Week of June 14, 2020

Welcome to 
The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“In a Time of Loss, New Ministries”

Dear Friends,

As I’m sure you know, earlier this week Governor Murphy lifted the stay-at-home order and now more people are returning to their workplaces and more stores are reopening for business. It’s a time of relief and hope but also concern as we try to still do all that we can to protect ourselves and others from the scourge of Covid-19. As life slowly and carefully begins to move into this “new normal” some of you have been asking when we will be able to gather together in church.

The not very satisfying but honest answer is: not yet.

As a member of the diocesan Journey Forward Team, I have participated in several meetings looking at the dozens of issues and decisions we face before we can reopen our doors. We will resume in-person worship only when the wardens, vestry and I are satisfied that we have done everything we can to keep you all as safe as possible.

Having said that, I need to prepare you for the hard fact that many familiar and much-loved elements of our worship and fellowship will be missing. We will not be able to cross the aisle to greet one another with a sign of peace. We will not be able to sing. We will not be able to have coffee hour. And, hardest of all, we will not be able to receive Communion, at least not at first.

I know that this is, and will be, difficult to accept. In addition, some of you who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 because of age or health factors should not attend. We will, however, continue to live-stream the service on Facebook, where we manage to reach many more people than have ever come to church on Sunday. Many thanks to our worship leader and tech support (and my wife) Susan Suarez for agreeing to continue this important ministry.

Obviously, this is a time of great loss and sadness. But, it has also been a time when we have been forced to try new ways of praying together, like Church By Phone, which has become so meaningful to many of us. And, this crisis has inspired some to find new and creative ways of serving others. For example, Deacon Jill and a group of creative and energetic volunteers in Hoboken have started “DJ’s Free Market,” which they hope to expand to Jersey City and throughout Hudson County. I’ll let one of the volunteers, Nicole Saldarriaga, tell you all about it:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:25-26

We are living through an immensely difficult time. Thousands have been lost to the pandemic, and even more have been affected by the necessary shut-down of their workplaces. Protests have erupted all over the world in response to the brutal deaths of our black brothers and sisters at the hands of violent police officers, and in response to the systemic, institutionalized racism that is so deeply ingrained in our society.

Like many of you, I feel overwhelmed. We have hearts that desire to be part of the change - that desire to make a difference in a broken world - but we are overwhelmed by the enormity of the question: How?

Now more than ever, the Spirit is calling us to help be the answer to the prayers of our community. When we feed the hungry, it is God who is providing through us. When we clothe the naked, it is God who is clothing his people through us. When we feel inspired to do what we can for our neighbors, we are feeling the Spirit’s call.

Responding to this call can be much less overwhelming than we think - and this is where DJ’s Free Market comes in.

DJ’s Free Market “Delivers Joy” to those in need by acting as a “stoop-to-table” mobile pantry. Founded during the pandemic in Deacon Jill’s kitchen, we move food, toiletries, baby items, and more from neighborhoods and organizations of plenty to neighborhoods and organizations in need. Using social media and community outreach, we organize regular block collections; and on the designated day, we pick up donations from your stoop or front porch and make sure items get to the communities that need them most. By providing this service, we hope that those who feel called to help will feel empowered to do their little bit of good, even in the midst of stay-at-home orders, busy schedules, and uncertainty.

Our first few collections in Hoboken have been a real testament to the fact that big changes happen when many people come together to do their little bits of good. In just three weeks, we were able to collect more than five SUVs full of food, baby items, household goods, books, children’s toys, and more - all of which benefited the Triangle Park Community Center. We were astounded by the generosity and eager willingness of our neighbors, and especially by the confirmation of our core belief, spoken best by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

DJ’s Free Market is in the process of growing and spreading. Someday we hope to serve all of Hudson County - connecting all of our communities so that those who have the means can help answer the prayers of those in need. We are hopeful that St. Paul and Incarnation will be a collection site - this would be an amazing first step toward fulfilling our dream to serve the whole county.
How many times have our prayers been answered by the right person coming into our lives at the right time? By an unexpected call from a friend, for no reason, during a dark moment? By an offer of help when we least expected it?

We know that God works in mysterious ways, and that the answer to a prayer can look different than we ever expected it to look. The need is great - and the world is in turmoil - but this is our chance to be someone’s answer in our own small but meaningful ways.

To learn more about DJ’s Free Market, see which organizations we partner with, and find out what you can donate at this time, please visit our website at djsfreemarket.com.

Sign up for our email newsletter for regular updates, thank-you notes, inspiring stories, and focused collection alerts!

Follow us on social media (below) to see pictures of our collections and our drop-offs at Triangle Park Community Center, and to see what items we need most each week.

Thank you so much for helping us overwhelm the world!


Please pray for all those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Angelo, and Richard. Please also remember in your prayers these sisters and brothers who have died, and those who grieve their loss, especially Sidney King, who will be laid to rest on Saturday, and all of those who have died as a result of Covid -19.

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 for more information.

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 call-in information.

Sunday at 10:00am
Join us on Facebook Live for a celebration of Holy Eucharist

From the Diocese:

Read The Voice Online for a video message from Bishop Hughes and information about upcoming events for adults and youth: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-VOICE-Online--Now-i…

Diocese of Newark Memorial Service for all who have died during restricted distancing protocols – The last three months have been filled with all kinds of sacrifice, probably none greater than the death of loved ones in our communities. These losses were made harder by families unable to grieve with the family of faith. While this service, led by Bishop Hughes, will not replace what has been missed, it will be a time for us to gather as the diocese in memory of those who have died. This service will be held on Saturday, June 13, 10 AM on YouTube Live.

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).

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:

Fr. Tom's sermons can be found here: