First Presbyterian Church of Tuckerton Has Uptick in Parishioners
While many churches are struggling to fill their pews, the First Presbyterian Church of Tuckerton has seen an increase of new and returning visitors since their new minister, the Rev. Anthony Maimone, has taken over the lectern. In the past six months, “our attendance has steadily grown, and we may be considering two Sunday services down the road,” he said.
The soft-spoken minister with the big smile says it’s because the congregation is loving and warm. “I truly believe our church members are a living witness to the life and love of Jesus Christ in their desire to be a comfort to others. Many people have said that they feel this sense of welcoming and compassion when they first walk in.”
Maimone, a part-time pastor, also recently resigned from his secular job as the chief compliance officer of International School Services, where he worked for over eight years, so that he could pursue ministry full-time. He also recently accepted a part-time chaplain position at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.
Maimone noted that he’s getting a lot of positive feedback from various colleagues regarding his recent job transition. Many have begun to ask themselves, he said, “‘What’s my dream? What’s my calling?’ It’s very daring in some sense – yet what better role model can we be for our children when we pursue our calling; i.e., what makes us happy, where our gifts and talents lie? We can, therefore, be authentic to the purposes that God designed us to be.”
As the church prepares for Holy Week, Maimone is leading his congregation in spiritual disciplines including prayer, scripture reading, repentance, fasting and acts of service and love.
“Each week we touch on these disciplines of our faith that help us to reflect on the history of our own salvation as it was manifested by the passion, suffering and endurances of Jesus Christ. When you say someone is passionate about something, it means they are willing to suffer and endure for what they are passionate about: God is so passionate about us that God was willing to give Jesus’ life for us.”
In his Lenten prayer services, Maimone focuses on the human experiences of the Lord, “as in the garden when he suffered mental anguish knowing he would soon be separated from his disciples, while his best friends, Peter and John, could not stay awake. This must have crushed our Lord,” he said. “We look back on the experiences of the passion to help us identify the sacrifices modeled for us by Christ, as we also look forward to the ecstasy, when he rose from the dead so that ultimately we could live, too. It’s a bitter-sweet time and a time for us to focus on what’s important in daily living in comparison to what we believe is our eternal future.”
Thanks to the growing congregation, this Easter, the church will hold two services, at 9 and 10:30 a.m., with fellowship in between, including an Easter egg hunt for the children.
The next major project for the church is to expand its children’s and adult Christian education program. “We are refurbishing our children and nursery meeting spaces, and we’ll have a big cleanup on April 22 and 23, shortly after Easter. This commitment demonstrates the importance of our children to the continued growth of our beloved church.”
As part of its service to the community, the Presbyterian church holds a free community dinner on the second Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the fellowship hall to which all are invited.
And, as the choir has recently purchased new hymnals, the churchwomen (Krafty Krafters) have put the old ones to use by crafting beautiful angels out of them. These are for sale in fellowship hall for a gift of $25 by calling the church office at 609-296-8894.
— Pat Johnson
Rev. Anthony Maimone