Week of November 1, 2020

 Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“On Our Way to The Promised Land”

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Thanks to our “Church By Phone” team’s generosity, I took an extra day off this week. I thought it might be a good idea to recharge a little, to be as ready as possible for whatever will be coming our way in the days ahead. Although the weather was not so good, I spent some time over in Manhattan, walking up and down the streets of a city that is certainly hurting, but I’m happy to say, it’s most definitely not a “ghost town.” On both days, I found dry spots where I could sit outside. So, while eating a slice of pizza or sipping a cup of coffee, I did some people watching, looking at everyone getting through the day, wondering what was on their minds, what invisible burdens they might be carrying.

The truth is that we’ve all picked up at least a few scars along the way. All of us carry our own personal regrets, hurts, and fears. We wonder about the roads not taken. We ache about the ways we have betrayed others, and we’re stung by how others have betrayed us. We worry about the future. What is yet to come?

And many of us bear the trauma of living in our deeply messed up society. Despite overflowing prosperity, so many have so little. We are armed to the teeth, making gun violence an inevitable fact of life and inspiring some to form “militias” ready and willing to preserve their white privilege and to act on bizarre conspiracy theories. There aren’t enough good-paying jobs, leading many to desperation and recklessness, convinced that there’s nothing left to lose. Our level of public discourse continues to sink to even lower depths. Many among us seem to have gotten tired of a deadly virus that we were never serious enough about in the first place. And, finally, we get daily reminders that some people in our country just don’t seem to matter very much at all. 

The presidential election is undoubtedly critical, and the outcome may help us heal from some of this agony, but there will be no quick and easy fix. 

So, how do we move forward, scars and all? How do we find healing in our hearts and in our community?

You may remember that in church this past Sunday we heard the story of the death of Moses. He was buried on the edge of the Promised Land. The leadership of Israel passed to Joshua, who will guide the people back to their ancestral homeland, bringing the long exodus to a close. 

I’m sorry that we’ve reached the end of the exodus story because this ancient account of wilderness years speaks so clearly and powerfully to our time and the challenges ahead. The Israelites had left behind all that was familiar and were now in a seemingly endless in-between time, filled with dangers and fears, and with plenty of opportunities to make big mistakes. There were times that the people missed the past (even though it wasn’t so great back in Egypt). They grew hungry and thirsty and impatient. They gave into the ever-popular temptation of worshipping the gods of the world, choosing to be just like everybody else. 

At the same time, Moses and his people learned about God. They received the law, which gave them a trusty roadmap for keeping their end of the covenant. They discovered that God would provide food to fill their groaning stomachs, but hoarding would only disappoint. For the Israelites, the suffering and the mistakes were painfully real. Yet, God never stopped pointing the way forward. And, as we’ve just done in church, the story of this long ago epic journey is told and celebrated to this day.

Unlike the Israelites, we are still somewhere in the middle of our wilderness journey. We are a mess. But, God is always pointing the way forward, reminding us of the power of prayer and the beauty of community. God is unsettling our consciences about the plight of the hundreds of children at the border who may never be reunited with their parents. God is uncovering the suffering in our old cities and towns (like Jersey City) where the good jobs have been moved elsewhere, without a thought for the loyal and skilled workers left behind. God is uncovering the injustice and brutality that have given Black people good reasons to mistrust the police and others in authority. 

It can feel overwhelming to face these realities. Sometimes we may even miss the (often not so great) past. But, there’s no turning back.

Whatever our politics, we all know that next week may be quite difficult. As always, we’ll be praying for one another, our country, and for the whole world. On Election Day, in addition to our three “Church By Phone” services, we will gather on Zoom at 7:00 PM with our friends from Grace Van Vorst, knowing that Jesus is always present where two or three of us are gathered, even if it’s on the Internet. 

So, in the days ahead, no matter what happens, we’ll stick together. We’ll continue to follow God’s lead. Scars and all, we are on our way to the Promised Land. 

Your brother in Christ,


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Kit, Dana, Kathleen D., Walter M., Sonia, and Anaiayah.

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers.

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:

All those on our All Saints' Memorial List

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

We give thanks for:

All the blessings of our lives

Calendar Highlights:

Sunday, November 1: Monthly Parish Get-Together, 1:00PM (On Zoom – see link below)

Tuesday, November 3: Election Day Prayer Service, 7:00 PM (On Zoom – see link below)

Saturday, November 7: NJ Together Tenant’s Rights Workshop, 10:30AM-11:30AM

Sunday, November 8: Diocesan Day of Communion (see below for details)

Thursday, November 12: Stone Soup Community Supper (To Go!), 6:00 PM

Monday, November 16: NJ Together Tenants’ Rights Workshop, 7:00PM-8:00PM

Thursday, November 26 Thanksgiving Service, 10:00 AM (On Zoom)

Monthly Parish Get-Together:

Join us on Sunday at 1:00PM for our monthly parish get-together on Zoom. We’ll be talking about some of the saints in our lives, and how we’re surviving an intense election season. Join us!

Email Fr. Tom at tmurphy@stpaulsjc.org for log-in information.

Election Day Prayer Service:

On Tuesday, November 3, at 7:00PM, we will join with our friends from Grace Van Vorst, to pray for a free and fair election and a peaceful response to the outcome.

Email Fr. Tom at tmurphy@stpaulsjc.org for log-in information.

Diocesan Day of Communion:

On Sunday, November 8, we will be joining with churches throughout our diocese to offer Holy Communion to ant person who wishes to receive. Communion will be consecrated ahead of time, carefully sealed in a plastic bag, and distributed with a prayer to be offered at home

There will be two opportunities to receive the sacrament, both on November 8:

1. Communion Station: We will offer a communion station outside the front doors of the church, from 12:00PM to 12:30PM.

2. Home Delivery: Fr. Tom or another parishioner will deliver Communion to your home.

*In either case, you must make a reservation, letting us know how many people in your household will be receiving Communion.  Please call the office at 201-433-4922 or email Susan Den Herder at susan@stpaulsjc.org.

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.

Pledge cards have been mailed to you. Please take some time to prayerfully reflect on what our church means to you, and return your completed card as soon as possible. Thank you!


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 Diocesan Communion Sunday:


Upcoming Events:

A Season of Prayer for an Election, Oct. 27 – Nov. 4. (See below for more information.)

A Speaker Series on Race, Mondays 11/2, 11/.9, 11/16, 6:30-8:00 PM

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 Season of Prayer: For An Election:

We come together, asking God for courage and wisdom, thanking God for love and joy. As we move toward the election of leaders for the United States, may we all join in a season of prayer, committing to offer to God our fears and frustrations, our hopes and dreams.

A novena is an ancient tradition of nine days of devotional prayers, often with a specific intention. In this case, we pray for discernment in voting and for the well-being of our nation.

With prayers continuing through the day after the election, we invite you to pray for the election of leaders in the United States.

More information can be found here: https://www.forwardmovement.org/election

New Jersey Together:

New Jersey Together is cosponsoring Tenants’ Rights Workshops on November 7 and November 16. These sessions are meant for tenants who are behind with rent or may be worried about falling behind, or who just want to learn and share this information with others. Register here: www.njtogether.org/housing

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:


DJ’s has also launched a Winter Coat Drive!

The Arts at St. Paul & Incarnation:


Visit our virtual gallery to see our latest exhibit:


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: