Dear Friends in Christ:
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
As Easter approaches, "spring is busting out all over!" Flowers--crocuses and dahlias and many other varieties--are emerging from the earth. Forsythia, Dogwoods and Cherry Blossoms are flowering.
It's been a cold winter, but that is almost past. The clear signs of new life are all around.
It is difficult to express how literally wonder-full it is for Susan and me to witness the eruption of spring in New Jersey. We have spent the past 18 springs in South Florida. It is always green in South Florida and flowers abound year round. It is easy to take it all for granted. While Floridians will tell you there are seasons in South Florida, and there are, their presence is very subtle.
For us to witness the dramatic transformation from the stark death and bareness of winter to the abundant, color of spring is a great delight. More than this, it is a spiritual experience. The Christian pattern of death and resurrection is evident in the natural seasonal cycles of New Jersey in a way that is profound and powerful. We are thankful.
As flowers and trees bloom, I can't help thinking of the garden where Mary Magdalene discovered the tomb empty on Easter morning. In a famous Easter sermon, the great preacher and Anglican Divine, Lancelot Andrewes offers a wonderful reflection on John 20 and Mary's "mistaking" Jesus for the gardener.
He comes unknown, stands by her, and she little thought it had been He ... Not only not knew Him, but mis-knew Him, took Him for the gardener ...
She did not mistake in taking Him for a gardener; though she might seem to err in some sense, yet in some other she was in the right. For in a sense, and a good sense, Christ may well be said to be a gardener, and indeed is one ... A gardener He is then. The first, the fairest garden that ever was, Paradise. He was the gardener, it was of His planting...
We, each one of us, is a plant of Christ's own garden. He calls us this and every Easter to blossom anew into color and life in his resurrection power. I pray that the glory and wonder of Christ's resurrection will blossom anew in you.
Susan joins me in wishing you and yours a blessed and joyful Easter.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
•Diocese Awarded $600,000 from the American Red Cross for Sandy Recovery
NEW JERSEY (STATEWIDE) – The American Red Cross today awarded a $600,000 grant to the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey for Superstorm Sandy recovery work in Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden Counties. The Diocese is entrusted to use these funds to aid residents of these counties who still have unmet needs as a direct result of the storm.
The Greater Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey will work closely with the Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRGs) in these counties to provide direct financial assistance to families and individuals for basic household goods and appliances, furniture, temporary housing and home repairs. The Red Cross grant will be distributed among the four counties as follows: $200,000 for Salem County, $150,000 for Gloucester County, $150,000 for Cumberland County, and $100,000 for Camden County.
“We are grateful to the Red Cross for providing assistance to these communities who are still struggling with their recovery and have not had the access to state and federal funding resources that has been allocated to other counties,” said the Right Reverend William H. Stokes, Bishop Diocesan of New Jersey. “This Red Cross grant will allow the Recovery Groups of Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden Counties to create a sense of hope and enable residents to finally reach resolution.”
“We hold in high regard the trust the Red Cross has placed in us in distribution of these much-needed funds,” said Keith Adams, Disaster Recovery Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. “Since autumn 2012, the Diocese of New Jersey has taken part in efforts to ease the pain, shock and heartache in the wake of Sandy, and to restore vibrancy and normalcy to New Jersey residents hit the hardest. The work of recovery and restoration remains long and difficult, and we remain committed to seeing these efforts through.”
“As the Red
Cross Sandy recovery work in New Jersey progresses, we are able to
identify the evolving needs of our residents and communities,” said
Nancy Orlando, regional CEO, American Red Cross South Jersey Region.
“Although the magnitude of Sandy affected residents in these counties
is less than the numbers we’ve seen in the nine most impacted, we
understand that individual households have nonetheless also experienced
catastrophic losses that this partnership with the Episcopal Diocese
will begin to address.”
More information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts, including other New Jersey grants, can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.
the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey:
•Spring 2014 Clericus Meeting
• Highlights from the 230th Diocesan Convention
We're grateful to all of you who joined us at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill on February 28 and March 1. The 230th Diocesan Convention--Bishop Stokes' first--was a hopeful, faithful gathering and exchange of ideas. Click here for a gallery of photographs from both days.
We extend our deepest thanks to the administrative and technical staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly before and during to make the DiocesanConvention a success.
We'd like to share with you several of the exciting developments across these two days:
TRENTON(Statewide): Congregations within the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey will participate in “Ashes to Go” this year on Ash Wednesday, March 5, at locations around the state. The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes will be offering ashes and blessings from 6 am to 8 am at the Trenton Transit Center in Trenton, located at 72 South Clinton Avenue Trenton, NJ 08609. Clergy from throughout the diocese will be offering ashes at over 18 sites throughout the state. A list of locations is available below.
“The world in which we live is so rushed, alienating and dehumanizing that we often lose sight of God and of our own humanity,” said Bishop Stokes. “Ash Wednesday begins Lent, a time for taking stock of ourselves and our lives and, by God’s grace, reclaiming the sanctity and gift of the lives we have been given. Receive these ashes as a sign of your mortality, but also as a sign that you are loved by God and that God wants to be in relationship with you.”
The diocese’s participation in Ashes to Go is part of a new nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes and invite them to repent of past wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and renewal.
In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the face at the beginning of that season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness. Ashes to Go provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church, or have never participated before.
A list of locations, times (where available) and sponsoring churches for that location are as follows:
West Trenton Train Station (6:45am-8:15am), (St. Luke’s, Ewing)
Hamilton Train Station (Grace St. Paul’s, Mercerville)
Hinds Plaza in Princeton (9-Noon), (All Saint’s, Princeton)
Princeton Junction Train Station and Palmer Square (Trinity, Princeton)
South Brunswick Bus Depot (6-8:30am) (St. David’s, Cranbury and St. Barnabas, Monmouth Junction)
New Brunswick Train Station (7am), (St. Alban’s, New Brunswick)
Dunellen Train Station (St. Francis’, Dunellen)
Drive-Thru Ashes at St. Peter’s Church, Spotswood (St. Peter’s, Spotswood)
Bernardsville Train Station, Bernardsville (6-8am) (St. John on the Mountain, Bernardsville)
Atlantic Highlands Ferry Slip (5:45-6:30am), Highlands Ferry Slip (6:45-7:30am) Atlantic Highlands Foodtown (9-10am) (All Saints’, Navesink)
Perth Amboy Train Station (6am-9am), (St. Peter’s, Perth Amboy)
Basking Ridge and Lyons Train Stations (6am-8am), (St. Mark’s, Basking Ridge)
Church of the Holy Spirit in Tuckerton (7-8am, Noon-1pm), (Church of the Holy Spirit)
Meridian Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Facility (2 pm), (Holy Innocents, Beach Haven)
Point Pleasant Beach Train Station (7:45-9am) (St. Mary’s, Pt. Pleasant Beach)
Keansburg Community Center (11am), (St. Mark’s Keansburg)
Salem County Courthouse (11-11:45am) (St. John’s, Salem)
• Death of The Rev. Mary Ann Jensen, Deacon
We are sad to announce that, after extended illness, The Reverend Mary Ann Jensen, Deacon died today at Princeton Care Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Deacon Jensen served the Diocese of New Jersey with compassion, service, and the deep love of Christ since being ordained to the Deaconate in 2001, with her most recent assignment for All Saints Church in Princeton. She was Associate Archivist at Diocesan House and a member of the Recovery Ministries of the Diocese of New Jersey.
Deacon Jensen's Funeral and Celebration of Life will be at All Saints Episcopal Church in Princeton, New Jersey on Thursday, March 13th at 11:00 AM, with the Right Reverend William "Chip" Stokes as Officiant and Celebrant.
Deacon Jensen's Interment and Committal in the Trinity/All Saints Cemetery will directly following the Funeral service.
All are welcome to attend. Clergy - White stoles
• Bishop's Address to Diocesan Convention
Diocese of New Jersey – 230th Diocesan Convention
Address to Convention
Welcome to all clergy and lay delegates, to all volunteers and staff, to our guests….Welcome to the 230th Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey. A special welcome to Bishop Victor Scantlebury Interim Bishop of the Diocese of Ecuador Central; to Bishop Blair Couch of the Moravian Church and to Pastor Wayne Zscheck of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is great to have you here. Our youngest son, Richard, visited us last week. He’s 27. This past Monday, he and I decided to go play. We drove up early Monday morning to Shawnee Mountain to go skiing. Actually, I went to ski, he went to snowboard. (It’s a generational thing.) Watching a lot of the Winter Olympics gave us both the urge to hit the slopes.
Monday was a gorgeous day. I hadn’t skied in more than 14 years, nor had he. We took a couple of test runs on the “bunny slope” just to get our ski legs. The conditions were icy, so it took a lot of work, but we did all right. We decided to take the chair lift to the top and try a more ambitious run.
ride up was crisp and clear and wonderful. I enjoyed the view and the
gleaming, white slopes beneath me. We exited the lift. I skied down a
bit to clear the lift and position myself toward the beginning of an
easy trail, to wait as Richard clipped his boots to his snowboard. He
was concentrating on what he was doing. I caught myself just looking at
him, remembering the little boy he had been, proud of the man he has
become, deeply thankful for this moment, this rare moment, when we
could both take time out from our otherwise busy lives and be together.
I wanted it to last. I wanted it to last forever.
course, Peter’s situation is different. It’s a lot different. After
all, Peter, James and John were with Jesus, the Messiah, God’s Son.
That makes a difference. The context of the Transfiguration within the
biblical narrative makes a difference. I’ll come back to that, I
promise, but for now, indulge me…Let me think of Richard andwallow in
the sentimentality of Peter wanting to preserve the moment, to freeze
it in time….
and it is good for us to be here now….I can’t tell you how great a joy
it is for me to be with you in this place for my first Convention as
your bishop. A year ago when you gathered, the nominees for bishop had
just been announced. That announcement was the culmination of more than
a year’s work by the Episcopal Election Committee Co-chaired by Deborah
Schmidt and Fr. Ron Pollock.They labored diligently, along with
consultant Ron Clingenpeel, to develop a process to discern what God
was doing in the Diocese of New Jersey; to discern what God was up to
in the neighborhoods of New Jersey, to anticipate the theme of this
year’s Convention key-note speaker Dwight Zscheile. You all worked
together to try to a call a bishop that would be a good fit for what
you felt the Lord was calling the Diocese of New Jersey to…And here we
are, in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), all of us, hoping you have
chosen wisely, that I have discerned faithfully and that we have all
been under guidance the Holy Spirit…
Susan and I have felt tremendously welcome and supported from the moment we quite literally landed in Cape May back in July. We have had wonderful adventures across the diocese: Spirit-filled worship at Cristo Rey and St. Peter’s Igbo Church in Trenton; a joyous, joint celebration of the Eucharist with the people of St. Mary’s Point Pleasant Beach and All Saints, Bay Head this summer before All Saints returned to their beautifully rebuilt sanctuary this past December. I had the great honor and delight of being present for that as well. We joined in for a Vestry Barbecue at St. Francis, Dunellen and an energetic, faith-filled conversation with their Vestry. We’ve shared lots of other worship and fellowship experiences with different churches and church leaders.
We’ve joined with the youth of the Diocese on a couple of occasions. Wow! Are we blessed with outstanding youth and outstanding youth leaders headed up by our Diocesan Youth Leader Debi Clark with Julia Nemec and Arlis Astudillo, Co-Chairs of Youth Council.
Of course there was the magnificent Consecration at Trinity Cathedral on November 2. I am most grateful to the Greg Bezilla and the entire Transition Committee, to Dean Rene John and to the people of Trinity Cathedral, to the outstanding Liturgical Commission, to the Diocesan staff who worked so hard to make that a glorious occasion for us all.
Since then I’ve had my first ordinations, celebrations of new ministry; first Christmas at the Cathedral as well as my first Bishop’s Ball, Acolyte Festival and Absalom Jones Festival. (By the way, a very special Cathedral Day is planned for Sunday, June 1 when we are all encouraged to celebrate the important place the Cathedral has in our common life. More information will be coming. I encourage you to support it).
and I have shared fellowship, or worship, or both, with about 50 of the
congregations of the Diocese or their representatives since I started
on August 1st. I can assure you, wonderful things are going on in the
Diocese of New Jersey. The living presence of Jesus Christ, the
transfiguring light of Christ, is present, vibrant and vital throughout
the Diocese of New Jersey from Sandy Relief efforts being led up by our
own Disaster Recovery Coordinator Keith Adams, to feeding ministries at
St. Paul’s, Camden and so many other churches in our downtowns and
rural communities, to the rich and various ways God’s praises and love
are celebrated in the parishes and missions of this diocese every day
and every week….
