In This Edition
Upcoming Congregational Events
Feb 7th
Musical Celebration of Educators 
Christ Church
New Brunswick, NJ 
Click Here for More
Feb 8th
Spaghetti Dinner for the De Sarno Family 
Holy Trinity
South River, NJ 
Click Here for More
Feb 12th
Soup Fellowship Center  
Christ Church
Somers Point, NJ 
Click Here for More
Feb 14th
Valentine's Day Dinner Dance 
Grace Church
Haddonfield, NJ 
Click Here for More
Feb 15th
Songs from Tin Pan Alley 
St Luke's
Ewing, NJ 
Click Here for More
Feb 17th
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Suppers 
Variety Around
the Diocese
Click Here for More
Feb 20th
Coffee House 
Grace-St. Paul's
Click Here for More
March 1st
Baroque Festival
Community of St. John the Baptist
Click Here for More
March 8th
The Music of Gabriel Faure  
St Mary's
Click Here for More
March 15th
Choir Festival 
St Luke's
Click Here for More
List Your Congregation's Events Here!
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Episcopal Links of the Week
Join the Lent Madness - 2015 
It has been covered in media outlets across the world - NBC, The Washington Post, FOXNews, NPR, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated.

The sixth annual smackdown for the Golden Halo will start on Ash Wednesday, February 18th. The Revds Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck continue their annual tradition of two saints competing each day in a bracket style competition. Learn about new saints and root (and vote) for your favorite.  
ERD and Cornell team up in Burundi 
With high population density and hilly topography, Burundi faces chronic challenges in maintaining food supply. Soil erosion, crop disease, limited seed supply and lack of market access contribute to the country's ranking last out of 78 on the International Food Policy Research Institute's most recent Global Hunger Index.

Episcopal Relief & Development in partnership with the Anglican Church of Burundi, is joining with Cornell University's College of Agriculture to support sustainable agriculture in the area.  
9 Surefire Ways to Make your Church Completely Ineffective 
No one sets out to be an ineffective priest or active church member, but over times, it often happens - not just in losing sight of objectives, but in not being a beacon of light.

Carey Nieuwhof looks at ways we are unintentionally killing our churches, and encourages us to keep dreaming, striving for excellence, loving worship, taking risks and remembering that you can't be all things to all people.   
On tweeting and touching 
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby explores both the strengths and complications of communicating in an electronic world, and the power of reaching out and touching someone.

Electronic media breaks through locked doors, and pierces people painfully. It is not for all of us to set everyone right on everything.  There's a point at which we need to leave it to those who know people to speak to them personally and quietly - in spaces where the tone is subtle and full of love.
Love often says don't tweet. Love often says don't write. Love often says if you must rebuke, then do so in person and with touch - with an arm around the shoulder and tears in your eyes that can be seen by the person being rebuked.  
Forgive? Why not! 
After years of serving seven as chaplain at Sing Sing prison, in this thoughtful piece, The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune tells the stories of men and women who forgave others through heart wrenching and painful experiences.

He reminds us that by forgiving others, and forgiving ourselves, we are healed. Forgive us, as we forgive, every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, every month, and every life. We need to taste the sweet waters of forgiveness and let them wash and cleanse us... Forgiveness is never in the past tense- there is no future without it.
A monk, a physicist and the theology of time 
Brother Geoffrey Tristam, SSJE and The Rt. Rev. Nick Knisley, who holds graduate degrees in physics, sat down to discuss time, God, love, and the reality of eternity. The two excitedly talk about the relative experience of time and the need to slow down to a natural speed that matches the rhythms of nature.

Both the text and a recording of the discussion are available. 
Founders Understood the Freedom of Religion and Free Speech
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington D.C., President Obama talks about how humility guides him, and how freedom of religion is closely linked to freedom of speech. 
Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e-mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
February 5, 2015

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,


Throughout most of the rest of 2015, many of our Sunday morning readings will be from Mark's Gospel. I love Mark. It's fast and furious. Jesus is constantly on the move. There is urgency in this movement. The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of the kingdom has to be proclaimed now!


In Mark, Jesus preaches, teaches, heals and exorcises - a lot! In his teaching, preaching, healing and exorcising, Jesus moves back and forth between the synagogues of the towns and villages he visits, and between the places where people live their workaday lives. In Mark, you are as likely to find Jesus teaching by the Sea of Galilee as you are to find him in the local synagogue. On numerous occasions in Mark, Jesus teaches and preaches in very public places, then takes his disciples aside, in private, explain his teaching (see Mark 4:10, 33).


Nearly everything that Jesus does - teaching, preaching, healing, exorcisms - is about the Kingdom of God. It's also in the language and mode of parable. Feed 5000 people? It's a parable about the Kingdom of God (Mark 6:30 - 44). Heal a Gerasene Demoniac? It's a parable about the Kingdom of God (Mark 5:1 - 20). Some of Jesus' parables are elaborate stories - like that of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20). Other parables are simple, short and pithy - like that of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-33).


On the morning of Ash Wednesday, February 18, a group of clergy, myself included, will spread out across the Diocese of New Jersey, posting ourselves at commuter train stations and other popular venues, to distribute ashes as part of our "Ashes to Go" effort. This is in the mode of parable. It's short and simple, like many of Jesus' parables in public places. As we impose ashes on people, we will say the traditional words, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." We will give each person a card with an explanation of the ashes, words of prayer and an invitation to a holy Lent. It's all about the kingdom.


There are those who have strong feelings that "Ashes to Go" is inappropriate. Many who hold this view believe that the only appropriate context for the imposition of ashes is within a solemn liturgy of the church. I respect this. I certainly believe that the Ash Wednesday liturgy is a carefully structured liturgy that conveys the day's meaning in a rich and powerful way. If I had my way, everyone would go to church on Ash Wednesday. However, the simple fact is most people don't go to church on Ash Wednesday.


There is urgency in the Gospel. It has to be proclaimed now. Ashes to Go presents us with an opportunity to touch people's lives with an enacted parable where people are, just as Jesus enacted parables where the people were. Hopefully those whom we encounter will read the card we give them, give some thought to the message, perhaps say the prayers on the card, and even consider entering into a "holy Lent." They might even decide to "come and see" what is going on at a local Episcopal or other church.


Last year, as I stood outside of the Trenton Train Station, a young man, about 16 years old, came up to me and asked, "What's this about?"   I had a short conversation with him and explained it. We chatted for a couple of minutes. "You know," he said to me, smiling, "My mom does that every year. I always wondered what it was about." He then asked to have ashes imposed on his forehead. The kingdom of God is like that; it's a parable.


By the way, after I left the Trenton Train Station, I went to Trinity Cathedral to lead the Ash Wednesday liturgy with the imposition of ashes. That was a parable too! Jesus moved back and forth between the sacred space of the synagogue and the places in the village where people gathered. It seems to me we can, and should, do the same.


Blessings to you and yours as we prepare for a holy Lent


Yours in Christ, 



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


Good News Stories and More
Christ Church, Toms River Featured on MTV


Christ Church, Toms River had the chance to reach a very different sort of audience - JWoww, of Jersey Shore fame had her daughter baptized there with costar Snooki participating as the baby's godmother. The family, as well as rector Joan Mason and associate Timothy Holder were also seen on the episode - the series finale of MTV's  Snooki and JWoww - an image from which can be seen above. 


If you'd like to watch the baptism, here's a link to the full episode at MTV's website. While there's some questionable content throughout this series, we recommend skipping to about 12 minutes for the baptism!


231st Diocesan Convention
Hyatt Regency, Princeton

February 27-28 


More information about the 2015 Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey, including nomination and registration materials, may be found here

A Recommendation from Our Canon to the Ordinary

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,


The Episcopal Church Building Fund is having its annual symposium ("Buildings for a New Tomorrrow") April 13-15, this year in Raleigh, NC.  Having attended this conference the past three years I highly recommend it as one of the best things happening in the Episcopal Church.  This conference is a great gathering of creative minds, people who are experimenting and adapting, making church happen in vibrant and dynamic ways.  


Here's a link to the website: where you can get more information and register.  Check it out!


-The Rev. Canon John W. Sosnowski


Trinity Cathedral Altar Guild Shop:
Now Available Online! 


The mission of the shop is to help all who are seeking to enrich their lives through prayer, reflection and study. This is done by providing a wide array of books and other religious items such as prayer beads and labyrinths etc. for sale. A variety of items from the shop are now available online. Click here for more.


Enriching Your Prayer Life Retreat:
February 21, Noon-4 PM
St. David's Church, Cranbury 
Led by Canon Connie White



Are you looking for a way to enrich your prayer life, get closer to God, center yourself any time of the day, or make those quiet moments more meaningful?  Prayer is essential to Christian life and nourishes our spirit.  Sustaining a connection with God demands that we attend to this with our body, mind, and soul. This afternoon retreat will provide you a time to connect with your inner self through learning new or reinforcing your prayer rituals. In addition, you'll learn how to create a prayer space in your home and learn about rituals using prayer crosses and prayer stones.


Click here to register.

A Celebration of the Life of Absalom Jones

Please join us at 3:00 PM for a Service of Witness 

February 15, 2015

Trinity Cathedral in Trenton 

Bishop's Spring Conference:

Discipleship and Mission
A One-Day Conference

Saturday, April 18, 2015 9 AM - 3 PM 

Join us for an event that will bring together 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.

Register now through March 16 and pay only $10!
Beginning March 17, the registration fee rises to $20.
Click here to register.

Ministry Institute Events in January and February




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


Pre-Lenten Clergy Retreat
February 9-11
St. Marguerite's Retreat House
The Community of St. John the Baptist, Medham

15th Annual Acolyte Festival
February 14
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

Absalom Jones Celebration
February 15
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

Enriching your Prayer Life
February 21

St. David, Cranbury

Abuse Awareness Workshop
March 7
Grace-St. Paul, Mercerville

Abuse Awareness Workshop
March 14

Church of the Advent, Cape May

March 14 & 21
Trinity Church, Princeton
Annual Clergy Day and Chrism Mass
March 31
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

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

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
St. James, Long Branch

Abuse Awareness Workshop 
May 23
St. Mark, Keansburg  

Senior Baccalaureate Service
May 31
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton 
The Diocese of New Jersey
(609) 394-5281
808 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08618