Week of July 26, 2020

Welcome to 
The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City


In June of 1982 I convinced my father and my sister to come with me to the Loew’s Jersey at Journal Square to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I was determined to not miss the second big screen adventure of Kirk and Spock and the rest of the crew, and glad to share the experience. (I’m guessing that my mother was grateful to get a few hours of peace and quiet while the three of us were out of the house!)

I loved the movie from the very start – those first familiar notes of the TV theme music – and was swept along by the story of an enemy from the past seeking revenge on Kirk. In the years since, I’ve seen Star Trek II many, many times and have often reflected on its themes of aging and regret, parents (or parental figures) and children, friendship and sacrifice – themes that have become only more meaningful as I’ve grown older. But, right after that first viewing with my father and sister, I could really only think about one thing (I’m not sure if a 38 year-old movie needs a spoiler alert but consider yourself warned):

Spock was dead.

The most beloved Star Trek character of them all died a noble death, dying to save the ship, to save the lives of his friends.

After we left the theater, I remember walking back to the car feeling very sad about Spock’s death. I enjoyed the movie but this was pretty shocking, especially for someone who had not yet experienced the death of a loved one. As the three of us were talking about the movie, my father said something like, “Well, they did leave the door open if they want to bring him back.” I must have looked puzzled. My father reminded me that just before Spock took the steps that led to his death, he placed his hand on the side of Dr. McCoy’s face and said, “Remember.” It was just a few seconds and in all the excitement I must have missed it or not realized what it could possibly mean. As it turned out, my father was right. But, although we would indeed see Spock again, his death scene always reminds me of the power of memory.


Memory is powerful. It can haunt us, reminding us of old wounds or mistakes made or roads not taken.

Memory can be used to intimidate people. In recent weeks, there has been a debate about statues honoring Confederate leaders and soldiers that can be found in many Southern (and, amazingly enough) even some Northern communities. Most of these statues and memorials were erected decades after the Civil War, in an attempt by white people to remember their version of the past and honor their dead, but also to intimidate and reassert control over formerly enslaved people and their descendants, part of the decades-long effort to take away the rights and dignity of Black people.

Memory can also inspire us. Over the past week, I’ve been moved by the tributes to Representative John Lewis. I’m in awe of his courage and persistence, from Bloody Sunday on a bridge in Selma in 1965 to serving as the “Conscience of the U.S. Congress” for the past few decades. One thing I didn’t know is that for several years he attended Comic-Con and cosplayed not as some fictional superhero but as his younger self! Wearing the same kind of raincoat and carrying the same kind of backpack as he did in Selma, he led the children in a march around the convention center, using memory to teach that superpowers are not needed for heroism. John Lewis got into “good trouble” his whole life and now his memory inspires us to believe in our own God-given ability to stand up for justice and truth.


The power of memory should not be news for us Christians. We are people of memory. We recall and maybe even imitate the examples of holy women and men from the past. Most of all, our central act of community and worship is an act of memory, remembering the Last Supper of Jesus and his closest followers and friends. Our gathering at the Lord’s Table (yes, even on Facebook) is such a deep and profound act of remembering that the usual boundaries between past, present, and future get broken down. At the Lord’s Table the curtain between heaven and earth is parted and Jesus is as present with his friends in Jersey City today as he was with his friends in Jerusalem long ago.

These are hard days, for sure. And, unfortunately, I am certain that there are more difficult days ahead. So, it’s especially important to remember our good times, like the afternoon I spent watching Star Trek II with my father and sister. It’s important that we remember our holy history, remembering the ways that God has guided us through other tough times. It’s important that we remember that God calls us in our own day to make some good trouble, doing our part to resist and defeat injustice and make earth a little more like heaven. It’s important to remember that it’s natural to be afraid when disease, oppression, and hatred are on the loose, but life, justice, and love will get the last word. It’s important to remember that we get a glimpse of that last word at the Lord’s Table, when we remember and encounter Jesus, who always leads us from death into new life.



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:

Veroni “Roni” Florento, a volunteer at the Triangle Park Community Center

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 ore information.

Sunday at 10:00am

Join us on Facebook Live for a celebration of Holy Eucharist


First Sunday Parish Get-Together:

You are invited to our monthly parish get-together on Zoom! Join us on Sunday, August 2, at 1:00 for a chance to catch up with each other. Here are the details:

Contact Fr. Tom for log-in information.

From the Diocese:

Read The Voice Online for all the latest news, including words of encouragement from Bishop Hughes and 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.

THIS Monday (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.

COVID-19 Testing

NJ Together is co-sponsoring FREE Covid-19 testing at Mt. Pisgah AME Church (354 Forrest Street)

Tuesday, July 28: 10am-3pm
Thursday, July 30: 1pm-6pm

Pre-registration is requested: www.njtogether.org/testing

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:

The Arts at St. Paul and Incarnation

The virtual opening of ASPI’s new show “UpRooted” was a big success! Many thanks to all the members of the Arts Council, especially Amy Neufeld and Sarah Ibrahim. If you missed the opening, you can visit the virtual gallery to see the beautiful art:

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: