Week of November 8, 2020

 Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

“The Work God Gives Us To Do”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On Tuesday night, an unpleasant sense of déjà vu prevented me from drifting peacefully into sleep. I tossed and turned, grappling with the reality of yet another close election, one likely to be disputed for weeks. I grieved the gaping divisions in our society. We don’t just disagree about politics and policies but seem to live in wildly different realities. I finally managed to doze off, but I woke up in the middle of the night and stupidly checked my phone, hoping in vain for some clarity on the election and our future. 

Although feeling far less than refreshed in the morning, I was determined to make the best of it. On Facebook, I posted a prayer that I found on the website of a Roman Catholic Church. It’s called A Prayer for the Common Good:

God of compassion and love, show us how to care for each other and live in the world.

Beyond all limits, difficulties or failings, give us a passion to hold all people in respect and dignity.

Together, O God, may we create a world of freedom, justice and peace.


And then, at just before 7:30, fortified by only one cup of coffee, I dialed into Morning Prayer. It was reassuring and comforting to hear familiar and much-loved voices as we offered greetings and checked in with each other. Many of us were tired from a long night of election watching and worrying, but we were there to hear God’s Word, to pray, and to support one another. The appointed reading was from Ecclesiasticus included this beautiful description of God:

We could say more but could never say enough;

   let the final word be: ‘He is the all.’

Like congregations across the Episcopal Church, last week we began “Nine Days of Prayer for an Election,” a practice that helped to remind us of our common humanity and our dependence on God. These daily prayers prepared us for good discernment and called us to an even deeper commitment to the common good. On Wednesday, the last day of our “novena,” we prayed these words:

Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

- The Book of Common Prayer, pg. 261

By the end of Morning Prayer on Wednesday, I won’t say that I was chipper and optimistic, but I had regained some peace and perspective. It soon seemed like the various strands from the last few hours were being woven into a way forward. I thought back to our Election Night service, where we heard some powerful Scripture, including Paul’s call to the Philippians - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” - and the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, providing a radically different vision from what passes as leadership in the world. I kept hearing Mark Miller’s beautiful anthem, “Draw the Circle Wide.” And I kept thinking that God “who is all” has given us work to do – the work of building a world of freedom, justice, and peace – the work of building God’s kingdom – work that must not be, cannot be, stopped or even slowed by our anxieties and the results (or non-results) of an election.

Sure enough, as the day after Election Day progressed, Catherine Marcial shared with me her plans for “Stone Soup To Go,” the takeout version of our long-running community supper, coming up on Thursday at 6:00. A couple of parishioners stopped by to drop off donations for the coat drive at Triangle Park. I drove those coats down to our community center, along with five giant boxes of warm socks – socks collected and donated by the amazing sons of Evelyn Donato (one of my former students and sister of our parishioner Karol Candelario). Meanwhile, planning continues for distributing Communion to parishioners on Sunday, and for restarting the Lighthouse in its new home. We are drawing the circle ever wider.

This election has exposed gaping divisions in our society - injustices, prejudices, and fundamental disagreements that maybe we used to ignore or pretend weren’t such a big deal. No more. It’s clear for the whole world to see that our country is an angry mess, frustrated by an antique and unfair electoral system, inflamed by rage, and poisoned by conspiracy theories. I doubt this election’s outcome will be much help for what ails us. But, God “who is all” continues to give us our work to do, weaving prayer, scripture, and community into a way forward, a way that looks and sounds like sleepy and anxious people gathered on the phone early in the morning, hungry for some Good News. It’s a way forward that looks like rejoicing no matter what, like a leader washing feet, and like a meal with the best food, where everyone is welcome. It’s a way forward that looks like two boys collecting many thousands of socks for people in need. It’s a way forward that looks like the Body of Christ shared with us all. It’s a way forward to a world of justice, freedom, and peace. It’s the way of Jesus, the way to the Kingdom of God.

So, even in our time of trouble - especially in our time of trouble - thank you, God, for the work you give us to do.

Your brother in Christ,


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

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

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:

Josephine Simon, aunt of Cassandra James

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

We give thanks for:

All the blessings of our lives, especially the birthday on Saturday of Bill Wetherill and David Gibson.

Calendar Highlights:

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)

Diocesan Day of Communion:

On Sunday, November 8, we will be joining with churches throughout our diocese to offer Holy Communion to any 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 and others 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.

Stone Soup To Go!

At last! Stone Soup founder Catherine Marcial returns to our kitchen to prepare a takeout version of our popular community supper. Stop by on Thursday, November 12, from 6:00 to 6:00 to pick up your supper, and then you’re welcome to join us on Zoom so we can catch up with each other and enjoy our meal “together.”

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 announcements 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 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.

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 God is with us for this big week and the work ahead:


Upcoming Events:

A Speaker Series on Race, Mondays 11/9, 11/16, and 12/7, 6:30-8:00 PM

Pop Up Youth Event: Don’t Worry Be Thankful, Sunday 11/15, 3:00 PM

Praying for Our Country

Bishop Hughes has called on our diocese to pray the following prayers:

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.

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:


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).

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: