It was a day of good music and good food which raised at last count $862. The event was the recent Sandy Relief Mardi Gras and Jazz Breakfast at the Stanhope United Methodist Church. In addition to the entertainment at the breakfast, jazz music was heard during the morning’s worship service, along with an update of the Sandy Relief efforts of the United Methodist Church organization. For one local family, helping to make the event a success was definitely a family affair.
The breakfast was put on by the United Methodist Men’s group of the church. Co-coordinating the event were a father and son duo, Scott and Jeremy of Byram Township. Jeremy Lefurge is a Lenape Valley High School student. Not only did the Lefurges work on making sure the event ran smoothly, but they also performed as part of the entertainment.
“It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves at a fun event while raising money for a great cause. People complimented the great music, great food, and wonderful Mardi Gras decorations .One of the highlights at this year’s event was having my family play jazz together as a quartet. Our older son, Zach borrowed an arrangement of the tune “American Patrol” from his Kutztown University Jazz Ensemble for us to perform. Zach played lead trumpet, my wife, Rosalie, played clarinet, his brother, Jeremy played baritone sax, and I played alto sax. Our friends and family at the breakfast loved it!” shared Scott Lefurge.
Zachary Lefurge shared that his motivation in helping came from things he had seen. “After visiting some friends during winter break and seeing firsthand what Sandy did to New Jersey, I wanted to help out with the relief efforts. As a music performance major at Kutztown University, it was really nice to come home and be able to perform for friends and family, and help out a great cause,” he said.
Others joined the Lefurges in playing at the breakfast. One was Gabrielle Worthingtonn of Stanhope, who sang “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” accompanied by Zachary Lefurge on trumpet.
“We had fun performing jazz music for everyone who attended the pancake breakfast. I was happy that my friend Josh Kirschner, who attends Lenape Valley, could join us to play drums for our jazz group. I was hoping for some additional musicians to join us; however, we still had a great event with lots of great music and great food. It was nice being able to have an event like this to help people who are still in need after last year’s hurricane,” said Jeremy Lefurge
The sounds of jazz continued during the worship service, through a variety of songs including the Lefurge male trio playing, “”What a Wonderful World”
Also heard at the service was a Sandy Relief update. Two videos were shown; they dealt with the relief efforts of the United Methodist Church. Included was a message from the bishop of the greater New Jersey Annual Conference, Bishop John R. Schol, thanking people
for all that has being accomplished and reminding everyone that the United Methodist Church is in the relief effort for the long haul. Also shared were some of the statistics on that relief effort so far: 12 families back home, 15 more houses in process, and work being done to get approval to work on 22 more. Forty-four churches and two communities have been worked upon A total of 58,000 volunteer hours have been spent on the effort.
“It was good to have the people of the community know that the church cares for the communities around us; we just don’t take of ourselves,” said the Rev. Tom Kinter, pastor of the church.
“These funds [raised that day] will enable our crews to purchase the supplies needed to rebuild homes, churches and community centers,” Kinter added.
The pastor also shared that on April 5th volunteers from the Skylands District [United Methodist] churches will come together in southern New Jersey as part of the relief effort. Work teams will gather at different home sites to do whatever needs to be done, such as prepare meals for the volunteers, sheetrock homes, paint, or clean up.
“During Lent we are gathering cleaning supplies, paper goods, water powder drinks, coffee that will be delivered to the host site that houses the volunteers. There is also the opportunity to prepare a Sunday ‘welcome’ dinner as the volunteers arrive and a Thursday evening ‘thank you’ dinner,” said Kinter.
Reflecting on the day’s event and worship, Scott Lefurge shared,” Our United Methodist Men’s group at the church likes to sponsor a variety of activities which allow our congregation, our friends, and the surrounding community to enjoy [things] together .This event, like our outdoor worship service and picnic held on Netcong Day, is a great opportunity for people to come see that we are more than just the beautiful stone church by the lake.”