A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

These past couple of weeks, more than at any time since we began our fast from in-person gatherings,  I have been reminded of something I have known about myself for a long time, even as I have been challenged to wonder if it ever has been really true.  I am by nature, and then by social work and chaplaincy training, someone who is quite comfortable sitting with questions, of not having an immediate answer, of wondering and pondering and exploring questions.  It is more than that I am okay with uncertainty or even ambivalence.  I know from much experience that my deepest learning, my most profound growth, most often comes from this place.

Lately, though, even I am getting tired of not having answers to what happens next.  As fond as I am of questions, as energized and alive I feel when contemplating new ways of living faith and being Church, it does feel as if something has to give and give soon.  And yet, this is not what is happening.  It is not even what should happen, either for our health and safety or for our plans for living our faith together as Church in the future. 

We are in a time and a place where the best we can do is to hear the questions others ask and to seek new questions for ourselves.  This is not just a mental exercise; it is one of the best ways we have to be prepared to respond when we are able to begin to return to some way of being the amazing community of God's people that we are with in-person gatherings, whatever they may look like.  Surprise at the questions can be a real obstacle to moving into what can't help but be new ways of being together, while the answers we find, however surprising, will guide us to where we need to be.

My prayer for all of us is that we are as open to the life-giving and transforming power of God as we can possibly be.  I pray that we are guided by the wisdom and grace of the Holy Spirit to be who God is calling us to be, rather than our own need to be exactly who we were before this pandemic.  May we have the courage to trust God enough to be transformed.

Peace & Blessings,
Paula+
Zoom Coffee Hour
We miss you!  We are impatient to see your face and hear your voice.  We are pretty sure you miss seeing and talking to each other, too.  So...we invite you to Zoom Coffee Hour!  Each Sunday at 11:00 AM, we'll open the Zoom space so that we can be together again.  Watch the service at 10:00, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and join the fun.  We'll be around from 11:00 to noon.

We're not trying to exclude anyone and we want to be sure that our time is not interrupted by Zoom bombing or other unwelcome attention.  So if you want to join us (We sure hope you do!), send an email to Rev. Paula at rector@ststephensmillburn.org by 10:45 AM that morning and she'll respond with the log in information.  Don't be surprised to find yourself in a waiting room.  Barbara Riedel or Rev. Paula will let you in.
From Bishop Hughes
Bishop Hughes' vlog for May 13th may be found here.

This week's The Voice Online may be found here.

To read Bishop Hughes' Covid-19 guidelines, as well as other news from around the diocese, look here.

ZOOM MEETINGS WITH THE BISHOP
Bishop Hughes has hosted two lay Zoom conversations and is now  inviting all  college students of the diocese  to a Zoom  call on  WEDNESDAY, MAY 27 at 4:00 PM.   She would like to speak with students who were sent home from college mid-semester due to them shutting down. 

Canon Margo Clark will join the Bishop on this call and they look forward to an interactive conversation on that date! If you know a college student who would like to join this call, please have them email the parish office at church@ststephensmillburn.org for the login information.

CHURCH LEADER ZOOMiversity (AKA Church Leader University)
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 9 - 11:30 AM


Workshops relevant to this extraordinary time for ALL congregational leaders! 

Stay at home and join us online via computer, tablet or smart phone. 

There is no cost, but we do need you to register. 

Online registration will be available starting 8 AM, Monday, May 18.

Rev. Paula will be facilitating a conversation about grief and healing.


Faithful Outreach


As we continue to navigate these challenging times, we want to continue to live our faith in some of the familiar ways, even though we can't be together.  The number of families who are homeless and or facing homelessness is at an all time high due to the current pandemic.  And the need for food and supplies to nourish and sustain these families, even more so.  So we have organized the following ways for our congregation, friends and family to continue our mission of helping those in need.

1. Food Barrel Bin - A weather-proof bin will be placed outside at St. Stephen's under the roof of the Narthex parking lot entry door.  Canned goods and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any time beginning this weekend.  We will monitor the bin and take care of delivering the donations to Apostles' House.

2. North Porch Bin - A second weather-proof bin will be placed in the same location for North Porch donations.  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.

The Apostles' House Food Pantry

North Porch Women and Infant Centers
Donation link & information: http://www.northporch.org/make-a-donation/#needs

4. Christine's Kitchen, Holy Trinity Church, West Orange - St. Stephen's will be providing 120 bagged lunches on Saturday, May 30.  Thank you to all who have committed to donating them thus far.  For more information, please email Deryck Rugbeer at deryck.rugbeer@ubs.com.


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the parish office at  church@ststephensmillburn.org or  rector@ststephensmillburn.org.

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 Facebook every Sunday morning and will be available on our new YouTube channel.  

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 here.

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, 'Glory Happening' daily readings and reflections (through May), 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 here.

Giving in Faith
Thanks to all of you who have been mailing your pledges or giving online using Vanco or Tithe.ly.  Your faithful financial stewardship means we are able to "be Church" in all the ways that we are during this time, while also ensuring that, when the time comes, we are strong and nimble enough to return to our more comfortable and familiar ways.
Free Psychological First Aid Webinar
The Church Pension Group is offering the following free Psychological First Aid webinar.
 
Psychological distress often follows close on the heels of a crisis and can last long after initial stressors have passed. You may need support for yourself, your family, and your community. Join us to learn how Psychological First Aid, a World Health Organization-endorsed approach to post-crisis psychological distress, can be used to help increase our capacity to cope. These strategies can be learned and practiced by anyone.

You will hear from Psychological First Aid trainer
  • how to identify warning signs of distress
  • a perspective on why post-stress reactions are normal
  • how Psychological First Aid can help
Wednesday, May 20, 12:00PM - 1:00PM ET
Register  here.

Thursday, May 21, 3:00PM - 4:00PM ET
Register  here.

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.

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.

Church Publishing has also made available until April 15th a wonderful children's book about Compline, Candle Walk by Karin Holsinger Sherman.  If you listened to Rev. Paula's very first Facebook Live event the evening of March 20th, you heard her read this story.  You'l find these and other resources on the company's website or here, an Episcopal News Service link.

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...

Jeff Loggins
Jimmy Hasenkamp
Ian Janeczko
The McManus Family
The Blanchard Family
Donna Riggi
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Jamie Forgacs
Roy Williams
Jack Moreno
Gail Pavlik
Stephanie Gubin
Sue Macbeth
Francis
Christine Conti
Shanisha
Pedro Villagran
Gregory Shuss
Roger Riedel
Carolyn Romano
Kenneth Armstrong

Lectionary

This Week:  May 17
 

Next Week:  May 24


Links to the Wider Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark







The Episcopal Church









The Presiding Bishop








Giving with Tithe.ly
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  tithe.ly.com  or the  tithe.ly  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.

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
church@ststephensmillburn.org.

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