Religions and Spirituality

Press Releases

First Baptist Church of Westfield Celebrates 150 Years


Reverend Mayra Castañeda, Senior Pastor, shared inspiring words of welcome at the 150th Anniversary Luncheon held at the First Baptist Church of Westfield on Sunday, Dec. 4, immediately following the Sunday service.  From near and far, former pastors, members and friends of the church came together to celebrate the long history of the church and continuing spiritual commitment of its members. Notable guests included former pastors Rev. William Frederickson, Rev. Louis Ruprecht, Rev. Suleima Rosario Diaz, family members of Rev. Elbert Gates who served as pastor from 1949-1959.  Rev. Miriam Mendez, Associate Regional Pastor and Area Minister of The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, who brought greetings and presented a congratulatory certificate to the church.  Church moderator, Carleen Morris, read a Certificate of Recognition from the American Baptist Historical Society.

Westfield dignitaries in attendance included Mayor Andy Skibitsky who read and presented to Pastor Castañeda, the Town of Westfield's Proclamation congratulating the congregation "for the love and service to the Westfield community and beyond.”  Rev. Anthony Randazzo and Deacon Tom Pluta from Holy Trinity Church also participated in the celebration.  During the luncheon, the NJ Workshop for the Arts String Orchestra imbued the setting with harmonious tones of the season.

Luncheon attendees were brought back to 1866 through a reading of the history of the founding of the church and then a slide show that captured images of the original wooden church and members partaking in a variety of church activities over the years.  Additionally, a video created during the 150th anniversary year captured many members’ reflections on the role of the First Baptist Church in their lives. 

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Opening of the 1866 time capsule, which includes items added in 1921 when the current building was under construction, was a point of unique interest on the program.  Given that investigations undertaken to date have not yet pinpointed the time capsule’s precise location, plans for opening the time capsule have been deferred to 2017.  Also in 2017, First Baptist will compile a 150th anniversary time capsule that will be preserved on church property.

Upcoming in 2017 a musical composition that has been commissioned in recognition of the 150th anniversary will be debuted at a concert to be scheduled in late spring.  Michael Rosin, Director of Music Ministries at First Baptist, is the composer of this work and he will be conductor for the upcoming concert.  Additional information regarding the late spring concert will be available at Sunday Worship, in the church newsletter, The Messenger, the church’s Facebook page and on the First Baptist Church website (

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Scotch Plains Man Arrested for Exposing Himself to Girl at Farley Park

April 19, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — A 26-year-old Scotch Plains man was arrested and charged with lewdness after he allegedly exposed himself in front of a girl at Farley Park, police said.

The girl's family members contacted the Scotch Plains police, who arrested Melvin A. Hanciles, who lives near the park on Farley Avenue.

Sergeant David Lavery and Patrolman Chris ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Westfield High School Auditorium, Westfield

Panel on Transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy

Education Green


Thu, April 19, 8:00 PM

Molly Maguires Irish Pub and Restaurant, Clark

Open Mic Night @ Molly Maguires in Clark

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Thu, April 19, 8:00 PM

Union County Torah Center, Westfield

“The Jewish View on Reincarnation”

Religions And Spirituality

Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

Union County Freeholder Board Reminds Seniors on New Medicare Cards

April 19, 2018

In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds Union County’s senior adults that they will receive new Medicare cards from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this summer.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the federal agency that runs the Medicare program. It is a branch of the US Department of ...

McKinley School Kicks Off its Annual Fundraising Effort for Pediatric Cancer Research

It was an enthusiastic start as students and staff kicked off the 7th Annual McKinley School Mini-THON, a schoolwide, energetic effort to raise money for leukemia and pediatric cancer research.

“As you know, McKinley School does a lot to give back [to the community],” said McKinley principal Marc Biunno as he addressed students and staff gathered in the gymnasium on April 11.

Get Your Home Ready for Summer Before its TOO HOT

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and you are shedding those down coats. Now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can alleviate painful repairs later on if you wait too long. The line ahead of you will build as the summer rush starts. So, let’s not wait.

Check your roof   (hire the expert ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Fear of Rising Rates? Remember The Reason You Own Bonds

If the current interest environment has you concerned about your bond portfolio, remember why you are investing in bonds.  The role bonds, or fixed income, play in a portfolio is not solely based on performance.  Bonds are used to offer stability, particularly when stock market volatility is rising. Rate hikes can dampen bond performance, but keep perspective on how rising rates impact ...

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 14

On this week’s AtlantiCast, an internationally recognized orthopedic oncologist takes a leadership role at Atlantic Health System, see the newest weapon in the fight against HPV-related cancers, Atlantic Health System leads the Castle Connolly / Inside Jersey Rankings, and much more!



Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
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Edison Cop Arrested, Charged With Computer Theft and Stalking

April 18, 2018

EDISON, NJ - An Edison police officer has been arrested and charged with computer theft and stalking.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Thomas Bryan of the Edison Police Department on Tuesday announced the arrest of Paul Pappas. The 43-year-old officer, an Edison resident, has been charged with computer theft/criminal activity in the second degree and stalking in the fourth ...