In This Edition
Upcoming Congregational Events
May 2nd
Celebration of New Ministry: Greg Bezilla
Holy Trinity
South River
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May 3rd 
St. Andrew's 
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May 3rd 
Bach & Sons
St. Paul's 
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May 3rd 
30th Anniversary of Ordination: Fred Pray
St. Stephen's 
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May 3rd 
Blessing of the Bikes 
St. Stephen's 
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May 3rd 
Blessing of the Bikes
Grace-St. Paul's  
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May 3rd 
Baroque Concert
St. John the Baptist   
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May 4th 
Parenting Classes (recurring)
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May 9th  
Works of Mozart and Vivaldi in Concert 
St. Luke's 
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May 9th  
Blessing of the Bikes
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May 9th  
Gift Auction 
St. James
Bradley Beach
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May 9th  
Auction Night
All Saints'
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May 9th  
Gift & Services Auction
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May 13th  
Evensong in thanksgiving for The Rev. Philip Stowell
The Evergreens
Moorestown, NJ
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May 14th  
Woodbury Convocaton
 Confirmation Service
St. John's
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June 6th  
Art Auction
St. Mark's & All Saints'
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June 7th  
Choral Evensong
St. John's
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June 13th  
Paper Shredding and Car Wash
St. Martin's
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June 20th
Juneteeth Celebration of the End of Slavery
St. Stephen's
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List Your Congregation's Events Here!
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Episcopal Links of the Week
Nepal Earthquake Response Fund

Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal which could be felt as far as Pakistan and whose death toll nears 5,000, Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ACT Alliance in Nepal to best meet urgent needs and assessment efforts.

They are also in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia regarding support for the work of the Deanery of Nepal, which is part of the Diocese of Singapore.

Click here to make a donation
Past Presiding Bishops in Portrait

Available through The Episcopal Church website,  this slideshow features short portraits of each of the previous 24 Presiding Bishops of the Episcopal Church as well as brief, accessible biographical sketches. This gallery includes everyone from William White to Frank Griswold--and you may find someone you know (Samuel Seabury, the second PB served at Christ Church, New Brunswick!). 
Religious Leaders respond to the Baltimore protests 

The Washington Post features these 10 images of religious leaders doing as they feel so called.

A video of a statement on the violence released by several religious leaders, including The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton of Maryland, and endorsed by a number of ecumenical groups can be viewed here.

The most recent #ChsocM (Church and Social Media) also focused on prayers for Baltimore.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is holding a #OneBaltimore concert.

The Atlantic explores the background and history of police brutality in Baltimore, providing at least a partial explanation of what might have led citizens to riot in their own city.
Things Not to Say to Someone Hurt by the Church

Church is important to all of us, or we wouldn't be reading this newsletter. But for many the church has been, at various times, a painful place, sometimes culminating in spiritual abuse. 

This list includes helpful things said by well-intentioned people trying to "make it better" such as:
"No church Is perfect" or "I don't want to gossip" with explanations as to why such helpful advice isn't always helpful.
Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e -mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
April 30, 2015
From the Bishop

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,


"Weep with those who weep...."  Romans 12:15    


This has been a searing week in the news. In Nepal, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated the country and has claimed more than 5,000 lives. This is a natural disaster, a so-called "act of God."  No one can be blamed for this situation. All we human beings can do is respond with prayer and with hearts of compassion and love. We can give concrete expression to our compassion and care by making a contribution to Episcopal Relief & Development. Episcopal Relief & Development is working with ACT Alliance Nepal to provide food, clean water, shelter and other support services to those affected by this disaster. ACT Alliance represents a collection of ecumenical partners and other groups in coordination with the United Nations and other agencies to maximize the efficiency and impact of aid, mobilizing local networks to reach remote areas. Please make a contribution to Episcopal Relief & Development to support these relief efforts.


In Baltimore, Maryland, what began as peaceful demonstrations in the wake of the death and burial of Freddie Gray exploded into violence and vandalism when some, mostly teenage persons, in the community took advantage of the outrage over Gray's death and desecrated the funeral by creating mayhem in the streets. Gray had died of spinal injuries after being taken into custody by Baltimore Police. The turmoil following Gray's funeral included looting, arson, vandalism and acts of violence against police officers and fellow citizens. This was not a "natural disaster;" it was a human-caused tragedy. The behavior of the looters and rioters was despicable and has been roundly condemned by many, including members of the community where the rioting took place. This abhorrent behavior should not, however, distract us from the deeper problems and issues that lie beneath the surface in Baltimore and across our country.


As President Obama observed in the wake of the rioting in Baltimore, we as a nation, "have some soul searching to do."[1]  There are too many instances of people of color, mostly young black men, dying at the hands of police and security officers in circumstances where deadly force appears not to have been warranted. The arrest and incarceration rate of young men of color, again, mostly young black men, is hugely disproportionate and has resulted in a "new Jim Crow."[2]   Education disparities, an underground drug industry which preys on poor communities and fosters gang activity and violence, poverty, blighted inner cities, lost manufacturing - all of these contribute to the reality of a tale of two countries - one for the privileged, and mostly white, one for the poor and mostly people of color.  In the end, this cannot be sustained. It is not good for any of us.  


As troubling as many of the images coming out of Baltimore are, other images are powerful and moving: a young black child bringing bottles of water out to police officers dressed in riot gear; citizens forming a human chain and standing between the police and rioters to prevent a clash; local residents cleaning up the debris left behind by the rioters and vandals, especially at the local CVS which was set on fire.   


As with many others, I was particularly captivated by the desperation of Toya Graham, who spotted her 16-year-old son among the looters and vandals in Baltimore this past week. The rioting had broken out, and schools had released students early. Toya Graham was worried about her son. She went to the area to find him. When she saw him, standing among the rioters, with a rock in his hand, she became infuriated and wailed into him. "I lost it," she later said. Yes, she did. But she got his attention, and got him away from the scene without his being hurt, arrested or perhaps even killed.


Some might not agree with Ms. Graham's parenting strategy. I understand it. She saw that her son was in mortal danger and she reacted viscerally. She loves her son, and by his reaction, her son loves and respects his mother.  On Wednesday, Toya Graham was interviewed by Charlie Rose and Laura O'Donnell on CBS This Morning.  She stated that she acted to save her son from the streets. After it was over, she said to her son, "How dare you do this!"  adding later "You will not be throwing rocks and stones at police officers...Who's to say that at some point they're not going to have to come and protect me from something?"


In that last sentence, Ms. Graham summed up the entire dilemma. We need the police. They are here to "protect and serve" us - all of us. At any time, in any moment, any one of us may find ourselves in need of police help. It might be on the highway. It might be on the street. It might be when they show up on the scene first in a medical emergency. We have many upstanding law enforcement members in our churches in the Diocese of New Jersey. They are committed professionals who do their jobs well day in and day out. They are willing to risk their lives for the rest of us. We need to be thankful for their service.


We also need to recognize that there are law enforcement members who abuse the enormous privileges we as a society confer upon them when we give them a badge and a gun. Moreover, our system is inherently slanted against people in poor communities. In many of our poorer communities, police and citizens are in an antagonistic relationship and citizens feel as if they live under occupation. Studies of cities like Ferguson make it clear that racial bias is powerfully at work.[3]


As a society, we need to engage in meaningful prayer, dialogue and action to address the systemic ills that perpetuate injustice, and especially racial injustice. We need real attention and commitment to community policing and relationship building between law enforcement and citizens - especially young citizens. We need to end the so-called "war on drugs" which has essentially been a war on young black and Hispanic men. We need to end the school to prison pipeline. Doing this will benefit society as a whole. It will improve the quality of life for all Americans.  


Ignoring these problems and issues will not cause them to go away. People will continue to die needlessly, cities will continue to burn and we will live in a constant state of anxiety, fear and siege just as Baltimore is living in right now. There is a better way.  


Our Baptismal Covenant demands that we strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being (Book of Common Prayer, p 305).  


Yes, we as a nation need to do some soul searching, now, today.


Yours in Christ,


The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
Bishop of New Jersey

[2]  See Alexander, Michelle  The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York:  The New Press,  2010, revised 2011).

Formation Corner

Every week, we'll be sharing resources and information here for you to put into practice in your congregations and community.

Over 15 people from the Diocese of New Jersey will attend the e-Formation conference at Virginia Theological Seminary this June 1-3. This conference, curated by John Roberto, is an inspiring and worthwhile three-day event dedicated to finding new ways of using the best tools of today to form the disciples of tomorrow. A limited number of spaces are still available; click here to register.

Good News Stories

Diocesan Choir Camp

Join girls and boys ages 10-21 from around the diocese for a week of singing at the beach from July 26-July 30th, culminating with a 4pm Evensong on July 30th. 

Campers stay at beautiful  Holiday House, just around the corner from the  Church of the Advent in Cape May, New Jersey. Rehearsals are held at Church of the Advent.

How Much: The cost of the camp is $350 per camper. Two scholarships are available from the Diocese of New Jersey. Contact Diane Caruso ( for details.

For more information visit

Youth Mission Trip: A Future with Hope, New Jersey

July 26, 2015- August 1, 2015

Click here to register

Superstorm Sandy was the most destructive storm New Jersey has ever experienced.250,000 homes were affected 82,000 homes sustained major damage 161,000 people were displaced. 6 months after the storm an estimated 22,000 families had not been able to move back into their homes.


A Future with Hope repairs and rebuilds homes, communities, organizations and systems by strengthening community leadership, engaging neighborhood people, and releasing local assets.

A Future with Hope has become a leader in Sandy recovery in New Jersey with plans to rebuild 500 homes in the next 5 years


The Diocesan Youth Office will be partnering with A Future with Hope and will do service projects from their case management list.

To participate you must be 14 years or older to work on a work site.   


There is a mandatory meeting scheduled for Monday, June 8th at 6:30 PM at Diocesan House, 808 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. 

Also, learn about other opportunities for teens like the Spring Youth Event and Baccalaureate Service by contacting The Rev. Canon Debi Clarke.

Diocesan ECW Annual Meeting and
 UTO Ingathering

May 16th, 10am at Holy Trinity, Wenonah    

The Annual Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of New Jersey begin with Holy Eucharist followed by a business meeting and then a catered lunch. The meeting will be hosted by the Woodbury District ECW and Bishop Stokes, will officiate at the Eucharist and will deliver the homily.

The UTO In-gathering will also take place as will the annual ECW Necrology and acknowledgement of the Student Service Recipients for 2015. New District officers will be sworn in as well. The cost of lunch is $15. Please register.


Ministry Institute Events




Every week, we'll be listing upcoming Ministry Institute events here; click here for the full listing.   

May 2
St. Mary, Pt. Pleasant Beach

Telling Our Stories
May 2 
St Mark, Basking Ridge

Spring Youth Event
May 15-17
Camp Lebanon, Lebanon 

LGBT Older Adults

May 16
Trinity, Asbury Park

Abuse Awareness Workshop 
May 23
St. Mark, Keansburg  

Senior Baccalaureate Service
May 31
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

Come to the Table: A Celebration of Our Various Abilities
June 20th
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

Diocesan Choir Camp
June 26-30
Cape May, NJ

Youth Mission Trip
July 26-August 1
The Diocese of New Jersey
(609) 394-5281
808 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08618