Week of October 25, 2020

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City


“Our Wall of Memory”

One Sunday, not too long after my ordination, I was invited to serve as the guest celebrant and preacher at another church. I was happy to be there, but I find it difficult to preach to people I don’t know, ignorant of their history, customs, and expectations. Preaching from an unfamiliar pulpit, it’s easy to accidentally step on a sensitive spot, causing offense when none was intended. I can’t rely on my “inside jokes.” I can’t use shorthand for themes that I know my parishioners have heard me preach about many times. So, partly because I was nervous and partly because I’m just this way, that morning I arrived at the church much earlier than was necessary. This gave me plenty of time to familiarize myself with the space, get everything set up, and to chat with parishioners as they arrived.

While waiting to start the service, I spent a few minutes looking at the many historical photos that lined a long hallway that led to the parish hall. The first images on this “wall of memory” were from the church’s founding back in the nineteenth century, and then, as I made my way down the hall, the photos moved through the changing styles of the twentieth century. It was interesting to see the pious expressions of the clergy, and touching to see all the joyful and proud faces of parishioners gathered for significant events in the life of the church or posing for annual “class photos” of the choir.

And then, sometime in the 1990s, the photos stopped. I looked to see if the gallery continued around the corner, but there was nothing.

What happened?

I would guess that this wall of memory fell victim to declining membership, or the loss of the one or two parishioners who took an interest in archiving church history, or maybe the arrival of a priest not so interested in the past. Whatever happened, the sad truth is that this particular church is far from unique. To use St. Paul’s as an example, it would probably be easier for me to learn details about what happened here in the 1890s than it would be to find out what was going on in the 1990s.  We have a fairly detailed history of the church’s first 100 years and a brief addendum written fifty years later. Still, much of our relatively recent past is already growing hazy in the memories of longtime parishioners – and it’s getting foggy in my memory, too! 

Having created detailed ministry plans over the past decade, the Incarnation “side of the family” has a somewhat better grasp of its history. Yet, the recent deaths of Eugenia Suthern and Sidney King have meant an incalculable loss of institutional memory. Over the past seven years, I was part of many conversations when Sidney would passionately (and in great detail) tell the Episcopal Church’s somewhat checkered history in Jersey City. Some of us know that story in broad strokes, but today I could kick myself for not paying even closer attention, taking detailed notes, or even recording him.  

In recent weeks, Bishop Hughes has spoken about the vast amounts of our diocesan story that we simply do not know. This institutional amnesia is probably true for many of our churches, but it seems to be particularly true of traditionally Black churches. Perhaps, these communities were too busy fighting for survival to spend much time collecting and preserving history. And, when those churches have closed, and the last parishioners have dispersed, the story is lost. Or, maybe the story is just too painful to recall. 

Of course, even seemingly forgotten stories can still echo through generations in surprisingly powerful ways.

If we are to continue stepping into a healthy and honest future, we must know our story, celebrating our blessings and achievements while also acknowledging our errors and failures. This strange and unsettling time might be just the moment for us to fill in as many of the blank spaces of our individual and collective memories as we can. Rev. Laurie and I have begun investigating the best ways to gather, share, and preserve our memories. We’ll have more to say about this project, but for now, I hope you’ll take some time to think about your part in the story of our church, to imagine your place on our “wall of memory.”

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:

Ben Raines, friend of Catherine Marcial

Elaine Gardner, aunt of Tony Stokes

Seyda Sorn, wife of Mike Bieluch

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

We give thanks for:

The birthday of Glenda Galloway

The wedding anniversary of Dino and Abigail Hall

Calendar Highlights:

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

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

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

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.

Starting October 27 and 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: