunity to witness about Jesus and servant-hood. Along with the beverages we invited folks to come visit us to hear more about Jesus’ gift of Living Water.

Prayer Walk –  On a Wednesday evening back in June, 18 of us (half of whom were new contacts) joined together for a Prayer Walk at Kingsland Park in Nutley. We gathered at a house on the property at the Kingsland Ave end of the park and began our circuit a bit after 7:00 pm finishing  just before sundown. The walk was based on Psalm 23 and we stopping at several points along the way that mirrored the psalm to quietly and privately meditate. At the mid-point of the walk communion was celebrated and at another point an anointing with oil and personal prayer was offered. We are planning another walk, somewhat differently themed, at a different location later this summer.

“In as much as you have done it … unto the least of these you have done it unto me”; Jesus said that! Few of us have the opportunity to make sweeping changes to the world … nor are we expected to. BUT … we are all called to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus wherever we might be – and collectively THAT does change the world … one little bit at a time. Several programs at Brookdale aim to do just that. There’s the blankie project mentioned to the previous article, and beyond that we also place stuffed animals (to help calm traumatized kids) in every police car and emergency vehicle in town! Another example – one of our parishioners has for years been making and distributing “blessing bags” containing an assortment of toiletries, small clothing items such as socks or gloves, snack food, Bible tracts, prayer cards and the like for distribution to the indigent in and around the area. We have made this a church-wide project, asking church members to contribute content, help assemble, and then distribute bags to the needy.

Wrapping Kids with Hugs – The need to go to the hospital is scary for anyone, but for young children it can be one of the most traumatic and stress filled situations of their young lives. Then add the bright lights, sounds, strangers, needles, tests, and periods of time away from a loved one to the mix and fear goes through the roof.  We are making ‘Comfort Blankies’ and providing them to area hospitals in hope of helping to alleviate some of the fear and stress that young children feel in the hospital.  The soft blankies are large enough to wrap around their upper bodies, are trimmed with silky satin for rubbing, and have a stuffed friend attached for something to hold onto. To date we have delivered over 50 blankies to Mountainside and Clara Maas Hospitals.

Joint Lenten Services – Brookdale again this year joined with several local churches in a series of joint Lenten Services. The series ran on Wednesday evenings as follows:
— March 8 – Athenia Reformed, 770 Clifton Avenue, Clifton – Rev. Peter DeFranco
— March 15 – First Lutheran, 1337 Van Houten, Clifton – CANCELLED (Snow)
— March 22 – Brookdale Reformed, Bloomfield (That’s Us!) – Rev. Grace Kim
— March 29 – First Presbyterian, 303 Maplewood Ave,Clifton – Rev.Susan Dorward
— April 5 – United Reformed, 352 Clifton Avenue, Clifton – Rev. Jeff Miller

World Hunger Sunday – Throughout November of last year we collected non-perishable food stuffs for the Bloomfield Food Pantry. During our Worship Service on Sunday November 27 Bruce Turnball, director of the pantry, shared with us a bit about the work of the pantry and we presented the food collected to him at that time.

Earth Day Project –  Last year, on Saturday April 23, we hosted a special Earth Day event spotlighting individuals and organizations in and around our area whose products and/or services foster good stewardship. About 20 groups joined us, sharing about solar power, recycling and re-purposing, protecting our atmosphere, caring for and replenishing our trees and wildlife, promoting healthy dietary habits … you name it! It was an incredible amount of work and we want to thank all of those who participated and helped to make this project an overwhelming success!

The community is welcome at all of our events.
For information please call 973-338-7676.

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