In This Edition
Upcoming Congregational Events
About Holy Week Services:

Please contact a church near you for more information about Holy Week services through Sunday, April 5. 
April 11th
Women's Tea 
St. David's
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April 13th
Parenting Classes
Grace Church 
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April 13-16th
Manuscript Illumination Retreat 
St. John the Baptist 
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April 15th
Designer Bag Bingo 
Holy Spirit  
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April 15th
Jazz Concert 
St. Elizabeth's 
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April 18th
Good Libations 
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April 22nd
Earth Day with Gov. Christie Whitman 
All Saints' 
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April 27th
Nun Better Golf Outing 
Spring Brook
Country Club 
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May 2nd
Mothers' Day Tea
Laurel Springs
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List Your Congregation's Events Here!
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Episcopal Links of the Week
Dakota Hymn Sing helps keep language alive

St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Fort Pierre, South Dakota has been holding hymn sings in Dakota, the language of the Sioux Indians. The weekly "Dakota Sings" have brought people into closer connection with their native tongue and worked to preserve a language with a diminishing number of speakers.

Organizer Mary Ashley, an organist at St. Peter's says: 

I think it's important to be around elders because then you hear how they pronounce Dakota and how they make the intonations. I think it's true what they say, the easiest way to learn Dakota is to sing it.
Ex-offenders find hope at St. Luke's, New Haven

At St. Luke's, New Haven, ex-convicts are treated with the same respect as any others who seek assistance through the parish's food, clothing, and diaper bank programs. Says one ex-offender:
It's not just that I come here just to eat, I come here just for the love and the inspiration to not go back to prison, to be assured that there is hope.
St. Luke's Services, which also provides referrals to re-entry programs, prides itself on treating ex-offenders, immigrants, and anyone else who comes for a helping hand, with dignity. 

South Carolina: Second priest returns through path for reconciliation.

The Diocese of South Carolina, which voted to break away from the Episcopal Church, has seen many parishes stay with The Episcopal Church, and have set up a system to allow clergy to renew their commitment to the Episcopal Church. 

The Rev Mark Wallace decided to stay with the parish he loved when it voted to leave, but later wrote:

We are not sure where God will land us, but we are sure of the longing we have in our heart to be back in an Episcopal parish.
Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e -mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
April 2, 2015

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,


On Palm Sunday, I preached at All Saints' Church in Princeton. In my sermon, I shared with them the concept of "luminous darkness." I had learned of this concept years ago, when I was teaching a course on the English mystics.  


The English mystics were men and women of the 14th century who lived lives of strict prayer and discipline to deepen their relationship with God in Christ. Among the English mystics are numbered Dame Julian of Norwich, Richard Rolle, Margery Kempe and Walter Hilton. 

In a volume on Walter Hilton that is part of the

Classics of Western Spirituality series, scholars John Clark and Rosemary Dorward refer to "luminous darkness" in which "the journey from worldly love to love of God is compared to the passage of one day, through the intervening night, to the following day." [i]


It seems to me that Holy Week is precisely an entrance into "luminous darkness." We begin with excitement and anticipation - palms being blessed, "Hosannas" being sung - telling a story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Everything appears to be full of light; filled with hope and joyful expectation. The light, however, quickly turns to darkness as we confront the Passion.


Within the English mystical tradition, there is an understanding that God's love is so excessively bright that it appears to the human soul as darkness. [ii] Think of looking directly at the sun at midday. You can't. If you look at the midday sun you will see darkness. The light is too bright, excessive. This is luminous darkness. 

Look at Christ Jesus crucified. Look at the one

who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form...humbled himself and become obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross...(Philippians 2:6 - 8). 


The cross is a form of luminous darkness; the luminous darkness of life laid down for love. The light is excessive. It takes time in the shadows of Good Friday to see light in the darkness of Christ's passion. But soon after, on Sunday morning, the light begins to dawn as we discover anew the power and love of God made clear in Christ's resurrection. Easter comes and with its coming, we join our voices and sing:


Welcome happy morning! 


Susan joins me in wishing you and yours a joyous Easter filled with the excessive light and love of the risen Christ.

Blessings and love to you all,


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

[i]  The Classics of Western Spirituality - Walter Hilton - The Scale of Perfection  (New York and Mahwah:  The Paulist Press, 1991, p. 45.

[ii] Classics, p. 45, 48.

Good News Stories



APRIL 10-12

Happening is a Christian event presented by teenagers for teenagers with the help of clergy and lay leadership. It is a program of The Episcopal Church to engage young people in the gospel and encourage them to live passionately into their faith. Happening seeks to bring youth to a fuller knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, and a deeper level of apostleship. This occurs through large and small group activities. Worship, music, fun, food, and free time are also a part of the event.

Register online at
Sandy Recovery/Jubilee Ministry Grant
Now Open For Applications

We are pleased to invite proposals for disaster recovery and response programs from Episcopal Jubilee Centers in the Diocese of New Jersey who wish to strengthen their connections with their communities and other Episcopal congregations through disaster recovery and preparedness. This interest form is part of a two part application process. Applicants will be invited to present their full proposals during April 2015. Deadline for receiving this form is April 10, 2015, 5 pm. Each proposal will be first evaluated on how effectively it meets the program priorities. Completed applications may be emailed to Keith Adams at

Click here for an application.

Bishop's Spring Conference:

Saturday, April 18, 2015 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM 


Join us for an event that will bring together three spectacular leaders of Christian Formation in a exploration of new strategies for forming disciples in today's challenging and transforming twenty-first century landscape at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton.

Ministry Institute Events




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

Happening 24
April 10-12
Murray Grove, Lanoka Harbor, NJ

Day Retreat: Enriching Your Prayer Life
April 11
All Saints, Navesink

Bishop's Spring Conference
April 18th
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton 

Recovery Sunday Celebration
April 19
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton 
Anti-Racism Training
April 23-25
Christ Church, Toms River

Abuse Awareness Workshop
April 25
St. Elizabeth, Elizabeth

Abuse Awareness Workshop 
April 25

St. John, Bernardsville

Training for Lectors
April 25
St. John the Evangelist, New Brunswick
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