Rev. Susan Joseph Rack, Pastor
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be blessed to pastor a church like CPC! We are all people of faith on a journey encouraging each other to follow Jesus and share our faith stories. We support each other in spiritual practices and share our mystical experiences. Folks journey freely in and out of our community–always welcome. On any given Sunday a Muslim friend may join us at worship. How cool is that?!- Pastor Susan
Reverend Susan Joseph Rack answered the call to serve Christ Church as pastor in July 2003. She brings to our community a passion for biblical literature and it’s relevance to our life of faith today, as well as an appreciation for the formative power of personal stories of faith including non-Christian stories.
Her love of music, dramatic and visual arts, and her experience in liturgical dance allows opportunity for creative expression in worship. Congregational participation is encouraged in all aspects of worship including dialogue sermons.
Susan has enriched her talents in spiritual guidance with additional education. She has been trained by Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institute to teach the Enneagram as a spiritual tool. She also values the potential she sees in her training in Non-violent Communication with Dr. Deborah Hunsinger.
Pastor Susan is deeply committed to interfaith understanding. Having sojourned in the Jewish community for many years, she is now enjoying a blooming relationship with our neighboring Muslim communities. She made her third trip to Palestine/Israel in March 2014.
Social Justice is a passion for Pastor Susan motivating her involvement in several pressing societal issues including lobbying to end poverty, training to give spiritual care to victims of domestic violence, and advocating for Palestinian human rights. She made her third peacemaking trip to Palestine/Israel in March 2014.
Pastor Susan serves as a Field Education Supervisor for Princeton Theological Seminary mentoring students in our small “out of the box” type missional and emerging Christian community.
Susan attended Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating with both a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Theology in Old Testament Studies in 2001. She served as chaplain at Johnsonburg Presbyterian Camp for three summers during her seminary years. Susan began her ordained ministry as the Associate Pastor for Christian Education at Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
She currently serves as a chaplain for the Somerset Chaplaincy for the Elderly and is an irritant at the Presbytery of Elizabeth in the hope that a pearl of great price can be cultivated from within the clammy mainstream institutional church for the benefit of the emerging 21st century church.
Iris Chen, Musical Director
We treasure the unique way music touches our hearts. In worship, congregational singing stirs the Spirit within us, opening our souls to express our deepest hopes and faith convictions. Choral singing is not a performance art at our church but a cry of all our souls to Christ our spiritual mentor.
Led by two trained singers, our prayers are raised and our faith affirmed through a great variety music that is easily sung by our small community. We enjoy a great variety of music that is easily sung, including: music from the Iona Community Wild Goose Worship Group, Taize chant, Global music, Spirituals and a wide variety of hymns.
Iris Chen is an established pianist in the NJ area. Her performing career began in her native Taiwan, after she won second prize in the Piano Concerto Competition of The National Taiwan Academy. She then went on to win first prize in the annual Piano Concerto Competition at her undergraduate alma mater, the prestigious Soochow University, which earned her a tour of Taiwan. In the same year as her concerto appearances with the Soochow University Orchestra, she was offered scholarship by the Piano Fest Music Festival of Long Island, where she had the opportunity to study with two internationally renowned pianists, Sergei Babayan and Paul Schenly. Ms. Chen then proceeded to study with well-known pedagogue Julian Martin, at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University, where she obtained both a Master of Music degree and a Graduate Performance Diploma. Ms. Chen has been pianist and substitute conductor for the Chinese American Music Ensemble, and accompanies and performs throughout the NJ/NY area. She recently became Music Director of Christ Presbyterian Church, in Martinsville, NJ.