Week of October 11, 2020

 Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“Living the Mission"

Over the past few months, I’ve talked with many people who have already been laid off, or “furloughed,” and others who live in fear that they will soon receive a pink slip, throwing their lives into sickening uncertainty. Although it was a long time ago, I still remember the gripping fear of unemployment, the false but haunting sense of failure, and deepening gloom.

In the fall of 1991, I was unemployed. Not long before, I had moved out of my parents’ house and rented a tiny apartment in Bayonne. It felt like I had just stepped into adulthood, but now it looked like I might have to retrace my steps and move back into my childhood bedroom. At first, I was reasonably confident that I would find work, but the months ticked by, and nothing turned up. Finally, early in the new year, and with almost no money left in the bank, I interviewed for a teaching job at St. Vincent Academy in Newark, an all-girls high school sponsored by the Sisters of Charity.

I’m not sure if my desperation showed, but I was hired. My new job helped me keep my apartment, and it also provided me a perfect place to develop as a teacher and as a human being. I’ve said many times that I “grew up” at SVA. I learned from my students and colleagues, especially the sisters and other women who, while so many had fled Newark, devoted their whole lives to the school. I only stayed for about six years before returning to my alma mater, St. Peter’s Prep. But, although I’ve been gone from SVA for a long time, I’ve always felt indebted to the Sisters of Charity and wondered if there might be a way to pay them back somehow.

About a year ago, an SVA colleague and friend, Sister Noreen Neary, got in touch with me, asking if I might consider joining the Seton Ministries Board of Trustees. Sister Noreen explained that the board is responsible for governing, supporting, and advocating for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity, including schools like SVA, hospitals, and other good works. I didn’t feel particularly well qualified for the position (and, I suppose it’s an unlikely post for an Episcopal priest), but I trusted Sister Noreen’s judgment. And, I thought, at last, this might be an opportunity to finally “pay back” a long-ago act of kindness that changed the course of my life.

I was recently appointed as the liaison from Seton Ministries to St. Elizabeth University (known until recently as The College of St. Elizabeth) in Morristown. To begin this work, I spent Monday morning getting a tour of the campus from a happy, proud, and enthusiastic student, and meeting with many of the administrators, including the university’s president. There was a whole lot of information to absorb, and I still have much to learn, but a thread ran through each conversation: everyone had a clear understanding of the university’s mission. Each person expressed the mission in somewhat different ways, but they all understood it, and they all saw their work as contributing to the mission.  

From my student tour guide to the president, each person described a university that stands in solidarity with the poor and is committed to serve the community. Each person told me that they aim to send out graduates to be leaders who serve others. Each administrator recognized the privilege of guiding and teaching students who are often the first in their families to go to college.

It was clear that these good and dedicated people are living the mission.

It reminds me so much of St. Vincent Academy, where some sisters and other teachers and administrators have lived the mission for many decades. And, it reminds me of St. Peter’s Prep, where, even more than in the days when I was a student, every teacher, administrator, and student understands the school’s mission to form young men of “competence, conscience, and compassion.” Of course, like all institutions, these schools face their share of challenges, but I do not doubt that their longevity and continued success rest on having a clear mission - and living that mission, with God’s help.

The church has much to learn (or, remember) about mission. Maybe this is surprising for an institution that is so old. Still, too often our mission has been simply to continue doing what we’ve been doing, to figure out how to keep the doors open (or, these days, keep the services live-streamed) for another week, to care for our members - and, on the side, if there’s time, energy, and money left over, to do some good in the community. These are all worthwhile tasks, but probably not inspiring enough to draw the same kind of commitment that I’ve encountered at SVA, Prep, and SEU – institutions where people know the mission, and are devoted to living the mission.

There’s so much going on right now, and plenty to worry about, very much including unemployment. But, since the pandemic has prevented us from doing much of what we usually do, maybe this is an especially good time to think more deeply about the  church’s mission. Why are we here? What is God calling us to do with the gifts that we have been given? What kind of mission would excite us? What would inspire other people, especially young people, who are desperately looking for hope and light in this grim and shadowy time? Imagine if our church settled on a mission so clear and compelling that we would all know it in our bones and easily describe it to others. Imagine a mission that other people could see in who and what we are. And, most important of all, imagine if we were all living the mission!

Prayers and Thanksgivings:

 Please pray for:

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

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:

Christophe Nayel, friend of Nica Buescher

John Cox

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

We give thanks for:

The birth of Etienne Davis, granddaughter of Carol Harrison-Arnold and Roland Arnold.

The wedding of Lucy Robinson (daughter of Nancy Mackin Robinson) and Matt Baron

Calendar Highlights:

Saturday, October 17: Quiet Day with Lorna Woodham, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Saturday, October 17: Afternoon in Lincoln Park, 1:00 PM (Meet by fountain)

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 Communion, Convention, and Confirmation during Covid-19:


Upcoming Events:

Lay Conversation with the Bishop, Thursday 10/15, 6:00 PM

Pop-Up Youth Ministry (“A Spook-tacular Pop-Up”), Sunday 10/18, 3:00 PM

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 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:


DJ’s has also launched a Winter Coat Drive!

The Lighthouse

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).


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: