Yours truly, Tara-Jean
We may be a town of 40,000 people. We might even be thought of as too large to have a small town feeling. But with the holidays approaching we are given a very special opportunity to reconnect with our hometown. It is a time when our religion calls us to our places of worship to praise and celebrate our special holidays. These are the times when our expansive neighborhood becomes a charming small town.
The Marlboro Jewish Center is celebrating their 40th year and is visited by 650 families in town. Along with their many clothing drives, food drives and blood drives there is a constant focus on teaching and guiding their young students and teenagers toward leadership, knowledge and confidence. More than anything, Cantor Krieger states, “We see the Bar Mitzvah to be the beginning and not the end” of their fellowship in the Jewish religion. The Cantor hopes that the synagogue will always be a place for families and neighbors to celebrate as well as a place of comfort and healing.
Temple Rodeph Torah is another place where Marlboro’s Jewish community gathers. Two Rabbis and one Cantor work together with a passion and a love of tradition. Rabbi Donald A. Weber states, “We believe it is our job to make the world a better place.” Their mission statement: “As the Mishnah tells us, the world stands on three things: study, prayer, and acts of love and kindness. We not only believe this at Temple Rodeph Torah, we live it.”
The St. Gabriel’s Parish holds a total of 3900 families. There are 1300 children in CCD. The Youth Ministries, the “jewel” of St. Gabriel’s, “work together to build our community by trusting and believing in each others judgments, ideas, feelings and emotions.” The Church has 3 Pastors and 3 Deacons who spiritually serve the parishioners needs. The Deacon explains, “God’s house is always open for people to come, in good times and in bad.”
At the corner of Church Rd & Tennent Rd. stands the Robertsville Church. With over 50 members, Pastors Brody Sr. explains, “We are not a large church but we function as a family, always going out of our way to help each other.” The Fellowship Hall, built primarily by the parishioners stands as an ever present example of how they work together toward one grand goal. Pastor Brody explains how he felt the blessings of God when “we took a step back in awe, at what God could do through the hands of people.”
The Monmouth Worship Center presently on Rt. 79 is in the process of building a 39,000 sq ft church on Vanderburg Rd. Pastor Ken held his first service in 1985. Now 25 years later, with a large congregation, the 5 pastors hope to be gathering in their new building soon. Their vision states: “Our priorities as a church is to love, encourage, support and pray for each other as a warm, loving family would.” Pastor Ken Jasko explains that he encourages his congregation to come take care of each other, help out the community and ultimately “love the people of Marlboro.”
Congregation of the Morganville Methodist Church on Conover Rd. celebrated their 125th Anniversary in 1994. Rev. Marv Wills leads morning worship in an “informal service”, with new praise and worship songs and children’s time. Following this is a more “traditional service” with a biblically based message, scripture readings and treasured hymns. There is an adult choir, children’s choir and bell choir and there are rocking chairs in the rear of the sanctuary for parents with infants. After every worship service there are refreshments offered in the sanctuary where everyone is invited to stay.
The Old Brick Reform Church is located on Rt. 520. It is a church surrounded by history and tradition. The congregation dates back to 1699, thus being the oldest protestant denomination in North America. The white pews and hundred year old stained glass windows give the church a remarkable quality. The tremendous organ is played each Sunday at 10am for a congregation of 40. Their vision and their values are based on “perseverance, support, faith, sharing, caring and praying.” They see the church and their congregation as an extended family balancing tradition and acceptance.
Jireh Church on Vanderburg Rd is a non-denominational Chinese American Church with services in English and Chinese. Pastor Ben Lin preaches the “good news of Jesus Christ” and explains they are a “church that gives people an eternal perspective on life.”
Off Wooleytown Rd. stands the Hindu Temple Sri Guruvaayoorappan. They have been serving the community since 1988. Here the Hindu American community comes to celebrate their culture and traditions, as well as to pray and receive blessings. Dr. Yegnasubramanian talks of the many charitable events they have planned for the upcoming year. He speaks of how the Hindu community wants to show others they care: “We believe in a society of peace.” On December 31st, they have a great New Year’s celebration with prayers and blessings. This New Year, as with all New Years, they will be praying for peace in the world.
Holidays are a way of connecting with our families, our neighbors and ultimately our religion. Holidays bring us together in a common place to feel a sense of joy and acceptance. This is the place where you are always welcome and greeted with a smile and a handshake. May you enjoy this holiday season with your neighbors, friends and families as you stand together under one roof celebrating your own cherished beliefs.
December Issue Marlboro Contents 2010