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  • Writer's pictureJennifer McGraw

Rehmann honored by Presbyterian Church

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer McGraw A ceremony on June 22 was held at the Hammonton Presbyterian Church honoring the late Chris R. Rehmann. The courtyard of the church was named in memory of Rehmann. Rehmann’s wife, Loretta (center) is pictured with her sons, Chris and Richard in the courtyard.

HAMMONTON—Chris R. Rehmann, beloved member of the Hammonton Presbyterian Church, was memorialized on Saturday, June 22. Rehmann, who loved his church, church family and giving back to the community as a whole, will now be forever honored at the church’s courtyard. Reverend Dr. Patricia Epprecht led the service, with Cindy Birnbaum and Eileen Birnbaum Bates providing music.

The ceremony was held in the sanctuary to combat the heat while allowing easy access to the courtyard after. Guests chatted with each other, some sharing memories of Chris’ dedication to the church, others funny stories with Chris and the Rehmann family.

“Chris knew what God wanted him to do, and he did it. He did it from the very beginning, really, because when I hear about his life growing up, he had a very big heart in the church, because he knew who his mother was, and he modeled that blessings that Christ gives to all of us who call upon him,” Reverend Epprecht said.

Chris’ wife, Loretta, spoke highly of the dedication and everyone involved in improvements for the church, including the courtyard.

“As the committee proceeded with the improvements to the steps of the church and the Christian education building, we thought that improving the courtyard would be a perfect project to honor Chris and have his presence continue to be felt in the church he loves so much. This project solved the problem of dangerous broken concrete and water filtering into the basement. Now, with perfectly braided concrete, the area is safer, wheelchair accessible, and there’s a dry basement. It’s a win-win situation, and to add to that the new plantings, and we have a beautiful area that I am so happy to call the Chris R. Rehmann Courtyard,” Loretta said.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer McGraw Loretta Rehmann spoke on behalf of her family during the Hammonton Presbyterian Church courtyard dedication in memory of her husband, the late Chris R. Rehmann, on June 22.

The ceremony began with prayer, a beautiful song rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” by Eileen Birnbaum Bates, and scripture readings. Reverend Epprecht had more words of blessing before handing the microphone over to Loretta and others who told funny and lighthearted memories about Chris.

Among those that spoke were Chris’ two sons, Richard S. Rehmann and Chris R. Rehmann Jr. While everyone who spoke shared different memories and stories, one thing remained consistent: Chris would be a little embarrassed by the tribute, but is deserving of the praise.

Richard told a short story of playing golf with someone who played baseball against his dad, who did not hesitate to mention that Chris was a good guy. Chris Rehmann Jr. echoed these same remarks, talking about how their father had a contagious uplifting spirit regardless of any situation.

After the ceremony, the two sons unveiled the plaque that would stand in the courtyard. The Rehmann family explored the improved courtyard first, followed by the guests. Everyone was invited for light refreshments at the also newly-renovated Christian Education Lounge across from the courtyard.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer McGraw The plaque installed in the church courtyard.

“He’s having fun with the orchids and all the other flowers because he continues to grow them. So when you see an orchid today, and I think you’ll see a couple, just think of the joy that he had in using them for part of his service to the Lord, as well as the wonderful things that other people have gotten from his time here with us,” Reverend Epprecht said.

“This was indeed a huge undertaking, but as we find in the book of Nehemiah, many hands make light work. On behalf of the entire Rehmann family, I say thank you to Al Brown, Joanna Johnson, Becky Villani, and her mom and dad, Sue and Bill Fichetola, for their hard work to beautify the courtyard, and to the women of the Goods for Our Communities Ministry who have committed to watering the plants. The work of all your hands has come together to complete a beautiful area, and we will be forever grateful that Chris’s memory gets to live on in this courtyard,” Loretta Rehmann said.

This article was produced in collaboration with New Jersey Civic Information Consortium and Rowan University.


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