Week of November 22, 2020

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“Isolation and Communion”

As a kid, I was an enthusiastic stamp collector. I’m not sure how I got started in the hobby – maybe my parents encouraged me – but I loved gathering stamps from all over the world and organizing them in my albums. Some of my most cherished childhood memories include frequent trips with my family to Gimbels at Herald Square, which, unlike Macy’s across the street, had a most impressive stamp and coin department. I would spend a lot of time looking at the displays, carefully considering which sets of stamps I might buy and add to my collection.

I’m sure all of this makes me seem like quite an antique. I doubt that too many kids (or probably even adults) collect stamps anymore. That’s too bad because I learned so much geography and history from stamps – probably more than I ever learned in school. My stamp collection also sparked a lifelong interest in certain places, including the scattered and remote British colonies of the South Atlantic: St. Helena, Ascension, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the most isolated inhabited place in the world: Tristan da Cunha.

I recently read an article* about the thriving Roman Catholic community on Tristan, an island with a population of just 246, of whom 42 are Catholic (most of the rest are Anglicans, and, just like here, some families have gone back and forth between the two churches.) A Catholic priest makes the arduous journey by fishing trawler to Tristan only once a year. While he’s on the island, he hears confessions, offers confirmation, and administers First Holy Communion. And, before he moves on to the next island, he consecrates a few thousand wafers so that this little community will still be able to receive the sacrament during the long months when they are on their own, more than a thousand miles from the nearest human settlement. As I read the article, my introverted side found the island’s quiet and slow pace appealing, but I also wondered just how long I could stand to be so far away from nearly everyone. 

Starting back in March, we’ve had our own Tristan-like experience, getting an unpleasant taste of just how hard it is to be cut off from so much of what we had long taken for granted. During the summer, we did get a brief and so very welcome reprieve from the grim isolation of the pandemic. Some of us were able to see family and friends, though still trying to maintain a safe distance. Stores and restaurants and some houses of worship reopened. The out-of-state ambulances were no longer lined up outside of the Jersey City Medical Center. But now that respite has come to a painful end, leaving us with a familiar sense of dread. As expected, though often denied, the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are all on the rise, here and across the country. Although the light of effective vaccines is on the horizon, it will be a difficult winter.

During their long months of isolation, communion sustains the people of Tristan da Cunha. They are nourished by the Bread of Life left behind by their visiting priest, and also by the communion that they share with one another. Every Sunday of the year, they gather together in church – even without a priest – to pray and sing and hear God’s Word. And, I suspect that on an island with so few people, they are sustained by each other, by the generous care required to meet everyone’s needs. I’m sure they check on the elderly and the ill, help to raise all the children, and share food and drink.

Isolation and communion.

Nearly two weeks ago, I spent an afternoon driving around the southern part of Jersey City, bringing Holy Communion to some of our parishioners. (Our seminarian Lorna Woodham was kind enough to take the northern and western route.) It was so good to see some faces I haven’t seen in about nine months – to spend a few minutes catching up at a distance and behind masks – to share Communion, even if it was zipped up in a plastic bag, even if we are still mostly stuck on our islands. It was a relief to recognize – to feel – that time and distance cannot break our bond of love.

The following Thursday, we shared communion with parishioners and neighbors by reimagining our Stone Soup Community Supper. Catherine Marcial spent the day in our church kitchen, preparing one of her inevitably delicious meals that she doled out into takeout boxes. Familiar faces began to arrive at the door starting just before 6:00, hungry for a tasty meal prepared by one of the best chefs in town, but, I think, even hungrier for community. Some people looked longingly at Carr Hall, wishing we could sit around the tables like in the old days. And a couple of people were happy to just hang out in the hallway, shooting the breeze until I reminded them that they couldn’t stay too long. The next morning, I picked up lunch prepared by Sonia Staine for the guests at Garden State Episcopal CDC’s homeless drop-in center. I had been expecting a bag or two of sandwiches (which would have been most welcome and appreciated), but I should have known that Sonia had whipped up a coffee hour-worthy hot lunch for some of the poorest people in our community, sisters and brothers who are now even more isolated than ever.

Isolation and communion.

Sometime during the hard and cold months ahead, we will hit the road to bring you Holy Communion again. Meanwhile, I do no doubt that we will continue to be sustained by the “Spiritual Communion” we experience each Sunday when we gather on Facebook. We will still be in communion when we pray together on the phone and when we reach out to someone we know is lonely, sad, or ill. Some among us will prepare and share more beautiful meals. We will purchase Christmas gifts for children in need, even if we can’t place them under the tree in church. No matter what, the good folks at Triangle Park and Garden State Episcopal will care for some of the hungriest and most easily forgotten among us. Just like the people on faraway Tristan da Cunha, we will be united and enriched by a communion far stronger than even the loneliest isolation.

