A Message from Rev. Paula+
"You can be the body of Christ in the Episcopal Church without indoor plumbing. You can be the body of Christ within the Episcopal Church having one priest serve seven or eight congregations. You can be the body of Christ within the Episcopal Church and not actually be able to afford insurance on your building, knowing if it burns down it's gone. You can be the body of Christ if you choose to be the body of Christ."
The wise and faithful words about choosing to be the body of Christ were spoken by The Rt. Rev. John Tarrant, retired 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota, who died suddenly on Monday while serving as Interim Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Bishop Tarrant was well-known and much loved in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, having served there both before and after his consecration as Bishop. Though I cannot say that I knew him, I can say that I knew of him and had heard him preach a time or two, the Episcopal Church being as close-knit as it is. His death is a huge loss to the Church, as well as to his family and friends.
Bishop Tarrant's understanding of what it is to be the body of Christ seems especially relevant and poignant in these times. To quote the Book of Esther, as our own beloved Bishop Carlye Hughes is wont to do, he was bishop and these are important words "for such a time as this." Grappling with how to be church during a global pandemic, when so much of how we understand what that means is challenged by life-affirming restrictions on our gathering for worship and for service, formation, and fellowship, as well as by our fears about the economy and what that means for us as a faith community, is summed up beautifully by the final sentence of this quote. Being the church is a choice we make. Figuring out how to do that is a result of that choice.
As we continue to ask the questions we need to ask and seek the science-based answers we need to find so that we can return to in-person gatherings in some way, hopefully soon, I ask all of you to affirm for yourselves the choice to be the body of Christ as lived out in this amazingly faithful, Spirit-filled community of followers of Jesus. I ask, too, that you join your leadership in our prayerful discernment of how God is calling us to respond to the Spirit who is always present and guiding us.
Peace & Blessings,
Connection and Common Worship
All of the information you need to remain actively connected to St. Stephen's can be found on the website under the "Living Our Faith in a Time of Pandemic" tab on the top left. In addition, the ways to join in worship and other activities is also available on the Events Calendar on the website, under News & Events. Our worship services will be posted to Facebook
every Sunday morning at 8 AM and will be available on our YouTube channel
. The services can be watched at any time.
Our Sunday worship service is also broadcast on HTTV (Comcast TV 36 and Verizon TV 33) at 6 AM and 1 PM. Please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family who do not use the internet.
Audio recordings of the homilies are found here.
The bulletins can be found here.
FYI - St. Stephen's is on Facebook EVERY DAY! Join us, and tell your friends and family! Posts include daily prayer, Sunday worship, Children's Chapel on Saturday, and Children's Storytime with Rev. Paula.
Beginning July 29th, daily prayer is at 8:30 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, it is at 7:45 pm. Most days, Rev. Paula will lead prayer live, though occasionally it will be a "Prayerful Interlude" or a recorded reflection.
Videos of all the posts can easily be accessed from the Facebook video library right here
St. Stephen's Pre-School will be reopening next Tuesday, September 1st. If you need to visit the building for any reason, please contact the parish office.
BISHOP HUGHE'S AUGUST 19th VLOG can be seen here. The Voice Online
may be found here
Bishop Hughes' pastoral letter on the guidelines for in-person worship
in the Diocese of Newark can be found here
To read Bishop Hughes' Covid-19 guidelines, as well as other news from around the diocese, look here.
Sunday, September 13, 10 AM
St. Stephen's congregation is invited and encouraged to join this Live Zoom Service with Bishop Hughes at 10 AM on September 13. The service will end at approximately 11:15 AM and will be followed by a Zoom Coffee Hour with the Bishop until approximately 12:10 PM. She will then meet with the Vestry in a "break-out" Zoom conversation.
The Bishop is also inviting you to explore the diocesan website
, read the diocesan newsletters
, and listen to her vlog posts
prior to her visit so that our conversations with her will be enhanced by exposure to these diocesan communications.
AN INVITATION: Earlier in the summer, Bishop Hughes invited the diocese to read the Book of Esther, which speaks to being called for a "such a time as this" (Ch. 4:14). Rev. Paula reiterates that invitation as preparation for this visit, noting that the Book of Esther has ten short chapters, with the whole book averaging about 15 pages, depending upon what Bible you read. It is a rather entertaining story, containing great truth, even as it is thought to be fictionalized and makes no mention of God. (BONUS: If you read in preparation for the Bishop's visit, you'll be all caught up to join us for Reading with the Rector on October 4th!)
Details about how to log into the Bishop's Zoom service will be provided via the St. Stephen's e-Newsletter to congregation members only as the date nears. The Zoom service will also be transmitted over the diocesan's YouTube live-streaming channel. This means anyone who wants to witness the service is welcome to watch it at this link: https://youtube.com/c/dionewark.
Please note: If you join the Live Zoom Service you will be a part of the conversation with the Bishop, including Coffee Hour. If you watch the service on YouTube, you will not be able to speak with the Bishop. Also note, that the service will not be available on HTTV or the St. Stephen's Facebook page that weekend.
SHARE YOUR PRAYERS
Bishop Hughes invites all of us to do something that might be a first for us - to write down our prayers during this pandemic and share them with the diocese, as a way to help each other. The prayers will be shared on the diocesan website in The VOICE and on social media. Prayers can be sent to Canon Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org for posting. Please include the name and town of your church.
DIOCESAN MEMORIAL WALL
A holy place in virtual space for mourning and memory.
This is a place to gather, grieve, reflect and honor the lives of those who have died during the time of the Pandemic, whether or not it was due to the virus. Because we have been isolated, and unable to be with each other to provide comfort, care and support during this time, we offer this site as an ongoing memorial, gathering the names of the dead so that they are not forgotten.
Here, we who mourn can cast our tears into God's almighty and loving hands, whose own tears join ours, bringing us consolation, peace and hope. To visit the wall and/or submit a name, click here.
| BISHOP HUGHES' VISITATION
Sunday, September 13, 10 AM
Live-Streamed via Zoom
Please see details in the above newsletter block about joining the live Zoom service or watching the service on the diocesan YouTube channel.
A LAY CONVERSATION WITH THE BISHOP
Thursday, September 17 at 6 PM
This 90 minute monthly Zoom meeting with Bishop Hughes is open to all members of the dicoese. An email invitation will be sent on Monday, September 15 to recipients of The VOICE Online with sign-in instructions for this meeting.
CROSS ROADS WOMEN'S VIRTUAL RETREAT
"The Way of Love"
A one-day virtual retreat led by Laurie Matarazzo and Dale Selover
Four dates to choose from: Saturday, September 26, Sunday, September 27, Saturday, October 10, or Sunday, October 11
The retreat program will begin at 10 AM and conclude by 4 PM, with a two-hour break for lunch and individual reflection time. Though we cannot gather in person, we hope you will join us on Zoom for a day of conversation, reflection, prayer, and laughter together. The cost for the day-long retreat is $40. Visit the link here
for details and to register.
Sunday, October 4
We will be meeting, via Zoom, for our next Book Group on October 4th. Rev. Paula has recommended that we read the Book of Esther for our choice. We will talk about future book choices at the meeting, so think of any suggestions you may have.
Details and a Zoom link will be given as we get closer to the date. Thanks, Barbara
ST. STEPHEN'S COFFEE HOUR
Sundays at 11 AM
Watch the service at 10 AM, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and join the fun. We'll be around from 11 to noon.
by 10:45 AM that morning to request the login information. Don't be surprised to find yourself in a waiting room. Barbara Riedel or Rev. Paula will let you in.
DIOCESE OF NEWARK PRISON MINISTRY
NEW! Gift Card Drive through September 13
It can be a challenge for our PATCH II families to provide nutritious meals to their families. Prison Ministry is collecting $25 Shop Rite gift cards or checks toweards the purchase of them to distribute to our families. Please make checks payable to "Prison Ministory Diocese of Newark" with ShopRite cards ont he memo line.
Mail to: Grace Church, 200 Highfield Lane, Nutley, NJ 07110. Thank you for your support!
APOSTLES' HOUSE & NORTH PORCH
Thank you to all who have dropped off donations already!
PLEASE KEEP THE CONTRIBUTIONS COMING - and remember to check the expiration dates before sending your items. Donation bins are located outside of the St. Stephen's Narthex parking lot entry doors.
1. Apostles' House Food Barrel - Items needed - Canned goods and non-perishable food items.
2. North Porch Women & Infants' Centers - They are in urgent need of the following:
- Enfamil 12.5 oz powdered baby formula and soy formula, and Enfamil infant (yellow label) 21.1 oz
- Diapers especially Large sizes - 4, 5, 6, and Pull-ups of all sizes
- Baby wipes
- Jars of baby food - all ages- fruit, veggie and 1st foods
3. Online Ordering/Donations - If you are unable to drop off items at the church, and would like to contribute, you can make purchases and/or donations online directly to these organizations. PLEASE NOTE: North Porch prefers you use their AmazonSmile link for direct product donations.
North Porch Women and Infant Centers
North Porch Amazon Smile direct link:
The Apostles' House Food Pantry link:
Youth & Teen Resources and Events
CROSS ROADS CAMP & RETREAT CENTER
Our friends at Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center are providing activities for kids and teens including art projects, virtual camp-fires and more!
For all the details, follow the Cross Roads Facebook page here and follow them on Instagram @crossroads.camp.
LAST WEEK FOR SUMMER CAMP BOXES!
As the week-long camp programs come to an end, Cross Roads is excited to announce that CAMP BOXES are now for sale through August 30th! Each camp box comes with materials to do multiple camp activities at home, as well as exclusive access to additional videos, some camp swag, and Bible study resources. You can get details and purchase a Cross Roads camp box here.
GAP YEAR PROGRAM
Young adults ages 18+ are invited to apply for the Cross Roads Gap Year Program for 2020 - 2021. Selected participants will live on-site as part of an intentional community, while taking classes online, working, and/or spending the year doing service in the community. For details, please visit the Cross Roads website here.
YOUTH MINISTRY POP UP
Events will be back in September!
Resources from the Diocese and Beyond
There are many, many resources available to parishes and individuals to help sustain our faith practices during this unprecedented time. This is by no means a complete list, though it does cover many areas of need.
Faith@Home, a ministry of Forward Movement Publications and Forma, a ministry of the Episcopal Church Foundation, offers weekly lectionary-based readings and reflections for all age groups, here
The Diocese of Newark has a page dedicated to pastoral messages, informational updates and directives, and resources for use by parishes and people of faith, here.
The Episcopal Church,
nationally and internationally, has information on its website, including pastoral messages from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, here
The National Cathedral livestreams worship and hosts podcasts, all of which can be accessed here.
The Church Publishing Group has made available a free downloadable copy of The Book of Common Prayer. This is a wonderful way to encourage both a personal prayer discipline and as a support to online worship in which the liturgy is from the BCP.
Now might be the right time to sign up for a daily, weekly, or monthly devotion. Some favorites are:
- The Society of St. John the Evangelist. The brothers offer wisdom in many ways so please do explore their website.
- The Center for Action and Contemplation, home of Richard Rohr. As with SSJE, this is a rich offering of resources so it is best to explore the website.
In this time of national upheaval, outrage, and fear, The Episcopal Church's Department of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care and the Office of Government Relations have assembled resources to assist individuals, congregations and communities seeking to LEARN, PRAY and ACT.
You can find the link to current resources here. Read Presiding Bishop Curry's Word to the Church here.
St. Stephen's Prayer List
Please keep the following St. Stephen's family members and friends in your prayers...
The McManus Family
The Blanchard Family
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Sara Ruth Dorn
Links to the Wider Church
|Giving with Tithe.ly is easy, with options for one-time or recurring donations. We encourage you to consider it at all times, but especially when you are away for any reason, like all of us now with the restrictions due to coronavirus.
There are two ways to do it: thru tithe.ly.com or the tithe.ly app on your smart phone. You'll want to search for St. Stephen's Church Millburn. Be sure to have the correct punctuation. You'll know you're there when you see: St. Stephen's Church Millburn and the address. Once you're at the church's page, follow the prompts.
Office Hours and Contact Information
Until we are through this public health emergency, there are NO office hours. Please call Rev. Paula to arrange for pastoral care or if you have any reason to come to the office. She'll work with you to figure out a safe way to manage this.
Main email: email@example.com
Doreen Schindler, Parish Administrator can be reached at ext. 32 or
The Rev. Paula J. Toland, Rector can be reached at ext. 21 or