Meet the New Pastor at the Cranford United Methodist Church

In July, the Cranford United Methodist Church welcomed a new pastor, Rev. Dr. HyunHui Kim.  Pastor Kim is not only the first woman to serve as pastor of CUMC, but she is also the first person of color.

In this episode we learn a bit about her story from her growing up years in a suburb of Seoul to what brought her to New Jersey.

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Cranford’s Equity and Inclusivity Initiative Releases Community Survey

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, the Cranford community created the Equity and Inclusivity Initiative to examine what needed to be done to make the town welcoming to everyone. Leaders of the project include a wide range of community members, including representatives from the township committee,  public schools, clergy, police and citizens. Meetings, which were open to all members of the public, developed mission, value, vision and goal statements, an action plan and a strategic plan.

On January 9 a survey was released seeking feedback from all stakeholders. Cranford Radio spoke with several leaders of the initiative to learn more about their work and the purposes of the survey. Guests on the episode are Police Chief Ryan Greco, Sherry Williams, Rev. Alfred Brown of the First Baptist Church, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Rubin, Dr. Christopher Chapman of the Roselle Chapter of the NAACP and Township Committee member Kathleen Miller Prunty.

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Top row (left to right): Chief Ryan Greco, Bernie Wagenblast, Sherry Williams; second row: Rev. Alfred Brown, Dr. Scott Rubin, Dr. Christopher Chapman; bottom row: Commissioner Kathleen Miller Prunty

Bernie Wagenblast: A Reintroduction

In this Cranford Radio episode the tables are turned and instead of being the interviewer, Bernie becomes the interviewee. She discusses her recent announcement that she has transitioned to living as a woman and in general about being transgender. Interviewing Bernie are five members of the Cranford Unity Project; Sanjeevanee Vidwans, Patricia MacLean, Jill Wohrle, Karen Bennett, and Jo Ann Boyle.

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Top row (left to right): Karen Bennett, Bernie Wagenblast, Jo Ann Boyle; Bottom row: Sanjeevanee Vidwans, Jill Wohrle, Patricia MacLean

Celebration Singers Presenting Holiday Concerts This Weekend

Friday and Saturday nights (December 16 & 17) at 8, the Celebration Singers will be presenting their Hope for the Season concert at St. Michael’s Church in Cranford. 

As a rehearsal was underway this week, I had an opportunity to sit down with the director, Louise Chernosky, as well as two members, Cindy Higgins and Holly Gessner, to chat about this weekend’s performance and about the Celebration Singers.

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Cranford’s UPS Store Offers Tips for Holiday Shipping

Santa isn’t the only one delivering at this time of year. The UPS Store at 16 South Avenue West is lending a hand by not only shipping gifts and more, but by helping you pack those items so they arrive safely.

To help you prepare for whatever shipments you might be making, Cranford Radio spoke with Jackie Reese, the manager of Cranford’s UPS Store and her assistant, Beatrice Beard.

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Jackie Reese and Beatrice Beard

Cranford Resident Harry Dworchak Has Made His Mark in Opera

Harry Dworchak has sung in many of the greatest opera houses in the world and with some of the finest singers. After living in places as diverse as Barcelona, Philadelphia and New York, he’s settled in Cranford.

A 1986 New York Time review of his performance with the New York City Opera called his bass voice one of the finest to be heard in New York at the time. A year later he was given the prestigious Richard Tucker Award

On this week’s podcast we talk about what led him to become an opera singer, some of the unique challenges of performing opera and about his role as a teacher.

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Harry Dworchak

The Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence – Supporting Innovative Educational Initiatives in the Cranford Schools

For nearly 20 years, a group of Cranford residents and educators have served as a resource for teachers throughout the district to provide funding for initiatives that haven’t been funded through traditional budgeting.

The CFEE raises money through a variety of methods, including an annual Trivia Night, which will return in February after a two-year absence. Tara O’Connor serves as a co-president of the organization and she joined me in one of the projects funded by the CFEE.

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To donate to CFEE click here

Tara O’Connor, Nikki Savino Mulcahy, Bernie Wagenblast (left to right) in the new Cranford High School podcast studio

New Wind Sculpture in Hanson Park Honors the Life of the Late Jan Lilien

Jan Lilien’s life touched many. When she died in 2021, her husband Richard Brown wanted to continue her legacy through the creation of the Jan Lilien Education Fund. The fund has worked with the Hanson Park Conservancy to provide educational programs on sustainability and environmental awareness.

Richard also wanted to memorialize Jan with something permanent in Hanson Park which might give comfort to others suffering from grief. That dream became a wind sculpture which was installed this month in the park.

On this episode of Cranford Radio we hear from Richard, as well as Ellen McHenry, the president of the Hanson Park Conservancy and Rabbi Renee Edelman of Temple Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield.

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Richard Brown & Jan Lilien

Section of Lincoln Park to Become Dr. Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe Reading Garden

Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe was born and raised in Cranford before becoming a nationally-recognized educator. Dr. Wolfe will be recognized with a reading garden that is being constructed in a corner of Lincoln Park where Old Peppy once stood.

TV35 and Cranford Radio spoke with Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty, Pat Pavlak and Betty Crawley about the project and Dr. Wolfe’s legacy.

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Pat Pavlak, Bernie Wagenblast, Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty, Betty Crawley (left to right)
Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe

Trinity Episcopal Church Closes Out 150th Anniversary Year

Since 1875, Trinity Episcopal Church has been a landmark on the corner of North and Forest avenues in Cranford. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the parish. Tom Kaercher is the junior warden of the church and its unofficial historian. He joins me to talk about the church’s history and some of the interesting stories from its century and a half existence.

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Tom Kaercher

1875
1906
1922

Current Building