I want to take a moment to acknowledge the 11th Bishop of New Jersey, The Right Reverend George Edward Councell. It was a great blessing and privilege to work with him in those first three months of the transition. Bishop Councell’s grace-filled ministry of care and healing was a tremendous gift of God to us all. For his faithfulness, love of the Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry among you I am deeply thankful, as I believe we all are.
am also deeply thankful for the staff that Bishop Councell put in place
at Diocesan House. They are superior in every way. This was evident to
me during the Walk-Abouts. They have only confirmed my feelings since I
started working with them. To a person, they are each a treasure. We
all understand that our primary reason for being is to serve and
strengthen you to engage in God’s mission in the communities of this
Cynthia McFarland, 1952-2014 Cynthia Marie Wilson McFarland, 61, of Burlington, New Jersey, died on 13 February 2014, after a fierce years-long battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
She was born on 30 August 1952 to the late Frederick A. Wilson and Lorraine B. Wilson in Arlington, Virginia. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wells College in 1976 with a BA in Greek and Latin, then spent several years working towards a PhD in classics at the University of Virginia. She married the late Frederic W. McFarland in 1981, and they lived together in Auburn, NY and Lansing, NY, before moving to Burlington in 2004.
Cynthia had a profound fear of airplanes and took a year off during college to work as a stewardess for Eastern Airlines to conquer that fear. That was the way she did things: fighting head-on against all obstacles.
She found employment in the field of graphic design and communications, working at Cornell University and then starting her own successful communications business, which specialized in publicity for colleges and universities.
Cynthia felt drawn to New Jersey; she closed her business and moved to Burlington to become Communications Director, Historiographer and Archivist for the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. She loved church history. She published a definitive biography of one of the earliest clergymen in America, and was halfway through writing a biography of the second bishop of New Jersey.
Cynthia was a founding director of the Society of Archbishop Justus and was until her death the managing editor of Anglicans Online.
One of her doctors remarked, “Cynthia moved through life with astounding grace and light. Her passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of so many people.” One of her associates often noted, “Everyone who meets Cynthia falls in love with her.”
Cynthia is survived by her mother, Lorraine Wilson of Fairfax VA; sister Jennifer Wilson Mai of Vienna, VA; brothers Timothy Wilson of Greensboro, NC and Matthew Wilson of Las Vegas; and two Abyssinian cats, Mariel and Ariel.
In lieu of flowers, any donations on Cynthia’s behalf should be made to Doane Academy, 350 Riverbank, Burlington NJ 08016, of which she was a Trustee and fervent advocate.
A viewing will be held Friday, February 21 from 6-8 pm at Page Funeral Home, 302 East Union Street, Burlington. A Choral Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 am on Saturday, February 22 at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1625 Locust St, Philadelphia. A graveside service of Committal will be later that day at 3:00 pm at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, 145 West Broad St, Burlington, New Jersey where she will be interred alongside her late husband.
• Death of Cynthia McFarland
I am sad to announce that, after extended illness, Canon Cynthia McFarland, longtime Communications Director, Historiographer and Archivist of the Diocese of New Jersey, and active leader in the wider Episcopal Church died today at Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
Into your hands. O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Cynthia. Acknowledge we humbly beseech you a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.
her soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God,
rest in peace. Amen
• An Epiphany Message
Dear Beloved of the Diocese of New Jersey:
We have entered the season often referred to as "Epiphany." (Technically, it's the season "after the Epiphany" or "Ordinary Time" - but let's not quibble over semantics.)
The word "epiphany" comes from the Greek word epiphaniea which literally means "appearance" or "showing." As a religious/biblical technical term it means "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: Bauer - Gingrich & Arndt - Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1979).
The season begins (and brings Christmas to a close) with the story of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. The Magi represent the world beyond Judaism. In that child, the story underscores, God was showing, manifesting, God's own self to the world. The power of that story has been captured by great artists through the centuries. Among my favorites is that of the Dutch master, Rembrandt. The use of light is always critical in Rembrandt's paintings. This holds true for his portrayal of The Adoration of the Magi. In Rembrandt's painting, the Christ child is the primary source of light for the entire painting. There is no other light source on the canvas. The light of the Christ child illuminates all the other figures in the painting.
That's not a bad image for us in this season after the Epiphany. May the light of Christ be your source, shine upon you and through you throughout this ordinary, extraordinary time.
Blessings to all.
The viewing will be on January 12, 2014 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Perinchief Chapels and the funeral will take place on January 13, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 121 High Street, Mt. Holly, NJ.
A full obituary may be found here.
• Death of The Rev. Richard Edward Trask
sure and certain hope of the resurrection
to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty
God our brother The Rev. Richard Edward Trask
of earlier news
updated: 15 April 2014