In This Edition
Upcoming Diocesan Offerings
May 20
Choir Camp Reunion and Installation of Canons
Trinity Cathedral

May 20
St. Bartholomew's,  
Cherry Hill

May 20
Safe Church Training
St. Stephen's,
Mullica Hill

May 21
Senior Baccalaureate Service
Trinity Cathedral

June 3
Unity in Diversity/ Unidad en la Diversidad
Leadership Workshop

Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

June 3
Come to the Table
Trinity Cathedral Chapel, Trenton

June 5-9
Appreciative Leadership
Crowne Plaza, Plainsboro

June 10    
St Mark's

June 10
Floral Ministries Workshop
Trinity Cathedral
June 10
Appreciative Inquiry for Church Leaders
Diocesan House

June 11
Cathedral Sunday
Trinity Cathedral

June 17
Animal Welfare Ministry Forum
Trinity Cathedral 

July 10-14
Episcopal Youth Event
University of Central Oklahoma  

July 23-27
Choir Camp
Cape May 
Upcoming Congregational Events
Trinity Church

May 20-21
Christ Church

May 21
St. Francis'

May 31
Holy Trinity
South River

June 3
St. James'
Bradley, Beach 

St. Mary's
Haddon Heights

St. James'

June 11
Christ Church
New Brunswick

June 14
Holy Trinity
South River

St. Stephen's
St. Mark's
St. Bartholomew's
Cherry Hill
St. Mark and All Saints'
List Your Congregation's Events Here!
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Organist needed! Christ Church, Middletown is seeking an Organist/Music Director. Learn more.

Spend a week at Cross Roads Camp! Cross Roads is seeking a nurse for the week of August 12-19! Come enjoy and be part of camp, care for campers, and even get paid for it! To get details contact Bonnie, Nursing Administrator
Several frontals and superfrontals, processional crosses, chalices, patens, cruets, pascal candles, and a variety of stoles, chasubles, and other vestments are on offer in Diocesan House. For more information contact Allie Graham or The Rev. Richard Wrede.
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May 19, 2017
From the Bishop
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God....Philippians 1:9-11

Across the Diocese of New Jersey, we have begun a process of self-exploration we have named Discerning our Common Call. This consists of a series of expanding conversations in which the people of the diocese are asked to explore a central question:
What does it mean to be a diocese in The Episcopal Church today? 

Exploring this question requires us to examine our interrelationship, interdependence, and commitment to and with one another as a community of the faithful knit together as the Diocese of New Jersey. These conversations have already begun with three of the Spring Convocations - Camden, Atlantic and Northern. 

Questions have emerged from these early convocations which reflect some concerns and confusions about the process and the direction it is taking. I felt it would be helpful for me to address these.

In March, we deferred action on the Proposed 2018 Budget of the Diocese. As presented, it was drastically austere. If implemented, it would require draconian measures which would have a dramatic impact on our common life, and on the lives of many individual congregations. I believe very few people support the passing and implementation of such a budget. 

It has been recognized for years that the "Fair Share System," has not worked. Heretofore, however, little has been done to address the problem. The 2018 Proposed Budget was predicated on income assumptions which reflect the current levels of giving from congregations of the diocese supplemented by responsible draws from endowment and other investment funds. The Preliminary 2018 Budget as proposed was not intended as a scare tactic; it was a reality check.

The questions we are asking are deeper than the budget. They concern our common life and common call. This is why we are engaging in this discernment process that will lead us to a Special Convention on October 7, 2017 at Trinity Cathedral. 

While there were initial considerations about presenting the 2018 Budget at that Special Convention for adoption, it has become clear that this is neither practical nor prudent. Congregations will just have received their Marks of Mission Giving requests and, in many cases, be considering their own budgets.  Therefore, we will not be considering the 2018 Budget at the Special Convention on October 7. 

So what will happen at the October 7 Special Convention?
  1. As a Committee of the Whole, we will formally receive the report from our consultant Kim Fletcher and the Discerning Our Common Call Steering Committee with recommendations which may require action.
  2. Delegates will be asked to come ready to make a preliminary, non-binding commitment to their Marks of Mission Pledge as a faith-filled indication of thankful giving to the common life of the diocese similar to what the many parishes who engage in New Consecration Sunday do in local stewardship practices.
  3. A resolution will be presented asking delegates to approve continuing diocesan operations at 2017 budget levels until the Diocesan Convention meets on March 2-3, 2018 at The Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, when the actual 2018 Budget will be presented and considered by Convention for action. 
In his book, People of the Way: Renewing Episcopal Identity (New York: Morehouse Publishing, 2012), The Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile, who was the keynote speaker at our 2014 Convention, writes:

Organizational change for the church is often painful and slow. Within the framework of establishment, the church has tended to be conservative in its organizational life - trying to preserve and maintain what it has. This is understandable and in some ways commendable. The church's treasures are precious and they must be stewarded well. Like other churches of the Reformation, the Episcopal Church's focus has tended to look backward, toward earlier patterns and practices in Christian history. This is a necessary and important turn - the church is always reforming. At the same time, we've lost sight of the fact that the church is always forming - innovating new ways of creating Christian community under the Spirit's leadership . Now is a moment to shift our focus to discerning what new life the Spirit wants to bring forth in our midst. This means making space for new expressions of church within our existing structures. It invites us to suspend current rules and regulations until new and more adequate patterns emerge. It calls us to prioritize learning and discovery over maintenance and control...(p. 128). 

In our process, Discerning our Common Call, we are engaging in precisely this "forming" work about which Zscheile writes. It is exciting, unsettling, sometimes uncomfortable work. It is, however, the work to which God calls us in this time and in this place.

I am grateful to those who have already begun the conversation and urge those who have not yet participated to be a part of this sacred discernment at the remaining convocation meetings and at regional, congregational and, finally, diocesan-wide gatherings being scheduled throughout the summer and into the early fall. Blessings and thanks for your participation in Christ's work and mission.

Blessings and peace, 

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

Good News stories and more!
 Why are these people so happy?

  They attended the
Bishop's Spring Conference 2017!
Learn more by watching the videos of the conference presentations

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Thanks to Chris Yaw for this special opportunity!
Cathedral Sunday is June 11th!

Join Your Cathedral for a Festive Floral Eucharist with Confirmations, preceded by a free flower arranging workshop on June 10. Learn more!
Spring Convocation Meetings Announced

Remaining locations of the  Discerning our Common Call  discussions are listed below.


Monday 5/22
6:00 p.m.
St. George's,
Tuesday, 5/23
7:00 p.m.
Grace-St. Paul's,
Thursday, 5/25 7:00 pm
(Begins with Eucharist)
St. Stephen's,
Sunday, 6/4
3:00 p.m.
St. Mark's,
Basking Ridge
Wednesday, 6/7
7:00 p.m.
Christ Church,
Toms River
Animal Welfare Forum at Trinity Cathedral June 17
Summer internship program of the Diocese of New Jersey
The Diocesan Committee on the Priesthood is accepting applications for a summer internship in a local Episcopal congregation (stipend provided).

The purpose of the internship is to help college students and college-age young adults to explore the possibility of ordained ministry as a vocation.
Details of the program and application are available by contacting the Rev. Ophelia Laughlin (732) 842-0596.  The deadline for receipt of applications is
Wednesday, May 31st, 2017.

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