Now, I’m going to pull out my stamp collection and take a quick trip to the South Atlantic...

Your brother in Christ,


* https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/11/05/most-remote-parish-tristan-da-cunha-catholics-thriving

Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean, Andy, Kit, Walter M., Anaiayah, Robert, and Michael N.

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers.

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

Respect for the election results, a spirit of unity and common purpose, and a peaceful transfer of power from President Trump to President-Elect Biden.

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

Frank Hankis

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

We give thanks for:

The birthdays of Tamika Job-Cyrus and Kathleen Dorrity

The wedding anniversary of Luis and Gladys Ortiz

Belinda Stokes, who has completed her service on the Episcopal Jersey City board

Nancy Mackin Robinson, who has begun her service on the Episcopal Jersey City board

And Lorna Woodham, who has been made a Candidate for Holy Orders!

Calendar Highlights:

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

Sunday, November 29: Thanksgiving Basket Raffle

Friday, December 4: JC Friday – Yukiko Tanaka & Family, 7:00 PM (On Zoom)

Thanksgiving Prayer Services:

On Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26) we will offer our three “Church By Phone” Services at 7:30 AM, Noon, and 5:30 PM.

In addition, we will gather on Zoom with our friends from Grace Van Vorst for a Service of Morning Prayer at 10:00 AM. Call 201-433-4922 for login information.

Thanksgiving Care Package Raffle:

We are raffling a special Thanksgiving care package, which will include multipurpose cleaners, masks, disinfectant sprays, hand gels, and personal care items! Many thanks to Patrice Maynard and Anise Thompson for assembling this wonderful and useful package!

Raffle tickets will be on sale until November 28th.

The winner will be announced during our 10:00 service on Sunday, November 29th.

One chance for $10 or 3 chances $25

50% will go to GSECDC and 50% to The Church of St. Paul’s and Incarnation

Payment options: Venmo, Vanco, Mail in check to church office, pop up table on church lawn Sundays November 15th and 22nd (12 pm to 2 pm.  RSVP to Susan if you plan to purchase a ticket in person at the pop up.)

Order tickets: Call church office or email Susan@stpaulsjc.org

The care package will be delivered via curbside drop off.

Tickets will be mailed to those who wish to have them in hand.

Christmas Gifts for GSECDC’s Children in Need:

(COVID-era version of our Christmas giving tree)

If you would like to give a gift for a needy child:

Please send your phone or email request to Susan@StPaulsJC.org or (201)433-4922.  We will contact you with the age and gender of the child(ren) you choose. Please call or email to arrange a time to drop off your gift. (Gift cards can be slipped under the back door.)  OR DELIVER your gift to the church on a pop-up Sunday, noon-2:00 pm December 6 or 13.  The gifts will be delivered to GSECDC for distribution.

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT WRAP the gift.  (The social worker must see the gift before preparing it for delivery.)  DO NOT put your name on the gift. (It may be the only thing parents have to give their children.)  DO include the child’s information with your gift.  IF YOU CANNOT DELIVER YOUR GIFT TO THE CHURCH, please send a gift card or donate money so that the gift can be bought on your behalf.  

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. 

You may also complete and return the online pledge form here:


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 creating a sacred space in our homes:


Upcoming Event:

A Speaker Series on Race, Monday, 12/7, 6:30-8:00 PM

Praying for Our Country:

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.

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:


New Jersey Together:

New Jersey Together is committed to training leaders from religious congregations and non-profits across the state in the basics of non-partisan organizing. The training will give you concrete tools to identify and act on issues that matter to your communities, to build relationships inside and outside your institution, and to analyze why those issues are not currently being addressed.

During this pandemic, our training will be conducted virtually over multiple, shorter sessions. There will be readings and discussions with diverse leaders in different parts of the state. Registration will be for a limited number. If there is enough interest, we will add additional dates. The first two sessions are below:

FIRST GROUP: December 8-10 (Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday), from 12:30 to 1:45 PM.

SECOND GROUP: December 12 (10-11-30 AM) and December 13 (5-6:45PM) (Saturday & Sunday)

Register now here:  njtogether.org/training 

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).

Jersey City Master Plan:

Jersey City is developing a new master plan and it’s important to get maximum public participation. Find more information here: 



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: