A Message from Rev. Paula+
Yesterday, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams joined the weekly clergy call with Bishop Hughes. For Anglican/Episcopal clergy and church geeks, though he certainly has expressed understandings that have not been like those held by many of us over the years, this was the equivalent of welcoming a movie star. Bishop Williams is brilliant, thoughtful, articulate, and ever curious about how God is working in creation. I'd be surprised to hear that he didn't say at least one thing or ask one wondering question to spark the curiosity or faithful wondering of every single one of us on the call. He said several things that captured my attention, a couple of which I have been mulling over since. I share one of them with you now:
The Church only exists because God exists.
Let me repeat that:
The Church only exists because God exists.
In this time in which we are called to explore how to be Church in new ways, how to love and care for each other while physically distant, how to worship God when we can't rely on our beloved traditions and customs, it seems especially important to remember the order of things. The Church, including our beloved Episcopal Church, exists because God exists, not for the sake of itself or for any of those beloved traditions and customs. Because that is true
and when we keep that truth in the forefront of our thoughts and prayers, of our planning and decision-making, we are open to experiencing the movement of the Spirit of the
Living God in ways that we might not see otherwise.
This is not a new thought, for me or for the countless others I've heard say something similar, though filtering it through Bishop Williams' words give it new energy, new life. As we continue to look at our future together - be that the in-person gathering we miss so acutely or the new and creative ways we've discovered and have yet to discover about how to nurture and sustain relationship with God and each other in spite of physical distancing - my prayer is that all of us hear and respond to the profound truth so simply expressed:
The Church only exists because God exists.
May we always be the Church embodying and reflecting the love of the Living God.
Peace & Blessings,
A Related Message from Rev. Paula+
Embodying and reflecting the love of God is grace incarnate. It is a gift that is freely given
and which requires attentiveness to one's own relationship with God.
It is a truth, too, that parishes thrive when their clergy nourish their own relationships with God.
Taking the time to be with God - just you and God - is sabbath, a way of spending time that is biblical.
It may be no surprise to you as you have seen and heard all that has been going on these past few months here at St. Stephen's that finding time to take sabbath has been more of a challenge. I am usually pretty good at this, with a few short retreats each year, regular days off, and a week or two at my "happy place," the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center (BCH), along with relaxed time with family and friends. As with so much else, these things either didn't happen or won't be happening as planned.
As we continue to talk about the next phases of living our faith in a time of pandemic, it is more important than ever that I take some time on retreat. So...next week, from Monday morning until mid-afternoon on Friday, I will be away. I'll be at BCH in a cabin by myself, praying and reading and praying and knitting and praying, with some hiking thrown in for good measure. Though I will be thinking of you and praying for you as always, I will not be available via email, on Facebook Live, or by text or phone. Your fabulous wardens will respond initially to any pastoral care emergencies, referring them to one of my colleagues for follow up as needed.
Peace & Blessings,
NEW! Bishop Hughes' pastoral letter
guidelines for in-person worship
in the Diocese of Newark can be found
The Voice Online
may be found
To read Bishop Hughes' Covid-19 guidelines, as well as other news from around the diocese, look
NEW! Checking In: A Lay Conversation with the Bishop
Tuesday, June 30, 6 PM
Bishop Carlye Hughes is eager to once again spend time in conversation with the members of the diocese, to reflect and consider what we, our churches, and our communities have learned and experienced as we have adjusted to the changes this time has demanded of us.
On Tuesday, June 30 at 6 PM we will hold the second monthly Lay Conversation with Bishop Hughes. Scheduled for 90 minutes, this Zoom conversation is open to all members of the diocese.
An email invitation will be sent Monday, June 29 to recipients of The Voice Online with sign-in instructions for this Zoom meeting.
If anyone does not already receive the Voice Online via email, please register here.
Share Your Prayers
Bishop Hughes invites all of us to do something that might be a first for us - to write down our prayers during this pandemic and share them with the diocese, as a way to help each other.
The prayers will be shared on the diocesan website in The VOICE and on social media.
Prayers can be sent to Canon Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org for posting. Please include the name and town of your church.
To view Bishop Hughes invitation to share your prayers, please click here.
UPDATED! - About Racial Justice
In this time of national upheaval, outrage, and fear, The Episcopal Church's Department of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care and the Office of Government Relations have assembled resources to assist individuals, congregations and communities seeking to LEARN, PRAY and ACT.
Please use and share these resources, and send your own resources and stories to email@example.com.
You can find the link to current resources here.
Read Presiding Bishop Curry's Word to the Church here.
HOW TO RAISE ANTI-RACIST KIDS: A Conversation
Wednesday, July 1 ,2020, 8:00 PM
How do you talk to your children about race or help them understand something like white privilege? Come listen in on a conversation between mothers attempting to do the work of justice and anti-racism with their children. We are not experts, but we are willing to share what we are doing - what has worked and where we've made mistakes.
The Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles, Dallas, Texas
Ms. Emily Rutledge, Charlottesville, VA
Prof. Audrey Truschke, Hoboken, NJ
The discussion will be facilitated by the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas, rector of
All Saints Episcopal Parish in Hoboken, NJ and
will be Live Streamed on the All Saints Hoboken YouTube page. Visit the link here to view the discussion on 7/1/20 at 8 PM.
THE RED RIBBON PROJECT AT ST. STEPHEN'S
If you happen to be driving or walking by the church, you'll see a simple way to show support for racial justice. Stop and tie a red ribbon on the fence, joining with others in the community who have already done so. (Ribbons are provided.)
While this will not result in a tangible change, it might just encourage someone else's change of heart, which is the first step to the kind of change that can literally change the world.
St. Stephen's Zoom Events
Sundays at 11AM
Watch the service at 10 AM, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and join the fun. We'll be around from 11 to noon.
Send an email to Rev. Paula at
by 10:45 AM that morning to request the login information. Don't be surprised to find yourself in a waiting room. Barbara Riedel or Rev. Paula will let you in.
Youth & Teen Resources and Events
POP UP YOUTH MINISTRY
The Episcopal Pop Up Youth Ministry is for all youth grades 6-12. Fun events are hosted via Zoom on Sundays at 4 PM. These events include themes like Scavenger Hunt, Escape Room and Trivia Night!
The next event is Sunday, July 5 at 4 PM.
Follow POP UP Youth Ministry on Facebook and Instagram @popupym
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
CROSS ROADS CAMP & RETREAT CENTER
Our friends at Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center are providing activities for kids and teens including art projects, Zoom virtual camp-fires and more!
For all the details, follow the Cross Roads Facebook page here and follow them on Instagram @crossroads.camp.
NEW!! Virtual Day Camp for Kids, July 13-17, 10 AM - 12 PM
Cross Roads is offering a week-long virtual day camp program for youth (completed Kindergarten through 5th grades) from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17. Counselors will gather with campers on Zoom from 10 am to 12 noon on each day. Those two hours will be packed with songs, games, arts & crafts, and Bible study. It is expected that campers attend all sessions of the program.
The theme for Day Camp at Home is "From Generation to Generation." Each day, campers will learn new stories from the Bible, showing how God's love endures from generation to generation.
To learn more and to register, visit their website here.
UPDATE...A note from Felder
When the driver from Apostles' House food pantry picked up a load of food that we had collected in our improvised food barrel, he remarked that the food pantry was out of food!
Our shipment, therefore, was timely indeed!
I expect that some of the Apostles' House sources have been hampered by the Corona Virus situation, so it was good that we could help.
Please keep your contributions coming - and remember to check the expiration dates before sending your items.
Apostles' House Food Barrel - A weather-proof collection bin is located at St. Stephen's outside under the roof of the Narthex parking lot entry door. Canned goods and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any time and will be delivered to Apostles' House.
North Porch Women & Infants' Centers - A second collection bin for North Porch is located at the same door. Right now they are in urgent need of the following:
- Enfamil 12.5 oz powdered baby formula and soy formula, and Enfamil infant (yellow label) 21.1 oz
- Diapers especially Large sizes - 4, 5, 6, and Pull-ups of all sizes
- Baby wipes
- Jars of baby food - all ages- fruit, veggie and 1st foods
3. Online Ordering/Donations - If you are unable to drop off items at the church, and would like to contribute, you can make purchases and/or donations online directly to these organizations. PLEASE NOTE: North Porch prefers you use their AmazonSmile link for direct product donations.
North Porch Women and Infant Centers
North Porch Amazon Smile direct link:
The Apostles' House
Food Pantry link:
, Holy Trinity Church, West Orange
St. Stephen's will be hosting Christine's Kitchen again on August 15th. More details to come.
Connection and Common Worship
All of the information you need to remain actively connected to St. Stephen's can be found on the website under the "Living Our Faith in a Time of Pandemic" tab on the top left. In addition, the ways to join in worship and other activities is also available on the Events Calendar on the website, under News & Events. Our worship services will be posted to
every Sunday morning at 8 AM and will be available on our new
. The services can be watched at any time.
Our Sunday worship service is also broadcast on HTTV (Comcast TV 36 and Verizon TV 33) at 6 AM and 1 PM. Please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family who do not use the internet.
Audio recordings of the homilies are found
The bulletins can be found
FYI - St. Stephen's is on Facebook EVERY DAY! Join us, and tell your friends and family! Posts include daily morning and evening prayer, Sunday worship, Children's Chapel on Saturday, and Children's Storytime with Rev. Paula.
Videos of all the posts can easily be accessed from the Facebook video library right
Resources from the Diocese and Beyond
|There are many, many resources available to parishes and individuals to help sustain our faith practices during this unprecedented time. This is by no means a complete list, though it does cover many areas of need.
NEW!!! Faith@Home, a ministry of Forward Movement Publications and Forma, a ministry of the Episcopal Church Foundation, offers weekly lectionary-based readings and reflections for all age groups. You'll find those resources here.
The Diocese of Newark has a page dedicated to pastoral messages, informational updates and directives, and resources for use by parishes and people of faith. You'll find it here.
The Episcopal Church, nationally and internationally, has information on its website, including pastoral messages from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. You'll find it here.
The National Cathedral livestreams worship and hosts podcasts, all of which can be accessed here.
The Church Publishing Group has made available a free downloadable copy of
The Book of Common Prayer. This is a wonderful way to encourage both a personal prayer discipline and as a support to online worship in which the liturgy is from the BCP.
Now might be the right time to sign up for a daily, weekly, or monthly devotion. A couple of our favorites are:
- The Society of St. John the Evangelist. The brothers offer wisdom in many ways so please do explore their website.
- The Center for Action and Contemplation, home of Richard Rohr. As with SSJE, this is a rich offering of resources so it is best to explore the website.
St. Stephen's Prayer List
Please keep the following St. Stephen's family members and friends in your prayers...
The McManus Family
The Blanchard Family
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Links to the Wider Church
Giving with Tithe.ly is easy, with options for one-time or recurring donations. We encourage you to consider it at all times, but especially when you are away for any reason, like all of us now with the restrictions due to coronavirus.
There are two ways to do it: thru
app on your smart phone. You'll want to search for St. Stephen's Church Millburn. Be sure to have the correct punctuation. You'll know you're there when you see: St. Stephen's Church Millburn and the address. Once you're at the church's page, follow the prompts.
Office Hours and Contact Information
Office hours: Until we are through this public health emergency, there are NO office hours. Please call Rev. Paula to arrange for pastoral care or if you have any reason to come to the office. She'll work with you to figure out a safe way to manage this.
Main email: email@example.com
Doreen Schindler, Parish Administrator
can be reached at ext. 32 or
The Rev. Paula J. Toland, Rector can be reached at ext. 21 or