Week of February 14, 2021

Welcome to 

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Anglican / Episcopal Parish 
in the Heart of Jersey City

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We have a big weekend coming up!

Tomorrow (Saturday), here at church we will be distributing Holy Communion from 10:00AM to noon, with home deliveries later in the afternoon. On Sunday morning at 10:00, we will gather on Zoom (also streamed on our Facebook page) for our service where many of us will be able to share Holy Communion together. Immediately following the service we will have our “Parish Assembly and Celebration.” (Please note that the meeting will not be streamed on Facebook.) We will look back at an unprecedented year, celebrating the many ways that God has guided and strengthened us. Please see below for the Zoom information for Sunday morning and for our Ash Wednesday service. The Zoom information for the Absalom Jones service on Sunday at 3:00 is attached to this email.

In place of my weekly reflection, here is what I wrote for this year’s annual report. I hope you will take a few minutes to read it, and please consider thanking some of the wonderful people who have worked so hard to keep our church alive and vibrant.

Rector’s Report

“An Unprecedented Year”

A little more than a year ago, we gathered for the annual meetings of St. Paul’s Church in Bergen and the Church of the Incarnation. In most respects, it was business as usual. We crowded into Carr Hall (with not a mask in sight) to review our finances, celebrate our ministries, and thank parishioners for their service. It all seemed normal and unremarkable. Little did we know…

Just a few weeks later, the Covid-19 virus appeared in the United States. We soon began to change our church practices, eliminating the common cup and reducing the passing of the peace from an exuberant free-for-all to a few friendly waves across the aisle. Finally, as infection rates soared, Bishop Hughes suspended in-person worship. That first Sunday, March 15, Sue and I (and my iPhone) were all alone in the church, not sure if the technology would work, not sure how many of you would be able to find us on Facebook, not sure how long our “virtual” community would survive.

During this long and hard year, we have endured illness and mourned the dead. We especially grieved the loss of two giants of our church: Eugenia Suthern and Sidney King. But, as Eugenia and Sidney would have expected and demanded, we have remained faithful, and we have persevered.

Thanks to Susan Suarez’s knowledge, talent, and resourcefulness, we immediately pivoted to online worship. Over the past year we have improved our technology and have gained a following far beyond Jersey City. We now typically attract about 300 “views” in the first 24 hours after we live-stream our Sunday services, reaching way more people than when we were together in church. Many of us have stuck together through “Church By Phone,” dialing in three times every weekday for scripture and prayer. Thank you to Bill Armbruster, Vanessa Foster, and Belinda Stokes, who officiate on Mondays and other times when I’m not available.

Belinda Stokes, Nancy Mackin-Robinson, and I (with The Rev. Laurie Wurm and Joyce Davison from Grace Van Vorst) continue to guide our ministry at Triangle Park, which has continued to thrive and expand under the able leadership of Monica Shaw. We should all be so proud of TPCC, where people in that long-neglected neighborhood receive hospitality, food, diapers, and much more.

Belinda and Judith McRae coordinate our greeting card ministry, providing some much-needed cheer. Sonia Staine still offers monthly lunches for the guests at the homeless drop-in center. Ijeoma Mokedi and Julia Ho have been using WhatsApp to teach their Sunday School lessons. Gail Blache-Gill and our choir members have held weekly meetings on Zoom. The Arts at St. Paul and Incarnation (led by Karen Carattini, Gail Blache-Gill, Sarah Ibrahim, Colleen McElhearn, Amy Neufeld, and Olivia Wilber), has presented excellent programming, designed an online gallery, and even invited artists to create handmade Christmas cards. Lorna Woodham, our Ministry Intern, shared a much-needed “quiet morning” with us and has offered sensitive pastoral care to some of our parishioners. Deacon Jill Singleton started a brand-new ministry, DJ’s Free Market, and will soon reopen The Lighthouse in a new location. Susan Den Herder has been helping to hold the parish together through regular mailings, including a trifold newsletter that has been very well received. Many thanks to our Finance Committee (led by our treasurer, Kerrie Sovelove, and including Yonar Candelario, Susan Den Herder, Lester McRae, Thomas Murphy, and Kathleen Simon) who helped us navigate some rough financial waters. Special thanks to our bookkeeper, Christal Sumpter, who organized and submitted our application for a PPP loan, allowing us to keep the entire staff employed during the worst of the pandemic.

Our ministry partners have also soldiered on during this difficult time. Family Promise of Hudson County adjusted its model and hosts families in several rectories and parsonages, including at 68 Storms Avenue. Garden State CDC managed to keep open the homeless drop-in center and PERC Shelter. Jersey City Together has continued the fight for affordable housing, proper funding for our schools, and safe streets, while also expanding into a statewide effort: New Jersey Together!

Meanwhile, we have been planning for - and investing in - our future. Carol Harrison-Arnold skillfully navigates the ongoing process of selling the former home of Church of the Incarnation and preparing for the legal unification of our two churches. Vanessa Foster supervised the installation of our new boiler, which provides reliable heat to the church and parish hall. Vanessa and Susan Den Herder also successfully applied for a diocesan grant to cover half of the new boiler’s cost. Looking ahead, we are beginning an oral history project, working with our friends at Grace Van Vorst to learn about our past from the people who lived it. And, as you will hear from Carol Harrison-Arnold at the Parish Assembly, we will soon introduce small faith groups, providing safe spaces for parishioners to share their challenges and hopes.

It has not been easy, but with God’s help, and thanks to the faithfulness, hard work, and generosity of many of you, St. Paul and Incarnation has thrived during an unprecedented year of disease, economic downturn, and political instability.

In addition to my work as your Rector, I served on the Journey Forward Team, which helped create diocesan policies for in-person gatherings during the pandemic. I am also a member of the Diocesan Council (with Carol Harrison-Arnold and Kathleen Simon). I have continued to serve on the Board of Garden State CDC (with Carol Harrison-Arnold), and as a leader (with Diane Maxon and Bill Armbruster) of Jersey City Together. I also sit on the Board of Seton Ministries, helping the Sisters of Charity oversee their various ministries, especially St. Elizabeth University.

As I do every year, I want to close by giving heartfelt thanks to our talented and dedicated church staff. It is largely thanks to Susan Den Herder, Vanessa Foster, and Gail Blache-Gill that we have a much larger impact than other churches our size. And, finally, thank you to my wife, Susan Suarez. She has always been a steady support, but never more than now.

Your brother in Christ,


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Jean A., Kit, Anaiayah, Linda M., Frances, Vicki B, and Renee

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:

Palma Solari, grandmother of Dino Hall

Durrell Pierce, friend of Corey Brunson

Ivory Moore

Desire Reid (11 years old) and her brother Keyon Robinson (8 months) who were killed in a fire at 470 Martin Luther King Drive

Rayven Harris, who was shot at Old Bergen Road and Neptune Avenue

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

We give thanks for:

The birthdays of Hema Silas, Daraius Phillips, Vijay Rao, The Rev. Gary Commins, and The Rev. Laurie Wurm

The wedding anniversary of Leroy and Irmgard Wint

Calendar Highlights:

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 the power of relationships:


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)

A Special Service Marking One Year of Living With Pandemic, Saturday, 3/13, 10:00AM

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.

Lifting Our Voices: Uncovering the Story of the Episcopal Churches in Jersey City

The Episcopal Churches of Jersey City are beginning an effort to learn our history. We are eager to learn and document what life was like for Jersey City Episcopalians in the past, with a particular interest in how our churches were shaped by structural racism. Today, the Episcopal churches of Jersey City are almost as racially and ethnically diverse as the city we serve, but, unfortunately, this was not always the case. 

For decades, the Episcopal churches in our city did not welcome people of color. This sinful lack of hospitality led to the founding in 1910 of the Church of the Incarnation as a spiritual home for Black Episcopalians. Later, by the end of the 20th Century, “white flight” emptied out most of our churches, diminishing our presence in the city. As recent events in our country have painfully reminded us, structural racism doesn’t disappear.  It has to be faced, spoken about, confessed and acted upon.  If there was ever a time to learn from the past and get to work dismantling racism in our churches, it is now!

That is why members of St. Paul & Incarnation and Grace Church Van Vorst will begin researching the histories of our churches to trace how they were shaped by white supremacy.  At the same time, we will also interview some of our church elders to learn from people who have lived our story and know it best, preserving their memories for future generations. 

Combating white supremacy is the work of a lifetime, but on the Day of Pentecost (May 23) we will share what we have learned from our research and interviews. From this presentation, our churches will begin to have conversations about what it means to learn the truth about the racism in our church and how knowing the truth can help us change our future.

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:

Call for Art: Light in the Never-Ending Shade:

In her inaugural poem, Amanda Gorman asks: "When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?" Throughout time, humans have studied the relationship between light and shadow, sometimes equated with good and evil, yin and yang, or mystery and enlightenment. In the end, most seem to agree that one cannot exist without the other. This past year has seemed to be made up of an inordinate amount of darkness. But is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or perhaps it's been there the whole time, obscured like an eclipse? For this virtual show, The Arts at St. Paul (ASPI) would like artists to submit work that explores the dynamic relationship between dark and light.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

KEY EXHIBITION DATES (subject to change):

JC Fridays: Friday, March 5

Virtual Gathering & Artist Talk: Sunday, March 14


Our online virtual 3D gallery, accessible through our website www.ASPI-JC.org


Amy Neufeld


We will accept work that is both for sale and not for sale. You may submit up to 5 pieces for consideration.

Email address for submissions: arts@stpaulsjc.org

PLEASE INCLUDE your name, title, medium, dimensions, price, good quality jpegs and any other pertinent info about your work. If your work is for sale, please specify whether you are willing to ship it should a buyer be interested who is not local.

COMMISSION: Income from sales goes 60% to the artist; the remaining 40% will go to The Arts at St. Paul & Incarnation. PLEASE PRICE ACCORDINGLY!

A link to Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb" can be found here: https://www.cnn.com/.../amanda-gorman.../index.html

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 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:

Jersey City is vaccinating senior citizens at the Bethune Center (140 MLK Drive).

Call 201-547-5688 (NOTE THIS IS A NEW NUMBER) between 9:00AM and 5:00PM, seven days a week, to schedule an appointment.

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: