A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

The other day, a friend asked, "Don't you think that time is passing very strangely? I can't tell if it's moving very slowly or very fast."  I realized the truth in her question.  Living in this time of pandemic has done something to alter my perception of time.  Labor Day is Monday and I have no recollection of having had a summer.  The usual changes of pace and routine were eclipsed by the changes resulting from Covid-19.  And still time moves forward, just as we live in every moment.  Lot's to think about and reflect upon in this, I think, including the age-old and necessary-to-our-souls questions: Where is God in all of this? How do I/we experience God in all of this?  In the challenges we face, where might we see the opportunities that are incognito?  What can this mean to living a life of faith?

I won't say any more about that, other than to invite you to consider these questions in your prayer life and, perhaps, in conversations with your friends and family.  So much is happening now at St. Stephen's that I want to point you in the direction of reading about some of it in the next sections of this edition of the newsletter.  To make it easier to find the new or updated information, look for "NEW" or "UPDATED" at the beginning of the heading.  Updated information will be in red.

Peace & Blessings,
Paula+
NEW: A Death in Our Parish Family

Sadly, we learned yesterday that Freda Williams, Kim's mother, died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday, not quite three weeks after the death of her beloved husband of 70 years, Roy.  Please hold Kim, Karen, their family, and all who love the Williams family in your prayers.  Also, pray for traveling mercies for Kim, Karen, and Kim's brother Mike as they travel to Ohio to bury their beloved mother and to take care of all that needs to be done in times like this.


NEW: Office Note / Preschool
St. Stephen's Pre-School reopened on Tuesday, September 1st.  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!

PLEASE NOTE:  We have some openings at the preschool.  
If you know of a family that may be interested, please have them contact our Director, Nancy Siracusa at sspsmillburn@gmail.com or call 973-376-3534 Ext. 20.  The preschool has learning programs for Infants, Toddlers, Pre-K and Kindergarten.
NEW: Improvements and Repairs
Although we have not been gathering in the building, our stewardship of this beautiful space is ongoing.  Here are some of the highlights from the past few months.
  • The Common Room and offices have been painted. The Common Room re-worked with new flooring and some new or repurposed furniture to be a more functional multi-use space.  This was possible through targeted donations from a few people. The vast majority of the labor was provided by volunteers, with some staff, i.e. paid, time.
  • We are in the process of having a new high efficiency boiler system installed for the preschool/office wing and the parish hall.  Our old system was failing and, with cold weather coming, we needed to take care of this now, with increased urgency to avoid another shut down of the preschool.  We are using an emergency loan from the diocese to tide us over until the next grant cycle (October) when we will apply for a $20,000 grant, which is 50% of the cost. The emergency loan is predicated on this grant application, which has already been submitted. We were already in the process of finalizing an audit with the state's energy rebate program, which likely means additional funding to offset the cost.  Once we know where we stand with those funding sources, the Finance Committee and Vestry will decide whether to pay the balance with operating funds or accept the terms of converting to a longer term loan.  For the first year, the loan is interest-free.  If we convert the loan, the interest rate will be 5%.
  • We've had several of the vents (bottom sections) of our gorgeous stained glass windows repaired, using historic preservation funds that can only be used for projects like this, not general operating or routine maintenance and repair.  We are in need of major repair to the upper section of the Nativity window, which is in serious danger of failing completely if this work is not done soon.  The Finance Committee and Vestry are in conversation about having this work done, again using historic preservation funds.  This is a significant expense: $18,900.  If the window fails, replacement would be almost double that amount.
  • We are working on upgrading our internet audio-visual capacities so that we are better equipped to maintain the online presence that will be necessary for at least the next couple of years, as well as to become more efficient in our day-to-day operations.  We are still in the early stages of this project, assessing the most cost-effective way to do the work that is needed.  
    • We have upgraded the internet bandwidth from 75 mbps, essentially what is needed for a small household, to 400 mbps, which is more in line with what we need for a multi-person office and preschool with a 24-hour multi-camera, multi-monitor security system.  The good news?  Because the 75 mbps was part of an outdated package from Verizon, the increase resulted in a $20/month savings. It also means that Rev. Paula, Doreen, and Dave (the bookkeeper) are not wasting literally hours of every day waiting for documents and websites to load.
    • Still to be done?  We need to assess the functionality of the aging computers in Doreen and Rev. Paula's offices to see how they do with this improved bandwidth or whether they need some upgrading or replacing. We need to install wiring in the nave so that we can live stream and record when we are gathering in person again, and we need to install new audio-visual equipment.  Depending upon how we proceed, this is estimated to cost between $5000 and $12,000.  
    • The Finance Committee and Vestry will be looking at ways to fund these improvements once we have final proposals from the vendors we are working with. While we have no plans to be extravagent, it makes little sense to move ahead with less than what we need to do ministry well in this new way.  It probably is not too soon to invite you to consider a targeted donation for this project to ensure that it is done well.  If you'd like more information, please talk to someone on the Vestry or to Rev. Paula. 
  • If you've been in the neighborhood, you may have noticed new fencing on the Rector Street side of the rectory and a new trash bin shed/potting table.  The fence is to keep Daisy Mae, Rev. Paula's dog from wandering and to give her a pleasant place to be so she is not cooped up in the house all day.  The shed/potting table is to have a more visually pleasing way to store the bins and to keep them from rolling around on the walk way.  Rev. Paula and Ron are donating these improvements to the rectory property.
Because faithful stewardship of our building and grounds is an important part of our ministry, with risk of damage and increased expense in deferring preventive maintenance and small repairs, the Finance Committee, Property Committee, Vestry, and Rev. Paula are tracking what needs to be done now and what can be done later in a shared document.  This insures that all of the people responsible for the various aspects of this stewardship have the same information and we can be intentional in our planning to complete projects.  If there is something you notice, please let Rev. Paula or Roger Riedel know and they'll add it to the list if it isn't already there.
UPDATED: 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 at 8:15 AM and will be available on our YouTube channel. The change in time is because YouTube changed its scheduling options. 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 here.  The bulletins can be found here.

FYI - St. Stephen's is on Facebook EVERY DAY!  Join us, and tell your friends and family!  Posts include daily prayer, Sunday worship, Children's Chapel on Saturday, and Children's Storytime with Rev. Paula. 

Beginning July 29th, daily prayer is at 8:30 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, it is at 7:45 pm.  Most days, Rev. Paula will lead prayer live, though occasionally it will be a "Prayerful Interlude" or a recorded reflection.

Videos of all the posts can easily be accessed from the Facebook video library right here.

UPDATED: From Bishop Hughes
BISHOP HUGHE'S AUGUST 18th VLOG can be seen here.  
The Voice Online may be found here.  

Bishop Hughes' pastoral letter on the guidelines for in-person worship in the Diocese of Newark can be found here.

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

BISHOP'S VISITATION
Sunday, September 13, 10 AM
This will be the only service for the week and can only be viewed online.

St. Stephen's congregation is invited and encouraged to join this Live Zoom Service with Bishop Hughes at 10 AM on September 13. The service will end at approximately 11:15 AM and will be followed by a Zoom Coffee Hour with the Bishop until approximately 12:10 PM.  She will then meet with the Vestry in a "break-out" Zoom conversation.

PLEASE NOTE: The Bishop is also inviting you to explore the diocesan website, read the diocesan newsletters, and listen to her vlog posts prior to her visit so that our conversations with her will be enhanced by exposure to these diocesan communications.  

AN INVITATION: Earlier in the summer, Bishop Hughes invited the diocese to read the Book of Esther, which speaks to being called for a "such a time as this" (Ch. 4:14). Rev. Paula reiterates that invitation as preparation for this visit, noting that the Book of Esther has ten short chapters, with the whole book averaging about 15 pages, depending upon what Bible you read.  It is a rather entertaining story, containing great truth, even as it is thought to be fictionalized and makes no mention of God. (BONUS: If you read in preparation for the Bishop's visit, you'll be all caught up to join us for Reading with the Rector on October 4th!)

Details about how to log into the Bishop's Zoom service will be provided via the St. Stephen's e-Newsletter to congregation members only as the date nears. The Zoom service will also be transmitted over the diocesan's YouTube live-streaming channel.  This means anyone who wants to witness the service is welcome to watch it at this link: https://youtube.com/c/dionewark.

Please note: If you join the Live Zoom Service you will be a part of the conversation with the Bishop, including Coffee Hour.  If you watch the service on YouTube, you will not be able to speak with the Bishop.  Also note, that the service will not be available on HTTV or the St. Stephen's Facebook page that weekend.   

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 awright@dioceseofnewark.org for posting. Please include the name and town of your church. 
 

DIOCESAN MEMORIAL WALL
A holy place in virtual space for mourning and memory. 

This is a place to gather, grieve, reflect and honor the lives of those who have died during the time of the Pandemic, whether or not it was due to the virus. Because we have been isolated, and unable to be with each other to provide comfort, care and support during this time, we offer this site as an ongoing memorial, gathering the names of the dead so that they are not forgotten. 

Here, we who mourn can cast our tears into God's almighty and loving hands, whose own tears join ours, bringing us consolation, peace and hope. To visit the wall and/or submit a name, click here.
(Mostly) NEW: Zoom Events
BISHOP HUGHES' VISITATION
Sunday, September 13, 10 AM
Live-Streamed via Zoom. Simultaneous viewing on the diocesan YouTube channel.  This will be the only service on the 13th.  We will not be broadcasting on HTTV.

Please see details in the above newsletter block about joining the live Zoom service or watching the service on the diocesan YouTube channel.
  



