It is our privilege to write this portion of The SPIRE for the next two issues, while Rev. Jen is away. Last month, she introduced us with brief bios for each of us. We’d like to share with you how we found First Church. We moved here in June of 2013. After getting settled, we started our “church shopping.” Having moved from a community in Northern New York that had just two year-round churches—one Roman Catholic and one Presbyterian—we were kind of overwhelmed when we discovered that within a half hour of our home, at Franciscan Oaks in Denville, there were eight Presbyterian Churches. So we started our search. First we went to the Morristown church because of some exciting adult education offerings. Then, because we are a clergy couple, we attended two churches in our area that had clergy couple pastors. Wanting to be as open and fair as possible, we attended four more churches before finally coming to Boonton.
What we found here, and what kept us coming back, was creative and meaningful worship and preaching that truly spoke to us. We would find ourselves discussing the sermon in the car as we drove home after worship. And it wasn’t just occasionally. Many were the times when we would just look at each other after the sermon with a “Wow!” kind of expression.
Well, it wasn’t long before we were hooked! And then we began to get to know some of you in the congregation and we discovered a joyous warmth that seems to pervade this group of God’s people. You began to make us feel more and more at home, which helped us realize we could easily make this our church home.
So here we are, not only in a new church home, but going back to work! God certainly works in mysterious ways. We failed our first retirement, helping our church in Old Forge, NY through a pastoral crisis before serving there as parish associates, and then serving for three months at Sherm’s former church in Dayton, OH while that pastor was on sabbatical. So, as we prepared to make the move to New Jersey—to our second retirement—we were certain we would not be doing this sort of thing again, so we got rid of most of our ministerial resources—books and worship resources and old sermons! What’s that old saying?… never say never?
We’re learning that you just can’t predict what God might have in store for you. But we’re happy to be here and happy as well, that we can help out in some small way as Jen takes a greatly needed respite leave. And we’re honored by the faith and trust the Session has exhibited in us by inviting us to help out in this respite time. Our goal is to make this a seamless transition for these nine weeks, and to serve you, the congregation of FPCB, as faithfully and lovingly as possible. If there is anything we can do to make that a reality for you, anything that we might have overlooked or missed, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our hope is that, as Rev. Jen experiences refreshment and renewal during her respite time, you, the congregation, will have your own sense of renewal and re-energizing for the work of ministry that lies ahead of us this fall.
With great thanks for your friendship and trust in us.
Lorrie and Sherm Skinner