In This Edition
Holiday Fairs and Bazaars
Parishes throughout the Diocese 
Nov 15-Dec 15
Super Bowl Raffle 
Grace
Merchantville  
December 1-31
Children's Photography Exhibit  
St Luke's
Metuchen 
December 12 
"The Thirteen" Joyeux Noel Concert
Church of the Advent
Cape May
December 13  
Manger Mania
Holy Trinity
Collingswood
December 13  
Pageant with Santa
Church Church
South Amboy
December 14  
Lessons and Carols
St. Luke's
Gladstone
December 14  
Lessons and Carols
Trinity
Asbury Park
December 19 
Joyeux Noel: The Thirteen in Concert
St Luke's
Metuchen
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Episcopal Links of the Week

School for Deacons Accepting Applications

 

The School for Deacons is currently accepting applications of consideration for admission. The deadline for submission is January 15. Need more information? 
 
 

Click here.


Questions? Please contact the Ven. Lynn H. Johnson, Co-Chair, Committee on the Diaconate 
609-396-1484 (office) 609-521-7600 (cell).

Episcopal Relief and Development NJ Site Launches
 
Visit the new ER&D NJ site for new ways to participate in the 75th Anniversary. Look for more news coming soon!
Ending Modern Slavery by 2020
 
The newly redesigned Episcopal Cafe discusses the radical ecumenical move by Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim leaders to work together to end modern slavery.  
December 12, 2014 

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
 

As we observe this second week of Advent and prepare to enter the third, voices of anger and cries for justice ring out across our nation. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a scathing report on the CIA's use of torture in the wake of 9/11. Demonstrations continue across the country in the wake of the Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY around the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. There are those who believe the justice system has done its job and this should be the end of the matter. Others feel that the system is inherently corrupt and racist; that it cannot deliver justice fairly. The huge disparity in the number of people of color, particularly young black men, caught in the web of the criminal justice system as well the disproportionate number of young black men killed by police lend strong support to this conclusion.

Just before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to join Fr. Gideon Uzomechina to celebrate the Eucharist and install new members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew at The Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in YardvilleThis facility holds male inmates who are between 18 and 35 years old. Over 50 inmates participated in the service I led. We installed 12 new members of the Brotherhood Chapter which now numbers over 200 members in that place. It was a powerful and grace-filled experience. I was deeply impressed with the faithfulness of these inmates.

  

Of the over 50 inmates who attended the service, only two or three were white. As I walked through the prison halls, it was clear: the vast majority of the prison population was made up of people of color. No matter what argument one makes, this indicates a system, and a country, that is badly broken and in need of reform. 

In her book, The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York:  The New Press, 2012), Professor of Law Michelle Alexander makes a compelling case that this is so. I strongly recommend this book as a means of beginning an informed discussion about these matters. There are those who urge that these are "political issues" and that the church should stay out of them. Politics, however, concerns how we as people organize our civic life and, as such, involves justice. Justice is very much a concern of the Bible and of the Church.  Justice is a concern of God's. Think of Micah: "What does the Lord of you, but to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). How about Amos? "Let justice roll down likes waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream" (Amos 5:24).

Our Baptismal Covenant calls upon us, demands of us, that we strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. It compels us to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as our self (BCP - p. 304-305). One of the Five Marks of Anglican Mission calls upon us to "transform the unjust structures of society." 

There is no getting around it, as Christians, as people of faith, we cannot turn our eyes away from injustice.  Rather, we must be active agents striving to bring about justice and peace which are the hallmarks of God's kingdom and God's reign. As the well-known saying goes, "where there is no justice, there can be no peace." 

This coming Sunday, we will pray:
 

"Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen. (BCP - p. 212).


 

I believe we need to pray that prayer with great earnestness, allowing it to confront us in our sinfulness, but also to strengthen us in our faith, to give us renewed confidence in God's grace and mercy, as the clarion call of John the Baptist urges us once more to "Repent" and "Prepare the way of the Lord."

 

May God bless you as you continue the Advent journey.

 

Yours in Christ, 


The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.

Bishop of New Jersey 

Good News Stories and More

A Night of Smooth Jazz at Trinity Cathedral

 

Trinity Cathedral will be hosting A Night of Smooth Jazz and R&B featuring Benny Barksdale Jr. & Friends on Saturday, December 20, starting at 7:00 PM. Benny Barksdale, Jr. has played with people like Evelyn "Champagne" King, Grover Washington Jr., Alicia Keys, Jimmy McGriff and The Dells. 

To purchase tickets, consult the Trinity Cathedral website: http://www.trinitycathedralnj.org/ or call (609) 392-3805; Ext. 102.
The Diocese of New Jersey
(609) 394-5281
808 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08618

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