A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

Every year at this time, my dear friend and companion on the journey, H. Mark Smith, deacon and Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in the Diocese of Massachusetts, writes a poem in response to a verse of Scripture.  As with so much of his perspective on life, faith, and ministry, his words speak deeply to my heart. These poems remind me that Christmas is so much more than I seem to remember in the hustle and bustle of these days, and that's even before I leave the hustle and bustle of the office and begin to think about decorating and gifts and the like.  The Incarnation of God was a game-changer long before the first Easter (33 years or so if the biblical timeline is accurate). Jesus' birth and life shifted ideas of power and might, love and dignity, and a host of other aspects of being in relationship, as Jesus lived his life in the ways that God dreams we all will live. Jesus brought hope - hope in the moment, not just a someday-to-be realized-eternal-life kind of hope - to real people living mundane and ordinary lives, people not unlike you and me.

I've been drawn to one of them in particular this week, as I read and pray with the lectionary for the next two Sundays.  This week we hear the Magnificat, which is Mary's response to the angel, Gabriel, telling her she would be give birth to a baby - Jesus, no less!  Next week we hear about Joseph's response to the same news.  I could go on for a good long time about how their willingness to take a chance to respond to God's call in the ways that they did changed the world forever but I won't.  Instead I will share Mark's poem from 2014 with all of you.


in the margins,
unable to


from the sidelines
for the oxygen of


hands raised, protesting
night with 


Power with
power over.

, es posible.

Mary responded, 'You see before you the Lord's servant. May your Word be so.'... (Luke 1:38)

Peace & Blessings,
Giving in Faith
Apologies - last week we provided incorrect information.  The 29 pledges for a total of $115,550 was the total of pledges received last year for the 2019 budget.  The 2019 pledges for the 2020 budget are 27 for a total of $105,050.  As reported last week, we have five people/families who did not pledge last year pledging this year and we have a number of people/families who pledged last year who have not done so yet this year.   

We're at the time in the budget process when knowing how much we can count on to fund all of the ministries of this faithful, Spirit-filled parish is crucial.  So...if you haven't submitted your pledge of an intentional, proportional level of giving, please do so now.  Our ministries will flourish and your lived faith will be deepened.  Giving in faith is one of the most time-tested and reliable ways to experience living faith in new and transformative ways.

We are grateful that some of you include year-end stock giving as part of your financial commitment to St. Stephen's.  Because of the way these gifts are received and managed, please alert Dave Van Houten ( bookkeeper@ststephensmillburn.org or (973) 376-0699, ext. 33) to expect your gift.  This will ensure that it is accounted for properly.
Sunday School and Nursery Update
Next Sunday, December 22nd,  is Youth Sunday.  There will be nursery care but no Sunday School. 

The following Sunday, December 29th, both Linda and Greg will be away so there will be no nursery care or Sunday School.  We're having a baptism, which is a fun way to have all of the children in the parish involved in the liturgy, so please do come to church if you are in town.


Due to the Greening of the Church next Sunday, this week's Advent Series will be extended to include Chapters 3 & 4 of Light of the 
World: A Beginner's Guide to Advent by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.  We will meet from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm this Sunday, December 15th.  We will not meet next week.

Come join the fun of ballroom dancing with Michael and Fangjie this Sunday, December 15th, from 3-4pm here at St. Stephen's.  E veryone is welcome! All ages, no experience necessary...and it's free!

As part of living into our identity as the "Church on Main Street," we are hosting a holiday concert for the Youth Orchestras of Essex County at  3pm on Sunday, December 15

From Tchaikovsky to Tito Puente, the students have prepared an exciting program of the classics of the symphonic tradition and jazz standards.  Open to the public, all ages welcome. A fun holiday event for the whole family!   For tickets, click  here .

This special performance will include Christ Church Festival Choir and Orchestra including members of St. Stephen's Choir.   Sunday, December 15 at 4pm.  Free will donation and reception to follow. For more information, click  here.

Thank you, everyone, for your kindness, generosity and good wishes. - Jill


Stop by the Short Hills Mall California Pizza Kitchen for a delicious meal while you are holiday shopping and 20% of your check will be donated to St. Stephen's! (This includes dine-in, take-out, catering and all beverages.)

Bring the flyer on  Tuesday, December 17, 11am - 10pm for this special FUNdraiser!  Our last fundraiser over the summer was a success!

F lyers are available on our Facebook page, in church, by the narthex bulletin board and from the church office.   Bon appetit and thank you!

Thank you to everyone who signed up to donate gifts for the Drumming Camp children.  Due to your generosity, all the children are covered for this year's collection.  Please bring your wrapped donations (with the name of the child written on the donation) this  Sunday, December 15th and give to Barbara Riedel. 

 If you are unable to be at church this Sunday, the donation must be in the church office by Wednesday, December 18th.  Many, many thanks!   - Maryalice Chech

The Advent season is the perfect time to renew - or begin - a commitment to the food barrel.  The contents of our barrel are taken to the food pantry of Apostles' House in Newark.  This pantry serves a large number of people who are unable to purchase sufficient food for themselves or their families.

Our food barrel is located in the Narthex by the rear door of the church, ready to be packed with canned and boxed nonperishable food items such as:
canned meat, beef stew, tuna, fruit, vegetables, soups, & potatoes; peanut butter, jelly, rice, dried beans, 100% fruit juice, powdered milk or Parmalat, cold & hot cereals, macaroni & cheese, instant potatoes, coffee & tea.  Thank you!
SERVICES:  The Christmas services are finalized.  Please refer to "Events" for details.

FLOWERS:  If you would like to donate for Christmas flowers, please let Doreen know.  You may call the office at 973.376.0688, ext. 32 or email church@ststephensmillburn.org.

GREENING OF THE CHURCH:  We will be readying the church for Christmas celebrations after the 10am service on December 22nd.  Please join the Altar Guild for this time of preparation and fellowship.

Advent Series, Week 3 & 4

Shall We Dance? Ballroom Dance Club

Youth Orchestras of Essex County
Winter Concert

Messiah at Christ Church in Short Hills

Pizza with a Purpose at California Pizza Kitchen, Short Hills Mall

Finance Committee Meeting

Blue Christmas

Youth Sunday

Greening of the Church

Christmas Eve Family Service

Festival Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Day Eucharist

Beckerath Organ 50th Anniversary 2019-2020 Recital Series
John Charles Schucker
Johann Vexo
December 15, 11:30am - 1pm

December 15, 3pm

December 15, 3pm

December 15, 4pm

December 17, 11am - 10pm

December 18, 7:30pm

December 19, 7:30pm

December 22, 10am

December 22, 11:30am

December 24, 5pm

December 24, 10pm

December 25, 10am

Sunday, February 23, 4pm
Sunday, April 19, 4pm

Liturgical Stewardship Schedule

December 15, 8:00 am

Reader & Chalicer:   Michelle Ellingham
Altar Guild:  Maria Nazareth


December 15, 10:00 am

Readers:  Jean James, Ladi Owolabi
Chalicer:  Eric Maurer
Ushers:   Jeff Majtyka, Dan Mitchell
Altar Guild:  Maria Nazareth, Jean James
Coffee Hour:  Carole Francis

   December 22, 8:00 am

   Reader & Chalicer:  Allison Walker
   Altar Guild:  Nancy Sieffert


December 22, 10:00 am

Readers:  Felder Dorn, Fran Taber
Chalicist:  John Soughan
Ushers:  James and Katie Wade
Altar Guild:  Alex Cole
Coffee Hour:  Altar Guild

This Week:  December 15

Next Week:  December 22
Links to the Wider Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark

The Episcopal Church

The Presiding Bishop

Giving with Tithe.ly
Tithe.ly is a mobile-friendly app designed by a clergy person and used by thousands of congregations across the country.  With Tithe.ly, you can do one-time or recurring payments, as well as help with the nominal fee of using the service.  You can download the app from the App Store or Play Store, or you can do it online at tithe.ly/give. Enter St. Stephen's Church in the search menu and we should pop up.  You'll know it's  us if it says "St. Stephen's Church, Millburn, NJ 07041."

It's also possible to access Tithe.ly through our website - click on the "Give" button in the menu and you will be given the option to use Tithe.ly. 

Don't worry.  If you prefer to use a check or cash, that's fine.  If you are a Vanco user and want to keep it that way, that is good, too.
Office Hours and Contact Information

Office hours are Tuesday thru Friday, 10:00 am to 1:30 pm or by appointment.
Phone: 973.376.0668  
Fax: 973.376.4002
Website: ststephensmillburn.org
Main email: church@ststephensmillburn.org
Follow us on:  FacebookInstagram and  Pinterest

Doreen Schindler, Parish Administrator can be reached at ext. 32 or

The Rev. Paula J. Toland, Rector can be reached at ext. 21 or 
She is an occasional blogger at fromthestillness.