The death of Nelson Mandela represents the death of one of the great figures of world history and a loss to humankind. Considered 'the great reconciler' and 'an icon of forgiveness,' Nelson Mandela was a living example of ‘walking the way of the cross.’
Mandiba, the Father of South Africa, proved to all that cycles of violence and hatred could be rejected for the higher human values of truth and reconciliation. He once said, ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’ His courage and his capacity to triumph over fear and hatred should inspire us all. His capacity to forgive should be an example to each of us that no one is beyond our forgiveness.
I call upon the people of the Diocese of New Jersey to give thanks for the life and witness of God’s servant Nelson Mandela and to include remembrances of him in the Prayers of the People this weekend.
The holy season of Advent is upon us. It is intended to be a mysterious, evocative and wondrous season; a time of anticipation and expectation. During Advent, the Church readings startle us with images of “last things” and “end times” reminding us of our fragile contingency and confronting us with the reality that all things, including us, are “passing away.” Advent is the time of year when we prepare for the birth of Christ anew into our world and into our lives. Christ is God’s message of eternal hope and eternal love for us and for our world. How we observe Advent and prepare for the coming of Christ is a vitally significant spiritual matter.
The wider culture has decked out the streets and malls of our communities with “Holiday Trees” and lots of glitzy packaging. It fills our airwaves with such Christmas favorites as “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” and “I saw Momma kissing Santa Claus” and all of this, even before Thanksgiving arrived. I have to confess, I enjoy all this entertainment. It’s fun. But I also recognize that, at the end of it all, it is not life-giving. Jesus is life-giving. Jesus is the one who saves. Jesus is the point of the whole matter of Christmas. Too often that gets lost in the Christmas shuffle.
This season of Advent invites us to discover the central truth of Christ’s coming anew. In the untamed wilderness of the commercialization of Christmas, Advent invites us to hear the clarion call, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” and to respond to it in faith. Doing so will inevitably lead us to a genuinely joyful Christmas.
For one way to help celebrate a holy Advent, visit ERD's Advent Calendar.
love Thanksgiving Day.
I also want to express my concern about the increasing encroachment of "Black " on Thanksgiving Day itself. Stores are opening earlier and earlier , denying employees the opportunity for one unencumbered day of respite. The sad effect of this gross piece of consumerism is to say to us all: "you don't have enough"--on a day when we are called to be thankful for what we do have. Can't the sale be resisted, and the shopping spree put off at least until dawn ? The stores only do this if consumers support it.
Sunday evening, November 25, Trinity Cathedral hosted Congressman Rush
Jersey Citizen Action and the NJ for Health Care Coalition for an
educational forum on the Affordable Healthcare Act Marketplace for
uninsured consumers, where attendees could
learn more about new, affordable coverage options.
For more information about the the Affordable Care Act, or any of the organizations mentioned visit:heathcare.gov
US Department of Health and Human Services
Congressman Rush Holt
NJ Citizen Action
NJ for Health Care
Led by two experienced community organizers from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, the conference drew some 50 participants from across the diocese, a racially mixed group that included health care professionals, teachers, clergy, and many others.
Diana Dunn and Deena Hayes gave as their premise that all institutions in the US were set up to benefit the white majority and that, not surprisingly, all our large social systems--education, health and human services, the judicial system--continue to treat people differently by race, while the continuing privilege and power of whites is now kept largely “invisible.” Ms. Dunn has herself raised a white child and a black child, and described her own experience: “I saw the two of them treated differently by every institution they encountered.”
Both presenters stressed the social determinants of health: lack of power over your own life and the stress associated with the sense of powerlessness being the largest contributing factor to poor health. “Bad Sugar”—we viewed this segment of the documentary film Unnatural Outcomes—gives poignant testimony to this analysis, in the skyrocketing rate of diabetes on many Indian reservations, where up to 50% of the population suffer from it—and from the social, economic and cultural deprivation that doctors acknowledge are largely responsible.
The race-based disparities in our health care system parallel those in a host of other areas, from education to incarceration, and will continue to do so as long as racism and poverty go hand in hand in our society. Sadly, as Ms. Dunn concluded, “We have moved from a War on Poverty to a War on Poor People.”
We know from sad experience that tremendous support will be needed for the people of the Philippines. This storm has occurred almost exactly a year after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc upon the East Coast of the United States and especially the Jersey Shore and Long Island.
I urge everyone in the Diocese of New Jersey to pray for the people of the Philippines in their distress and to make a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development, which is now working with its partners in the area to support relief efforts.
Holy God, source of life, lover of souls, out of the depths we call to you; in the face of incomprehensible anguish and sorrow, we lift the cries of our distress and implore you to show mercy upon those who are suffering from the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan. We pray for those who have died and for their loved ones who grieve, asking you to hold them in the arms of your love; we pray for those who have been injured in body, mind or spirit and ask you to heal them; we pray for those who are homeless and wandering, for families torn asunder and ask you to shelter them. Strengthen the hands and hearts of those who assist in relief efforts and grant us all firm resolve to stand with our neighbors who are in need, to love them and to offer our generous support of them in this their time of trouble; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
yours in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts-Schori was the chief consecrator, joined by Bishops
George Councell (XI Bishop of the Diocese of NJ) and Bishop Mark
Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark. They were joined by several other
bishops of the Episcopal Church and representatives of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
• Ordination of Three Deacons: St. George's by the River, Oct. 22
The diocese celebrated Alice Hodgkins Courtright, Katlin McCallister, and Anthony Puca in their Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate on October 22. The Rev. Margaret Rice Hodgkins served as preacher at the occasion. Her excellent sermon from the evening is available here.
The Diocese of New Jersey is proud to welcome these three talented young people to the Diaconate; they have been on this journey for more than three years, and all three have studied three years at an Episcopal seminary. All three are anticipated to receive their M.Div degrees and be ordained to the priesthood in the spring of 2014.
George's by the River, Rumson, New Jersey
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Grace to you and peace in the name our Lord Jesus Christ.
This past Friday, The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages can proceed in the State of New Jersey beginning Monday, October 21. We have both publicly stated our clear support of this right for same-sex couples and rejoice at the court's decision. Many same-sex couples have longed to have their relationships afforded the same civil rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. It is also true that many same-sex couples long to be married in the Church and to have the sacramental nature of their relationship acknowledged and blessed by, and within, the Church. Equally, many clergy have a Wong desire to respond to the pastoral and sacramental needs of same-sex couples committed to their charge by performing same-sex marriages. We are writing to clarify the implications of the State Supreme Court's ruling and to provide provisional guidance for the clergy of the Diocese of New Jersey.
In 2012, General Convention adopted an amended resolution (A049) titled "Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships." Below is a link to the final legislation:
As a result of this legislation, I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing: Resources for the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant in a Same-Sex Relationship was released for the Church's use by The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. This resource addresses various theological, pastoral and canonical concerns and issues and also includes liturgical resources for blessing rites. Click this link to order this resource and where you can also find a free PDF of the liturgy licensed for congregational use:
During the House of Bishops' consideration of the question of A-049 at the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis, the question was asked if the resolve that read, "That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church" could be interpreted to mean that clergy in jurisdictions that allow civil marriage of same-gender couples, were permitted to officiate at those services? The Chairperson for the Special Committee answered that yes, that was what they had had in mind. No amendment was offered. Resolution A049 passed by a nearly 2/3 majority (See The Right Reverend Mark Sisk, Letter to the Clergy of the Diocese of New York July 19, 2012).
• Keeping the Poor With Us: Conversations Campaign
Diocesan Resolution 2013-1 was passed as a follow up to to the 2012 General Convention, Resolution A135, which called for a number of steps to be taken to address the alleviation of poverty and increasing economic and racial injustice in our country.
This resolution is not a program to alleviate poverty. Rather, it is an effort to change the conversation in the church and to bring an awareness of the situation of people living in poverty into the daily business of the church at all levels. This resolution invites the church to consider the impact of all our actions on those among us who are living in poverty, not only as an "outreach" ministry, but in all our activities and to consider those living in poverty as part of the ongoing life of the church every day.
The MDG Task Force launched the "Keeping the Poor with Us" Conversations Campaign to fulfill this resolution. We suggest a three month period, convenient to your parish needs, to reflect on the different aspects of poverty that are present in our diocese. A handbook and resources are available to start the conversations. The materials include topics with stories written by several diocesan leaders, reflections and a prayer.
These resources may be adapted to suit your individual parish needs. Contact Sarah Paige for hard copies of the Handbook. The cost is $2.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the program.• Death of The Rev. Joan R. Watson
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our sister The Rev. Joan R. Watson. Reverend Watson died on September 25, 2013, 12:10 a.m. in Alpharetta, Georgia. The Funeral Service will be on Saturday, October 5th at 2:00 p.m. at Christ Church, Magnolia. Reception will follow in the parish hall. Clergy: White stoles.
• From the Bishop-elect
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
Greetings! Grace and peace to you. Susan and I are delighted to be in New Jersey. As I begin my second week in the diocese, I wanted to write to you to let you know that our move went well and that we are in place. Although our new home in Trenton is a sea of boxes, we love it and are settling in comfortably.
During these first few months leading up to my consecration in November (God willing and with the consent of the people!), I have a lot to learn from the remarkable staff at Diocesan House and especially from Bishop Councell. I am fortunate and blessed that he will mentor me during these crucial months. Please keep him and Ruth in your prayers during this time of transition for them.
You also have a lot to teach me. My "watchwords" during these first few months are "listen and learn." I am new to the Diocese of New Jersey. Yes, I have thoughts and ideas but, during this time, I want to focus especially on listening. This will happen through planned events - meetings of Clericus and Convocations - that are already on the calendar for late summer and throughout the fall. It will also happen as Susan and I travel around the Diocese worshipping in different churches each Sunday and visiting churches that have special events going on during the week, as we will this week, when we visit St. Bernard's and their Splash! Interfaith Kids Day Camp in Bernardsville on Friday. (Clergy, please note, we will call ahead before coming to your church on a Sunday morning). If you have something you would like us to see, please let us know. Needless to say, we won't be able to accept every invitation, but we like knowing what is going on in the different churches of the diocese.
So that I can share my experiences with you and let you know what I am up to, I will blog regularly and invite you to follow my blog. I also welcome you to "Friend me" on Facebook and to "follow" me on Twitter. My diocesan e-mail address is email@example.com. If your church has a Facebook page, let me know so that I can "like it" and follow you on Facebook.
I look forward to being among you, to getting to know you and this diocese more deeply. I pray you and yours may enjoy the remaining days of summer. May God bless us all in our life in Christ together. Thank you for all you do in Christ's service in this diocese, for your welcome, and for your continuing prayers for Susan and for me.
The Rev. Canon William H. (Chip) Stokes, Bishop-elect There will be many opportunities for clergy and people to get to know out Bishop-Elect in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned and keep our Bishop, George, and his wife, Ruth, our Bishop-Elect, Chip, and his wife, Susan in your prayers during this time of transition.
• Spotlight on Tuckerton
In an area particularly hard hit by tidal flooding, the Tuckerton Ministerial Association, of which Holy Spirit Church is an active participant; early on supported relief and recovery efforts in Southern Ocean County. One such initiative was hosting Operation Blessing, in which volunteers mucked over 100 homes.
Now many of these homes await reconstruction and repair. Our program includes a partnership between the Diocese of NJ and the Association to house, support, and equip volunteers to rebuild up to 30 of these homes during the summer of 2013. Work is in progress on 12 homes. 904 volunteers have been hosted at the Lighthouse Alliance Church facility, logging nearly 7,500 volunteer hours and 4 families have been able to return to their homes.
Read more, print out the bulletin insert, then discover the great things happening at Holy Spirit, Tuckerton!
• Bishop Councell Fund for UrbanPromise StreetLeader Ministries
July 9, 2013
On behalf of the Transition Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey; to all God’s beloved in our Diocese, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Friends in Christ,
October 18, 2013 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Consecration of George E. Councell as the Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. As we prepare for his retirement, we believe that our Diocese will want to express its thanks for the ten years that George and his wife Ruth have shared in ministry with us. To that end, we are writing on behalf of the Transition Committee to invite your support for a ministry that is at the heart of the Councells’ ongoing love for New Jersey.
It is well known that the problems of the cities of New Jersey have long been matters of deep concern, consistent focus and constant prayer for our Bishop and Ruth. It was no surprise, then, that when they were asked to designate a recipient for financial gifts offered in honor of their work in our Diocese, the Councells selected the UrbanPromise StreetLeader Program.
The UrbanPromise Streetleader Program has earned the Councells’ respect and admiration through its proven ability to develop young leaders who are strong in their faith, committed to their urban communities and effective at working within those communities. Begun in 1994, the StreetLeader Program utilizes employment as a means by which to empower and enable teens to become leaders in their communities. By relying on StreetLeaders to help direct after-school programs and summer camps, UrbanPromise challenges them to grow in positions of leadership among the children in their own neighborhoods. At the same time UrbanPromise supports their growth with college prep, tutoring, academic accountability, spiritual development, mentoring, and social and life skill development.
Each year UrbanPromise Camden and Trenton hire approximately 100 teens to work in the organizations’ summer and school-year programs. To date, the two programs have employed over 1,600 teens. One hundred percent of StreetLeaders complete high school and between 86-93% go on to college. But even more impressive is how many graduates return to Camden, Trenton, or other inner-city settings to continue to effect change in their communities. They become model citizens, mothers, fathers, community organizers, businesspeople, law enforcement, and doctors.
In fact, the story that most deeply impacted both Bishop Councell and Ruth is that of Carl Clark, who currently serves as executive director of UrbanPromise Trenton. Carl grew up in Camden, attended UrbanPromise programs as a child, became a StreetLeader, graduated from college, and embarked on a banking career. In July 2011 he felt called to leave his profession and launch an UrbanPromise site in Trenton to offer the city’s children the same opportunities he experienced in Camden.
Carl’s story is one of many that demonstrate how places of urban blight, urban decay and urban decline can be turned into places of urban hope and urban promise. The Councells’ prayer is that together, we can help support the nurture, inspiration, and preparation of teens to become strong Christian leaders in their own communities and beyond for many years to come.
To that end, we have created a fund to receive financial gifts offered in honor of the Councells’ work in our Diocese, designated as the “Bishop Councell Fund for UrbanPromise StreetLeader Ministries”. If you would be so kind as to direct your gifts to our Diocesan CFO, Canon Phyllis Jones at Diocesan House, 808 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618, we would be most grateful. Please make checks payable to the Diocese of New Jersey, and be sure to include the name of the fund on the memo line to ensure that your gift is properly directed.
And the opportunity to share with the Councells in this ministry continues far beyond the financial. Honoring their devotion to healing through community-building, we highly encourage you to invite a current or former StreetLeader, or perhaps a group of them, to speak during a church service or a special church function. For scheduling, please contact Jodina Hicks, UrbanPromise Camden’s executive director at (856) 382-1851, or Carl Clark, UrbanPromise Trenton’s executive director at (609) 566-HOPE.
Should you have any questions or desire further information about UrbanPromise or about the establishment of the fund itself, please feel free to contact either of the undersigned, or Canon Phyllis Jones (609-394-5281 x31).
Faithfully, in Christ,
The Reverend Gregory Bezilla
Chair, Transition Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey
Phone: (732) 932-1278
Reverend Ronald Pollock
• Glorious Weather for Baptisms
On Saturday, July 13, several baptisms were performed in the Atlantic Ocean by officials of Trinity Church in Asbury Park.Two adults and six infants were baptized during the 5:00 PM Beach Mass, which was attended by 170 parishioners and family members.
Officiants at the baptisms were Father David Perkins, Father Tom Pivinski and Deacon Gail Bennett.
The ceremony and the weather were glorious! Watch the video!
• WELCOME, BISHOP-ELECT STOKES AND SUSAN!
Update: Just in from the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs: The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of New Jersey that Bishop-Elect William ‘Chip’ H. Stokes has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process.
As outlined under Canon III.11.4
(a), the Presiding Bishop confirmed the receipt of consents from a
majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and has also reviewed the
evidence of consents from a majority of standing committees of the
Church sent to her by the diocesan standing committee.
This past week Chip and Susan have been settling into their home in Trenton. And despite some snags like a refrigerator that wasn’t working and a washing machine that stopped mid-cycle, their new “digs” are taking shape and all is well. The Bishop-Elect and Susan are most appreciative for the warm welcome they have received and everyone’s care and support.
of Tuesday, August 6th, the Bishop-Elect has joined our Diocesan Staff.
Not much time was given for him to settle into his office on the second
floor of Diocesan House. Before he knew it, the flow of information was
unleashed and his initiation into the Diocese of New Jersey had begun!
He has settled in nicely with Diocesan Staff who were anxiously
awaiting his arrival. The next three months will be a time to learn
much from Bishop Councell, to get to know staff, and to develop the
relationships necessary for a fruitful ministry among us. There will be
many opportunities for clergy and people to get to know out
Bishop-Elect in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned and keep our
Bishop, George, and his wife, Ruth, our Bishop-Elect, Chip, and his
wife, Susan in your prayers during this time of transition.
Attending Penn State?
We’d like to provide a spiritual home for college students and keep them connected to the Episcopal Church.
