Spotswood reverend was ‘the best person you could talk to’

Eric Sucar
The ceremony during ordination and installation of the Most Reverend James Francis Checchio as the fifth Bishop of Metuchen during a ceremony and mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in South Plainfield on May 3.

Staff Writer

SPOTSWOOD – Spotswood Reformed Church’s Rev. James E. Ribbans passed away on Oct. 17 at the age of 65.

Ribbans was born and raised in Somerville. He previously lived in Chatham, New York, before moving to Spotswood in 2000, according to his obituary.

In 1975, Ribbans received an undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California. He received his master’s degree in Theology from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, according to his obituary.

Ribbans was pastor at the Chatham Reformed Church in Chatham for 16 years and then moved to Spotswood where he was installed as pastor of the Spotswood Reformed Church in January 2001. He was a former member of the United Reformed Church in Somerville. He was also a member of the Spotswood Clericus, an ecumenical group of the Spotswood clergy.

He was also a founding member of CUP (Churches United for People), and the local food bank.

Ribbans also participated in the Adopt-a-Soldier program, corresponding with and sending care package to soldiers actively serving in the Middle East, according to his obituary.

“Rev. Ribbans was an absolute pillar to the Borough of Spotswood. He was always there to help guide you and he assisted the borough in many different ways. I would personally speak with him on a consistent basis and he was the best person you could talk to about anything. He is truly going to be missed by his parish, myself and all the residents,” Mayor Nicholas Poliseno said.

Arrangements were made by the Bruce C. Van Arsdale Funeral Home.

Contact Vashti Harris at

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