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Rick's Ramblings
  Greetings from Rev. Rick
Rick's Ramblings...

As we move into August, I am acutely aware that my time as UPC's pastor is quickly coming to its conclusion. I could never have imagined that the last 6 months would be under the restricted conditions under which we have found ourselves since mid-March, limiting the kind of person to person contact that has always been so important to me as a pastor! And along the way selling our home in South Plainfield, moving into a two-bedroom apartment in Bridgewater and purchasing a condo in Florida we have yet to actually see in person!

I cannot say enough about our production team of Argaille, Brian Ropp and Bob and Beth Dux for keeping our worship going week in and week out, and at such a high caliber. As you are receiving this August Messenger, we are gearing up to actually welcome interested folks to join us outside for worship in person! You will be receiving a letter this week from the Session outlining the protocols under which we will be allowed to worship outside. Weather permitting, we can do this; and we hope that those who feel comfortable doing so, will come out and show their faces (even with a mask on). It will be great to see you, rather than just imagine you on the other side of Bob's camera each week.

We are also at work in formulating a plan to re-enter our sanctuary for worship, subject to the approval of the Trustees of the Presbytery of Newton. With permission anticipated to open up our building beginning September 13th, our Fun n Friends Nursery School anticipates opening it's doors on Monday September 14, under a very strict set of health requirements. I do not anticipate returning to the sanctuary until the weather makes it necessary. This Summer heat should give way to very pleasant conditions to worship outside through most of the month of September. With the ability to spread out with more breathing room, why rush to get back inside?

At the same time, we will continue to live stream our worship for those who choose to continue to worship through those means.

I hope we can make the most of the two months we still have left together. And I continue to look forward to ongoing opportunities for face to face interactions with friends who are so important to me. You should know that the Session has met with the Rev. Brian Merritt, currently Interim Pastor of the Hackettstown Church, who will be our Liaison from the Committee on Ministry to help UPC navigate next steps following my retirement. A team of Session members has been diligently drawing up an Interim Pastor Job Description, that upon approval from Session and the Committee on Ministry, will be the basis for your search for pastoral leadership moving forward. It might even be possible to begin interviewing candidates before I hang up my robe. The goal remains to secure some form of consistent pastor leadership by the time the Thanksgiving/Advent season rolls around.

There will be more details on that kind of stuff as we move into September, including whatever plans are in the works for a retirement send-off. UPC has always been and remains in good hands. You are in the good hands of your capable Session leadership team. And most important of all, you remain in the good hands of the One who has been our help in ages past and remains our hope for years to come.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Rick

Following worship on August 30 UPC will hold a brief Congregational Meeting for the purposes of dissolving the pastoral relationship between Rev. Rick and United Presbyterian Church, Flanders. The Rev. Brian Merritt, Interim Pastor at 1st Presbyterian Church, Hackettstown, who is also our newly appointed Liaison from the Committee on Ministry, will moderate the meeting. In addition to those who are physically present for worship, those who are joining us virtually as asked to stay on after the Congregational Benediction to take part and vote on this decision through Facebook Live.

Sanctuary "Make-Over"
During this COVID Summer, UPC's sanctuary has been in the process of a timely and attractive make-over. Several weeks ago, the sanctuary received a much-needed fresh coat of paint. Our old church curtains have been removed and will be replaced with a more modern type of blind. Plans also include replacing our currently chandelier lights for more contemporary ones that will brighten up the sanctuary. These measures will insure our congregation's "living room" will be more pleasing and welcoming to church members and visitors alike!

Beginning this Sunday, Aug. 9th we will have Summer of Sundays Sunday school on the UPC field during service (exercising social distancing) led by Janelle Foster. 
We will also continue our virtual Sunday School lessons on google classroom.   
Go to and click on the + sign in the upper right hand corner. There is an option to join a classroom, enter the code nne7ew5 to gain access. You will have access to all of the lessons so far, and then all of the new ones added each week. 
Thank you for continued support of the Sunday School and the Christian Education Program at UPC. 
In His Service,
Janelle Foster
Elder for Christian Education and Co-Superintendent of Sunday School
Fun n Friends Nursery School
Visit for information regarding fall enrollment! We are making final preparations  
and making every effort to open safely!   
For questions, please email  
Poetry Corner
(Argaille A. Di Matteo 8/1/20)
Hey, You in the mirror! You woke up this morning.
A new day has called you without any warning!
Have you begun thinking of all there's to do?
Just stop! Wash your face and look back at you!
Hey, You in the mirror! You are God's own child.
Today may turn blustery, or calm, meek and mild.
Will you get sucked into the chaos, confusion,
Or sail the lessons into Day's calm conclusion?
You're gazing at Who is your Very Best Friend.
Yes, You in the mirror! Now, smile, begin
To celebrate the "original" that you truly are.
God made you a miracle, just like the stars!
Look into those eyes you see looking back at you.
Appreciate who you are with a fresh new view.
As you brush your teeth and rinse out with water,
Be thankful, for yours is the Great Divine Father
Who loves you, sustains you, believes in you always,
Supports you, uplifts you in dark nights and bright days.
We are our own obstacles to all our successes,
Whenever we down ourselves, while God always blesses
Our lives, past and present, and future as well.
So look in the mirror, smile, say "Gee, You're swell!
"Whatever you have to do, wherever you go,
I've got your back, Friend, just be still and know!"
Though uncertainty, confusion, and chaos may abound,
God-Spirit-Creator flows through, in, around
To lift you in Faith to new ways of seeing,
Transforming your life into new ways of being.
So, if you're allowing yourself to be stressing,
Hey, You in the mirror, stop, thank God for blessings
Already surrounding you and on their way.
Now brush your hair, say "Bye VBF(Very Best Friend)!" Get into your day!


United Presbyterian Church, Flanders | (973) 584-8195 ||
58 Drakesdale Road
Flanders, NJ 07836