September 22, 2021
Message from Rev. Paula
Beloved Community,

In August 2018, just after I accepted the call to join you here, we had a family vacation in Peru. Ron, Katie, Sean, Sean's partner Amber, and my nephew Kevin visited "our" Kevin and his then girlfriend, now wife, Alex, who were winding down their two years of Peace Corps Service. It was a trip that we spent months planning. We wanted to see as much of the country as we could see and soak in as much of the local culture as we possibly could in an amount of time that meant we had to make some difficult choices.

We visited Lima and Trujillo, the Department where Kevin was living, and a few smaller towns in that centralish western coastal area. We did not get a chance to visit the village in the Andes where Alex was posted, a good 18 hours of bumpy bus and little van rides in the northeast. We may have been perfectly content to spend all of our time between Lima and Trujillo if not for the fact that Machu Picchu and the neighboring mountain, Huayna Picchu, were on our bucket lists, so that meant we spent time in Cusco, too, in the Urubamba Valley of the Andes, in the southeast.

It was an absolutely incredible trip, one that opened our eyes to places in the world we had never been, that opened our hearts to people we would otherwise never have met. I cannot imagine a more perfect way to spend that time than with those people in those places doing the things we had done, both the grand adventures of the historic places and the more mundane experiences, such as enjoying an ice cream cone while strolling the streets of Trujillo. It left me fulfilled and deeply thirsty for more. No doubt, at least for me, it was a truly spiritual experience, one that continues to shape who I am and how I view God's world.

We had an experience on that trip that would not typically be one to "write home about", at least not in any positive way. A four-hour train ride from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the village of Machu Picchu, turned into a 17-hour ride/stop and start and stop again. There were a couple of reasons for this. The first was a "social demonstration" that moved dangerously close to the train tracks in one of the villages between Cusco and Aguas. The other, which caused much more of a delay (and the oft co-occurring grumpiness and tension among the passengers), was because the train just ahead of us was involved in a crash, one serious enough to cause many injuries and a good 12-hour delay.

We did our best to keep busy and to keep our spirits up, playing lots of cards and talking together, making some new friends, eating every last snack we had with us, and, at least in my case, trying to still my body and my mind to take in all of the new sights and sounds, to enjoy looking at the majestic mountains with some focus, rather than while whooshing by on the moving train. I remember noticing some differences as the morning became afternoon became early evening became dark night. I remember, too, praying for those injured in the crash.

Many hours in, after we were able to inch miles and miles to a village with an open station (with restrooms and snacks!!!!), we were able to get the last seats on the last car on the last train into Aguas Calientes, in no small part because Kevin speaks Peruvian Spanish fluently and understood some of the cultural nuances that help things get done. We arrived at our hotel after midnight. We were hungry. We were exhausted. We were sad that some of the plans we had for our time in Cusco had passed us by, perhaps for ever. We were excited that we could keep our reservation to climb Huaynu Picchu, which we knew was not the case for literally hundreds of other people who missed theirs. We were grateful that we were okay, having experienced nothing more than an aggravating, frustrating, plans-altering inconvenience, even as we knew others had not been so lucky.

I think about this trip often, differently at different times. This week, I have been mindful of the huge difference between being delayed and being derailed. I am grateful that in this time in this community, after the long months of pandemic and then the flood, to know this difference and to be motivated? inspired? to continue to journey with all of you as we live our faith in the ways that are in front of us now.

Peace & Blessings,
Community Outreach
*Due to allergies, we will NOT be collecting items with Nuts, Cinnamon, or Ginger.


Family Promise of Essex County needs our help in providing groceries for families in a shelter (hotel). We will be making our first delivery to FP this Friday - including all donations received by 9am Friday morning. A second delivery will be made next week. Your donations can be dropped off anytime between now and September 30th.

Needed items:

Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
Canned or Dried Beans
Canned Meats
Canned Tuna or Salmon
Canned Stews and Chili
Tea Bags
Ground Coffee
Canned or Dried Fruit
Canned Vegetables
Beef Jerky
Bottled or Boxed Juices

Join Rev. Paula and the "Walk in Love" Team in supporting our partner ministries, Cross Roads and Family Promise Essex County, this October.

How to participate:

  1. Go to their websites and register. Be sure to sign up for the "Walk in Love" Team.
  2. Donate to the Team using (choose "Outreach: Walk in Love '21"), or send a check to the church (write "Walk in Love" in the memo line).
  3. Ask your friends and families to join you, or donate.

All donations received by the church will be shared evenly between Cross Roads and Family Promise. Any donations made to the individual programs will support that particular program.

Register with Cross Roads

Register with Family Promise

Team fundraising page:
Connection & Common Worship

Our flood damage remediation is still in progress! At this time we anticipate our return on October 3rd.

For the meantime, Christ Church in Short Hills has graciously extended their invitation to join them for worship. Rev. Paula will be preaching there this Sunday and would love to see you!

If you cannot attend in person, please do enjoy the service on Christ Church's YouTube channel.

Should you wish to attend another service, please know that any Episcopal Church will warmly welcome you!

In challenging times like these, it is especially important for us to gather together in church, connect with God, and support and encourage one another.

The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd imagines the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

INTERFAITH BIBLE HOUR, that fun hour of exploration and discussion with our friends at Christ Church in Short Hills and Temple B'nai Jeshurun resumes Friday, October 1st! Join us on Zoom as we delve into the Book of Genesis, using the Robert Alter translation of the Hebrew Scriptures as our primary text. (We'll get that to you each month or you can read the translation of your choosing.) On the 3rd we will be reading Chapter 37, the stories about Joseph's dream of greatness and then being sold by his brothers.


St. Stephen's and Christ Church Short Hills will be having a combined parish 'Blessing of the Animals' this year.

Sunday, October 3, 2021
4:00 - 4:30pm

At Christ Church - Outdoor Field (behind the Church at 66 Highland Ave)

The Beauty in Breaking, by Michele Harper
Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. Two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, he told her he couldn’t move with her. Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman. In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically.
From Bishop Hughes & The Episcopal Church
THE BISHOP'S VLOG - Week of 9/22/21
NEW: Finding hope in prayer

It's not uncommon for people to be feeling frustrated, angry, exhausted and struggling with hope right now, but Bishop Hughes asks “How about we pray?” There is a sense of hope that is reborn in wanting to pray.
The VOICE Online Link Week of 9/22/21

Sign up to get e-newsletters and important announcements directly from diocesan headquarters. Find out more and subscribe here.

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support regional partners in response to Hurricane Ida as many continue to face power outages, lack of water and extensive property damage to homes and businesses.

To read the press release, or make a donation, click here.

The Retreat Center offers free online courses to pray, reflect, make space for grace and listen to the voice of God. No registration is required. Each retreat takes place over five half-hour sessions and is viewable on the Trinity Retreat Center's Facebook page. For further information on offerings this Fall, click here.
Faithful Outreach
Low-income families in this country are facing unprecedented social and economic challenges from the pandemic. Job losses, health care expenses, and child-care have all combined to raise the number of evictions.

A donation can help Family Promise of Essex County to remain responsive to families’ emerging needs and its impact in our communities.

To read the Family Promise Newsletter, please click here.

Collection bins are located outside the Narthex doors in the parking lot. Donations can be dropped off at any time.

Apostles' House needs: canned goods and non-perishable food items. 

North Porch is in URGENT need of Enfamil Infant Formula 12.5 oz containers (yellow label), baby wipes, and diapers size 4, 5, and 6.

Online Donations - If you are unable to drop off items at the church, and would like to contribute, you can make purchases and/or donations directly to these organizations at the following links:

The Apostles' House Donation Link
North Porch Donation Link

Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center


Check out all the fun and interesting year-round programs for children, adults and families.

Click here for more information.
Teen and Youth Ministries

Pop Up is a welcoming ministry of the Diocese of Newark bringing together youth for fun activities, community, and faith formation. All youth grades 6-12 are encouraged to join the monthly events. Follow YM on Instagram and Facebook at @popupym.
Resources During Covid
There are many, many resources available to parishes and individuals to help sustain our faith practices during this unprecedented time. See resources here. This is by no means a complete list, though it does cover many areas of need.

In this time of Crisis, there are resources that can help if you or someone you know needs assistance. Please contact NJ Mental Health Cares for free helpline telephone counseling or assistance. Call 866-202-4357.
TTY: 1-877-294-4356.

Other resources are:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line, 741741
NJ Hope Line (suicide prevention) 
Please keep the following
St. Stephen's family members and friends in
your prayers...
Ian Janeczko
Peggy Thompson
Felder Dorn
Donna Riggi
The Blanchard Family
The McManus Family
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Lucille B.
Jack Moreno
Jim Freeman
The May Family
Mary Jo Zarance
Joseph G.
Kelly Olson
Jane Rossiter
Linda Moran
Greg Shuss
Matthew Price
Nicole & Emma
Ningyu Liu
Jamie Stack
Dan Bullock
KT Thalin
Mike Losito
Kathleen Wheeler
Beth Shoaf
Theresa Scharff
Sunday Lectionary
September 26, 2021

If you'd like to read the full lectionary for the week, you may do so here.
Giving with
Giving with is easy with options for recurring donations or one-time use for when you are away or not able to be in church (like all of us now due to COVID restrictions).

You can access via their website or their app on your smart phone. Be sure to search for the correct account - "St. Stephen's Church Millburn." Once you have accessed the account page with our address, you will be instructed to follow the prompts.
Office Notes
Due to COVID restrictions, only teachers and staff are allowed to be in the building during school hours. If you need to visit the parish office/building for any reason, please contact us for an appointment. Thank you.
Important Links
Zoom Links
Links for Sunday Worship Live-Stream & Social Media
Website Links
Other Social Media Links
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
119 Main Street, Millburn, NJ 07041

Parish Administrator, Maria T. Card
973.376.0688, Ext. 32

Rector, The Rev. Paula J. Toland
973.376.0688, Ext. 21

Fax: 973.376.4002


Director: Nancy Siracusa
Phone: 973.376.3534, Ext. 20