Week of November 22, 2020

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City




“Isolation and Communion”

As a kid, I was an enthusiastic stamp collector. I’m not sure how I got started in the hobby – maybe my parents encouraged me – but I loved gathering stamps from all over the world and organizing them in my albums. Some of my most cherished childhood memories include frequent trips with my family to Gimbels at Herald Square, which, unlike Macy’s across the street, had a most impressive stamp and coin department. I would spend a lot of time looking at the displays, carefully considering which sets of stamps I might buy and add to my collection.

I’m sure all of this makes me seem like quite an antique. I doubt that too many kids (or probably even adults) collect stamps anymore. That’s too bad because I learned so much geography and history from stamps – probably more than I ever learned in school. My stamp collection also sparked a lifelong interest in certain places, including the scattered and remote British colonies of the South Atlantic: St. Helena, Ascension, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the most isolated inhabited place in the world: Tristan da Cunha.

I recently read an article* about the thriving Roman Catholic community on Tristan, an island with a population of just 246, of whom 42 are Catholic (most of the rest are Anglicans, and, just like here, some families have gone back and forth between the two churches.) A Catholic priest makes the arduous journey by fishing trawler to Tristan only once a year. While he’s on the island, he hears confessions, offers confirmation, and administers First Holy Communion. And, before he moves on to the next island, he consecrates a few thousand wafers so that this little community will still be able to receive the sacrament during the long months when they are on their own, more than a thousand miles from the nearest human settlement. As I read the article, my introverted side found the island’s quiet and slow pace appealing, but I also wondered just how long I could stand to be so far away from nearly everyone. 

Starting back in March, we’ve had our own Tristan-like experience, getting an unpleasant taste of just how hard it is to be cut off from so much of what we had long taken for granted. During the summer, we did get a brief and so very welcome reprieve from the grim isolation of the pandemic. Some of us were able to see family and friends, though still trying to maintain a safe distance. Stores and restaurants and some houses of worship reopened. The out-of-state ambulances were no longer lined up outside of the Jersey City Medical Center. But now that respite has come to a painful end, leaving us with a familiar sense of dread. As expected, though often denied, the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are all on the rise, here and across the country. Although the light of effective vaccines is on the horizon, it will be a difficult winter.

During their long months of isolation, communion sustains the people of Tristan da Cunha. They are nourished by the Bread of Life left behind by their visiting priest, and also by the communion that they share with one another. Every Sunday of the year, they gather together in church – even without a priest – to pray and sing and hear God’s Word. And, I suspect that on an island with so few people, they are sustained by each other, by the generous care required to meet everyone’s needs. I’m sure they check on the elderly and the ill, help to raise all the children, and share food and drink.

Isolation and communion.

Nearly two weeks ago, I spent an afternoon driving around the southern part of Jersey City, bringing Holy Communion to some of our parishioners. (Our seminarian Lorna Woodham was kind enough to take the northern and western route.) It was so good to see some faces I haven’t seen in about nine months – to spend a few minutes catching up at a distance and behind masks – to share Communion, even if it was zipped up in a plastic bag, even if we are still mostly stuck on our islands. It was a relief to recognize – to feel – that time and distance cannot break our bond of love.

The following Thursday, we shared communion with parishioners and neighbors by reimagining our Stone Soup Community Supper. Catherine Marcial spent the day in our church kitchen, preparing one of her inevitably delicious meals that she doled out into takeout boxes. Familiar faces began to arrive at the door starting just before 6:00, hungry for a tasty meal prepared by one of the best chefs in town, but, I think, even hungrier for community. Some people looked longingly at Carr Hall, wishing we could sit around the tables like in the old days. And a couple of people were happy to just hang out in the hallway, shooting the breeze until I reminded them that they couldn’t stay too long. The next morning, I picked up lunch prepared by Sonia Staine for the guests at Garden State Episcopal CDC’s homeless drop-in center. I had been expecting a bag or two of sandwiches (which would have been most welcome and appreciated), but I should have known that Sonia had whipped up a coffee hour-worthy hot lunch for some of the poorest people in our community, sisters and brothers who are now even more isolated than ever.

Isolation and communion.

Sometime during the hard and cold months ahead, we will hit the road to bring you Holy Communion again. Meanwhile, I do no doubt that we will continue to be sustained by the “Spiritual Communion” we experience each Sunday when we gather on Facebook. We will still be in communion when we pray together on the phone and when we reach out to someone we know is lonely, sad, or ill. Some among us will prepare and share more beautiful meals. We will purchase Christmas gifts for children in need, even if we can’t place them under the tree in church. No matter what, the good folks at Triangle Park and Garden State Episcopal will care for some of the hungriest and most easily forgotten among us. Just like the people on faraway Tristan da Cunha, we will be united and enriched by a communion far stronger than even the loneliest isolation.

Now, I’m going to pull out my stamp collection and take a quick trip to the South Atlantic...

Your brother in Christ,

Tom

* https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/11/05/most-remote-parish-tristan-da-cunha-catholics-thriving


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Kit, Walter M., Anaiayah, Robert, and Michael N.

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers.

Students and teachers, as they try to learn and teach under very difficult circumstances.

Respect for the election results, a spirit of unity and common purpose, and a peaceful transfer of power from President Trump to President-Elect Biden.

Please also remember in your prayers those who have died, and those who grieve their loss:

Frank Hankis

All of those who have died as a result of Covid -19

We give thanks for:


The birthdays of Tamika Job-Cyrus and Kathleen Dorrity

The wedding anniversary of Luis and Gladys Ortiz

Belinda Stokes, who has completed her service on the Episcopal Jersey City board

Nancy Mackin Robinson, who has begun her service on the Episcopal Jersey City board

And Lorna Woodham, who has been made a Candidate for Holy Orders!


Calendar Highlights:

Thursday, November 26: Thanksgiving Service, 10:00 AM (On Zoom)

Sunday, November 29: Thanksgiving Basket Raffle

Friday, December 4: JC Friday – Yukiko Tanaka & Family, 7:00 PM (On Zoom)


Thanksgiving Prayer Services:

On Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26) we will offer our three “Church By Phone” Services at 7:30 AM, Noon, and 5:30 PM.

In addition, we will gather on Zoom with our friends from Grace Van Vorst for a Service of Morning Prayer at 10:00 AM. Call 201-433-4922 for login information.


Thanksgiving Care Package Raffle:


We are raffling a special Thanksgiving care package, which will include multipurpose cleaners, masks, disinfectant sprays, hand gels, and personal care items! Many thanks to Patrice Maynard and Anise Thompson for assembling this wonderful and useful package!

Raffle tickets will be on sale until November 28th.

The winner will be announced during our 10:00 service on Sunday, November 29th.

One chance for $10 or 3 chances $25

50% will go to GSECDC and 50% to The Church of St. Paul’s and Incarnation

Payment options: Venmo, Vanco, Mail in check to church office, pop up table on church lawn Sundays November 15th and 22nd (12 pm to 2 pm.  RSVP to Susan if you plan to purchase a ticket in person at the pop up.)

Order tickets: Call church office or email Susan@stpaulsjc.org

The care package will be delivered via curbside drop off.

Tickets will be mailed to those who wish to have them in hand.


Christmas Gifts for GSECDC’s Children in Need:

(COVID-era version of our Christmas giving tree)

If you would like to give a gift for a needy child:

Please send your phone or email request to Susan@StPaulsJC.org or (201)433-4922.  We will contact you with the age and gender of the child(ren) you choose. Please call or email to arrange a time to drop off your gift. (Gift cards can be slipped under the back door.)  OR DELIVER your gift to the church on a pop-up Sunday, noon-2:00 pm December 6 or 13.  The gifts will be delivered to GSECDC for distribution.

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT WRAP the gift.  (The social worker must see the gift before preparing it for delivery.)  DO NOT put your name on the gift. (It may be the only thing parents have to give their children.)  DO include the child’s information with your gift.  IF YOU CANNOT DELIVER YOUR GIFT TO THE CHURCH, please send a gift card or donate money so that the gift can be bought on your behalf.  


Supporting Our Church:

 We are aware that, unfortunately, some parishioners have been laid off or furloughed and others are in danger of losing their jobs. Please know that you are in our prayers and we are here to help any way we can. In these extremely challenging economic times, we are especially grateful to those of you who have been able to keep up with your pledges. You can still mail checks to the church or you can use online giving. Visit stpaulsjc.org and click on "Online Giving." We also have a Venmo account. Call the office or email me for more information.

Pledge cards have been mailed to you. Please take some time to prayerfully reflect on what our church means to you, and return your completed card as soon as possible. 

You may also complete and return the online pledge form here:

https://cutt.ly/Pledge_CSPI


Worship Schedule:

Monday through Friday: "Church By Phone"

Morning Prayer, 7:30

Noonday Prayer, 12:00

Evening Prayer, 5:30

Call: 201-433-4922 for more information.

Sunday at 10:00am

Join us at 10:00 AM for a live-streamed Service of Holy Communion on our church’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/StPaulsJC

  

From the Diocese:

Read The Voice Online for all the latest news, including a message from Bishop Hughes on creating a sacred space in our homes:

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-VOICE-Online--Bishop-Hughes-on-making-a-sacred-space--2020-Confirmands-invited-to-meet-with-the-Bishop.html?soid=1102692382496&aid=tgvO8DP14n4

Upcoming Event:

A Speaker Series on Race, Monday, 12/7, 6:30-8:00 PM


Praying for Our Country:

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our

heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove

ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.

Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and

pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;

from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend

our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes

brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue

with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust

the authority of government, that there may be justice and

peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we

may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.

In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,

and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;

all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


DJ’s Free Market:

Subscribe to the DJ’s Newsletter to stay informed about this exciting new ministry led by Deacon Jill:

https://mailchi.mp/bba528aa62bb/subscribe-to-djs-newsletter


The Arts at St. Paul & Incarnation:

"UpRooted"

Visit our virtual gallery to see our latest exhibit:

http://www.aspi-jc.org


New Jersey Together:


New Jersey Together is committed to training leaders from religious congregations and non-profits across the state in the basics of non-partisan organizing. The training will give you concrete tools to identify and act on issues that matter to your communities, to build relationships inside and outside your institution, and to analyze why those issues are not currently being addressed.

During this pandemic, our training will be conducted virtually over multiple, shorter sessions. There will be readings and discussions with diverse leaders in different parts of the state. Registration will be for a limited number. If there is enough interest, we will add additional dates. The first two sessions are below:

FIRST GROUP: December 8-10 (Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday), from 12:30 to 1:45 PM.

SECOND GROUP: December 12 (10-11-30 AM) and December 13 (5-6:45PM) (Saturday & Sunday)

Register now here:  njtogether.org/training 


Help for Renters and Homeowners:

There is help available for renters and homeowners suffering because of the pandemic. One is the website for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency: www.njhousing.gov. You can also call 1-800-NJ-HOUSE (1-800-654-6873).


Jersey City Master Plan:

Jersey City is developing a new master plan and it’s important to get maximum public participation. Find more information here: 

https://ourjc-jerseycity.hub.arcgis.com/pages/surveys

 

Helpful Resources:

State of New Jersey Covid-19 Information Hub:

https://covid19.nj.gov

 

The Diocese of Newark posts Covid-19 resources here:

https://dioceseofnewark.org/covid-19

 

You can subscribe to diocesan newsletters here:

https://dioceseofnewark.org/subscribe

 

The Episcopal Church has collected Covid-19 resources here:

https://episcopalchurch.org/concerning-covid19

 

"Habits of Grace," weekly reflections from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:

https://episcopalchurch.org/habits-of-grace

 

The Church of England has some wonderful prayers and other materials here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources

 

Fr. Tom’s sermons can be found here:

http://tommurphe.blogspot.com






Week of November 15, 2020

 Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City



“Finding Perspective on a Most Unlikely Beach”

In most respects, this has been a painfully challenging season. And now, the days darken, the cynical and dangerous dispute about the election continues, and the rate of Covid infection again threatens to shut down much of everyday life. It has been and continues to be a time of trouble, with waves of fear and anger that can make it hard to feel God’s presence and to keep daily events in perspective. 

But, at least in our part of the world, one bright spot has been the weather. Until the most recent gray and gloom, for the most part, we have been blessed with a beautiful season, covered in blue skies, bathed in bright sunlight, and dazzled by foliage more vivid than I can remember. I’ve enjoyed a spectacular “Fall Festival,” and hope you have, too.

Now, at this point, you may be expecting a story from one of my many walks in Lincoln Park. Wrong! Even those of us deeply set in our ways need to mix things up once in a while! So, a few days before the election, I decided to explore Caven Point, the small nature preserve tucked away at the southern end of Liberty State Park. Despite living in Jersey City for much of my life, I had never been there, but I had heard about it from friends and seen pictures taken there by our parishioner Sara Hopper.

Although Caven Point is not exactly hidden, you do have to know where to look. Getting there requires heading south on a walkway bordered on one side by an imposing retaining wall that seals off the exclusive Liberty National Golf Course from the rest of the community, a stark symbol of the great divide between those who have (and yet always want even more) and those who do not have much at all. After what felt like a longer than expected walk, I finally arrived at the nature preserve, discovering an oasis lush with vegetation and scored by birdsong. I took my time, savoring it all, and, of course, snapping lots of pictures for the “Fall Festival.” At one point, I left the trail and followed a footpath to…a beach! A real beach! Hearing about this miracle and seeing pictures did not prepare me for the reality that Jersey City has a wide sandy beach, dotted with seashells and strewn with seaweed.

I was alone, listening to honking geese honk and quacking ducks, mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the tide, a little disoriented by a different view of some most familiar landmarks. Although this whole area had long been industrialized, its soil contaminated, there was now not much sign of human activity. Instead, when I squinted a little, I could imagine the Lenape people gathered on the shore, feasting on the overflowing abundance of the sea and the land. I could imagine Henry Hudson sailing into the wide and deep harbor on the Half Moon, hoping to find a quick route to Asia, but recognizing that this place had real money-making potential. Actually, it was so quiet that I could imagine the near eternity before any of that, when there were no people feasting or exploring, just creatures going about their business of survival, only the rhythmic roll of the tide, a time when God was already at work, even if there was no one around to notice.

For a few minutes, anyway, standing on a most unlikely beach, I was able to gain a little bit of perspective, reminded of our small place in the bigness and grandeur of creation, the vastness of the ages. I remembered that, even in a time of trouble, God’s presence is as close as a leaf falling to the ground, providing yet again the promise of new life. I understood that, maybe with a little help from us, God can restore even the most poisoned land, renewing it into a taste of Eden, a glimpse of the way life was always meant to be. 

My time at the beach was brief. And, making my way back out of the nature preserve, I returned to a troubled land symbolized by that sturdy wall built to keep the poor away from the wealthy. But, somehow that wall seemed a little less oppressive. Now, I again trusted that God will give us the strength and courage we need to build a world without walls, to realize the downside-up kingdom imagined, proclaimed, and unveiled by Jesus. 


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Kit, Kathleen D., Walter M., Sonia, Anaiayah, Robert, and Frank.

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers.

Students and teachers, as they try to learn and teach under very difficult circumstances.

Respect for the election results, a spirit of unity and common purpose, and a peaceful transfer of power from President Trump to President-Elect Biden.

Please also remember in your prayers those who have died, and those who grieve their loss:

Ethel Stephenson, former warden of St. Paul’s

All of those who have died as a result of Covid -19

We give thanks for:

All the blessings of our lives, especially the birthday on Saturday of Mary Meeney.


Calendar Highlights:

Monday, November 16: NJ Together Tenants’ Rights Workshop, 7:00PM-8:00PM

Thursday, November 26: Thanksgiving Service, 10:00 AM (On Zoom)

Sunday, November 29: Thanksgiving Basket Raffle


Thanksgiving Care Package Raffle:

We are raffling a special Thanksgiving care package, which will include multipurpose cleaners, masks, disinfectant sprays, hand gels, and personal care items! Many thanks to Patrice Maynard and Anise Thompson for assembling this wonderful and useful package!

Raffle tickets will be on sale until November 28th.

The winner will be announced during our 10:00 service on Sunday, November 29th.

One chance for $10 or 3 chances $25

50% will go to GSECDC and 50% to The Church of St. Paul’s and Incarnation

Payment options: Venmo, Vanco, Mail in check to church office, pop up table on church lawn Sundays November 15th and 22nd (12 pm to 2 pm.  RSVP to Susan if you plan to purchase a ticket in person at the pop up.)

Order tickets: Call church office or email Susan@stpaulsjc.org

The care package will be delivered via curbside drop off.

Tickets will be mailed to those who wish to have them in hand.


Supporting Our Church:

We are aware that, unfortunately, some parishioners have been laid off or furloughed and others are in danger of losing their jobs. Please know that you are in our prayers and we are here to help any way we can. In these extremely challenging economic times, we are especially grateful to those of you who have been able to keep up with your pledges. You can still mail checks to the church or you can use online giving. Visit stpaulsjc.org and click on "Online Giving." We also have a Venmo account. Call the office or email me for more information.

Pledge cards have been mailed to you. Please take some time to prayerfully reflect on what our church means to you, and return your completed card as soon as possible. 

You may also complete and return the online pledge form here:

https://cutt.ly/Pledge_CSPI


Worship Schedule:

Monday through Friday: "Church By Phone"

Morning Prayer, 7:30

Noonday Prayer, 12:00

Evening Prayer, 5:30

Call: 201-433-4922 for more information.


Sunday at 10:00am

Join us at 10:00 AM for a live-streamed Service of Holy Communion on our church’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/StPaulsJC


From the Diocese:

Read The Voice Online for all the latest news, including a message from Bishop Hughes on God is with us for this big week and the work ahead:

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-VOICE-Online--Bishop-Hughes-reminds-us-that-God-is-with-us-for-this-big-week-and-the-work-ahead.html?soid=1102692382496&aid=Ti1SZM9C8yg


Upcoming Events:

A Speaker Series on Race, Mondays 11/16, and 12/7, 6:30-8:00 PM

Pop Up Youth Event: Don’t Worry Be Thankful, Sunday 11/15, 3:00 PM


Praying for Our Country

Bishop Hughes has called on our diocese to pray the following prayers:


Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our

heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove

ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.

Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and

pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;

from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend

our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes

brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue

with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust

the authority of government, that there may be justice and

peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we

may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.

In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,

and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;

all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers

and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or of

this community) in the election of officials and representatives;

that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of

all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your

purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


New Jersey Together:

New Jersey Together is cosponsoring a Tenants’ Rights Workshop on November 16. This session is meant for tenants who are behind with rent or may be worried about falling behind, or who just want to learn and share this information with others. Register here: www.njtogether.org/housing



DJ’s Free Market:

Subscribe to the DJ’s Newsletter to stay informed about this exciting new ministry led by Deacon Jill:

https://mailchi.mp/bba528aa62bb/subscribe-to-djs-newsletter


The Arts at St. Paul & Incarnation:

UpRooted

Visit our virtual gallery to see our latest exhibit:

http://www.aspi-jc.org


Help for Renters and Homeowners:

There is help available for renters and homeowners suffering because of the pandemic. One is the website for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency: www.njhousing.gov. You can also call 1-800-NJ-HOUSE (1-800-654-6873).


Jersey City Master Plan:

Jersey City is developing a new master plan and it’s important to get maximum public participation. Find more information here: 

https://ourjc-jerseycity.hub.arcgis.com/pages/surveys

 

Helpful Resources:

 

State of New Jersey Covid-19 Information Hub:

https://covid19.nj.gov

 

The Diocese of Newark posts Covid-19 resources here:

https://dioceseofnewark.org/covid-19

 

You can subscribe to diocesan newsletters here:

https://dioceseofnewark.org/subscribe

 

The Episcopal Church has collected Covid-19 resources here:

https://episcopalchurch.org/concerning-covid19

 

"Habits of Grace," weekly reflections from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:

https://episcopalchurch.org/habits-of-grace

 

The Church of England has some wonderful prayers and other materials here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources

 

Fr. Tom’s sermons can be found here:

http://tommurphe.blogspot.com