In This Edition
Upcoming Congregational Events
Jan 23rd-May 15th 
Sacred Spaces
Art Exhibit
St. Luke's
February 1st-25th 
St. Augustine's
Atlantic City
Click Here for More
February 12th
Fish Fry
February 13th
Cook Pray Love
All Saints'
Scotch Plains
Click Here for More
February 21st
Make a Joyful Noise
All Saints'
February 26th
Fish Fry
March 6th
Every Time I Feel the Spirit - Concert
St. John the Baptist
March 11th
Fish Fry
Holy Spirit
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Episcopal Links of the Week
Grow Christians

Grow Christians describes itself as a community of disciples practicing faith at home. A joint ministry of The Forward Movement and Plainsong Farm, Grow Christians gathers reflections, stories, images and recipes from diverse Episcopalians, to inspire generations to come together as they celebrate the presence of God through the Christian year.
Statement by the President on Ash Wednesday

  Lent is a season of reflection, repentance and renewal, a time to rededicate ourselves to God and one another.  We remember the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ.  We pray for all those who suffer, including those Christians who are subjected to unspeakable violence and persecution for their faith.  Read it all.
Why leaders are a pain

Writing for Christian Century, William H. Willimon explores truth telling in the parish. Moving forward takes pain, and being willing to move parties to and through that pain is part of leadership. 
Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e -mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
February 11, 2016
From the Bishop:

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith... (Hebrews 12:-2)
This Sunday afternoon at 3:00 P.M. in Trinity Cathedral, we will celebrate the life of Absalom Jones, the first African-American ordained as a priest of the Episcopal Church. A short biographical statement provided by the Episcopal Archives offers a sketch of his powerful story:

Born into slavery in Delaware at a time when slavery was being debated as immoral and undemocratic, he taught himself to read, using the New Testament as one of his resources. At the age of 16, Jones was sold to a shopkeeper in Philadelphia where he attended a night school for blacks, operated by Quakers. Following the purchase of his own freedom in 1784, Jones served as lay minister for the black membership at St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church. The active evangelism of Jones and that of his friend, Richard Allen, greatly increased black membership at St. George's. Alarmed by the rise in black attendance, the vestry decided to segregate blacks into an upstairs gallery without notice. When ushers attempted to remove the black congregants, the resentful group exited the church. This exodus triggered the establishment of the Free African Society by Jones and Allen in 1787 to aid in the emancipation of slaves and to offer sustenance and spiritual support to widows, orphans, and the poor. In 1794 Jones and Allen, with the assistance of local Quakers and Episcopalians, established the "First African Church" in Philadelphia. Shortly after the establishment that same year, the African Church applied to join the Protestant Episcopal Church, laying before the diocese three requirements: the Church must be received as an already organized body; it must have control over its own affairs; and Jones must be licensed as lay-reader and if qualified, ordained as its minister. Upon acceptance into the Diocese of Pennsylvania, the church was renamed the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. The following year Jones became a deacon but was not ordained a priest until 1804, nine years later. At 58 years old, he became the first black American priest. He continued to be a leader in his community, founding a day school (as blacks were excluded from attending public school), the Female Benevolent Society, and an African Friendly Society. In 1800 he called upon Congress to abolish the slave trade and to provide for gradual emancipation of existing slaves. Jones died in 1818.

More than a story to tell during Black History Month, the life, witness and legacy of Absalom Jones is a part of Church History for all of us. It is a story of the brutality and injustice of slavery and racism in the United States, a story which we need to remember because the effects of that brutality and injustice remain with us tod ay. How appropriate it is that we are confronted with this as we begin our Lenten journey.

It is also a story of God's Holy Spirit leading the church, slowly but surely, toward a vision of the kingdom. Absalom Jones's story is one of faithfulness, courage, perseverance and resilience that strengthened the Church when he lived and that continues to strengthen the Church when we remember and tell it today. He is one of "the great cloud of witnesses!" (Hebrews 12:1). That, too, is important for us to remember in the spirit of Lenten renewal.

I hope all people of the Diocese of New Jersey will come out and celebrate Absalom Jones this Sunday, February 14. We are blessed to have The Reverend Sandye Wilson, Rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion Church in East Orange, New Jersey, as our guest preacher.

Also, the Annual Acolyte Festival will be held at Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, February 13 from 9:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M. This year's theme is Experiencing Holy Week and Easter. I look forward to a great turn out and wish to thank Theresa and Fr. Mark Chattin for their hard work and commitment to this great diocesan event.

Absalom Jones, the Acolyte Festival....great opportunities for the Diocese of New Jersey to know our story and to live it boldly.

Blessings and peace,  

The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey  
Good News Stories and More

Deadlines Approaching!  
February 13, 2016  
Reservations at the Crowne Plaza, Cherry Hill
Call 1-888-233-9527 or register online
Identify yourself as part of The Episcopal Diocese of
New Jersey to receive the convention rate.

February 19, 2016
To attend convention  
February 19, 2016 
Space for exhibitors is on a first come, first served basis.  
Eucharist Preacher
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Banquet Presentation
The Network of Biblical Storytelling

Women's Breakfast Presenter 
  Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer for The Episcopal Church
  Workshops Include:
 ......TELL it Boldly.
AMP UP! - Strengthening Ministries through Project Resource
Making Disciples - Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of New Jersey
Lowering Energy Use at Your Church

On February 10,  Ash Wednesday, clergy from around the diocese participated in Ashes to Go, a movement that brings the tradition of putting ashes on the foreheads of Christians into the streets, to meet people where they are. In the coming weeks we will have a gallery of Episcopalians who brought Ash Wednesday to train stations, bus depots, and street corners around New Jersey.
If you have pictures from Ashes to Go, please let us know!

Ministry Institute

A full, detailed listing of Ministry Institute events will be available soon.
A listing of all the events is available here.

Below are the events for February and March. 

February 13
Trinity Cathedral

February 14
Trinity Cathedral

February 17
Diocesan House, Trenton

March 4-5
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill

March 18 - Youth Adults
Theo's Cafe: Young Adults Dinner
Location TBA

March 19
Telling Our Stories: Creating Meaningful Audio Interviews
as Oral Histories of Our Congregations
Grace, Pemberton

March 22
Trinity Cathedral

March 28-30
Clergy Easter Retreat
St. John the Baptist, Mendham

March 30
Diocesan House, Trenton

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