• Death of The Rev. Joanna D. Graham
The Rev. Joanna Diana Graham, died on July, 23, 2013 in at Riverview Medical Center in Middletown, NJ. Born on November 1, 1941, she was ordained a priest in the Diocese of New Jersey in 2000 and had been serving as Interim Rector at Holy Trinity, South River.
She is survived by her four children Diana Ryan, Jennifer Graham, Kenneth Graham, and Christina Graham. Also surviving, are her sister and two brothers, her five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Visitation will be on Sunday from 1-5pm at the Holmdel Funeral Home 26 South Holmdel Road, Holmdel NJ.
A Memorial Service will be at 12 noon on Monday, July 29, 2013 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 90 Leonardine Ave, South River, New Jersey.
A reception in the Parish Hall will follow the Service
In lieu of sending flowers, the family would appreciate donations given in her name to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, in South River N.J.
of The Rev. Denise Pariseau Mantell
• To the congregations of St. Paul’s and St. Matthew’s, Delray Beach, FL
June 14, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We recognize that Chip’s election as our 12th bishop is an occasion of both joy and sorrow to the communities of St. Paul’s and St. Matthew’s. As the reality of Chip and Susan’s departure begins to settle in, please know our prayers are with you and the Holy Spirit will not leave you comfortless.
In thanksgiving for the invaluable ministry you offer to the people of Delray Beach and beyond, and for all your community has done to raise up a bishop, we would like to offer the enclosed donation in Chip and Susan’s honor, to be used toward the ministry of Paul’s Place. We deeply appreciate your commitment to loving your neighbors and sharing the good work begun there with the wider church.
Our own experience of transition leaves no doubt that we cannot ease your sorrow. But just as we find our way through our sorrow to celebrate the ministry of our beloved Bishop George Councell and his wife, Ruth, we hope you will join with us to celebrate the next part of Chip and Susan’s ministry. In that Spirit, we truly look forward to sharing with you the joyful occasion of Chip’s ordination and consecration in November, both by remote broadcast and by welcoming those of you who will be making the trip here.
In the meantime, we continue to pray without ceasing that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you continue in this time of transition, knowing God will lift up for you a leader and servant who will bless your community just as Chip and Susan will bless us.
• Resignation of Canon Cynthia McFarlandDear Friends in Christ, I am writing to announce, with regret, that I have accepted the resignation of Canon Cynthia McFarland as Director of Communications in the Diocese of New Jersey, effective August 31, 2013.
In recent months Cynthia has faced, with grace and courage, some serious health concerns. After prayer and reflection and with an unshakable desire to do what is best for the Diocese she loves and has served for many years, Canon McFarland will leave the ministry of Communications while continuing to volunteer her time and expertise as Archivist/Historiographer.
Canon McFarland has done very good work in helping our Diocese to communicate effectively, using her gifts of clarity of thought and elegance of expression as well as her skills in building community. She has aided this office and our parishes to keep pace with new developments in information technology that have bound us closer together as one Church. Beyond that, she has helped us to reach new depths of appreciation of our history and heritage as the second oldest Diocese of The Episcopal Church. Her teaching role has been a special delight as she has shared insights from her oft-cited relationships with “dead bishops.”
As one of the living bishops who has been blessed by Cynthia’s labors, I will always give thanks for her loyalty, her support, her wisdom, her deep faith and her good humor. Her eagerness to serve our Lord through our Diocese has been indefatigable. I invite you to join me in commending her for a job well done.
We shall miss our dear sister in Christ and colleague on diocesan staff. I enjoin all of our clergy and congregations to uphold Cynthia in prayer, beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to sustain her with His presence, to drive away all sickness of body and spirit, and to give her that victory of life and peace which will enable her to serve Him both now and evermore (BCP, p. 456).
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
I close with the ringing call of our second Bishop, George Washington Doane, whose motto Canon McFarland has promoted to gather and renew us for the mission of our Lord in our own day: Right Onward!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Like a lot of other people, I pay attention whenever the Supreme Court is involved in a major case. I sometimes read the transcript of the dialogue that occurs in the courtroom and find myself in awe of the depth of the Supreme Court’s thinking and the logic of their questions. However, with the recent case concerning affirmative action, I believe that our esteemed justices totally missed the point. As happens so often in society today, they seemed to confuse ‘diversity’ with ‘justice’!
The case in question was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin. She sued the school, alleging that the University’s use of affirmative action violated her rights under the 14th Amendment. The court decided in favor of Ms. Fisher saying that the University must create a new policy to achieve its “diversity goal”. Apparently, the court was totally focused on diversity as the goal of affirmative action. In fact, the court uses the word “diversity” forty-nine times in their written opinion. In that same opinion, the term ‘racial justice’ is never used!
The concept of affirmative action was first talked about in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights era. Prior to that time, it was quite common for corporations and governments to have policies and practices that would discriminate against people of color. Affirmative action procedures were developed “to remedy the results of such prior discrimination” (Legal Information Institute, Cornell University). In the 1960’s, the country recognized discrimination as an issue of justice. In the last 50 years, this message has somehow been lost. Now people are linking affirmative action with diversity – a worthy but far less compelling issue.
Those of us who have taken the 2.5 day antiracism training in the Diocese of NJ have learned about how our country’s history has left a legacy of racism in our institutions today. The institutional racism that is often baked into our governments’, corporations’, and (dare I say) even our churches’ policies and practices often go unnoticed. However, we cannot deny how our past practices have resulted in today’s disparities in education, employment, incomes, housing, and prison populations. Affirmative action is just one of those tools that we, as antiracists, have to bring us one step closer to living in the Kingdom envisioned by Christ.
If you have not taken the 2.5 day antiracism training, I encourage you to do so. You will emerge from this training with a new view of the sin of institutional racism in our society today. For those who have already taken the training, I would encourage you to gather a group of people in your congregation and discuss the issues that are all around us.
As followers of Christ, we must work to eliminate the legacy of racism that exists in our institutions today. As Dr. Martin Luther King stated many times, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)
This past Monday June 17, 2013 the New Jersey Assembly Budget committee voted on the bill A4225, or the Tuition Equality Act. It was introduced by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson. The bill will allow undocumented students who have attended New Jersey high schools for a minimum of three years to qualify for in-state tuition rates in New Jersey’s public colleges and universities, on the condition that they have earned a diploma or GED from a NJ high school, and sign an affidavit promising to adjust their immigration status if given the opportunity to do so. The vote passed out of the budget committee with an 8-4 vote and will be presented to the assembly floor very soon.
I urge you to call your Assembly Representatives and State Senators to support the legislation entitled: Tuition Equality Act, currently bill A4225 in the assembly and its equivalent in the senate. You can also support this bill by coming to the State House this Monday from 1PM onward for the Assembly floor vote.
This action is in keeping with Resolution 2013-6 passed at this year’s Diocesan Convention. It reads:
Be it resolved, That the Two Hundred Twenty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey recognize that there are currently the bills NJ A1659/S2355 and A3509/S2479 in the Assembly and Senate of New Jersey, where A1659/S2355 would allow all students who attended a high school in New Jersey for at least three years and graduated or received an equivalent degree to qualify for in-state/resident rates at New Jersey’s public institutions of higher education regardless of immigration status, and A3509/S2479 would allow some students without U.S. documentation to be eligible for both in-state/resident rates at New Jersey’s public institutions of higher education and state financial aid; and be it
Further resolved, That the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey support the passage of this tuition equality legislation and directs the Secretary of Convention to endorse the online support letter and to send copies to the Governor and to the Presidents of the State Senate and Assembly; and be it
Further resolved, That the Diocese of New Jersey encourage its clergy, laity, and congregations to sign the support letter endorsing this legislation and to publicly announce that they are in support of these bills.
“This bill is not only the morally correct thing to do, but the economically intelligent thing to do,” explains Giancarlo Tello, NJ DREAM Act campaign manager, during his testimony. “Colorado's fiscal note estimated the bill would increase revenue from tuition by about $2.0 million in FY 2013–14 and by about $3.0 million in FY 2014–15. Massachusetts similarly did a conservative estimate that said by the fourth year, new revenues from 756 to 876 undocumented students would total between $6.4 and $7.4 million.”
“In New Jersey we already invest over $200,000 in educating our DREAMers from elementary school through high school. That is an investment that New Jersey, through its Out of State tuition policy, effectively kicks out to neighboring states such as New York, where tuition would be cheaper. We then stand to lose all their tax dollars, expertise, and investments that would otherwise be put into New Jersey.” Tello continued.
This bill does make sense morally and economically. It is the bill upon which Resolution 2013-6 of our Diocesan Convention requests us to act. Please take a moment to call or write your Assembly Representative or State Senator to request that he/she support this bill.
While their small chapel was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the congregation has strived to remain a "beacon of hope" according to its senior warden, Dennis Bellars.
On May 26, 2013, seventy-four people filled their newly rebuilt Fellowship Hall in a standing-room only Eucharist - the first of any sort since the storm.
The Rev. Charles Sakin, a supply priest beloved by the congregation who has served at St. Elisabeth for over 22 summers, celebrated the emotion filled Eucharist.
St. Elisabeth's member Mark Case, who served as chair of the committee to rebuild, spent part of every day at the site making sure that the work was being done in a timely fashion and to his satisfaction. Other members of the congregation also volunteered their time and energy to help prepare Fellowship Hall for holding services this summer. The success of Chase and the other volunteers was surely felt by all those in attendance.
While the congregation is now working towards rebuilding the church, St. Elisabeth's is back open for worship.
A Memorial Service is being planned for early July at Trinity, Princeton. Details will be posted when available.
• Statement by the Bishop-Elect upon his election
"I am humbled beyond expression and deeply honored to have been elected as the Twelfth Bishop of New Jersey. I am grateful to the people of the Diocese for their confidence, support and prayers. I am grateful above all to God in Christ who has called me and walked with me throughout my journey".
"The Diocese is made up of a rich and wonderful variety of people. The diversity of the diocese is one of its great strengths and beauties. The people of the Diocese understand well the very real challenges that face the Church today".
"I look forward to getting to know you and to journeying with you hand in hand as we all respond to God’s call to us to love and serve one another, the communities in which we are placed, and the wider church and world".
The Reverend Canon William (Chip) Hallock Stokes, age 56, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Delray Beach, Florida, was elected on the fifth ballot as twelfth bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey on May 4, 2013 at the special convention at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton.
the canons of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops and diocesan
standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination as
bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.
The event was reported in numerous newspapers and online news sources; here are linke to the major stories about the election.
The Trenton Times : 'Taking on difficult missions with grace'
The Trenton Times : 'With home in Trenton, new Episcopal bishop-elect ready to lead'
Asbury Park Press: 'Florida priest elected bishop of Episcopal Diocese'
James' Church, Long Branch, celebrated the hundredth anniversary of
their church building on April 14th with a visitation by Bishop
Councell, festive music, and all manner of celebrations.
It's rare for a newspaper to give this much space to a local church celebration, so be sure to have a look at just how impressed the photographer was with the event!
'Bishop George Councell made his way around his spacious office on West State Street, past the objects he has collected over his 38 years as a clergyman — small wooden carvings of religious figures, stained glass pieces and shelves of leather-bound books'. He sought out one particular item, a framed prayer on a side table near a comfortable green chair. 'This is what I wanted,” he said, fixing his glasses to read from the prayer. 'Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day, with all that it shall bring.'Read the rest here
Anti-Racism Training Noticed in Somerset Messenger Gazette
The gathering of more than 15 parishioners of St. Martin’s gained a new understanding of the systemic racism that creates injustice in so many of the institutions in our society, not excluding the institution of the church.The workshop is an outreach program of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey; namely, the Diocesan Anti-Racism Commission...
Death of the Reverend Barbara L. Harris
The Rev. Veretta L. Hoston, Deacon died on March 4, 2013 in California at the age of 81. Deacon Hoston was born the third of six children in Morgantown, West Virginia. She married Walter Lee Hoston (deceased), an investigator in the Air Force and moved to McGuire Air Force Base and had two daughters. They spent many years in Japan while stationed at Okinawa before returning to New Jersey. Hoston was ordained a deacon in 1998. She retired to San Diego, California to be closer to her daughter, Dr. Germaine Hoston, in 2005, after serving at St. Andrew’s in Mt. Holly and Grace-St. Paul’s in Mercerville.
Following cremation in California, her ashes will be buried at Beverly National Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. on April 19, followed by a memorial service at noon at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 121 High Street, Mt. Holly, NJ.
many in the Diocese are aware, John Wood Goldsack, Esq, lifelong
Episcopalian and former Chancellor of the Diocese, died on Christmas
Joyous yet bittersweet 229th
Diocesan Convention Draws to a Close
We were fortunate to enjoy the presence of the acting bishop of Ecuador Central, the Right Reverend Victor Scantlebury and we were led in prayer by the Reverend Dr Ann Marie Jeffrey, who used the words of Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, as a framework.
The Eucharist was undergirded with a sense of of joy and resilience -- despite the fact that it is Lent -- with many of the hymns urging us to carry on in the Lord's work. Bishop Councell's homily was a moving reflection on the Gospel of the prodigal son, which he had just heard, and into that he wove his own memories, thanksgivings, and recollections of his ten years as diocesan bishop. In the convention hall one heard both laughter at Bishop Councell's gentle humor and occasional sniffling and tears as he remember all he and the diocese have done together through the years.
As Bishop Councell banged the gavel to open the 229th convention, the shades that had covered the massive windows in the convention hall -- which had been strangely closed -- opened to the music of James Taylor singing 'Hear Comes the Sun', a fun touch that bore all the marks of our bishop's close attention to the soundtrack of convention! Delegates could now look out on the sands, sky, and ocean.
Of course there was much voting on matters that required, well, voting! Most matters were voted on with efficiency and with very little discussion. The ballots required to elect persons for various committees and boards, as well as deputies to General Convention, didn't extend beyond a reasonable number, to the delight of the delegates.
The Episcopal Election Committee reported on their work and our nominees, with the news that three additional nominations were received by petition. The nomination booklet will be available on 15 March, in print and online.
We heard from Charlie Nakash, our Jersey missionary in Honduras, with his personal stories and personal plea for our engagement with our brothers and sisters in that part of the world. Three important groups presented overviews of their work — the Visioning Committee, the Vitality Task Force, and the Accountability and Fair Share Task Force — and their efforts were received with applause and, where required, with votes.
In a surprise appearance at the podium the Reverend Paul Jeanes made a presentation on behalf of the clergy of the Diocese of New Jersey, serving as a sort of master of ceremonies as he wheeled a small suitcase on to the dais and pulled out of it various gifts to Bishop Councell and Mrs Councell, which included a purse of $7200 raised from the clergy.
Mid-afternoon on Friday -- always a sleepy-ish time -- was punctuated by the delightful, funny, and hard-hitting keynote of Dr Rodger Nishioka. His remarks on why churches can no longer be the way they've always been (and why that's a good thing), scattered energy throughout the hall. His breezy, comfortable, low-key humour, along with his ability to connect to his audience, made this a convention highlight.
Later on Friday afternoon, we were privileged to meet the men and women in the process towards ordination and listened to the critical importance of visiting those in prison, described for us by the Deacon Johnine Byrer. We also recognized the parishes and priests celebrating milestones, which included three of our clergy ordained fifty years ago.
As the day was coming to a close, several reports were held till Saturday, and we adjourned for a time of fellowship and then the convention banquet. The banquet room was packed with large round tables, all filled to the brim with Jersey Episcopalians happy to enjoy a good meal and what promised to be a roast of Bishop Councell, by the well-known Father Guido Santucci (in real life, Larry Schmidt, the senior warden of St Mary's Church, Stone Harbor). It didn't disappoint!
On Saturday the Convention welcomed two new parishes that it had recognized the day before as qualifying for this reclassification from Mission status. St Francis', Dunellen processed through the Convention floor to the singing of "All Creatures of our God and King", led by the Reverend Jack Zamboni, and St. John's, Woodbridge then processed, led by the Reverend Canon Martin Oguike, singing "This Is the Day that the Lord has Made".
Presentations were made on diocesan projects to deal with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy by Keith Adams, the new diocesan Disaster Recovery Coordinator, and by Mrs. Cynthia Sosnowski, on the Heart of the Home project to supply kitchen needs for displaced families.
The Insurance Committee presented its work on rewriting the Insurance Canon to reflect implementation of the Denominational Health Plan that had been mandated by the General Convention, and the Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation presented a revised spreadsheet for calculating minimum compensation for clergy.
The Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons gained approval for the revision to the Insurance Canon, for a canonical change implementing action of the 2012 General Convention, for an increase to $25,000 in the grant authority of the Loan and Grant Committee, and for an earlier deadline for canonical-change proposals to the Committee. The bulk of its report centered on a complete revision and simplification of Part IV of the diocesan canons, governing the classification of congregations, which was approved without objection.
Resolutions were passed to encourage voting on shareholder resolutions proposed by The Episcopal Church or the Church Pension Fund, to make Poverty a topic of all church meetings for a three-month period between annual conventions, and to voice support for tuition equity for undocumented college students in New Jersey.
The Convention recognized newly retired clergy, clergy in new cures, newly ordained deacons, and deacons in new congregations, and it commemorated members of the clergy of the Diocese who had died since last year's Convention.
Although Bishop Councell will be missed in the coming years, the enthusiasm and efficiency of the youth pages, fellowship, active exhibit hall, and business of continuing the mission of the church left everyone excited and ready to go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
love and faith,
of earlier news
updated: 6 December 2013