We had no idea how far-reaching that visit would turn out to be. Our hosts introduced us to their family, their church fellowship, the Jersey Shore, (and our favorite sermon illustration), and CCML. Over the next couple of days, we'll be sharing a few other results of our stay in New Jersey.
Terrill Road Bible Chapel
A few weeks ago, I asked a woman in a bar what would make for a good church. She replied, "No priest, no minister, no pastor!" Well good news, Jeanie of Delaware, I've got a church for you!
Terrill Road Bible Chapel was built in Fanwood, New Jersey in 1957, but the Brethren Assembly that worships there has more than a century's worth of roots in the area. The assembly (the preferred term for what we grew up calling the "church" or the "congregation") is associated with the Plymouth Brethren, but Brethren don't seem big on formal ecclesiastical ties of any kind.
We attended the Wednesday night Bible study, where the group is working their way through the book of Hebrews. After a bit of a spirited discussion about whether Hebrews 6:4-6 taught that believers could "lose their salvation," Steve, the study leader, approached the issue with a clear stance of "eternal security." A couple of people respectfully challenged his position, and I was impressed by the biblical knowledge of many in the group of 20.
on the calendar on the website) is a third service, "Second Session." Most, but not all, Sundays the assembly goes to the fellowship room in the basement for sack lunches. After a brief lunchtime, the morning preacher continues his teaching, either with more preaching or with a question and answer time.
1 Corinthians 14:34 that women should remain silent in church.
I also spoke with Ken Barrett, the morning's speaker, before the Family Bible Hour. During the week, he works fulltime as a high school history teacher, while on the weekends, he preaches at various churches. I asked what he appreciated about Brethren Assemblies in general. He said one of the best things about the Brethren is, "they're not trendy." Brethren churches are consistent.
Ken said this assembly does well at following tradition without letting it become rote and lifeless.
Friends we stayed with in Florida contacted friends who suggested the church and their friends who worship there. We contacted the church, their friends contacted us...so strangers welcomed us into their home and into their church. You might wonder what prompts people to that kind of hospitality.
Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers." In fact, the whole assembly of TRBC values the Word of God and visibly seeks to honor and obey it.
The Lord's Supper assembly
Service Length: 1 hour 12 minutes
Visitor Treatment: we were greeted at the door and introduced during the service by our hosts. Mindy also found a guest book and signed it. Many people chatted with us during the snack time.
Followup by Tuesday Morning: none
Our Rough Count: 75
Probable Ushers' Count: 80
Snacks: coffee, hot water for tea or hot chocolate, gold fish crackers, water, coffee cake, watermelon, bagels, tangerines, other pastries and fruit.
Songs: "Jesus Lord, We Know Thee Present"
"Praise the Savior"
"Holy, Holy, Holy"
"Everlasting Glory be"
"I've Found a Friend"
Distance to church: 2 miles
Miles from start: 14,987
Total 2016 Miles: 14,690
Church website: trbc.us
Family Bible Hour
Service Length: 58 minutes
Sermon Length: 38 minutes
Visitor Treatment: Dean was asked to share briefly about what we're doing this year. A number of people talked to us during the lunch time.
Followup by Tuesday Morning: none
Our Rough Count: 63
Probable Ushers' Count: 75
Snacks: people brought sack lunches and food to share (either with the table where they were eating or on a table meant for all). Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water were available as well.
Musicians: acoustic guitar (man), bongos (man)
Songs: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
"My Savior and my God"