In This Edition
Jan 25
Bishop Matthews' Anniversary 
St. Mary's
Click Here for More
List Your Congregation's Events Here!
Adding your events to our calendar is quick and simple; events go live within one business day.

Click here to add an event!
Episcopal Links of the Week
Talking to Clergy in Difficult Calls


Jeff Ross, a retired priest of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and Chaplain at Bucks County Correctional Facility and two others interviewed 14 clergy people who served in difficult positions. The summary, written for the Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations, explores common themes in difficult parishes and how individuals persevered.
Doane Academy Aids Local Catholic School

St. Paul's School in Burlington was going to close and needed $250,000 to remain open. After a valiant fundraising effort, they were still a few thousand dollars short, but Doane Academy, the Diocese of New Jersey's only K-12 school is helping out. CBS Philadelphia reported:Headmaster John McGee of Doane Academy says, "It just made sense to try to be of help to Saint Paul's because we've been there."


Doane Academy faced a closure back in 1999, but managed to thrive since. McGee says, "I just felt that it could not afford to lose an educational alternative like Saint Paul's offers."

Going to the Chapel...

"I absolutely understand the desire to have one's wedding in a beautiful setting, and many churches are elegant and beautiful. And I understand the deep desire, perhaps almost unknown, to have such a momentous event in one's life blessed by God or, if you don't actually confess a belief in God, blessed by something larger than you."

Dirty Sexy Ministry
writes of expectations and realities of getting married in a church. 
World Council of Churches Expresses Shock over Killings in Nigeria


The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed deep shock over the attacks by extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which is said to have cost the lives of more than 2,000 people, including children used in suicide bomb attacks.

"A mind-set which deploys young children as bombs and which indiscriminately slaughters women, children and elderly people is beyond outrage, and disqualifies itself from any possible claim to religious justification."  

Spiritual and/or/not Religious--What Does It Mean?


In a time where a growing number consider themselves "spiritual but not religious" three Episcopalians question what it means to have spirituality in religion, and religion without spirituality.

The Revd Canon Robert Hendrickson, who blogs at the Sub-Dean's Stall, started the conversation with a post on the Religious Challenge of the Dogmatic and the SBNR (Spiritual but not Religious). Megan McDermott, a resident of St. Hilda's House, an Episcopal Community in New Haven, Connecticut reflected on the importance of both spirituality and religion for a relationship with Christ. Ed Watson, another St. Hilda's resident, has a Spirit Free of 'Spirituality': Why I Want to Keep Spirituality Out of My Religion.
Have a compelling story to share? Click here to e-mail Jonathan Elliott and let us know!
January 15, 2015

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,

Several years ago, at a clergy conference in the Diocese of Southeast Florida, the guest speaker, The Very Reverend Titus Pressler, former Dean of the Seminary of the Southwest, said something that stuck in my head. Pressler said, "Our biographies and autobiographies are really 'decisionographies.'" That is, they are an account of the decisions we make throughout our lives and the impact and effect these decisions have on our lives and on the lives of others.


The tragic, disturbing story of Bishop Suffragan of Maryland Heather Cook hitting and killing bicyclist Tom Palermo on December 27, while driving her car under the influence of alcohol, texting and leaving the scene brought Dean Pressler's statement to the forefront of my mind. If these allegations are true, Bishop Cook made a series of terrible, fateful decisions. She decided to consume alcohol and drive her car. She decided to text while driving. She hit Mr. Palermo and then left the scene. These were terrible, awful decisions which her now-admitted disease of alcoholism does not excuse.  


Mr. Palermo leaves behind a wife and two young children as well as many friends and admirers within the bicycling community. His wife and children have been traumatized, deprived of the ongoing love and support of a husband and father. Bishop Cook has been charged with numerous crimes including DUI, texting while driving and manslaughter. She is being held in Baltimore City Jail, unable to make her bond which was set at $2.5 million. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. A Title IV proceeding within the church has also been initiated which will administer the church's discipline.  


The whole matter is grievous and shameful, calling for our prayers and sorrow. It also raises serious questions within the church about the process of choosing appropriate persons for ordination to the episcopate and to other orders. Many have expressed their opinions about these matters. I am not going to, believing that the Diocese of Maryland should first be allowed the space to grapple with the challenging questions facing it, and then share with the wider church what they believe will help the church do a more faithful and competent job as it seeks to find fit persons for holy orders including the episcopate. I commend to you the Pastoral Letter written by The Right Reverend Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, to the people of his diocese, which can be found here.


This sad affair should challenge us all to ask about the role alcohol plays in our church and in our lives. I have been to church functions where excessive amounts of alcohol have been consumed by church members who have then gotten in their cars and driven home. I have pastored countless individuals and families who have been hurt by the effects of alcohol and alcoholism. As a matter of fact, as a pastor and priest, I have ministered both to the family and friends of a person - a 21 year old college student - killed by a drunk driver, as well as to a person, one of my parishioners, who killed a bicyclist while drunk in an incident eerily similar to this recent tragedy. I regularly visited this parishioner in prison. It was heartbreaking at every level.


I remind the clergy and lay leadership of the Diocese of New Jersey that we do have established policies concerning the use of alcohol at church functions. They can be found here.  


During Lent, I urge every vestry to put this policy on your agenda for discussion at one of your vestry meetings and to follow-up by assuring that this policy is being adhered to in your setting. I also urge church leadership to be proactive in making sure that people who attend church functions where alcohol is served, consume it responsibly and do not drink and drive. 


Remember, our biographies and autobiographies are our decisionographies. May our decisions be life-giving and not life-taking. Please keep the Palermo family, Bishop Cook, the Diocese of Maryland and the Episcopal Church in your prayers.


I would also ask you to keep the DeSarno family in your thoughts and prayers. As many of you are aware, this family is part of Holy Trinity Church in South River. On December 29, their home caught fire during the night. Six members of the family were injured, three critically. These three are still in the hospital. A fund-raising effort to assist the DeSarno family is being sponsored by the people of Holy Trinity. Additional information can be found here on the Holy Trinity Church website; items 3 and 4 at the end of the post are ongoing fundraisers in support of the DeSarno family.  



Yours in Christ,




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


Good News Stories and More

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.



Enriching Your Prayer Life Workshop on January 17


This Saturday's Enriching Your Prayer Life Retreat, led by Canon Connie White, will be held at Grace Church in Pemberton, NJ.

We incorrectly listed it as taking place at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton. We apologize for the inconvenience. 


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

Atlantic City 

The Historic Church of the Ascension, 1601 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City will be having its Closing Service this Sunday, January 18th at 10:00 AM. The Rev. Edward Martin with be the celebrant. This Service will mark the end of this Church's ministry in this place. Anyone who would like to join Church of the Ascension as they celebrate the wonderful ministry they have had in Atlantic City since 1893 is welcome to attend. Refreshments will follow in the parish hall. 


Singers Wanted!
For a Celebration of the Life of Absalom Jones. February 15th.

All are invited to sing two anthems (click here for PDFs).
Rehearsal is at 1:30 PM on Feb. 15 in the Cathedral
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.

Please join us at 3:00 PM for a Service of Witness 
In Celebration of the Life of Absalom Jones
February 15, 2015

Trinity Cathedral in Trenton 

Evensong on January 17:

 Choir Camp Reunion Concert 
& Installation of Canons 
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, NJ
January 17, 3pm

Please join us for this special service, reuniting the young singers who participated in Diocesan Choir Camp in the summer of 2014 and as we install the following people as Canons of our Cathedral and our Diocese.

Honorary Canons of Trinity Cathedral

The Rev. Canon Dr. Frank K. Jago (posthumous) 

The Rev. Canon Dr. Alan K. Salmon

Canon Annette Buchanan

Canons of the Diocese of New Jersey

The Rev. Canon Dr. Robert E. Droste, 
Canon for Congregational Development and Mission

Mr. Jonathan L. Elliott, 
Canon and Director of Communications

Ministry Institute Events in January and February




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

Retreat: Enriching Your Prayer Life

January 17

Grace Church, Pemberton--this is the correct location; it was listed incorrectly as Trenton in the newsletter on January 8.

Deacons' Retreat 

January 23-25

Stella Maris Retreat Center

Long Branch


56th Bishop's Ball 

January 30

Trinity Cathedral



Adults Who Work With Youth Workshop
February 5
Diocesan House

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

15th Annual Acolyte Festival
February 14
Trinity Cathedral
The Diocese of New Jersey
(609) 394-5281
808 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08618

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube