January 6, 2021
A Message from Rev. Paula
Beloved Community,

As I write this on the twelfth day of Christmas, I have a poem by Howard Thurman swirling around in my head:

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

It has long been one of my favorites, perhaps because it reminds me of something that I need to be told as I make the transition from Christmastide into the season after the Epiphany. This time of year, with the focus on resolutions and the like, always seems to bring with it a kind of pressure to get the new year all planned and organized, which can make Christmas seem far behind us, even as we are still in its season. I need the reminders of the glory, majesty, and joy that the first four lines evoke.

I suspect, too, that the poem's annual visitation around this time connects to the fact that I was ordained to the priesthood on January 4th. The second half of the poem is reminiscent of Jesus' proclamation from Isaiah 61 (which we hear about after Jesus' baptism as told in Luke 4), which has always resonated deeply with me. It is Jesus' call to the Church, one of the ways Jesus' life and ministry inform the shape of our common life and ministry. But more than that, it is how I understand my end of the Baptismal Covenant, which I publicly affirmed when I was 13 years old. It is an understanding that is integral to my call to the priesthood and the way I understand my ordained ministry in general and with you in particular. It is about faith as a verb - an active embodied faith that compels one to share the Good News in ways that make a difference in the world today and every day. As I have said so often this year about so many things, this is a message we need to hear in this time perhaps more than any other I can remember.

I leave you with another poem from Thurman, which I offer as a blessing to you as you enter into this new year:

I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

Peace & Blessings,
Rev. Paula

Connection & Common Worship
Sundays, 10 AM
Live-streamed to YouTube, Facebook, and via Zoom. Bulletins are available on the St. Stephen's website. All links can be found at the bottom of the newsletter. Zoom passcode is 225839.

To call in, dial by your location:
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 864 1664 1640
Passcode: 225839

The Sunday service will also be broadcast on HTTV (Comcast TV 36 and Verizon TV 33) on Tuesday at 6 AM and 3 PM.

Coffee Hour
Sundays at 12 PM via Zoom
To call in, dial by your location:
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 895 5857 6382

Daily Prayer
M-W-F 8:30 AM
T-TH-SAT 7:45 PM
Most days Rev. Paula will lead prayer live on Facebook, though occasionally it will be a "Prayerful Interlude" or a recorded reflection. Videos of all posts can be easily accessed from the Facebook video library.

Interfaith Bible Hour
Friday, January 8, 9 AM
Please join us as we continue our study of Genesis, along with our friends from Christ Church in Short Hills and Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.

We will be reading Chapters 27 and 28. Rev. Paula will email the Robert Alter translation, though you are free to read the translation of your choice. If you are not on the group email list, please let Rev. Paula know to add you.

Reading with the Rector
Sunday, February 7, 1 PM
We will be reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin D'Angelo. 

The book is available in public libraries as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and the Zoom link is on the St. Stephen's website calendar.
St. Stephen's News
Giving in Faith Update
As of January 5th, we have 25 pledges totaling $97,970. Thank you to all who have made this commitment to give in faith. It is not too late for you to make your pledge, which will help us achieve our goal of $137,000, which is based on the 33 pledges totaling $132,650 we received for 2020 and the additional giving from you.

Achieving this goal will enable us to continue the life-giving, Spirit-filled ministries that are so important to us and to the greater community. Pledging, rather than simply giving regularly, helps us to be sure we have the people and resources we need to live our faith in the ways we have come to cherish.

Food Barrel
"Elijah" originally inspired us to donate to the St. Stephen's Food Barrel for Apostles' House in Newark. That dedication has continued for many years and continues during this pandemic. Below are the items delivered during the month of December.

18 packages of pasta
46 cans of fish/chicken
36 cans of vegetables
6 jars of peanut butter
30 cans of soup
8 boxes of cereal
6 boxes of macaroni & cheese
25 cans of beans
1 container of hot chocolate
1 container of milk
19 snacks
2 boxes of stuffing
6 jars of gravy/sauce

Thank you to all who donated: Members of the Congregation, Preschool parents, and those who stop by the church and put food in the outdoor collection container. We are so grateful for your generosity!!!!!

50th Anniversary CAN-CAN Sale!
The Food Barrel is waiting to be filled to the top with these super savings. The St. Stephen’s community is famous for hearing the music of the Can-Can as they head to ShopRite to buy their food supply! All donations will go to Apostles’ House in Newark.

From Bishop Hughes & The Episcopal Church
Don't Be Afraid, Shepherds (Bishop Hughes' 2020 Christmas Sermon)

This week through Sunday, January 10.

Cross Roads Wednesdays Away
A time of spiritual renewal one Wednesday a month from 10 AM - 12 PM. Upcoming dates: January 6, February 17, March 3. For details and to register, visit the Cross Roads link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Friday Prayer with The Community of St. John Baptist
Friday, January 8, 10:30 - 11 AM
Gather in prayer and community via Zoom. Organized by CSJB Associates and Oblates. Register in advance at the link here to recieve Friday's Zoom link.

Meeting ID: 951 0006 6108
Passcode: 9735434641

Or iPhone one-tap
    US: +13017158592,,95100066108# or +13126266799,,95100066108#

Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 301 715 8592 
Faithful Outreach
Holy Trinity
Our friends at Christine's Kitchen are reaching out for help. Please view Fr. Miguel's video message at the link here. Your kind donation will be matched up to $10,000. Thank you!

The Apostles' House & North Porch
Collection bins are located outside the Narthex doors in the parking lot. Donations can be dropped off at any time.

Apostles' House needs: canned goods and non-perishable food items. 

North Porch is in URGENT need of Enfamil Infant Formula 12.5 oz containers (yellow label), baby wipes, and diapers size 4, 5, and 6.

Online Donations - If you are unable to drop off items at the church, and would like to contribute, you can make purchases and/or donations directly to these organizations at the following links:

North Porch Donation Link
The Apostles' House Donation Link
Teen and Youth Ministries
Pop Up Youth Minsitry
Pop Up is a welcoming ministry of the Diocese of Newark bringing together youth for fun activities, community, and faith formation. All youth grades 6-12 are encouraged to join the monthly events. For details and to join their newsletter, visit the Pup Up link towards the bottom of this newsletter.

The next Zoom meet-up will be this Sunday, January 10 at 3 PM.

Cross Roads Youth Retreats
EXPLORE! with Cross Roads this winter at their virtual youth retreats. Over the course of a few hours, kids and youth leaders will EXPLORE the ways God is present in our world and in our lives. They will play games, read stories from the Bible, get moving, worship together, and have fun!

There are three EXPLORE! retreat dates and times for different age groups:
Grades K – 2: Saturday, February 13 from 10 am – 12 pm
Grades 3 – 5: Saturday, February 13 from 1 – 3 pm 
Grades 6 – 8: Saturday, March 13 from 10 am – 12 pm

Visit the Cross Roads link below in this newsletter for details and to register.
Resources During Covid
There are many, many resources available to parishes and individuals to help sustain our faith practices during this unprecedented time. We have moved the list to our website here. This is by no means a complete list, though it does cover many areas of need.
St. Stephen's Prayer List
Please keep the following St. Stephen's family members and friends in your prayers...

Jeff Loggins, Jimmy Hasenkamp, Ian Janeczko, Peggy Thompson, Matthew Anderson, Felder Dorn, Joan Shuss, Corey Toland, Hailey Rose Fout, Kris Hunt, Donna Riggi, Blanchard Family, McManus Family, Bernard & Nathan, Fitzgerald Family, Lucille B., Jack Moreno, Jim Freeman
Weekly Lectionary
First Sunday after The Epiphany
January 10, 2021

Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Mark 1:4-11

Giving with Tithe.ly
Giving with Tithe.ly is easy with options for recurring donations or one-time use for when you are away or not able to be in church (like all of us now due to COVID restrictions).

You can access Tithe.ly via their website or their app on your smart phone. Be sure to search for the correct account - "St. Stephen's Church Millburn." Once you have accessed the account page with our address, you will be instructed to follow the prompts.
Office Notes
Office Hours
Until we are through this public health emergency, there are NO office hours. Please call Rev. Paula to arrange for pastoral care.

Due to COVID restrictions, only teachers and staff are allowed to be in the building during school hours. If you need to visit the parish office/building for any reason, please contact us for an appointment. Thank you.
Important Links
Zoom Links
Links for Sunday Worship Live-Stream & Social Media
Website Links
Other Social Media Links
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
119 Main Street, Millburn, NJ 07041

Parish Administrator, Doreen Schindler
973.376.0688, Ext. 32

Rector, The Rev. Paula J. Toland
973.376.0688, Ext. 21

Fax: 973.376.4002
Website: ststephensmillburn.org


Director: Nancy Siracusa
Phone: 973.376.3534, Ext. 20