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 6th 
Sarah Vaughn Tribute
Christ Church
New Brunswick 
February 9th 
Pancake Dinner
Christ Church
New Brunswick 
February 9th
Pancake Dinner
St. Francis'
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
12 Things Clergy Spouses Want You to Know

As many can attest, being a clergy spouse is a calling all its own. In this listicle, Frederick W. Schmidt writes of being both a priest, and a clergy spouse, and of the joys and struggles of both. He reminds readers that not every clergy spouse plays the organ or knits, and that triangulation is usually bad. Also of the importance of allowing clergy spouses to be part of the parish community while remembering that everyone needs privacy. 
Vital Practices: Phone Church

In seasons of inclement weather, there's no reason not to worship! Greg Syler writes of ways to reach each other when getting to the church building might be unsafe.

I took a picture of our church from one of the past snow storms, and put text over it: "Snowed in? Not for worship!" On that image, I posted the phone number and access code I got through a free conference call services, and pushed out the image via Facebook, our newsletter, our website and, a day later, a Facebook event. Pulling together the readings for Sunday and the online Book of Common Prayer, I assembled a comprehensive Morning Prayer order of worship, saved a PDF version, and posted that, too, to the website and Facebook page.

Scribal Complains in Medieval Manuscripts

Carpal tunnel and late night work emails plague office workers of today, but a different, though similar set of complaints have been found in the margins of medieval manuscripts, left there by scribes and copyists, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

-Thank God it will be dark soon

-New parchment, bad ink, I say nothing more.

-St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing. 

-My hand hurts.

Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e -mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
February 5, 2016
From the Bishop:

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness
          In your great compassion, blot out my offenses....  
 (Psalm 51.1 - BCP)

On Sunday, January 14, I had the privilege of joining Bishop Dennis Sullivan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Camden, and several other leaders from different Christian traditions, for a service at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Cherry Hill to kick-off the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It was lovely. Bishop Sullivan preached a gracious sermon, calling upon us all to recognize the oneness we share in Christ by virtue of baptism. This, he urged, transcends our differences. I agree with him completely.

During the course of his sermon, Bishop Sullivan referred to a book by Pope Francis, just published last month, titled The Name of God is Mercy.* The Name of God is Mercy - the title captivated me. It captivated Bishop Sullivan too. He acknowledged in his sermon that he had not yet read the book, but noted that it consisted of reflections on the Papal Bull, Misericordiae Vultus in which Francis declared "an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy." This was opened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015 and will close on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. As an "extraordinary" feature of this year, Francis has ordered the "Holy Door" of the Cathedral of Rome (that is his see Church of St. John Lateran) opened and renamed a "Door of Mercy" so that pilgrims may journey in faith and penitence and walk through this door. 

I was grateful for Bishop Sullivan's sermon, and intrigued by the title of Francis's book, The Name of God is Mercy. It's already number 3 on The New York Times's bestseller list for non-fiction. I ordered it on my Kindle, read it and found it, as well as the Papal Bull Misericordiae Vultus which appears as an Appendix in the book, both profound and moving. It was filled with gems:

Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely in the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life: Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man [sic.],  opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness." Misericordiae Vultus - Paragraph 2).

 "Mercy," Francis wrote in  Misericordiae Vultus, "is the very foundation of the Church's life. All of her pastoral identity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church's very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love...Mercy is the force that awakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope" (Paragraph 10).

This coming Wednesday, February 10, is Ash Wednesday. It is a holy day of fasting that begins the penitential season of Lent. Ash Wednesday and Lent are about God's mercy, about God's love for us. They are an invitation from God to return in humility and love.

I hope and pray that each of you will accept the invitation to observe a holy Lent, "by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word" (BCP - p. 265). It is through these that we enter through the "door of mercy" and into God's loving embrace.

May God bless you and keep you in the arms of mercy and may you always strive to show mercy and love to others.

Blessings and peace,  

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

*New York:  Random House, 2016
Good News Stories and More

Deadlines Approaching!  
February 9, 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, we're thrilled  to announce offerings of  ashes and blessings at over 30 locations throughout New Jersey as part of  Ashes to Go,  a program that brings spirit, belief, and belonging out from behind church doors and into the places where we go every day. 
Teams of clergy and laity from parishes throughout the diocese will be participating on  Ash Wednesday in public locations such as transit centers, places of business, and more. Clergy and laypersons will offer  ashes, blessings, and information about the Diocese and the Episcopal Church. 
This year, the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey is excited  to offer an online  Ashes  to  Go directory at , which features a map application  to  guide individuals  to  participating locations via turn-by-turn directions on computers and mobile devices, powered by Google. 

16th Annual
Diocesan Acolyte Festival
  February 13, 201 6  
Trinity Cathedral

Join acolytes from across the diocese for a day of
workshops, fellowship, and worship on the theme of
Experiencing Holy Week and Easter  

Learn more and register!

Singers Wanted!

A Celebration of the Life of Absalom Jones

All are invited to sing two anthems               
Rehearsal is at 1:30 PM on Feb. 14 in the Cathedral
Service at 3pm
Reception Following

Please RSVP to Canon Deborah Ford
with voice part and participants' names:  
609-392-3805 ext 102 
Please bring Choir Vestments if possible
Please practice music ahead of time
Looking forward to making a joyful noise unto the Lord!

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 4-6
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