Week of October 4, 2020

Welcome to 
The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

A Sense of Urgency

In the early days of the pandemic, I seemed to lose the ability to read more than a page or two. There was just too much on my mind, too many worries on my heart. Over time, though, I resolved to get up each morning a little earlier than usual, setting aside quiet time for reading. Sure enough, as I stuck to this discipline, my attention span gradually expanded, and those peaceful early hours have helped me cope with the demands of these difficult days.

This week, I’ve been reading a book about St. Paul, who did so much to bring the Good News of Jesus from its birthplace and out into the world. He is a central figure in Christian history, and the author of the oldest documents in the New Testament. His letters tell us something of how he understood the message and meaning of Jesus, and how he struggled to start little Jesus communities and keep them on what he saw as the right path.

St. Paul was a complicated, challenging, and sometimes even frustrating figure. He was so human. He was capable of great courage, persistence, and faithfulness. He was able to endure rejection and punishment for his work. He was sometimes insecure and judgmental, quite willing to boast of his excellent spiritual credentials. He was a religious genius, able to translate the message of Jesus for people across much of the Mediterranean world. He was competitive with other Jesus followers who offered a somewhat different gospel, one that Paul saw as deeply flawed and inferior. He had a temper, but he could also acknowledge at least some of his own weaknesses and shortcomings. And, sometimes he was heartbreakingly tender, like when he wrote to the community in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.” (1:3-5)

Another aspect of Paul and his life that I’ve been thinking about a lot: he had an intense sense of urgency. Paul was convinced that God’s plan for the world was unfolding faster than anyone had expected, so there was no time to waste. This strong sense of urgency propelled Paul during the last decades of his life. He tried to share the Good News with as many people as possible and used every tool at his disposal to hold together the young and often unsteady communities that he had founded. To the end, Paul refused to give in to discouragement, even when he faced harsh rejection and bitter disappointment. There simply was no time for that.

During our time of pandemic, and economic decline, and bitter partisan political division, we have recovered at least some of Paul’s sense of urgency. Back during the earliest days of the pandemic, we scrambled to put together live-streamed worship on Sunday, managing to accomplish in just a few days what we had talked about for years. I’ve long dreamed of offering a worship service every day of the week, but it was the desperate need for connection that inspired us to create “Church By Phone.” Now, for almost six months, we have had three services every weekday (and at least one of you really wants to add Saturday, too!). A sense of urgency has pushed us to reach out to each other in new and more profound ways, ensuring that no one is left out and that everyone has what they need.

Over the past few months, I have driven several carloads of food and clothes and other donations down to Triangle Park, where many people visit our community center every day, looking for a little help during this tough time. Deacon Jill reports that DJ’s Free Market, which continues to receive an abundance of donations, has formed fruitful relationships with groups like Women Rising, Welcome Home, and our own community center. And, as I mentioned during the announcements last Sunday, The Lighthouse 2 will soon open in its new Union City location, ready to welcome asylees and refugees looking for safety and shelter in a land that has grown furiously inhospitable. I believe that God has given us this sense of urgency, inspiring us to do more, give more, find creative solutions, and help build the Kingdom of God, right here and now. Like Paul, we have realized that there is no time to waste.

We see this same sense of urgency in our national life. Far too many Americans have long been complacent about our system of government and our way of life. But now, with so much on the line, with many of our institutions bending under pressure, people seem to be waking up and realizing that we all need to do our part to protect our freedoms and to shield the most vulnerable among us. 

For as long as I have been involved with the church, we have talked about the need to move out from our beautiful sanctuaries and meet people – minister with people - out in the world. Over the years, we have taken some small steps, but it has always seemed like an extracurricular activity, something on top of the “real work” that we do inside the church. But now, while our sacred space is off-limits, God has given us a gentle but firm push. With a new sense of urgency, God is propelling us to share the Good News with way more people than ever before. We are live-streaming our service to hundreds of people every week. We are burning up the phone lines with prayer and care. We are partnering with people who buzz with energy and creativity. Like St. Paul long ago, we are on the move. We have finally realized that there is no time to waste.

Prayers and Thanksgivings:

Please pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Kit, Julio, Bill, Christophe, and Juliana.

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

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

Marlena Petersen Malford, sister of Eric Petersen

John Spano

Joel Arece

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

And, we give thanks for all of those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries during October.

Calendar Highlights:

Sunday, October 4: Parish Meeting Especially for Parents, 1:00 PM

Sunday, October 4: Blessing of the Animals, 3:00 PM (Churchyard)

Saturday, October 17: Quiet Day with Lorna Woodham

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 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 how we are to live with Covid-19 and information about Church Leader University:


Praying for Our Country

Bishop Hughes has called on our diocese to pray the following prayers in the days leading to the election:

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.

A Quiet Day with Our Ministry Intern

New Jersey Together 

After NJT’s recent statewide event, learn more about next steps here: https://www.njtogether.org/fall2020

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 & Incarnation:


Visit our virtual gallery to see our latest exhibit:


NJ Voter Registration

Register to vote (or confirm your registration) here: https://nj.gov/state/elections

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).

Virtual College Fair Experience

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: