ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Rev. Michael Riley is the new pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.
He will conduct his first worship service as pastor at 10 a.m. Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent. His sermon will be entitled "Teardrops on the City."
The engaging of Riley as pastor was announced to the church membership at a special congregational meeting on April 3. His calling has been approved by Monmouth Presbytery and the Session of the church.
Rev. Michael Riley is the new pastor of the First Presbyterian Church
Riley's hiring follows a one-and-half-year search by a five-member committee during which the applications from over 75 persons were reviewed and numerous candidates were considered.
He succeeds the Rev. Joyce Smothers, who left the church two years ago after a two-and-one-half-year tenure as pastor.
Riley, who has been a regular preacher here for about two years, has been an ordained Baptist minister for over 25 years and is now studying to become an ordained Presbyterian minister.
He is also a columnist, staff writer and editorial writer at the Asbury Park Press. His weekly Press column, "Only Human," appears on Fridays.
This Sunday, Riley will continue his popular "mystery bag" children's sermon series when youngsters try to "stump the pastor" by placing a small personal "treasure" in a brown paper bag. He then picks one bag and creates a children's message from its contents.
Regular Sunday School classes, which are open to all area youngsters, begin after the children's sermon.
Riley will also preach on Palm Sunday, April 17, and Easter, April 24,
All area residents and visitors are invited to worship at the 121-year-old handicapped accessible church at the corner of Third and E. Highland Aves. A new municipal parking lot is available next to the Christian Education Building on E. Highland avenue.
Child care for four-year-olds and younger is provided during the regular 10 a.m. Sunday worship service.