November 30, 2020 ~In the face of a rising tide of Antisemitism, the congregation of Deerfield Presbyterian Church has recently erected a monument in the churchyard to the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It was dedicated on Sunday, November 22nd following the morning service, at which the preacher was Erick Stakelbeck, the host of the television program The Watchman on Trinity Broadcasting Network. The dedication ceremony was led by the Rev. Doctor Kenneth C. Larter, the minister of the church, and included the Jewish liturgy for such occasions read by Jay Einstein, the President of the Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties. The official unveiling was done by Einstein, assisted by architect Joseph H. Ross Jr, who designed the monument.
To mark the occasion, a concert titled Music of Remembrance was held at 4:00 PM and again at 7:00 PM in order to comply with restrictions on indoor events. Guest artists included three graduates of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, John-Henry Crawford, cello, Sydney Lee, cello, and Nathan Vickery, cello, with Priscilla Coblentz Cohen, soprano, and William Gorton, tenor, accompanied on piano and organ by Evelyn Larter, the church’s director of music. All the music was by Jewish composers, including Mahler, Bruch, Bernstein and others.
(Photographs above by Beth Barrickman include: Jay Einstein, President of the Jewish Federation with Rev. Dr. Kenneth Larter and the new Holocaust memorial Monument.)
September 4, 2020 ~ From Rev Larter’s weekly letter to Members & Friends of DPC: “This week … the Freitag Funeral Home announced the foundation for the memorial would be laid. At very short notice, I was able to arrange to bury beneath it stones from Holocaust sites in Poland, as well as other artifacts directly associated with the Jewish people and their suffering during the years of WWII. Myself and a very few members and friends who were available, gathered for a burial ceremony, which ended with saying in unison the Jewish mourner’s prayer, Kaddish. Interestingly, this prayer makes no specific mention of the dead, but instead renders praise to Almighty God and asks for Him to grant peace and life to Israel.
“It reminded me that the only truly exceptional nation on planet earth is Israel. No other land or system of government is promised a permanent place in God’s world. Scripture guarantees to Israel alone restoration and return. The land and people are also promised a spiritual renewal that will be like life from the dead for the Church, as we unite under the rule and reign of Messiah Jesus.
“For this reason, I believe strongly the erection and dedication of this monument is important for the life of our congregation. It will announce in the strongest possible way our determination to stand with the Jewish people in the face of rising Jew and Israel hatred. It is also an expression of hope in the future of God’s plan of redemption for both Jew and Gentile as outlined in Scripture.”
The congregation of Deerfield Presbyterian Church firmly believes that love for God requires us to love and support His ancient people, the Jews. Following a trip to Holocaust sites in Poland in March 2019, The Rev. Dr. Kenneth C. Larter, minister, proposed erecting a monument to the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The location will be in the Chapel Yard cemetery across the road from the historic sanctuary. Architect Joseph Ross, an elder in the congregation, created the design, to be built over the next few months. The total cost is expected to be $15,000.
Tax deductible donations towards the cost of the memorial are being accepted. Checks should be made payable to: Deerfield Presbyterian Church with Holocaust Memorial written on the notation line.