A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

"It is now, at Advent, that I am given the chance to suspend all expectation...and instead to revel in the mystery."

I came across this quote by Jerusalem Greer, Episcopalian and author/blogger, when I was doing some internet "noodling" about Advent.  From the moment I first saw it, it captured my attention.  I realized as I sat with it for a while that Jerusalem's words speak quite eloquently to my thoughts and feelings about this season of hopeful waiting, what I often think of as "pregnant expectation." (Pun intended.)  

It is such a gift, filled with immense grace, to be able to spend intentional, dedicated time preparing for Jesus' birth as if for the very first time.  When we do that well, Advent becomes for us a time of sacred mystery.  How will we greet Jesus in the nativity?  Will the incarnation resonate with us the way it has in years past or will we experience something new?  How will our experiences this new first time shape our lives in the days and weeks and months that follow?  And are we ready for what is coming?

I love the way Jerusalem presents the suspension of all expectation as "the chance," as an opportunity to do something good, something exciting, and, perhaps, something a bit risky, rather than as one more thing to slog through in a very busy time of year.  In this time when activities and to-do lists abound, when we wonder if we will ever be ready to celebrate Christmas, my hope and prayer for each of you, for all of you, is that you find some time each day to savor this season.

Peace & Blessings,
Giving in Faith
As of December 4th, we have 29 pledges for a total of $115,550!  This includes five people/families who did not pledge last year, though at least some of them gave consistently.  For those who are in this group, thank you for moving to a pledge, which is helpful to the budgeting process.  We have a number of people/families who pledged last year who have not done so yet this year.  Of course we assume this is an oversight and we look forward to your commitment to give in faith again.  And for those who have not pledged before, we invite and encourage you to do so.  You will be in good and faithful company as we move forward to do faithfully the good work God has given us to do.
Youth Sunday Schedule


We are happy to announce that we will be having a gift collection for 20 of our Drumming Camp children.  Please see Maryalice during coffee hour to sign up or email her at: marylalice_chech@yahoo.com .  Gifts will be picked up on Sunday, December 15 or 22 .  Many thanks!

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 nonperishable 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!

Don't forget to join us at Splurge Bakery on Friday, December 6, 
9-10am, for this adult education program in partnership with Christ Church and B'nai Jeshurun.   This group meets the first Friday of each month.  All are welcome!

Come join the fun of ballroom dancing with Michael and Fangjie!  December 8 and 15 from 3-4pm here at St. Stephen's.  

This week they will  be introducing the Rumba.  Everyone is welcome! All ages, no experience necessary...and it's free!

The Advent Series continues this Sunday after church at 11:30am.   We will view a short video and discuss Chapter 2 of Light of the World: A Beginner's Guide to Advent  by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.  

We will be reading one chapter per week through December 22nd. 
(Please note:  we may adjust the time on 12/22 to avoid a conflict with another Advent activity.)

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.

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!   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!

We celebrated Rev. Paula's 1st Anniversary with St. Stephen's at coffee hour this past Sunday and the vestry presented her with this beautiful cross as a gift.  

Thanks to all who joined us for caroling on Saturday for the Taylor Park Winter Walk.   Our group got bigger and we had lots of folks stop by or wave to us from their cars. It was a fun afternoon, and the cookies and cocoa were delicious!

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.

Bakery Bible Hour at Splurge Bakery

Advent Retreat at St. John Baptist

Advent Series, Week 2

Shall We Dance? Ballroom Dance Club

Preschool Committee Meeting

Advent Series, Week 3

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

Advent Series, Week 4

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 6, 9am

December 7, 10am-5pm

December 8, 11:30am

December 8, 3pm

December 12, 7pm

December 15, 11:30am

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 22, 11:30am (Note: this time may change)

December 24, 5pm

December 24, 10pm

December 25, 10am

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

Liturgical Stewardship Schedule

   December 8, 8:00 am

   Reader & Chalicer:  Nancy Sieffert
   Altar Guild:  Nancy Sieffert


December 8, 10:00 am

Readers:  Kathy Conway, Barbara Riedel
Chalicist:  Roger Riedel
Ushers:  Kathy and Tim Conway
Altar Guild:  Alex Cole
Coffee Hour:  Margo Greenfield

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

This Week:  December 8

Next Week:  December 15
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.