Week of May 24, 2020

Welcome to 
The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

May 22, 2020
"The Blessing of In-Between Time"

Dear Friends,

Some of you know that Holy Saturday morning is perhaps my favorite moment of the entire church year. It is the ultimate in-between time, a space separating Good Friday and Easter, estrangement and reconciliation, despair and hope, death and life. I love the in-between time of Holy Saturday morning, when we can take stock of all that happened in the heartbreaking days leading up to the cross and prepare ourselves as best we can for Easter joy.

We are in a similar in-between time right now.

On the church calendar we are in a moment between the absence after the Ascension that we commemorated yesterday and the presence of the Holy Spirit that we will celebrate next Sunday. We are in the midst of a ten-day stretch of in-between time, the last days of the Easter Season, an opportunity to reflect on the best news of all time - Alleluia! Christ is risen! - and also a chance to recognize that we are never abandoned. The Holy Spirit continues to guide us, strengthen us, and protect us, no matter what.

And, this is also in-between time for all of us in the New York-New Jersey region. Thanks to social distancing and the incredible skill and dedication of healthcare workers, the rates of infection and the number of hospitalizations and deaths have all been steadily falling. At least for now, we are "flattening the curve." Hospitals are beginning to once again expand their range of services. The governors are allowing certain businesses to open. Traffic is getting heavier and, maybe it's my imagination but the air doesn't seem quite as clean as it was a couple of weeks ago. Many of us are eagerly and anxiously looking ahead to the future and the "new normal." But, when it comes to the virus and our life together, there are still many more questions than answers. Although there have been some promising studies, we don't know if a safe and effective vaccine will be available anytime soon. We don't know if the virus will flare up again in the fall, or even sooner. We're not even sure if people who have been infected are immune from reinfection. And, we have little idea when and how we will be able to safely gather once again in our beautiful church.

So, we mourn all that we've lost - so many lives, countless expectations and hopes, and our sense of security and normalcy. And, we look ahead with an uneven mix of uncertainty, fear, and hope. But, we've also been given the blessing of in-between time - a kind of Holy Saturday - a chance to reflect on what this crisis has revealed about our society, about our church, and about ourselves. We've been given this in-between time to look at how God might be at work in our time of trouble, how God is doing what God always does, transforming death into new life.

The pandemic has taught us lessons we should have already known:

The essential workers are the people who grow, slaughter, prepare, and serve our food; the people who scan our groceries and stock and clean our stores; the people who care for people in hospitals and nursing homes and the people who mop the floors and clean the bathrooms; the people who drive the buses and trains; the people who pick up our trash; the people whose job it is to run toward the dangers of crime and fire.

If one part of our society is sick then all of us are at risk. So, setting aside justice for a moment, it is dangerous when the people who serve us in stores and restaurants don't have health insurance and aren't able to take sick days. It's dangerous when our jails are packed with so many people. It's dangerous when corners of the media cynically spew out misinformation, questioning the risk of the virus while taking every precaution for themselves. And, it's dangerous when leaders ignore science and are concerned only with their political fortunes.

This pandemic has also taught us that people are good, generous, and resilient. The pandemic has revealed that our church is stronger than we may have thought. Thanks to the guidance, strength, and protection of the Holy Spirit, we continue to stick together, looking out for one another, and, yes, praying and worshiping with even more faithfulness than when we could sit beside each other in church.

So, here we are, beautiful St. Paul and Incarnation. We have been given the blessing of in-between time - like Holy Saturday or the stretch between Ascension and Pentecost - in-between time when we can look back on all we have lost and endured and look ahead to life, the new life always offered by God, the transformed world that God always invites us to help build.

With much love,


Our beautiful new banner designed by Amy Neufeld.


Please pray for all those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Roderick, and Angelo.

Please also remember in your prayers these sisters and brothers who have died, and those who grieve their loss:
Premanjali Rao, mother of Vijay Rao
John Doyle

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 about that.

Worship Schedule:

Monday through Friday: "Church By Phone"

Morning Prayer, 7:30
Noonday Prayer, 12:00
Evening Prayer, 5:30

Contact Fr. Tom for call-in information.

Sunday at 10:00am

Join us on Facebook Live for a celebration of Holy Eucharist

Pentecost Party

Pentecost is NEXT Sunday, May 31. Unfortunately, we can't have our annual parish picnic this year but you are all invited to a Pentecost Party on Zoom! We'll gather (virtually) at noon for a chance to see one another and catch up!

Contact Fr. Tom for log-in information.

Calling All Graduates!

As always, we would like to recognize and honor all of our graduates, from preschool to graduate school! Please fill out the attached sheet and drop it in the mail or email the information to Susan Den Herder: susan@stpaulsjc.org.

From the Diocese:

Be sure to read this week's edition of "The Voice Online" for the Bishop's weekly video and other important information. (Also, remember that Bishop Hughes will host a Zoom conversation with those of us in this part of the diocese on June 2 at 6:00pm. More information to follow.)


And, if you haven't read it yet, don't miss the excellent Pastoral Letter written by the Bishops of Newark and New Jersey:

Helpful Resources:

State of New Jersey Covid-19 Information Hub:

The Diocese of Newark posts Covid-19 resources here:

You can subscribe to diocesan newsletters here:

The Episcopal Church has collected Covid-19 resources here:

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

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

My sermons can be found here: