A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

This Sunday is "Kick Off Sunday," the day we officially begin our program year.  This year, in addition to a special coffee hour cookout, we'll mark this celebration with a baptism and a (brief) commissioning of our various ministries.  It promises to be lots of Spirit-filled fun.

So what, exactly, are we celebrating, besides welcoming the beautiful Samantha into the household of God?  To riff off Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "let me try to count the ways"  we live our faith.  But first, let me offer a disclaimer: the Spirit is so alive and present in this place that there is no way I can capture all that is happening in one relatively short newsletter message.  We are definitely a work in progress, and that can only be a good thing because God is in our midst.

We are a worshiping community in which the love of God is plain in our prayer, our music, and our fellowship.  It is clear we take God and offering praise and glory to God seriously, and we do it well.  What makes us distinctly us is that we don't take ourselves or our practices so seriously that they become more important to us than turning to God.  We are reverent but not rigid or stuffy, and that makes us welcoming.

We take care of each other better than any other church I've known.  From the sharing of professional skills and experience to quietly gathering to prepare meals for an ill friend to just as quietly providing much needed emergency financial help, we take care of each other.  And we do it in ways that are light and loving, and that helps us to embody our baptismal promise to respect the dignity and worth of every human being.

We live our understanding that we are "Christ's hands and feet in the world," (to quote St. Theresa of Avila).  It amazes me still, almost a year later, that folks who rarely, if ever, join us on Sunday morning, are active members of our outreach programs.  Of course this priest wishes she saw them more often "in church" even as she rejoices in their commitment to doing God's work in God's world.  The work we do together to serve others makes us part of the Jesus Movement.

We love to ask questions and dig deeper into life's big questions through casual conversation and adult formation.  It is clear we understand that how we live says just as much about our faith as how we worship. We are not afraid to take risks if it means we might learn more about how to live and love relationship with God and each other, and that means we are able to bring our full selves to this journey of faith, hope, love, and grace.

So, reading all this, you might be tempted to say, "We've nailed it!" and move on.  And, while it is true that we do many things so well, there are places we need to spend more time and energy, just as we need to remember that resting on one's laurels is a sure recipe for losing ground.  

We need to continue talking and praying about how we will continue this remarkable journey of faithful, joy-filled discovery of how and where God is calling us to be.  In the next couple of weeks, we will be talking more about the financial pledge campaign, " Giving in Faith."  Our giving says a lot about how we understand and express our gratitude to God for all that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in, for, and through us, one-by-each and as a community of believers.  It is never too early to turn to God in prayer to begin thinking about your financial support of this parish, which is the way in which we get to do all the great things that we do.  I encourage you to begin your prayer and reflection now, if you haven't already done so.

This week, as we begin the program year, I ask you to give thought and prayer to one of the places we need to spend more time and energy: our Sunday School.  As of today, though we are working to recruit in all the typical church ways and some that are new to us, we do not have a lead teacher for the Sunday School. We do have two people (more would be welcome) who are willing to volunteer as assistant teachers.

We don't have a clear plan for how we will resume this ministry, though you have my commitment that we will have a plan in the next week or so, which does mean Sunday School will resume in October.  We have good pieces in place, such as a wonderful curriculum that will support our current one-room Sunday School and grow with us as we grow, and a change to our Sunday services that includes a "Youth Sunday" service once a month beginning October 27th.  What gives me hope and prevents me from throwing up my hands in despair is that we have leadership who truly believe in the importance of welcoming children and youth into the parish and supporting their faith formation, even as we continue to struggle with our to regain some of the energy and resources that were lost before and during the rector search.  Your leadership recognizes that we need to approach this with fresh eyes and ideas, such as hiring a lead teacher.  Although it may not look like it did before, we will find a way to rebuild and revitalize this program, especially if we can count on your prayers and your willingness to consider how you might be a part of this ministry moving forward.

Peace & Blessings,


We will be hosting lunch for Christine's Kitchen at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, West Orange this
Saturday, September 14 .

12-15 volunteers are needed to prepare meals, pick-up donations, s et-up and server lunch.  College and high school students are also welcome to volunteer!

Protein dishes are greatly appreciated. Some meal  suggestions include: mac & cheese,  veggies,  chicken, pork, pasta & meatballs, pizza, dessert, and fruits,  such as bananas, tangerines, grapes, or other soft fruits. Hard foods are not recommended.

Please contact  Deryck Rugbeer at
deryck.rugbeer@ubs.com to volunteer or if you have any questions.

We will host a BBQ/extended coffee hour on the church lawn this Sunday,  September 15th following the 10am service. 


Please sign up on the bulletin board or email  Maryalice_chech@yahoo.com if you can help and/or bring something to eat!  Thank you!

Returns this month on September 19 at 7pm featuring the film Not My Life  starring Glenn Close.  We will meet in the Common Room for the evening's screening & discussion.  

Hope to see you there!

A training day for wardens, vestry, members, treasurers, clergy and ALL congregational lay leaders to learn, network and celebrate your ministry.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, 8am-12pm,  St. Elizabeth's, Ridgewood

Rev. Paula will be facilitating a conversation about healthy grieving, "Creating Wholeness: Living after Loss". 

Participants are invited to a light breakfast with Bishop Hughes before the workshop sessions, to share ideas and dreams about our future.

Register here.

Our next book  discussion will be Sunday, October 6 at 11:30am. October's book selection is Sacred Resistance: A Practical guide to Christian Witness & Dissent by Ginger Gaines-Cirelli. 


Sunday, October 6, 3pm
Blessing of the Animals

Thursday, October 17, 7pm
Third Thursday Theater: Forbidden - Undocumented and Queer in Rural America; directed by Tiffany Rhynard

Sunday, October 20, 2-4pm
St. Stephen's Historic Cemetery Tour

Sunday, November 17, 4pm
Interfaith Coalition of Religious Leaders of Millburn & Short Hills Thanksgiving Service, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun
Sunday School Teacher Position Available !
We are looking for a Lead Sunday School Teacher for the 2019-2020 school year.  This is a paid position ($50/week) for up to three hours a week, including Sundays. There may be opportunities for additional hours throughout the year to accommodate special programming.

We are looking for someone who will use the Sparkhouse digital curriculum to bring Bible stories to life, lead children in prayer, help the children grow in their faith, and take the lead in managing a classroom.  The Lead Teacher will work with Rev. Paula to plan the programming and with a group of volunteers who will share the responsibility as the Teaching Assistant.

If you or anyone you know may be interested, please have them contact Rev. Paula at rector@ststephensmillburn.org.

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 you see:

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.
Wednesday Midday Prayer

Christine's Kitchen

Kick-Off Sunday BBQ

Third Thursday Theater
Every Wednesday, 12 noon

September 14

September 15, 10am

September 19, 7pm


   This Week:  Sept. 15, 8:00 am

   Reader & Chalicer:  Michelle
   Altar Guild:  Maria Nazareth


       This Week:  Sept. 15, 10:00 am

Readers:   Kathy Conway, Barbara
       Chalicist:  Roger Riedel  
       Ushers:   Tim and Kathy Conway
       Altar Guild:  Julia Dorn
Coffee Hour:  Kick-Off Sunday

Next Week:  September 22, 8:00 am

Reader & Chalicer:   Allison Walker
Altar Guild:  Julia Dorn


Next Week:  September 22, 10:00 am

Readers:  Felder Dorn, Fran Taber
Chalicist:  Sheelagh Clarke
Ushers:  Paul Boegershausen, Heloisa Rooney
Altar Guild:  Julia Dorn  
Coffee Hour:  Judy Spressert

This Week:  September 15th

Next Week:  September 22nd
Links to the Wider Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark

The Episcopal Church

The Presiding Bishop

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.