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United Methodist Church Holds Roast Beef Dinner Fundraiser

PARSIPPANY — On May 6, Parsippany United Methodist Church held its annual Roast Beef fundraiser, where attendees could indulge in a buffet-style dinner of the church’s renowned Roast Beef, delicious Cole Slaw, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Vegetables, and a large assortment of homemade desserts.

Parsippany residents Judy Hernandez and Joanne Rich enjoying the roast beef dinner at United Methodist Church.

The Parsippany United Methodist Church (PUMC) congregation was founded in 1830. A parcel of land was given by a wealthy member of the Presbyterian Church with the idea that the servants of the wealthy should have their own church. Our roots are humble.

At the event, customers were served by triplets Madilynn, Abi, and Nicole, who are all ten years old and currently attend Littleton Elementary School. The talented trio offered freshly made drinks to attendees.
Steve Blake, Bill Gripp, Justin Cogan, and Tracy Booth were working in the kitchen, preparing the delicious dinner for the event.
Laurie Wilken, Lonnie Wallace, Michele Chaffee, Rev. Marissa van der Valk, Renee Luongo, Carolyn Dipsey, Paul Adams, and Jahn Schnetzer took charge of serving the scrumptious food to the guests.
Connie Keller and Denise White skillfully served a wide variety of desserts to the attendees.

In 1962, our original church building on Route 46 was torn down to make room for Highway 287. The congregation worshipped in local schools and met in members’ homes until, in 1964, an education building and fellowship hall were built at 903 South Beverwyck Road.

For years the congregation dreamed of a new, dedicated sanctuary. The congregation worshipped in the fellowship hall for church dinners and play productions. For forty years, the congregation forged an identity based on the quality of love found in our fellowship and worship. People were drawn to the congregation, not for the edifice — the school-like building was not much to look at –- but rather by the spirit of compassion, inclusion, humor, and artistic creativity.

In 1989, the congregation’s growth made it possible to plan for actively constructing a new worship space. Together we engaged in an extended process of envisioning, fundraising, and planning for a new sanctuary that — with its simple and open design — was in keeping with the spirit of our congregation. Construction began in November of 2001 amid the national grief of 9/11. As we witnessed people spontaneously flock to communal sacred spaces seeking contact with the holy, it seemed timely to be building the sanctuary as an expression of the peace and presence of God in unsettling times.

Construction began in November of 2001, amid the national grief of 9/11. As we witnessed people spontaneously flock to communal holy spaces seeking contact with the holy, it seemed timely to be building the sanctuary as an expression of the peace and presence of God in unsettling times.

Six months into construction, amid the typical frustrations and setbacks that are a part of this process, Henry “Hank” Heitschel, the building committee chairperson, suddenly died. Shortly thereafter, his wife Myra also died. When finally the new sanctuary was dedicated six months later, in December of 2002, the joy we felt was mixed with sadness that this much-beloved couple who had been so instrumental in sustaining our dream of the new sanctuary for forty years was not with us to share in the celebration.

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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