Interfaith Prayer BreakfastOn May 18, Brookdale Community College was the setting as Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church and its community partners hosted the Inaugural Shore Region Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, celebrating the rich ethnic, cultural and religious community of the shore region. The event featured music, inspirational messages and prayers from corporate and community leaders, and presented the Community Trailblazer Award to Garden State MOSAIC for its work promoting religious understanding among youth through cross-cultural groups. For further information about the breakfast or the Community Wellness Initiatives of Pilgrim Baptist Church, call (732)757-2257.


Press release from Monmouth Community Climate Coalition

Rev. DowdThe public is invited to First Presbyterian Church of Rumson on the evening of Monday, June 6, when guest speaker and “Pro-Future Evangelist” Michael Dowd delivers a talk entitled Standing for the Future: Inspiring Science, Evolving Faith, Realistic Hope.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. and presented by The Monmouth Community Climate Coalition, the program, geared for adults and teens, asks the question “How do we stay inspired in the face of changing climate?” — and focuses on points of agreement held by religious and non-religious people across the globe, suggesting how we can transform “The Great Reckoning” into “The Great Homecoming.”

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rbr protest 050916 2According to one account, hall monitor Joel Gray, below, was placed on administrative leave after engaging Jazmin Graham, center above, in prayer. She said she had sought Gray’s counsel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Joel Gray 3For the second school day in a row, Red Bank Regional students staged a demonstration Monday afternoon to protest the school’s purported suspension of an aide for engaging students in prayer.

To date, there’s been no official confirmation of any type of action against 32-year-old hall monitor Joel Gray. Tom Pagano, the interim superintendent at the Little Silver school, declined to discuss Gray’s status with redbankgreen late Friday, citing the privacy of personnel matters. Gray himself has not returned phone messages.

But as they had on Friday, more than a dozen students, placards in hand, stood at the corner of Harding Road and Ridge Road Monday shortly after dismissal, chanting their support for a school employee they say has been mistreated by the administration. Read More »


MLK PrinzA free screening of a documentary on Rabbi Joachim Prinz (left, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) is among the events scheduled during a weekend-long MLK Day observance, presented jointly by Monmouth Reform Temple (Tinton Falls) and Pilgrim Baptist Church (Red Bank).

Press release from Monmouth Reform Temple

Continuing a recently established tradition, Monmouth Reform Temple of Tinton Falls and Pilgrim Baptist Church of Red Bank join forces for a weekend-long slate of activities honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The observance begins on Friday night, January 15 with MRT Shabbat services at 7 pm, featuring special guest Dr. Everett McCorvey, chair of the Opera Department at the University of Kentucky and Director of the National Chorale. Dr. McCorvey grew up in segregated Montgomery, AL alongside Dr. King’s children, and has risen to national prominence as a soloist, conductor, and educator.

The weekend will culminate with a noon MLK service at Pilgrim Baptist Church led by Pastor Terrence Porter on Monday, January 17 at noon. Rabbi Mark Kline and Cantor Gabrielle Clissold of MRT will participate in the service, along with a joint performance by the PBC and MRT choirs. All events are free and open to the public.

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The nation of Turkey has featured prominently in recent news (as recently as yesterday, when US media editorialized that this past weekend’s election solidified the authoritarian ambitions of President Recep Erdogan, and that the regime’s tactics of intimidation and suppression cast a blow against democracy in the ally country). Stories of ethnic strife and government turmoil contrast with the country’s struggle to absorb an unprecedented influx of Syrian refugees.  How has Turkey’s Jewish minority fared during this dramatic period of upheaval in theMiddle East?

On Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 11:15 am at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson, Professor Louis Fishman, an Assistant Professor of History at Brooklyn College, visits Congregation B’nai Israel to present a program about current events in Turkey. His topic is Turkish Jews: Between citizens and the “other.” The lecture is open to the public, and all are invited to attend the 11:15 am event.

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UUCMCNJThe Unitarian Meeting House in Lincroft is the setting  — and the Pope’s encyclical on caring for the Earth is the inspiration — when the annual Shanti Peace Lecture takes place on the afternoon of October 3.

Press release from Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought

On Saturday, October 3, The Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) presents its sixteenth annual Shanti (Peace) Lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street.

Scheduled from 2:30 to 4 pm, the lecture’s theme is “On Care for our Common Home: Laudato Si!”, based on Pope Francis’ encyclical calling on all people to take “swift and unified action” for the environment in defense of our common home, planet Earth. Speaker Professor Antonia Malone will address the implications of Pope Francis’ message, and how we can all unite for the common good of our environment.

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061315procession25061315sangenaro30More than 200 parishioners and friends of Saint Anthony’s Church celebrated the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua with a procession across Red Bank and an outdoor festival Saturday.

After prayers led by Father Al Tamayo on the steps of Saint James School, marchers headed west, led by a band and Boy Scout troop 67 from Red Bank. At Saint Anthony’s, they played bocce, ate and danced while a professional aerialist showed kids how to hang upside-down and fly through the air. 

redbankgreen was on the scene, capturing the following images. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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Father_Shecker_&_Rabbi_SultarFather Bob Shecker and Rabbi Jeff Sultar join for an interfaith discussion on “The Garden of Eden – Then and Now,” on the evening of May 20.

Press release from The Church of the Nativity, Fair Haven

On Wednesday, May 20, Father Robert Shecker of the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven will team up with Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson for a special interfaith discussion on the topic of the Garden of Eden – Then and Now.

Hosted at Nativity Parish Hall (180 Ridge Road) and open to all members of the community, the 7:30 pm program is free to attend, with refreshments and a public talk session to follow.

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The trailer for “The Green Prince,” screening at Congregation B’nai Israel later this month with a kosher lunch.

It’s preceded by “a delicious, kosher Israeli lunch,” according to a press release — and it’s followed by a discussion of the substantial issues raised within its 101-minute running time. It’s the feature-length documentary The Green Prince, and it’s coming to the greater Green for a single screening hosted at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson.

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121214 feast4Laura Pena, center, and helpers prepared a feast for 1,200 guests in the kitchen of Saint Anthony’s Church. Below, every little container of salsa verde was filled by hand.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


121214 feast2What does it take to feed some 1,200 hungry Hispanics at a religious feast following a long procession through Red Bank?

If the event is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we’re talking many trays filled with slow-roasted, fall-off-the-bone, juicy spiced pork infused with pineapple.

The aroma from the kitchen of Saint Anthony’s Church on Bridge Avenue certainly got a multitude of mouths salivating.

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121714 menorah11121714 menorah2Congregation B’nai Israel’s menorah lit up the second night of Hanukkah in Rumson Wednesday evening. Rabbi Jeff Sultar led the group of more than a hundred congregants in two prayers, one for each candle. Many of the children took part by holding signs reminding everyone of the different parts of the prayers. They then proceeded inside to a symbolic meal of fried potato latkes,  jelly donuts and spinning dreidels while Rabbbi Sultar made his way to the Red Bank train station to light the menorah there.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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121214 St Anthony19121214 St Anthony15Hundreds of Saint Anthony’s Church parishioners held their annual procession on Red Bank’s West Side Friday night, carrying statues of Our Lady Of Guadalupe and the Virgin Mary, baskets containing the baby Jesus, and flags representing Mexico, the United States and Central and South American countries. At Saint Anthony’s, on Bridge Avenue, hundreds more waited for a mass to begin followed by a Mexican feast. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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Rabbi-Brooks-SusmanPress release from Brookdale Community College

“We are living in a age of polarization,” observes Christopher Bellitto — and with religion-based tensions running high throughout the world, trying to make sense of things could be a job befitting the special skills of the God Squad.

A professor of history at Kean University, Dr. Bellitto has appeared on CNN, the History Channel and other national media outlets as an expert on church history and Catholicism. He’s teamed in the God Squad with Rabbi Brooks Susman (pictured), a humanities instructor at  Brookdale Community College and the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Am in Freehold.

On Thursday, December 11, the popular duo of speakers will present “Jews and Christians, Words and Deeds,” on BCC’s Lincroft campus; a lively, dynamic, pre-holiday examination of the texts that serve as the basis for Western faith belief.

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Rabbi Marc KlinePress release from Monmouth Reform Temple

Ever wonder how it is that so many different religions all expect to heal the world on only their own terms? Every religious denomination has published studies demonstrating how modern America is running from organized religion. There is a reason for this phenomenon: organized religion spends more time perpetuating itself than offering relevant paths for the expression of faith. Whatever your denomination, there are core values that we share and which should lead us into a better respect for one another.

Every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm, Rabbi Marc Kline of Monmouth Reform Temple is inviting all members of the public, of all faiths (and even “ye of little faith”) to do just that — during a series of free, “no holds barred,” non-denominational open conversations presented (not at a house of worship, but in the neutral territory of a favorite neighborhood coffeehouse) under the name “This Is About Faith!”

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BernardKlineWiesenfeldPictured left to right are Monmouth Reform Temple’s new Rabbi Marc Kline (center) with his wife Lori Bernard and the MRT President Jay Wiesenfeld of Lincroft. 

Press release from Monmouth Reform Temple

After a year-long search, the Monmouth Reform Temple selected Rabbi Marc Kline to lead the Tinton Falls congregation. Rabbi Kline, who most recently served as the Rabbi at Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Kentucky, began his tenure at MRT on July 1. Rabbi Bob Ourach served as MRT’s interim spiritual leader for over a year during this search.

A native of Las Vegas, NV, the graduate of the University of Arkansas law school became re-immersed in his faith at a Reform Temple while working at a Little Rock law firm. He began to take on a more involved role in the congregation and was encouraged to become, what he terms, “a second career rabbi.”

Rabbi Kline graduated from the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in 1994 with a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and was ordained as a Rabbi the following year. His first major service in a Jewish Congregation brought him to South Carolina, where he forged a close alliance with interfaith clergy and even co-led the 2000 march on the South Carolina Capital to remove the controversial Confederate flag.

The event was described as the largest march on a Southern capital (with over 40,000 people) since the Civil Rights era. He states of that experience, “I remain deeply indebted to the ministers who became my dear friends and teachers. They taught me what it meant to serve a congregation and a community in a meaningful and relevant way.”

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RyanPicRed Bank Regional senior Ryan Lloyd, pictured at his future school, St. Joseph University in Philadelphia,  received the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Sam Mills Scholarship in the State of New Jersey, given to a high school club member who has overcome great adversity.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

It took a serious injury from a traffic accident — and the chaos in the wake of Superstorm Sandy — to endow Ryan Lloyd’s life with challenges and adversity. It took faith, courage, and dedication to confront those challenges, and to earn the Red Bank Regional High School senior a well-deserved recognition from the New Jersey Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Each year, the Fellowship presents a scholarship to the male and female member who have most triumphed over adversity. This year’s recipient of the Sam Mills Memorial Scholarship award (for young men) was bestowed upon Ryan Lloyd.

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Monmouth-Civic-Chorus.3.16.13Dr. Ryan Brandau (right) and the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus keynote a weekend of words and music at Red Bank’s First Presbyterian Church. 

When Dr. Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus return to First Presbyterian (Tower Hill) Church of Red Bank on Friday night, they’ll be presenting two emotionally forceful, mystically compelling meditations on life and death; one with a local angle — if by local we mean Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The Russian master — who summered at Locust Point on the Navesink after escaping his homeland in the wake of the Revolution — is represented on the 7:30 pm program with an encore MCC presentation of Vespers (aka All Night Vigil), a piece based on the Russian Orthodox Good Friday service. Also on the bill will be Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light) by contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen; a study of “enlightenment of all sorts: intellectual, and, of course, spiritual, artistic.” Tickets ($25 adults, with senior, student and group discounts) can be reserved here or by calling (732)933-9333 — and a weekend of inspirational words and music continues high atop Tower Hill, a place just that much closer to heaven.

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rb church 033114Developer Bob Silver, below, hugs congregants of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, above, after gaining approval to convert the 62-year-old structure to offices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


bob silver 040314The proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank into an office complex was praised to the heavens Thursday night, even by a couple of neighbors who’d previously expressed wariness about it.

Developer Bob Silver, who previously converted a Christian Scientist church in Montclair into offices, won kudos for preserving one of Broad Street’s architectural gems while yielding to concerns about traffic. His project, dubbed “Two Eleven Broad,” was also lauded for “saving the home” of a shrunken congregation, which will continue to use a portion of the building, and for touches including electric-car rechargers and bike racks.

Silver is “the best possible neighbor that the neighbors could want,” said abutting property owner William Hartigan of Hudson Avenue, whose concerns about the plan were spotlighted by redbankgreen earlier this week.

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hartigan 1 033114William Hartigan notes the proximity of a church garage to his family’s outdoor dining area. Below, the church as seen from Broad Street; the wing at the left would get a second story. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


rb church 033114It’s a story as old as the concept of property rights: a couple settles into  their dream home, and then the folks next door do something on their patch of heaven to disturb the idyll.

When William and Kathryn Hartigan moved to Red Bank from Jersey City four years ago, they never imagined that the church that abuts their Hudson Avenue property would be anything other than a house of worship, quiet and unnoticed except for the bells pealing in the steeple on Sunday mornings.

But the proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist on Broad Street into an office complex has Hudson Avenue neighbors alarmed about traffic, and the Hartigans about the impact on their dream.

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carol_rittnerPress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

Jewish-Catholic relations, from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis I, will be the topic on Wednesday, April 2, when Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson hosts guest speaker Dr. Carol Rittner, a Catholic nun and a Distinguished Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

The 7 pm lecture, which is co-sponsored by CBI, the Church of the Nativity of Fair Haven (Nativity) and the Center for Holocaust Human Rights & Genocide Education (CHHANGE) in Lincroft, will include comments from Reverend Robert J.W. Schecker, Pastor of Nativity, and Rabbi Jeff Sultar, spiritual leader of CBI.

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