Week of December 10, 2020

 Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City


“Be the Kind of Church That…”

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Our Minister of Music, Gail Blache-Gill, brings many gifts to her work, including her exceptional musicianship, of course, and the rich and lasting relationships she has built with other talented and devoted people all around our area and beyond. Here at St. Paul and Incarnation, we’ve benefitted from those connections since Gail has invited many guest singers and musicians from other churches to sing and play at our worship services and special programs. So, over the years, maybe without even realizing it, we have formed bonds with other congregations, perhaps none more than with the Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan’s East Village, a congregation founded all the way back in 1628.

As many of you know, Middle Church’s sanctuary was destroyed by fire early Saturday morning, leaving just a stone shell that may not be structurally sound -another heartbreaking loss in a year that’s been full of them. Watching the video of the inferno engulfing that familiar landmark, I felt as sickened as I did in April of 2019 when the world looked on in shock as the old timbers of Notre-Dame de Paris were turned to ash. On both occasions, I felt sorrow for the people losing their spiritual home, for losing so much history. I was reminded yet again of just how fragile everything – everyone - is. And, yes, I couldn’t help thinking about our own beautiful, but vulnerable, sanctuary, the holy place that means so much to us, the place where the walls have been bathed by prayer, our prayers and the prayers of those who have gone before us, for more than a century and a half.  What if?

It’s a sickening thought for sure, but it might be a worthwhile question for us to consider. In the aftermath of the Middle Church fire, it wasn’t just congregants who were devastated. All across the city and beyond, so many people expressed shock and grief and pledged to help with the rebuilding effort. Only partly about the loss of a historic building, this wave of love and care truly arose out of deep gratitude and admiration for Middle Church’s commitment to serving the poor and the outcast, its relentless work for justice, its sincere welcome of anybody and everybody who walked through the door. As Amanda Meisenheimer, a minister at The Riverside Church (yet another great NYC church with Gail Blache-Gill connections), wrote, “Be the kind of church that if your building burned down, everyone in the city would mourn and Facebook would be flooded with both lament and hope.”

Those strong words (a command, in fact) have been haunting me, making me wonder how Jersey City would react if we were struck by tragedy, if we suddenly disappeared. I like to think that people would remember us as a welcoming place, where lots of good food was served at our community suppers, and at our arts and music events, and, most of all, each time we gathered at the Lord’s Table. Perhaps they would recall our partnerships with Garden State Episcopal CDC, Jersey City Together, and Family Promise. Probably more than a few parents would lament the loss of our safe and affordable summer camp. Maybe the people who worked at their sobriety week after week in Carr Hall would miss us, remembering our building as “an icon of my recovery,” as one AA member once told me. Yes, no doubt at least some would regret our disappearance, but I’m sure that many others would hardly even notice. After all, there are plenty of other churches in town, some at least as welcoming, at least as closely woven into the community, as St. Paul and Incarnation.

Advent is the time when we are meant to get ready for the joy of Christmas, and it’s a season when we’re also called to prepare for the end, for Christ’s return, for the day when we will be judged on how we used the many gifts we have been given. We are commanded to stay awake, to be alert. So, maybe the dreadful “What if?”  prompted by the Middle Church fire is the perfect reflection for this season. Maybe the command to “be the kind of church that if you’re building burned down, everyone in the city would mourn and Facebook would be flooded with both lament and hope” is the best resolution for the new year.   

Your brother in Christ,


Click here if you would like to help Middle Church rebuild: www.middlechurch.org/rising

Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

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

The people of Middle Collegiate Church

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers

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

All those in positions of leadership, especially Donald, our President; Joe, our President-elect; Phil, our Governor; and Steve, our Mayor

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

Estrelda Henderson, adopted mother of Gail Blache-Gill

Aisheia McFadden, shot at Martin Luther King Drive and Bidwell Avenue

Robert Marshall, beloved Duncan Avenue neighbor

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

We give thanks for:

The birthdays of Dino Hall, Elizabeth Kennedy, and Dave “Ace” Case. 

Calendar Highlights:

Thursday, December 24: Christmas Eve Service, 7:00 PM

Friday, December 25: Christmas Day Service, 10:00 AM

Sunday, December 27: Service of Lessons and Carols, 10:00 AM

Christmas Basket Raffle 

Many thanks to parishioners Dino and Abby Hall who have once again donated this year’s beautiful Christmas basket.

Raffle tickets will be on sale until Saturday, December 26

The winner will be announced during our 10:00 service on Sunday, December 27th.

One chance for $5 or a book of 6 chances for $25

Payment options: Venmo, Vanco, mail or drop off a check to church office.

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

The basket will be delivered via curbside drop off.

Christmas Cookies!

Calling all bakers! We would like to share homemade Christmas cookies with the young people in the Triangle Park neighborhood. Please let Fr. Tom know if you’d like to help.

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 a different way to walk through Advent:


Upcoming Event:

Lay Conversation with Bishop Hughes, Thursday, 12/17, 6:00-7:30 PM

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:

ASPI Mugs and Tote Bags

It's here! Bring the work of local artists into your home this season with a curated mug or tote bag from ASPI!


The Arts at St. Paul and Incarnation (ASPI) is delighted to introduce a line of mugs and tote bags featuring the works of some of our favorite local artists. Unlike many other fundraisers that call for donated work, all profit is split evenly between the artist and ASPI. Proceeds to ASPI will go towards supporting our programming and future improvements to Carr Hall. We hope you enjoy these works as much as we do.

Visit our brand new store on Threadless to order these beautiful items (which make great gifts!)


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 next session is:

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: