@ Brookside . . . Week of August 18

Rev. Nicolette Siragusa

Rev. Nicolette Siragusa


The Settled Search Committee is pleased to present the schedule for Candidate Weekend, Friday, September 13 through September 15.   We have several events planned to allow various groups to spend time with Pastor Nicolette Siragusa over the weekend.  We look forward to seeing you at one if not several of the planned events including Sunday, September 15 when Pastor Nicolette will lead worship, and the Brookside Community Church member vote will be taken.  

I.   Friday, 9.13.19

Potluck dinner for Council and Deacons 

II.   Saturday, 9.14.19

11:00 – 11:30:  Staff introduction to Nicolette in Scialla Hall

11:30 – 1:00:   Brunch for the staff and choir in Scialla Hall

1:30 – 3:30:   Open House with light refreshments in Scialla Hall

4:00 – 5:00:   Ice cream social for children, youth and their families
in Scialla Hall

5:30 – 8:00:   Search Committee dinner

III.   Sunday, 9.15.19

Worship service lead by Pastor Nicolette

Q & A with Pastor Nicolette

Member vote with children and youth having a pizza party with Pastor Nicolette

In the meantime, we encourage you to take advantage of the “Ask Nicolette” column (details below) to get to know Pastor Nicolette and come to see why the Search Committee is very excited to present her and her family to you.  As always, should you have any questions, please reach out to any member of the Search Committee.  Thank you!

Jack Miller

Gina Bruno

Edna Ierley-Byrne

Michele James

David Sampson

Susannah Truitt

Sue Vlcko



Do you plan to deliver a children's message during Sunday service? What is your approach to that?
This is one of my favorite parts of the service - it is as unpredictable as children’s imaginations, and I love the chance to engage and respond. Ideally, the children’s message relates to both what the children will learn in Sunday School, and to the sermon. Since most people learn best by repetition, and since not all people are auditory learners, the children’s message allows me to introduce a concept, topic, or story in creative ways that engage a variety of learning styles. 

However, my primary goal in the children’s moment is far simpler. I want all of our children to feel heard, and seen, and loved by their pastor. When they grow up, they might not remember the name of Jacob’s brother or all of Jesus’ miracles, but they will remember being a part of a church community where they were cared for, affirmed, and loved. This is especially true for those children who have trouble fitting in to other spaces, who are told that they are too noisy or too creative or otherwise too much (or not enough). The children’s moment is my time to remind everyone that we are made in God’s image and are God’s beloved children, in the hopes that this knowledge will be firmly set in our hearts when then harshness of the world tries to tell us otherwise. As adults, when it is their choice whether to go to church or bring their children, I want them to associate church with being a safe space. 

Why are children and youth important in the life of the church? What is their role, specifically during Sunday worship?
When the disciples were arguing about who was greatest, Jesus brought a child into their midst and told them to learn from the child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In a time when children were regarded in purely economic terms, Jesus lifted them up as full people and role models. Children and youth teach us about seeking God. If you’ve ever seen a child dance in the aisle during a particularly moving song, or heard the curiosity in their questions about the divine, or struggled to keep up with their energetic devotion to a project, or witnessed a youth working hard to earn money that they intend to give away, then perhaps you’ve seen a glimpse of what Jesus hoped we would learn. 

Our younger members also remind us of the biblical passages that say that the promises made to us are not just to us, but to our children and to our children’s children. When we think about giving, we think not just about giving to keep what we like in place, but we invest in our future through legacy gifts that insure the church’s vibrant ministry continues into the future. Just as they remind us to be good stewards of the earth, children remind us that what we do has an impact on them, and our role to leave the church, the earth, the world better than the way we found it. 

Considering their importance in the life of the church, I believe it is appropriate for children and youth to be active in all parts of worship. From offering special music, to reading scripture, to welcoming at the door, to offering communion, I have helped coach and train children as young as five to be leaders. In addition, theories about ‘sticky faith’ (faith that ‘sticks’ with children and youth into adulthood) include those that say that worshiping alongside an important adult (parent, guardian, extended family member) is one of the biggest predictors of future faith and church engagement. As much as we have to learn from our children and youth, they learn about how to be a part of the church from us. When they see us follow the bulletin, sing the hymns, read the scripture, listen to the sermon, they learn to do the same (even if it doesn’t seem like they are paying attention, I promise that part of them is still engaged). This is one reason why I am particularly glad to learn about the Sundays when Brookside worships as a full church, and am eager to make sure that those services are meaningful and engaging for all ages. 


We will welcome our pastoral candidate, The Rev. Nicolette Siragusa, to a time of fellowship and to lead worship on September 14-15. In preparation for that time together, she'd like to give you the opportunity to ask questions that will help you get to know her better. Questions can be about her, her ministry, her understanding of theology - you are welcome to ask whatever questions you have, though because of limited space she may not be able to answer them all through @Brookside. Please submit your questions to Nancy at office@brooksidechurch.org, and she will pass on the questions to Nicolette. Look for more questions and answers in “Ask Nicolette” next week.  



As the summertime reaches a wrap, let us come together for a Lovefeast of thanksgiving for a blessed summer. A simple meal will be shared as we sit down together for a meal as we worship. If you would like to help and/or bring your favorite Labor Day weekend food to share, please let Nancy Vigilante know in the office. No RSVP is required but would be welcome so we can better plan. 


During the worship on September 8, we will together bless students, teachers, and staff of schools, colleges or universities among us as they begin a new year!  All who wish to participate are welcome to bring their backpacks, books, tools of learning or teaching to worship for a time of prayers and blessings.


Save the Date!   Please mark your calendar for the Senior Luncheon on Friday, September 13 from 12:00 pm - 2:00pm in Scialla Hall. Come catch up with your friends, have a little fun and enjoy a delicious meal.


Our next soup kitchen visit will be held on Saturday, September 21, and we are in need of servers and black shirts (certified kitchen staff). If you can spare a few hours to help those in need, we'd appreciate your help.  Sign up via Sign Up Genius (below) to volunteer as a server (11:15am-1:00pm) or Black Shirt (9:30am-1:00pm). You may also text Judy Schryver at 973-727-1480.


For restoration of the flooded Brookside Library. 
For Pat & John Tillisch, Wen-Ling's parents-in-love.
For Nancy Wilson's friend, Jeff.
For Linda Howe’s brother, Douglas.

Prayer Joys and Concerns will be listed weekly. Requests received by Tuesday of each week will be included in the following Sunday’s bulletin and @ Brookside and will remain there for a month unless otherwise requested. Please forward your requests during the week to: office@brooksidechurch.org  

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