Week of January 31, 2021

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Episcopal / Anglican Parish
in the Heart of Jersey City

Calendar Connections

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

About fourteen years ago, as my days of seminary preparation were drawing to a close, I turned my attention to finding my first job in the Church.  Here in the Diocese of Newark at that time, there was one full-time position open: curate (assistant priest) at Grace Church in Madison. 

I remember well the day I drove out to Madison for my interview with Grace’s then-rector, the Rev. Lauren Ackland. I was nervous and uncertain, not knowing what to expect. But after a few hours of talking with Lauren and several parishioners who would soon become dear friends, any concerns I had about fitting in at this vibrant suburban parish quickly evaporated. When it was almost time to go back home, dazzled by Grace's many ministries and its robust health, I asked Lauren, "Why do you think there is so much happening here?"

Looking back now, I'm a little embarrassed by that question. Just what did I expect Lauren to say? But, without giving it a moment's thought, she replied, "It's because of the weekday worship." I hoped my face didn't give away my surprise and even skepticism. Yes, sure, daily worship was the heartbeat of the seminary, designed in part to help train future "religious professionals." Could and would daily worship truly shape a parish's life? Surely there must be some other explanation!During my years at Grace, I realized that Lauren was right (as usual). True, the vast majority of parishioners never attended a weekday service. Yet, there was a difficult to describe spiritual effect caused by worship occurring in that place every day of the year. Nearly always led by laypeople, these services bathed the church in prayer and helped to keep us connected to God between Sundays. 

When I arrived here at St. Paul's, we quickly created a weekday worship schedule, nowhere near as ambitious as at Grace, but still life-giving for our hearty band of lay leaders and worshippers. And I believe that, just like at Grace, this prayer rhythm touched all of us, keeping us connected to God and each other. Our weekday worship has somehow shaped us as a community: a people meant to be Christians every day of the week, not just on Sunday.

I had always hoped that someday we would expand our worship schedule to every day of the year. That hasn't happened. But during the pandemic, we have unexpectedly and wonderfully become a community of weekday worshippers, dialing in and praying together three times each weekday.

Now we get to hear way more Scripture than we ever have. I know that some of us take the time to learn about the holy women and men commemorated on the church calendar.  Maybe some of us reflect on how their lives and witness might inspire us to even greater faithfulness. Perhaps this sounds weird, but sometimes I find that even the church calendar itself - the schedule of feast days – helps me to connect the dots of the Christian life. For example, we began this week with a major feast, the Conversion of St. Paul. The Acts of the Apostles provides a vivid account of Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, while the apostle himself is more circumspect about what was surely the most important event of his life.  However it happened, God was able to convert Paul from an oppressor of the Church to the most zealous of apostles, a man who spent the rest of his life urgently and courageously sharing the Good News.

The next day we commemorated two of St. Paul's companions, Timothy and Titus, giving us an important reminder that even the most devoted and capable Christians need company; God intends us to work together. Finally, on Wednesday, we celebrated Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe. These three holy women receive just passing mentions in the New Testament yet still offer us powerful models of Christian discipleship.  

I particularly love Lydia’s story. She was a Gentile, an apparently prosperous dealer of purple cloth. Perhaps because material wealth did not fully satisfy her, Lydia sought a relationship with Israel's God. One Sabbath, that search led to a riverbank where she encountered St. Paul. After God opened Lydia's heart to hear the apostle's message, she asked Paul to baptize her and her household right then and there. Tellingly, just after her Baptism, Lydia began her Christian life by extending hospitality to Paul and his companions, inviting them into her home.

This week the church calendar has connected so many dots of the Christian life. God calls us to conversion in ways that are usually subtle but sometimes quite dramatic. We are meant to be companions, to be people who break bread together, who share the joys and challenges of life. We are expected to proclaim the Good News to others, sometimes with words, but always through example and service. And, we are called to be hospitable, knowing that when we welcome others, especially people in need, we open the door to Jesus himself.


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, Frances, Vicki B, Faith, and Palma.

Doctors, nurses, and all healthcare workers

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

All members of the armed services, especially Chris Armbruster

All those in positions of leadership, especially Joe, our President; Kamala, our Vice President; Phil, our Governor; and Steve, our Mayor

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

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

We give thanks for:

The birthdays of Catherine Marcial and Christopher Torres.

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 Service, 7:00PM (On Zoom)

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 opening our eyes:


Upcoming Events:

Public Celebration of the Feast of Absalom Jones, Sunday, 2/14, 3:00PM (via Zoom) 

Pop In with Pop Up Youth – Zoom Meeting, Sunday, 2/21, 3:00PM

Church Leader University, Saturday, 3/6, 9:00AM – 11:30AM (Via Zoom)

Pop Up Youth & Cross Roads Retreat, Saturday, 3/13, 10:00AM (via Zoom)

Lay Conversation with the Bishop, Thursday 3/18, 6:00PM (via Zoom)

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:


As we enter 2021, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and facing elections at the local and state level.

On Monday, February 8, from 7:30PM-8:30PM, each member congregation or organization should plan to bring 3 to 8 leaders as we lay the groundwork for the year.

Register here: https://www.njtogether.org/jct2021?fbclid=IwAR1rU2p6I5JB2ZVGFkXUdySOQQJ1ESsFH9WdaK2Ydwe18cyJY3dp-0hauAY

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: