Week of May 30, 2021

Welcome to

The Church of St. Paul and Incarnation!

An Anglican / Episcopal Parish 
in the Heart of Jersey City

All Good Things…

Dear Friends,

Although it has been many weeks since I announced my departure and even longer since I decided to accept a new call, it’s still hard for me to face the looming reality of our last Sunday together.

As you’d guess, I feel a swirl of emotions. Of course, there’s a deep sadness that we will be ending our pastoral relationship. There’s also regret about mistakes made and things left undone. There’s a bit of fear and uncertainty about the big next step into the unknown that Sue and I are about to take. And, yes, there’s some worry about the future of our church, concern that our beautiful congregation won’t hold together during a challenging time of transition.

But, mostly, there is overflowing gratitude. I am so thankful to God for the many rich blessings I have received during these past two decades, first as a parishioner of St. Paul’s and now as your rector. I have been blessed from that first Sunday when Sue and I took our first hesitant steps into the beautiful wooden church on Duncan Avenue. And the blessings continued right up to this past Sunday when I got to see many of you in person, decked out in your Pentecost red - and had the honor of baptizing quiet and reverent Eleanor and Harris into the Body of Christ.

I am grateful for your prayers and support during our exciting adventure together. Over these eight years, we have opened our doors to the neighborhood and welcomed lots of wonderful new people. We have also shed tears, bidding sad farewells to sisters and brothers we loved and cherished. We have fed people with good food to fill their stomachs and with meaningful art to nourish their souls. Thanks to your generosity, we have invested considerable resources in upgrading our facilities: new flooring, air conditioning, bluestone steps, boilers, and let’s not forget those gorgeous bathrooms! We took on the enormous task and made the real sacrifice of welcoming Family Promise into our space. Thanks to Jill Singleton’s vision and persistence, we opened (and re-opened!) the Lighthouse, a house of hospitality for asylees. We have stepped out of our church and gone into our community, blessing places stained by violence and working with Jersey City Together to build a more life-giving city for all. Finally, I am incredibly grateful that, to everyone’s surprise and delight, God took two churches that had long been neighbors but not always friends, and forged us into one magnificent community of love. And, I’m thankful that on my last Sunday we will take one more critical step to make our union official and final.

At times like this, it’s always risky to thank certain people by name, but it’s a chance worth taking.

Thank you to all the wardens and vestry members who have volunteered to help lead our church. Special thanks to our current wardens, Belinda Stokes, Carol Harrison-Arnold, and Jamila Matthews, who are taking on even more responsibilities during the transition. Thank you to some of the finest and most faithful clergy I have ever met: Laurie Wurm, Gary Commins, and Jill Singleton. One of the very best parts of working in Jersey City has been the privilege of serving beside these extraordinary disciples, my good and loyal friends. They have consoled me in the low moments, celebrated the joyful times, and often challenged me to be bolder and more creative. Thank you also to our brand-new deacon Lorna Woodham. It has been a blessing to watch her grow into her vocation during extraordinary times, and I can’t wait to see how her ordained ministry unfolds.

Thank you so much to our hardworking and devoted church staff. We have been quite a team these past eight years, and I’ll miss our shared sense of mission and commitment. I’ll miss our prayers and our laughter and our “Christmas” lunches that we scrambled to make happen before the start of Lent! Vanessa Foster maintains our old and fragile buildings and keeps the grounds looking good, but you all know that she is much more than the sexton of our church. She has also prayed with and for many of us, offering a steady source of spiritual solace. Over the past eight years, Susan Den Herder’s workload has increased quite a lot. But she has continued to learn and grow, interested in every area of our church life, always remembering the great truth that good administration is good pastoral care. And, as I’ve said many times, Gail Blache-Gill has all the talent to be a diva, and yet it is never about her. Gail dedicates her music and her ministry to support the work of the church.

Finally, thank you to my wife, Susan Suarez. I have upended her life more than once (remember, she really did think she was marrying a history teacher). She has always handled our unexpected journey with grace, patience, and wisdom. In addition to her own demanding and highly regarded teaching career (and her continuing education), she has been an often quiet but essential gift to our church and an unfailing support to me, especially during this time of pandemic. She has been “Tech Support” and much more. There are not the right words to fully express my gratitude and love.

No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “all good things must come to an end.” Maybe you’ve been feeling like our “good things” are coming to an end. And, to be honest, sometimes I’ve been feeling that way, too! Yet, here is a great truth: with God, the “good things” never come to an end. Especially in the weeks ahead, I hope you will remember that God has made an indissoluble, unbreakable bond with all of us. It’s a bond of love that keeps us close to God. It's a bond of love more than strong enough to sustain our church. It’s a bond of love that will always unite us, no matter how far apart we may be.

Thank you, God. And thank you all.

With much love,


Prayers and Thanksgivings:

We pray for:

All those on our parish prayer list, especially Gina, Jean A., Anaiayah, Marisol, Eddie, Jean G, Eric, Mary, Shakola, and Monica.

The people of India and other parts of the world where Covid-19 continues to spread

The people of Israel and Palestine, for an end to hostilities and the creation of lasting peace

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, remembering especially:

Randolph Black, Jr. and Jason Crutcher, who were shot at Crescent Avenue and Brinkerhoff Street.

Bessie Athanas

Peter Landis

Chi Modu

The victims of the mass shooting in San Jose, California 

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

On this Memorial Day Weekend, we remember all of the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country.

We give thanks for:

The baptisms last Sunday of Eleanor Leigh Pickens and Harris Patrick Pickens and the baptisms this Sunday of Lina Sofia Bustamante and Steven Christopher Rae Kennedy

The birthdays of Kathleen Simon, Peg Fallon, Olivia Wilber and Sara Hopper.

The graduation of Lynn Onyebeke from the University of Virginia School of Law

Calendar Highlights:

Sun., May 30: Trinity Sunday 

(Tom & Sue’s last Sunday at St. Paul & Incarnation)

Holy Communion, 10:00AM (Church: Reservations required)

SPECIAL PARISH MEETING following the 10:00 service

Holy Communion & Baptisms, 3:00PM (Churchyard: Reservations required)

Sun., June 13: David P. Hegg Lifetime Achievement Awards, 3:00PM

Diocesan YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/DioNewark/

Congratulations to our honorees: Bill Armbruster and Noreen  Napolitano!

Fri., June 25: Dinner-Dance, 7:30PM (Chandelier, 1081 Broadway, Bayonne)

Calling All Graduates!

As we do each year, we would like to honor all of our wonderful graduates, from Pre-K to graduate school. Please send information (name, level of education, school) to Susan Den Herder at office@stpaulsjc.org.

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.

You may complete and return the online pledge form here:


Worship Schedule:

Monday through Friday: "Church By Phone"

Morning Prayer, 7:30

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

Masking and distancing are still required. Seating is limited, so reserve a spot by calling 201-433-4922 or emailing office@atpaulsjc.org 

Sunday at 3:00pm (May 30 only)

A Service of Holy Communion with Baptisms in the churchyard (if it rains, we'll move inside). Masking and distancing required. Seating is limited, so reserve a spot by calling 201-433-4922 or emailing office@atpaulsjc.org 

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

Thank you to everyone who attended the parish Zoom meeting on Sunday and the conversation with our friends from Grace Van Vorst on Tuesday evening. 

Our church history project will continue to interview church elders and research archives to learn more about our past and to better understand our present.

If you would like to get involved, email Susan Den Herder at office@stpaulsjc.org 

From the Diocese

Read The Voice Online for all the latest news, including a message from Bishop Hughes: “Behold, God is doing a new thing among us – can you see it?”



Parishioner Emily Croy Barker’s second novel, How To Talk To A Goddess And Other Lessons In Real Magic, will be released in print and eBook editions on June 29!

In the News

There’s been some local media coverage of Fr. Tom’s departure:



The Jersey City Times:


The Lighthouse

Thanks to Deacon Jill’s leadership and the generosity of our partners and volunteers, The Lighthouse has resumed operation in its new location! 

CBS2 has broadcast an excellent report on the immigration crisis, featuring interviews with Deacon Jill and our friend Alain Mentha, the founder of Welcome Home, one of our ministry partners at the Lighthouse. Take a look:


You can learn more in this wonderful article published by nj.com and The Star Ledger:


Also, The Lighthouse still needs some items. Take a look at the list below and help out if you can:


Sacred People, Sacred Earth

Along with many other congregations, our church has declared that we are united by a fundamental belief that all people, all living things, and the Earth are sacred.

Thank you to Susan Den Herder, Lorna Woodham, Shari Gill, and all the participants, for putting together this powerful video, which can be found on our Facebook page:


Small Faith Groups

A message from Carol Harrison-Arnold:

Greetings All,

Many of you attended the Parish Assembly and learned of the great ministries going on with the church despite the pandemic.  You also heard about the beginning of another ministry, Small Faith Groups, in response to the isolation and absence of in-person worship that many are missing. 

As a church, we are challenged with helping members to engage in activity where God Shows Up as an extension of our congregational life. We think we have found a way to address this challenge and invite all to become a part of a small group.

We pray many of you will decide to participate in a small group to enrich the faith experience for all of us.  A link for the sign-up form is below.  Please let family and friends know of this faith opportunity because we all need God to Show Up!!! 

Sign up here: https://forms.gle/RBYUpHFnufoFXn6C9

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

“Light in the Never-Ending Shade”

Our latest art show can be viewed on our website: aspi-jc.org. 

ASPI Mugs and Tote Bags

They’re here! Bring the work of local artists into your home 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 the Arts at St. Paul & Incarnation website for more information:


New Jersey Together:

As we approach the summer, please consider participating in New Jersey Together’s summer leadership and organizing training. The training will give you concrete tools to identify and act on issues that matter to your communities, to build relationships inside and outside our church, and to analyze why those issues are not currently being addressed. Register now at www.njtogether.org/training 

Learn more about our community organizing effort, New Jersey Together, here: www.njtogether.org

FEMA Funeral Assistance:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing a benefit to cover some of the costs of funerals caused by COVID-19 during this pandemic – up to $9000. This is not need based and is available regardless of the citizenship status of the deceased.

The application process begins with calling the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line and the phone number is: 844-684-6333  | TTY: 800-462-7585 (multi-lingual). Phones are answered Monday -Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time. The application is processed on the phone followed by submitting records via web portal, fax or mail.

Additional information from FEMA can be found here: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

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 residents!

Call 201-547-5688 or 201-373-2316 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: