Week of January 17, 2021

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

Trust Renewed: The Cookie Boycott

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Wednesday, after the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, some of us gathered for an expanded "Church By Phone" service. Many of us were on the conference call as usual, and some joined us through Zoom. On that terrifying day, we included a couple of additional prayers, including the much-loved Prayer Attributed to St. Francis, and the less familiar Prayer for Our Country (found in the Book of Common Prayer on page 820). In the days since, we have continued to say both prayers and, even over the phone, I can tell that these words are touching our hearts.

In the Prayer for Our Country, we make a most timely request for God to "save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way." And, at the close of the prayer, we ask, "in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail." 

I admit that after all we have seen and endured in just the last week and a half, and fearing what is yet to come, my trust in God has sometimes faltered. Maybe the same is true for you. We ask, how much longer, Lord? And yet, in God's usual subtle way, there are small but powerful signs that God is still at work, shining light into the shadows, renewing our hope for a just and peaceful future.

For example, some of you know that we have been glad to host a Girl Scout troop for five or six years now, renewing an old tradition from both St. Paul's and Incarnation. Thanks to the dedication and persistence of leaders Gina Verdibello and Kellie Lewis, the troop has grown in size and scope. Like scouts throughout the decades, the girls have gained new skills and learned about their community and beyond. It has been so gratifying to see this program flourish.

Over just the last few days, many more people have learned about our Girl Scout troop. As you may have read in the Jersey Journal or seen on the news or on Facebook, our scouts have taken a strong and sacrificial stand for compassion and justice. It turns out that many of those delicious (and mildly addictive) Girl Scout cookies are made with palm oil. And palm oil is often produced by child labor in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. 

In a time with so much trouble and suffering, we might be inclined to simply regret this reality – just another sorrow in a world full of despair. And, since this wonderful program's financial health depends on the sale of cookies made with palm oil, we might be tempted just to look the other way or maybe try to rationalize the cookie sale. It is a good cause, after all.

Our scouts and their leaders chose the more challenging way, the faithful way, the way of compassion and justice. As one of the girls said, "There is no excuse for using child labor when you can pay legal adults to do the same work. Children should be in classrooms and not working on plantations." Recognizing a terrible injustice, our troop has joined a cookie boycott begun by one scout in Tennessee and now spreading through the country. What may have seemed at first to be a small and futile effort will no doubt lead to changes by the Girl Scouts and their cookie vendors, and might even lead to better lives for faraway children we will likely never meet, but who are our sisters and brothers.

Thinking about the sacrifice made by our Girl Scouts has renewed my trust that God is still at work in sometimes subtle but always powerful ways. And the stand taken by these girls, and the positive attention it’s attracted, has also made me more hopeful about the future. Like so many young people across the country, our kids envision a better world and are already speaking up and creating real change. So, no matter what happens in the days and weeks ahead, I'm not going to forget the cookie boycott. And, I'm going to keep my trust in our God who is hard at work, shining light into deep shadows, renewing our hope for a just and peaceful future.

Your brother in Christ,


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean A., Kit, Anaiayah, Michael N., Linda M., Blessing and Moses and family, Rita, and Vicki B.

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:

Andy Chopra

Lenton A. Carter

Cecil Noble, cousin of Roderick Cummings

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

We give thanks for:

The birthdays Jennifer Ingino, Mike Crawford, and Linda Corrin.

Calendar Highlights:

Thursday, February 11: Stone Soup Community Supper – To Go, 6:00-6:30 PM

Saturday, February 13: Holy Communion Distribution, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Sunday, February 14: Parish Assembly & Celebration, (following 10:00 AM Service)

Wednesday, February 17: Ash Wednesday 

Wednesday, February 24: Lenten Book Study, Session 1, 7:00 PM (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. 

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 preparing for this Christmas in a way that we’ve never prepared for Christmas before :


Upcoming Events:

Bishop’s Study Group: Pursuing Racial Reconciliation through Scripture, Film, Word, and Prayer (Tuesdays until 2/9, 6:30 PM)

More information and registration form here:


Prayers for Our Nation (January 18, 19, and 20) The Zoom link will be sent in the “What’s Happening This Week” e-newsletter on Monday, January 18.

Lay Conversation with the Bishop (Thursday, 1/21, 6:00 PM)

Faith Groups: Sharing Our Lives, Growing in Faith (Friday, 1/29, 7:00 PM & Saturday, 1/30, 9:00 AM to noon)

The disruptions of the pandemic have encouraged us to find new ways of being in relationship with one another. While the technology we use to connect may be new, Church tradition offers a model for relationships that is still relevant today: intentional small groups.

At our January gathering, held during our traditional Convention weekend, our focus will be on “Faith Groups: Sharing Our Lives, Growing in Faith,” which will offer a pattern for gathering intentionally in small groups to share times of prayer, reflection, and to grow together in faith. Find out more and register here:


Lenten Book Study:

Join us on Wednesday evenings at 7:00, starting on February 24, when we will discuss (on Zoom) The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, by Peter Gomes.  You can order a copy through your local bookseller or B&N or Amazon.

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:

JERSEY CITY PARENTS: Since the start of the pandemic, Jersey City Together’s Education Team has heard repeated concerns about social and emotional learning and special education. After raising concerns, we were asked by district leadership to see if others were experiencing similar issues.

Share your experience and help us ensure our students’ needs in Jersey City are being met. All survey results will be made anonymous.


Learn more about New Jersey Together here: www.njtogether.org

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:


State of New Jersey Covid Vaccine Registration:


Hudson County Covid Vaccine Registration:

Hudson County residents who are eligible can register here https://www.hudsonregional.org

 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: