God’s Love and Care – Redeemer Lutheran Church Delivers!
I have lived in the Westfield area for many years and driven by Redeemer Lutheran Church often. I always admired the beautiful gardens and architecture of the church which reminds me of village churches in Europe. And most of all from time to time I would glimpse the congregation gathered outside with their Pastor. I would often think to myself, I wish I could belong to such a church. What stopped me from going inside, I do not know.
My first visit to Redeemer Lutheran Church was to attend a memorial service for a colleague. She died suddenly. Many of her friends and co-workers at Children’s Specialized Hospital where shocked and overwhelmed. The grace and beauty of her memorial service by Pastor Kritsch was elegant and touching. He spoke with such warmth and affection. It was clear he knew her well. It gave me peace to know that Redeemer Lutheran Church had been a home to her and her family for so many years.
As a living memorial to our friend, we asked if we could plant a pink dogwood tree in her honour on the church grounds. Pastor Kritsch and the congregation did not hesitate to support our request. One of Redeemer Lutheran’s Church members selected and planted a beautiful specimen dogwood. And another lovely church member helps in keeping the tree watered and thriving during this very hot summer! One of my fondest memories this spring and summer is watering the tree in the evening, looking at the church in moonlight, saying silent prayers for all buried there and occasionally speaking with passers-by.
I began attending Sunday services even though I was a lapsed Catholic. I was welcomed into the church and every service has been memorable. Pastor Kritsch’s sermons link God’s Word to the real world and what it means to lead a Christian life. His sermons resonate with me throughout the week at home with my family, at work and as I struggle with our world, such as it is.
After Sunday services, I always leave with a sense of calm and peace and a renewed resolve that in the coming week I will try to be more patient with myself and others. And that I will try to do better with God as my guide. I guess you know you have found a spiritual home when you feel that everything said by the Pastor is as if he was speaking just to you. Pastor Kritsch greets everyone with a personal comment at the end of services and he knows all the parishioners by name, even visitors like me.
The services are engaging with hymns and music played by church members. The congregation is lively, friendly and diverse. It includes young children who are called to worship with Allison Johnson at the altar, college bound teenagers who were presented with handmade quilts as they begin their journey into the larger world, children’s, youth and adult choirs, christenings, confirmations, bible study and families who have shared their stories of faith. Senior church members are prayed for and attended to by Pastor Kritsch who comes into the pews to give communion and blessings.
Redeemer Lutheran Church serves the community and has many activities including a school, summer bible camp, faith walks in town, a food pantry, a clothing drive that supports the Market Street Mission in Morristown and many other good works. We pray for those who are ill, missionaries in Africa and people called to defend our country, the police, fire and first responders who risk their lives to help those in need.
In a world that is in need of so much healing, Redeemer Lutheran Church provides a spiritual home for those seeking God’s Words, love and guidance. The Church is there to nurture those seeking a more meaningful way to raise their families. I am now in the process of becoming a Lutheran and a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church. One of my favourite quotations which I think truly expresses the richness of Redeemer Lutheran Church – that all are welcome to worship and share in the Good News –
“Through our sameness we connect, through our differences we grow” – Virginia Satir – family therapist
Cynthia Newman – Scotch Plains, NJ