Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 17 April 27, 2020 Heroes in Hard Times Part Four

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 17

April 27, 2020

Heroes in Hard Times

Part Four

We are inundated with bad and scary news. During this month I will be doing blogs that celebrate heroes in our congregation. I hope that you gain some inspiration from these and receive a respite from the bad news that the media continues to feed us.

This is a shout out to Jeff Ambrosino who owns Nick’s Pizza on Main Street in Bergenfield. Don’t ask me why “Jeff” owns “Nick’s.” That is not part of this story. I get lunch from Nick’s fairly regularly. I am grateful that is was recommended to me when I first came to town almost fourteen years ago.  I’m usually there at least once a week. Often I meet people there that I know. I haven’t ever had a bad meal there but that isn’t part of the story.

Many police officers, fire fighters and ambulance corps members eat lunch there also and it is always a privilege to connect with them. Since the lock-down for the Covid-19 virus Jeff wanted to do something good for these first responders in our town and in adjoining towns. For those of you who do not know our area, the hotspot for Covid-19 is Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. That is the town that is just south of us. We know, or know people who know, many of the first responders in the “hotspot.”

Jeff collects money from customers. For every five dollars he collects, he makes and donates a pizza to first responders and health care workers. Five dollars for a pizza? Those are yesterday’s prices. He clearly is contributing from his own resources. Well done, Jeff! Thank you.

Please support this cause. Come into Nick’s Pizza at 44 W Main St. in Bergenfield and put some money in the jar for this wonderful cause. Buy some lunch while you are there. What are my favorites? Either the Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich or the Stromboli!

Thank you, Jeff, for what you are doing. May we all imitate this behavior.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #CoronaVirus

#Heros                                                                       #Nickspizzabergenfield.com

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 16 April 20, 2020 Heroes in Hard TimesPart Three

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 16

April 20, 2020

Heroes in Hard Times

Part Three

We are inundated with bad and scary news. During this month I will be doing blogs that celebrate heroes in our congregation. I hope that you gain some inspiration from these and receive a respite from the bad news that the media continues to feed us.

Our Mom’s told us not to do dangerous things. They tried to keep us “safe.” How many of us were punished as young people for “putting ourselves in danger.” Using the excuse that “Johnny did it,” usually got us the response, “if your friend jumped off a bridge would you jump also?”

Fortunately for all of us, some people ignore this advice and with their friends jump into danger. After doing so, they run back and do it again. I’m speaking of members of the police department, the fire department, hospital workers and our ambulance services. They ignore Mom’s advice and run into danger whenever there is a need.

Today, specifically, I highlight Tara and Jose Fox-Rivera. These two are part of our congregation and work in the very epicenter of the Covid-19 plague, Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. Since the first days of the Corona outbreak, Teaneck has had the dubious distinction of having the most virus outbreaks in our county. Holy Name Hospital has been inundated by cases, and for weeks, has been operating at capacity treating patients of these diseases. Tara and Jose have been very involved in the care of these patients.

I haven’t yet told you the best part. Each in turn, these two became ill because of Covid-19. First he contracted it and recovered and afterward, she became ill but also recovered. Now the two are back at work caring for Holy Name Hospital patients, most of whom are Corona patients. These two are doing more good things for the ill than most of us can only dream of. They are putting themselves at risk to give patients the loving, professional care that the sick deserve.

It is gives me pride to say that these two heroes are part of our congregation.

May we all imitate this behavior.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #CoronaVirus

#HolyNameHospital                                                 #TeaneckNJ

#TaraFoxRivera                                                       #JoseRivera

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 15 April 13, 2020 Heroes in Hard Times Part Two

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 15

April 13, 2020

Heroes in Hard Times

Part Two

We are inundated with bad and scary news. During this month I will be doing blogs that celebrate heroes in our congregation. I hope that you gain some inspiration from these and receive a respite from the bad news that the media continues to feed us.

Have you ever saved a life? It is a good feeling. Some folks know this wonderful feeling while many people do not know this joy. One of our church members saved the lives of three different people. She did this not in a lifetime, but in less than a year!

The story begins last summer. Ruth is a frequent swimmer and member of a local pool. This particular pool has a depth of more than four feet in the center. She was standing in the center, enjoying the cool water when she heard a commotion behind her. A young boy had swim out too far and was now in water over his head. His older sister was trying to rescue him but she too was over her head in water.

Ruth looked toward the lifeguard whose attention was focused elsewhere. In desperation, looking at two children in trouble, she grabbed them both at once and pulled them as she walked toward shallow water. The frightened kids were grateful for her heroic actions.

So, what was the third rescue? Last week she was in the waiting room from a doctor. A man, whom she recognized as a local politician, started to exhibit bizarre behavior. Other patients were frightened, but she was not. She recognized diabetic behavior and quickly asked the man if he was a diabetic. He nodded his head. Quickly she gave him a snack from her always-available supply.

By the time an ambulance arrived, the man was greatly improved. The office staff thanked Ruth and assured her that she might well have saved the man from death. That was her third rescue in little more than six months. Well done, Ruth. You have done some remarkable acts. You do your congregation proud.

May we all imitate this behavior.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #CoronaVirus

#Heros                                                                       #DoingTheRightThing

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 14 April 6, 2020 Heroes in Hard Times Part One

We are inundated with bad and scary news. During this month I will be doing blogs that celebrate heroes in our congregation. I hope that you gain some inspiration from these and receive a respite from the bad news that the media continues to feed us.

One member of our congregation, Bob, was a hospital patient a few months ago. He has had a few trips to the hospital in the past few months. I made sure that I was a frequent visitor. I made a final trip to visit him, as I knew that he would be discharged soon. During this visit he looked a bit odd. There was a rather pensive look on his face. When I asked him what the matter was he told me an amazing story.

His roommate had been quite an annoying person, constantly making noise and calling out. It was difficult for Bob to sleep at night, or get any peace to heal during the day. During the previous day of my visit, something changed. The man was suddenly quiet. Bob instinctively knew that something was wrong and alerted the hospital staff.

The roommate had cardiac-arrested. Soon there was a response team and the man was revived and moved to ICU. His family was summoned and they had a chance to be with him. This man passed on the next day, but not before his family had time to gather and bid him farewell.

Most folks after being annoyed by a roommate would simply be grateful for a quiet roommate. Had Bob done so, the family would have had this time of closure. Bob put his own desires aside for the sake of a stranger and gave a family this gift. Well done, Bob. You are a hero whether you know it or not.

May we all imitate this behavior.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #CoronaVirus

#Heros                                                                       #DoingTheRightThing

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Corona: Some Good News

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 13

March 30, 2020

Corona: Some Good News

“They are only telling one side of the story.”

Have you heard that comment. People of all political beliefs, and people who favor one network over the other, all claim that the other party, or the “wrong” network only tells “one side of the story.” I don’t doubt that every person, and organization, has a point of view, a bias.

Recently I hear from some medical professionals that there really is only one side of a story being told. The story, according to these medical people, only focuses on illnesses and deaths, not recovery. According to these folks, as tragic as it is that people are getting sick and dying, most virus victims don’t die. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of those who get the virus recover. Newsweek magazine recently reported that more than 161,000 people worldwide have recovered after contracting the virus.

Some people simply recover on their own. Something in their constitution helps them survive the disease. Others have no such natural ability. They are alive because of wonderful, professional, dedicated health care workers. I bet there would be many more deaths if it were not for our heroic health care professionals.

I know that I am biased, but I bet the prayers of God’s faithful people had a part in these recoveries. This is a wonderful combination: dedicated professional health care workers, and faithful prayers. I can’t prove it, but I believe that in the course of history, millions of people have been saved through this combination.

If you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed, concentrate on the positive. 161,000 virus victims have recovered. Thanks be to God! Thank God to our health care workers. Thanks be to God for these recoveries.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #CoronaVirus

#CoronaVirusSurvivors                                           #HealthCareWorkers

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 12 March 23, 2020 The Fruit of the Disposable

I am hearing reports from people in the health care industry of a critical shortage of protective masks. This has a great many health care workers worried about their own protection as well as the protection of their patients. In some cases, I am told, these masks are having to be reused until new supplies arrive. I think that we are now harvesting the fruit of our disposable world.

The first recorded use of surgical masks was recorded in 1897 by Paul Berger during an operation in Paris. Back then, like everything else, masks were cleaned and reused. I remember the debate in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s as hospitals began to transition from reusable equipment to disposable items. Some felt that throwing things away was a good idea because it would limit germ spread. Other folks felt that it would add costs and would cause problems with our landfill systems.

Now we depend on manufacturers of these masks, and untold other items for a constant supply, instead of cleaning and reusing them. Had we continued to stay away from the disposable, we would not be having a shortage. We are harvesting the fruit of our desire to throw away instead of clean.

My grandmother used to tell me stories of her days running a farm. A cloth was re-used in the outhouse, before the days of tampons other cloths were cleaned and re-used, a cloth towel was used in the kitchen instead of paper towels. Even napkins and diapers were cloth. Bottles were refilled instead of “recycled.” Who knows where they really get put? Were we to live like she did, there would be no such shortages of these items.

In the days of reusable, we had to work harder but we were less dependent on manufacture and supply. We are now reaping what we sowed when chose to be disposable and not eco-friendly reusable. I feel that this was a mistake that has cost us now with full landfills and short supplies of necessary goods.

Perhaps the next generation, those who are growing up in this crazy time of guarantee and shortage will demand that we return to reusable goods. We can only hope. Maybe it is time that we took our mandate to care for the earth a little more seriously.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                     #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                    #CoronaVirus

#Reusable                                                                  #Disposable 

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 11 March 16, 2020 Corona Virus: Unintended Consequences

We are inundated by fear of the Corona Virus. My heart goes out to the survivors of those who have died from this illness as well as those who are ill from this. We need to be prudent in guarding people from this.

My reading indicates that for only a few people in certain age/health categories find this illness to be life-threatening. They need to self-isolate. I know people who are doing this and this is a good thing. Sub-acute facilities and hospitals need to screen and/or prevent visitors. We need to protect our most vulnerable people. At our board meeting this evening I will be discussing protocols for keeping our upcoming communion safe and not be potentially transferring this virus. No one wants people to become ill, and we don’t want to contribute to the suffering of anyone.

I do wonder if the recommendations that we are receiving aren’t causing unintended consequences that are hurting other groups of people. Has anyone considered the impact of isolating and closing events on people who are living on the edge of economic survival? Those who are suggesting these acts of isolation are, for the most part, salaried employees. Are they considering the impact on hourly employees or independent contractors.

When a school closes, how do parents get to work and watch children at the same time? Will these parents lose wages?

Recently I heard a PBS interview with a Hudson County educator. This educator expressed concerns over the consideration of closing Hudson County schools. He said that in his school, many students were too poor to have computers or internet. If learning was to be online for two weeks, his students would lose two weeks of learning.

When we cancel sporting events, how do the vendors and cleaners make up the earnings lost from the cancelled events and work?

Recently I received a call from a member of a twelve-step meeting that meets in our church. This person was worried. Other churches were closing down meetings, including twelve-step meetings. People in recovery were worried that they would slip out of sobriety without meetings. I assured this person that They could meet but encouraged the groups to use proper, prudent, safety procedures. The person seemed grateful.

When we stay home and avoid retailers, will hourly salesclerks be laid off or suffer cut hours?

 I have heard people blame “foreigners” for this virus. Will this have a negative impact on our day-laborers.

Yes, the Corona virus is a public-health issue. We need to take prudent steps to prevent the spread of this. If we over-react we are hurting people who are the most economically vulnerable. We need to be prudent but not hysterical. I know that many people disagree with me on this and I expect some negative comments, but I do hope that we begin to think about this and the unintended consequences of what I consider, over-reacting.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                     #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                    #CoronaVirus

#Prudence                                                                  #Hysteria

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 10 March 9, 2020 Consistency

Recently I went on a short trip for a commission meeting for the Reformed Church. I love these meetings. They give me chances to do good work for the Reformed Church in America as well as catch up with old friends who are also on the same commission. We work hard, and have time to relax and catch up with one another. That, however, is not the story I wish to tell about. What I would like to discuss is the lack of consistency that I observed from the Transportation Safety Administration.

I prepared to fly to my destination and was going through the safety check point. We all know how annoying that can be. We all have to take out our electronics, remove our shoes, and prepared to be scanned. These are all necessary precautions in the world that we live in. Inside my suitcase was my CPAP machine. My case went through without any problem and soon I was on my plane awaiting take off.

Upon my return trip, my suitcase was flagged because of the CPAP machine. My bag was opened and the CPAP was taken out and examined. My bag was then re-scanned. I was given a stern lecture about leaving my machine inside the bag. I explained that this was not a problem on my last plane trip. The TSA agent contradicted me. He explained that no airport allows CPAP’s to go through without being taken out and scanned separately. I again explained that this is what happened and was told that this could not have happened, even though it had.

I guess that there is less consistency with TSA protocols than we are told. Security is relatively large or relatively small, depending on the airport that is being used. This gives me cause for concern. I would feel more secure if every security post had, and followed, the same level of security. 

During this time of Lent, I do hope that we are consistent with our Lenten disciplines. Is our prayer life consistent or haphazard? Is our participation at worship an occasional activity or a constant discipline? Is our scripture study consistent or irregular? In short, are we consistent Christians or irregular ones? Can you imagine if God was as consistent, or inconsistent as we can be? We would not be pleased with that!

This is a challenge to all of us who seek to be faithful disciples of Christ. Let us be more consistent than we have been. May our prayers and study be daily and constant. May our worship be constant. During this Lent, let us be as consistent toward God as we wish God to be to us.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                     #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                    #Lent

#Consistency                                                             #ChristLike

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 09 March 2, 2020 Giving Up Things For Lent

“What are you giving up for Lent?” That was a question that I remember people asking me since grammar school. Usually the answers were very similiar, “candy, sweets, desserts.” I remember in high school religion a priest asked each of us what we were giving up for Lent. One classmate was given several major detentions for giving a rather smart-aleck remark. He said that he was giving up church for Lent. The class was more amused by this comment than was the priest.

The question is still relevant for those of us who strive to be good disciples of Christ. Do we need to give something up for Lent? Recently I am hearing from friends who are deciding to “take on” something for Lent rather than “give something up.” I’m wondering if they have the right idea. Should Lent be taking on more of the Spiritual Disciplines rather than give up something physical and tangible.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook a chart of spiritual things to take on and to give up habits and actions that get in our way rather than giving up foods or other physical items. Perhaps we all might gain from using this chart. It might make us more spiritual beings and be focused less on the worldly.

This chart is posted below. May it be a guide to you during this sacred Lenten season.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                     #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                    #Lent

#AshWednesday                                                       #ChristLike

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 08 February 24, 2020 A Cocoon is a Deacon

I realize that it is unusual to have a cocoon as a church deacon. Cocoons are usually not baptized, much less made into deacons. In this case a church member was ordained as a deacon and only later became a cocoon. Maybe this needs a bit more of an explanation.

One of our premier deacons has had significant health issues in her life. Many have been orthopedic problems. Several months ago, she had the first of two knee replacements. More recently she has had her second knee replaced. For this, she is still in rehabilitation. On one of my visits with her I asked how she was doing. Usually the answer to such a question is a very simple and short answer. This woman, however, is to bright and articulate to answer so quickly. Her answer was a bit more elaborate. 

“I am in pain,” she explained, “but the pain is good. I’m in a cocoon and the pain means I am breaking free of it. Soon I will be emerging as something better. Then the pain will be over.”

I wish that I could construct words as well as she can. She described the hope that we live in as Christians in a fallen world as well as the varied emotions of Lent. During Lent we feel the pains of knowing that we have not lived up to the standards that Christ has for us, and we lament this. Yet, we know, we are in the process of being redeemed, sanctified, made more Christ-like each and every day.  We are in pain from our sin, but that will not last forever.

God’s deacon that I know is a cocoon. I guess all Christians are. Have a blessed Lent. 

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                     #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                    #Lent

#AshWednesday                                                       #ChristLike

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/