Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
I called upon the Lord in my distress;
and cried out to my God for help.
He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling;
My cry of anguish came to his ears...Psalm 18:6 - 7
The painful images of devastation caused by natural disasters just keep coming at us. In Mexico City, the casualty count from the most recent earthquake is nearly 300 people and expected to rise. Pictures of collapsed buildings reduced to rubble with workers frantically scrambling over them trying to reach survivors are searing.
Hurricane Maria, following almost immediately on Hurricane Irma, battered islands in the Caribbean and is bearing down on the Bahamas with the Turks and Caicos islands directly in its path. Dominica was ravaged with 15 people reported dead. Puerto Rico was hit especially hard by Maria. There are heart-wrenching stories all over the island. One of those stories hits close to us in the Diocese of New Jersey.
Kenniel Monge was born July 17 of this year. He is the 3 month old grandchild of Fr. Juan Monge Santiago, Priest-in-Charge of All Saints Church in Lakewood. Before Hurricane Maria, Kenniel had been hospitalized with respiratory issues. He was released just before Hurricane Maria but was required to be on oxygen at home. The severe damage of the hurricane has knocked out power to the entire island. At our Charrette in Haddonfield this past Thursday night, Fr. Juan shared with me that he didn't know how his family was fairing, but that he knew that Kenniel's family did not have power. When he last spoke to his son, Kenny, the child's father, Kenny was trying to return the San Jorge Hospital where Kenniel had initially been treated. The roads were inaccessible. Fr. Juan advised him to go the police and have them escort him to a hospital that was functioning which Kenny said he would do. Fr. Juan has not had an update. I assured Fr. Juan that we would pray for him, for Kenniel and for their entire family.
With so much coming at us, it is tempting to succumb to "disaster fatigue" and "donor fatigue." We need to resist this. Real people, real human beings are being affected in horrific ways by these disasters. Their worlds have been turned upside down. As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to become numb to their cries of distress.
Thousands of people are still living with the destruction of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Thousands in Florida and across the Caribbean have been devastated by Hurricane Irma. Thousands have been hurt by Hurricane Maria which is still churning away. In Mexico City, thousands have been displaced and injured.
I urge all to pray for Fr. Juan Monge's family and all those impacted by these overwhelming disasters. I also urge everyone to continue to be generous and donate to
Episcopal Relief and Development
and other agencies helping the victims of these disasters to recover and reclaim their lives. There are years of work ahead of everyone and the reality is that there are more disasters still to come.
Blessings and peace,
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey
Highlights from the Bishop's Schedule for the Week of 9/23:
Saturday, September 23
Trinity Cathedral - Benefits Workshop
St. Stephen's Church, Whiting vestry meeting
Holy Trinity Church, Collingswood - parking lot/car
Sunday, September 24
St. Andrew's Church, Lambertville
Visitation and Town Hall meeting
Monday, September 25
Meeting with VTS staff and Constable Grant Task Force
Tuesday, September 26
Ann Klein Forensic Center, Trenton - group meeting
St. Andrew's Church, Camden - discussion with St. Wilfrid's
St. Paul's Church, Camden vestry meeting
Wednesday, September 27
Prison Ministry Committee meeting
Thursday, September 28
Discerning Our Common Call Steering Committee meeting
Friday, September 29
Tavistock Country Club, Haddonfield
Good News stories and more!
Loveliest Building in Trenton
Ann Notte, Diocesan House Office Manager and Curtis Wilson attended an event in Trenton where they were awarded one of two bronze plaques by the
Landmarks Commission for Historic Preservation of Trenton for the lovely, historical facade of 808 West State St.
The commission noted with pleasure that the building retains the same façade as the original owner and that great pride is shown in our buildings and grounds. Mayor Eric Jackson was present for the presentation of this award.
We are so grateful for the work of Ann and Curtis--it's wonderful to see the city of Trenton recognize it, as well!
Soles for the Harvest 5K, 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk
November 4, 2017
Veterans Park - Hamilton, NJ
In 2016, Soles for the Harvest 5K Run/Walk became a Diocesan Jubilee Event. Last year we raised $10,979.08.
Your congregation does NOT need to be a Jubilee site to participate.
Clergy Conference Room Rate to Increase Soon
All rooms must be reserved no later than October 20
. After that, we cannot guarantee the current room rate. Please note: less rooms are available this year. We're thrilled at this year's lineup, and don't want anyone to miss out! Contact Terry Ann Schwarz for more information.
As you think about
your fall programming, remember that a Diocesan Matching Grant can double the amount you fund raise for international projects (up to $750)! Applications are reviewed as they are received; the final deadline for this cycle is November 1, 2017. For more information and an application,