In This Edition
Upcoming Events 
Around the Diocese 
August 29-31:
Canterbury Art Show
St. George's-by-the-River
September 5:
Stargazing Party
St. Stephen's Church
September 6:
Blessing of the Fire Trucks
Christ Church
September 6:
Cranbury Day Yard Sale
St. David's Church
September 12:
Spaghetti Dinner to Support Dominican Republic 
Christ Church
Toms River  
September 13:
BritishMania in Concert
Grace Church
September 14:
Memorial Jazz Luncheon
Christ the King Church
Presented at the Holiday Inn 
Cherry Hill
September 14:
LYRA in Concert
All Saints Church
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Episcopal Links of the Week

Discussing Tragedy with Young People

In light of the current events in Ferguson, the Diocese of Missouri's Youth Missioner has published a heartfelt and honest guide to discussing tragedy with young people. It's both moving and practical, and we encourage you to give it a look. 

What's the Impact of the ALS Ice Water Challenge?  

The Episcopal Cafe looks at the bucket-dumping charitable act that's sweeping the internet--and weighs in as to its overall effectiveness. 
A Study on the "Myth of Atheism" at Universities  

The Atlantic presents a fascinating look at generational faith and higher education, and the results might surprise you.  
A Cup of Cold Water Sparks Ministry with the Homeless in Maui

On an Hawaiian island, an application of "elbow-grease Christianity" provides much-needed aid to Maui's homeless population. 
Renewed Support for Syria

Episcopal Relief & Development has renewed its support for the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches' (FMEEC) relief efforts in Syria. 
Shared Leadership

ECF Vital Practices published a great piece last month on new models of responsibility sharing in congregations, in which clergy and lay leaders develop unique methods of leadership.
August 20, 2014 

Dear Friends of the Diocese of New Jersey,

...let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream....Amos 5:24

The story and images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri confront us as a nation. 


While the complete circumstances surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown are not yet known, the fact remains:  an 18 year-old black man is dead. Unarmed, he was shot 6 times by a white police officer. A community is in turmoil, living in a state of siege. The National Guard has been called in. The realities of racial division, racial injustice and racism continue to plague our nation. It is heartbreaking.


In February of 2005, a black teenager was shot at a school dance by a white police officer in Delray Beach, Florida. The teenager, 16 year-old Jerrod Miller, an unlicensed driver, drove his uncle's car to drop off some friends at the school dance. According to later reports, Darren Cogoni, a rookie police officer who was working off-duty security for the dance, approached the car, in what was described by one witness as "a threatening manner...appearing as if he was reaching for his gun." Miller took off in the car. The police officer fired his weapon two or three times into the rear windshield of the fleeing vehicle, hitting Miller in the head. He died as a result. As news spread through the community, and especially through the black community, there was immediate anger.


At the time, I was president of the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy Association. I had helped the city engage in structured conversations about race and racism. The mayor, who had become a personal friend, wanted the clergy's help. He had worked hard at building trust and cultivating relationships in the community before the incident. To their credit, he and the chief of police, both white, wasted no time in going out into the community to meet with people. They listened carefully as city residents gave voice to their anger and frustration. The clergy - white and black - went with them. The police did not militarize. There were protests and prayer meetings, but they never became violent. After some of the facts of the case had been investigated by Palm Beach County law enforcement, a county judge ruled that the officer had used excessive force and called for a grand jury investigation. 


In the end, the grand jury refused to indict the officer. He was never tried, although the City of Delray Beach terminated his employment. This left a bitter taste in the mouths of many who felt that justice had not been fully served.


That, of course, is the lingering question: How is justice served in a system that is slanted? 


How will justice be served in Ferguson, Missouri, where an 18 year-old black man, who was unarmed, is now dead, shot six times by a white police officer, echoing a pattern that is too often repeated in this nation? 


How will justice be served in a divided city now living under siege? 


How many more Jerrod Millers, Trayvon Martins and Michael Browns must there be? How and when will we as a nation deal fully with the built-in inequities and systemic racism that continue to scar our common life?  


How can we break down the walls of prejudice and fear standing between us?  Do we have the will and desire to do so?

As Christians, I believe we have little choice. Our Baptismal Covenant compels us to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as our self" and to "strive for justice and peace among people and to respect the dignity of every human being." This is often difficult and painful work. In the Diocese of New Jersey, our Anti-Racism Committee continues to invite and challenge us all to help bring about transformation of ourselves as individuals, and of our systems. 


I pray we will all recommit ourselves to this important work, and, more significantly, to the cause of justice even as we pray for our communities and our nation:


Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 


Faithfully yours in Christ, 

The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
Bishop of New Jersey
Good News Stories and More
Our Diocesan Hispanic/Latino Regional Missioner: Meet Fr. Ramon Ubiera 
The Reverend Ramon Ubiera works in partnership with four churches (Christ Church, Toms River; St. Mary's, Point Pleasant; St. Thomas, Red Bank; and All Saints, Lakewood) to start and nurture new Hispanic ministries throughout the region. Click here to learn more about his work in the diocese, with pages in both English and Spanish. 
Stewardship in the Diocese of New Jersey
The Stewardship Commission has a newly updated webpage, full of updated resources, videos and more, including three valuable seminars from the Province II-wide webinar presented this past April. 
Ministry Institute Events in September


Every week, we'll be listing upcoming Ministry Institute events here; look for the full fall/winter catalog coming soon. 

A Support Group For Older Adults

Wednesday Afternoons
St. Mary's Church
Haddon Heights 

Seeking Deacons: Are You Called? 

September 6
Diocesan House


Hispanic Festival

September 14

All Saints' Chuch


Seeing the Sacred: Christian Faith and the Visual Arts

September 20

All Saints' Church


Evensong Honoring Older Adults

September 27
Trinity Cathedral


Sexual Misconduct Awareness Workshop

September 27
St. Peter's Church


The Diocese of New Jersey
(609) 394-5281
808 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08618

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