Week of July 19, 2020

Welcome to 
The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“In This Time of Uprooting”

In my early days of preaching, I often struggled with the many agricultural images found in the Bible and especially in the teaching of Jesus. Very much a “city person,” I know little about farming or raising sheep or fishing. Over the years, as I’ve spent time studying and reflecting on these passages, I’ve grown more comfortable with the imagery and, most important, I’ve come to understand that it’s really not about the seeds or the fish, not really about the weeds and the wheat. Instead, Jesus uses these images to speak to all of us, even if we’ve never been on a farm, even if we live among mostly asphalt and concrete.

Last week in church we heard what is usually called the Parable of the Sower. Jesus offers the image of a seemingly wasteful sower, spreading seeds all over the place, mostly in places inhospitable to new life but also in the good soil where growth and abundance have a fighting chance. This Sunday we will hear a kind of sequel, what’s usually called the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds. Jesus offers the image of “an enemy” planting weeds among the wheat and a landowner choosing to let the wheat and the weeds grow up side by side, waiting until harvest time to save the wheat and to burn the weeds.

These parables offer so much to think about. What kind of soil are we? Do God’s gifts find a nurturing home in us or are they choked and extinguished? Are we wheat or are we weeds? Or, more likely, are we some mix of the two? Do we offer food to the world or do we take so much for ourselves that we make it difficult or even impossible for others to live full and healthy lives? And, at the end, how will we be judged?

While in church we are puzzling over seeds and soil, wheat and weeds, some of our local artists have been working with similar imagery to reflect on these months of pandemic and the recognition that our old lives, our old way of doing things, is no more. We are stepping into a new and unknown world. We have been uprooted.

I’m so glad that our Arts Council has continued to meet and plan (via Zoom, of course) over these past few months. And, I’m very proud and excited that our first virtual art show, “UpRooted,” will open on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 on Zoom. As curator Amy Neufeld writes, “We selected this theme because for most of us the pandemic has turned our worlds topsy-turvy. We are all affected one way or another, some drastically and others more subtly.” In order to encourage artists to reflect on this theme as creatively as possible, they were randomly paired and then collaborated together. The results are extraordinary and very much worth your time. I hope you’ll join us. More details will be posted here:


There is no doubt that we have been uprooted, realizing the hard truth that many of the institutions, leaders, and customs we have relied on in the past are now failing us in catastrophic ways. Too often, our trust has been misplaced. Fortunately, getting uprooted is not the end of our story. We are being replanted in much better soil. As I wrote last week, New Jersey Together is taking an even bolder approach to address some of the longstanding yet still shocking inequities in our state. All across the country, people are rising up, refusing to tolerate indifference and brutality from those in power. And in the church, having lost all of our familiar ways of being together, we are being firmly replanted in the good soil of prayer and scripture. In this time of uprooting, we have been reminded to place our trust in God, who is the best soil of all.


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

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

Yusef Mathis, who was shot and killed on Clerk Street.

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 me 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 more information.

Sunday at 10:00am

Join us on Facebook Live for a celebration of Holy Eucharist


From the Diocese:

Read The Voice Online for all the latest news, including a message from Bishop Hughes about “training to be the church that God needs us to be,” a check-in with the Bishop THIS Tuesday, July 21, Summer Regional Zoom calls focusing on our mental health (our region meets on Thursday, July 30, at 6:00pm.)

BIG NEWS from New Jersey Together:

Over the last few months, faith and non-profit leaders from across New Jersey, working with New Jersey Together, have been meeting to talk about this current moment and the deep racial inequities we see across our state.  New Jersey has some of the worst racial disparities in the country…around wealth, prison population, and more.

On July 27th, we’ll lay the groundwork for action as 300+ people from across the state come together virtually to ratify a non-partisan agenda focused on racial equity and criminal justice. We’ll lay the groundwork for a virtual action in August with 1000+ across the state.

We’re asking at least FIVE of you from our congregation to be part of our team on July 27. All you need to do is let Fr. Tom know and register at www.njtogether.org/july27.

North Porch at Triangle Park Community Center

As many of you know, North Porch offers diapers, formula, and other assistance to families with infants and young children. Since the need continues to grow, North Porch is asking for financial donations through a GoFundMe campaign. Please consider supporting this beautiful ministry:


DJ’s Free Market

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

Free Covid-19 Testing

Jersey City Together is co-sponsoring free Covid-19 testing. Pre-registration is requested: njtogether.org/testing

Saturday, July 18, 11am-4pm, (Heavenly Temple Church, 15 MLK Drive)

Tuesday – Thursday, July 21-23, 1pm-7pm (St. Aedan’s RC Church, in Tuers Ave. parking lot behind church)

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: