News from Old First Church
Wednesday, May 11th, 2022
Good Afternoon!

It’s the perfect day to take a break from the world and consider beauty around us in unlikely places. The Pinelands is a perfect place to do just that. Called the Pine Barrens by early settlers because they could not plant anything in the area due to the poor quality of the soil, the Barrens sits on top of a large aquifer. The combination of these two seemingly opposite qualities has made it an enormously biologically diverse place.
 
Congress created the Pinelands National Reserve for several reasons: to protect the area. It’s large, covering about 22 percent of the state. There are at least 900 diverse species of plants and trees, including wild orchids.
 
When you walk in the Pine Barrens you will see it is not barren, that is, empty. The wildflowers are small and one must be observant to see them. There are different varieties of Asters along with Gentian and crown Vetch, Butterfly Weed, all sorts of ferns, Mountain Laurel, Evening Primrose, just to name a few. Last year courts denied suits by the Sierra Club to stop encroachment with a pipeline by New Jersey Natural Gas. What next?

Peace,
Pastor Joyce
Spirit Soundings Daily Meditations & Sermon

All of the Spirit Soundings meditations are available here and on the Old First Church website. Click below to access a few of the latest posts from Old First:

OLD FIRST CHURCH ARTS INITIATIVES
TICKETS FOR PURE IMAGINATION ARE NOW ON SALE!

You're invited to Pure Imagination - The Leslie Bricusse / Anthony Newley Songbook! Join us Sunday, June 26th at 3:00 PM for an afternoon of musical entertainment.
Thoughts and Prayers
  
Please keep Ruth Jacques in your prayers. She is under Hospice care at home.

Prayers for Eleojhilda Martines, mother of Rebecca Kapsis.


Sandy K., Margaret B., and Gretchen & Jim H. -- "Housebound and caring for themselves and others."

For all of us, in this time of concern for the health of our community, the Nation, and the world. The Church Directory contains the email addresses of our community. Please email us at office@oldfirstchurchjnj.org with any updates. Thank you.
Make this Today - Ribollita
Ribollita is one of the most popular Italian bread soups. This historical recipe prepared in Tuscany since the Middle Ages, and came from the necessity to reuse the stale bead mixing it with the herbs and vegetables available in the garden: the result is simply delicious! To prepare an authentic Ribollita, Tuscan bread, Lacinato kale and beans are essential ingredients.

Ingredients
   •   5 tablespoons olive oil
   •   1 small onion, chopped
   •   1 carrot, chopped
   •   1 celery stalk, chopped
   •   1 tablespoon minced garlic
   •   Salt and black pepper
   •   2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
   •   1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
   •   4 cups vegetable stock or water
   •   1 fresh rosemary sprig
   •   1 fresh thyme sprig
   •   1 pound chopped kale or escarole
   •   4 large, thick slices whole-grain bread, toasted
   •   1 small red onion, thinly sliced
   •   ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preparation
   1.   Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
   2.   Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Drain the beans; if they’re canned, rinse them as well. Add them to the pot along with tomatoes and their juices and stock, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the soup bubbles steadily; cover and cook, stirring once or twice to break up the tomatoes, until the flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.
   3.   Fish out and discard rosemary and thyme stems, if you like, and stir in kale. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lay bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top and overlap as little as possible. Scatter red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.
   4.   Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.) Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve.
Weekend in Old Monmouth
Thank you to all who stopped by historic Old First Church during the annual “Weekend in Old Monmouth.” A Weekend in Old Monmouth is an annual two-day event when 49 of the Monmouth County history sites open their doors to visitors. Pastor Joyce gave tours of the church grounds and graveyard. Elaine Lent was on hand to describe the historic patchwork quilt on display in Fellowship Hall. Artwork by locals will be on display and for sale in Fellowship Hall till the end of May.
I visited your Church on Saturday during the Monmouth Tour. It was wonderful! I learned so much and the woman who I chatted with was amazing [Elaine Lent]. Thank you for this opportunity to visit your Church. I have driven by so many times and it was an honor for me to be able to learn and enjoy our history and the history of your Church. The cemetery was treasure trove of history too!

Sincerely,
Ellen Hughes
Visit the AAUW Bookstore and Stock Up for Summer!
Yes, you can even get cookbooks!
The AAUW Bookstore is open on Saturdays 9:00am - 1:00pm. If you have questions, the book sale voicemail is 732-275-2237.


OpenSaturday from 9:00 to 1:00pm. Donations Accepted: Saturday 9:00 to 1:00pm; Thursdays 10:00am to 12:00pm. Remember - If you wouldn't buy it, we can't sell it! Click here to see our Donation Policy.
So simple- Free, At-Home COVID Tests
The state of New Jersey is providing FREE, at-home Covid tests. All you need to do is provide some basic information and the tests will be sent to your door. Please click here for more information.

MEDICARE RECIPIENTS: Did you know that Medicare now covers up to 8 over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each calendar month, at no cost to you? Click here for more information.

TEST KITS ARE ALSO BEING OFFERED VIA THE USPS AT NO CHARGE
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from the United States Post Office. Here’s what you need to know about your order:
  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders will ship free starting in late January
Click here to order your free tests.
Address Book Updates
Elaine Lent and I are working to update our current contact files. If you have moved, changed phone numbers or email address of late, please let us know - even if you are unsure of what we have on file, your most current info is appreciated. Please submit the information to the church office at office@oldfirstchurchnj.org. Once completed, electronic copies of the address book will be emailed out. Hard copies will be available on request and at the church. Thank you in advance.
Reminder for Sunday Worship

Sunday service begins promptly at 10:30am. We look forward to worshiping with you!
Shop Amazon Smile for OFC
Shop smile.amazon.com: Sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser. From your desktop, go to Your Account from the navigation at the top of any page, and then select the option to Change your Charity. Or, from your mobile browser, select Change your Charity from the options at the bottom of the page. Amazon donates a small percentage to OFC. Choose OFC as your charity.
Contact Us! 
We want to hear from you! Please email us at office@oldfirstchurchnj.org if you have items to contribute.
69 Kings Highway
Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone: 732-671-1905