5/6/02 Report on Work in the
New York City area
Gardner Hall, P.O. Box 123, Port Murray, NJ 07865-0123,
Slow going on a new meeting place in New Jersey
The Spanish speaing congregation in Fair Lawn has found a potential meeting place in the town of Passaic, but paperwork needed to rent it is proving to be difficult to complete. The site is a suite of three rooms and basement that are part of a larger apartment building. It was used as a funeral home in the past. The two larger rooms join together and could seat 100 people which would be barely adequate for us. The suite is the right side of the first floor of the building pictured on the left.
The owner wants us to obtain a certificate of occupancy as a church before renting to us. When I first went to talk withe city planner, he acted as if it would be impossible to obtain the permission without a long and costly procedure, terminating in an appearance before the Board of Adjustment. However, the owner, who is highly motivated to rent to us, has a friend with political connections and the friend is working on the situation for us. "The friend" says he is very optimistic that he can get the certificate for us, but it is taking time. Meanwhile, we continue to meet in the building of the English speaking brethren in Fair Lawn who have been so good to us.
The building would be very convenient for us since it is located on a major street and right off of a major highway. Passaic is close to Paterson, where most of our members live, and yet it is in the direction of towns where other members live like Union City, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Nutley and Newark.
Both congregations with which I work extensively, Upper Manhattan and Fair Lawn, are going through a population explosion with children. Some are pictured here. The kids liven up our services with their singing and excitement. Many of our new contacts are mothers with lots of children. The children are sweet but also rambunctious and dont know whats expected of them in a worship service. We are doing what we can to introduce them and their parents to the Bible and true worship.
We now have two Bible studies for children at Fair Lawn and one for teenagers. The youngest children are taught in Spanish by Lidia Burgos, who is an excellent teacher who taught professionally in Peru. The older children in the 8-12 age range are taught in English by Esther Orellana. I teach the teens in "Spanglish" since some of the new arrivals dont speak much English, and some who have been raised here dont speak much Spanish.
Rosi Grado and other ladies at Upper Manhattan have upgraded the efforts to teach the children there, decorating the classroom and having the children memorize the books of the Bible and different Bible verses.
Upper Manhattan seems to be reviving after several years of problems. There were 94 in attendance last Sunday, filling every nook and cranny of the small building.
I think the ladies of the congregation have had the biggest role in the revival. In the building, they have pushed to put new carpet on the floor, painted the interior and exteiror walls and decorated the bathrooms. They have organized themselves to visit the sick every Sunday afternoon and are showing the men that what is really important is service, not necessarily who wins the argument in the business meeting.
I had good meetings in Lexington, Kentucky and Blanchester, Ohio. I have been holding meetings in Blanchester every two or three years for the past 20 years, and the brethren there are like family to me.
Were conducting a series of weekend Bible studies for single Christians next weekend and working on my camp for young people aged 10-18 the week of July 4. As always, I welcome anyone who can help sponsor kids or help financially with the camp. These are personal projects and not the work of local congregations.
Were all well. Thanks for your prayers and support.