 A LAY CONVERSATION WITH THE BISHOP
Thursday, September 17 at 6 PM

This 90 minute monthly Zoom meeting with Bishop Hughes is open to all members of the dicoese.  An email invitation will be sent on Monday, September 15 to recipients of The VOICE Online with sign-in instructions for this meeting.

CROSS ROADS WOMEN'S VIRTUAL RETREAT
"The Way of Love"
A one-day virtual retreat led by Laurie Matarazzo and Dale Selover 

Four dates to choose from: Saturday, September 26, Sunday, September 27, Saturday, October 10, or Sunday, October 11

The retreat program will begin at 10 AM and conclude by 4 PM, with a two-hour break for lunch and individual reflection time. Though we cannot gather in person, we hope you will join us on Zoom for a day of conversation, reflection, prayer, and laughter together. The cost for the day-long retreat is $40.  Visit the link here for details and to register.

INTERFAITH BIBLE HOUR
Friday, October 2, 9 AM

The Interfaith Bible Hour, formerly Bakery Bible Hour, will be resuming on the first Friday of each month, beginning, Friday, October 2 at 9 AM.  We will continue reading Genesis, focusing on the narrative arcs involving the children of Abraham and Sarah.

More information  about how to join the Zoom discussion and which chapters to read will be coming soon.
READING WITH THE RECTOR BOOK CLUB
Sunday, October 4, 12 PM (after Coffee Hour)

Hello All,
We will be meeting, via Zoom, for our next Book Group on October 4th.  Rev. Paula has recommended that we read the Book of Esther for our choice.  We will talk about future book choices at the meeting, so think of any suggestions you may have. 

Details and a Zoom link will be given as we get closer to the date. Thanks, Barbara

ST. STEPHEN'S COFFEE HOUR 
Sundays at 11 AM 

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 rector@ststephensmillburn.org
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.

UPDATED: Faithful Outreach
DIOCESE OF NEWARK PRISON MINISTRY
NEW! Gift Card Drive through September 13

It can be a challenge for our PATCH II families to provide nutritious meals to their families.  Prison Ministry is collecting $25 Shop Rite gift cards or checks toweards the purchase of them to distribute to our families.  Please make checks payable to "Prison Ministory Diocese of Newark" with ShopRite cards ont he memo line.  

Mail to:  Grace Church, 200 Highfield Lane, Nutley, NJ  07110.  Thank you for your support!

SOLES4SOULS

At Soles4Souls, unwanted shoes are turned into opportunity, by keeping them from going to landfills and putting them to good use - providing relief, creating jobs and empowering women to break the cycle of poverty.  When you donate a pair of shoes to Soles4Souls, it's more than just cleaning out your closet - you're helping the planet AND changing someone's life!

Shoes in wearable condition can be donated at the Soles4Soles drop-off site located at the Foot Health Center, 1500 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange.  The center is open M & TH 8-5, T 8-4, W & FR 8-2, Closed Sat & Sun.  Please call first to confirm hours and that donations are still being accepted, (973) 731-1266.  For more information about Soles4Soles, please visit their website here.

APOSTLES' HOUSE & NORTH PORCH

During a recent Sunday service we sang a hymn where God asks, "Whom Shall I send? and the people respond, "Here I am Lord. ... I will go, Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart." Those words resounded for me as I made another food delivery to Apostle's House in Newark, the recipient of our Food Barrel. We are attending church via TV, Facebook or You Tube. We are not at 119 Main Street, and yet, the food donations keep coming. The people of St. Stephen's have answered again and now again, "Here I am Lord".  - Barbara Riedel


Thank you to all who have dropped off donations already!  
PLEASE KEEP THE CONTRIBUTIONS COMING and remember to check the expiration dates before sending your items.  Donation bins are located outside of the St. Stephen's Narthex parking lot entry doors.

1. Apostles' House Food Barrel - Items needed - Canned goods and non-perishable food items. 

2. UPDATE!!   North Porch Women & Infants' Centers is in URGENT need of Enfamil Infant Formula 12.5 oz containers (yellow label), baby wipes, and diapers size 4, 5, and 6.

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: 

NEW: The Apostles' House Campaign

Help Newark Families on the Cusp of Becoming Homeless

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Newark residents are experiencing an enormous amount of stress as they fight 
to keep a roof over their heads and the lights on, despite their loss of income and reduced wages.

"Everyday, we receive dozens of calls from individuals asking for help. It is truly heartbreaking to hear their stories and not be able to provide help," says executive director, Nadege Duvernay.

In response to community's outcry for help, TAH Fundraising Committee set to out launch a campaign to raise funds to assist members of the Newark community with back rent, mortgage assistance and utilities. 

Read more here.

Youth & Teen Resources and Events
CROSS ROADS CAMP & RETREAT CENTER
Cross Roads offers programs and events year-round for kids in elementary and middle school, as well as young adults.  Stay tuned for what's coming up in the fall!  You can follow the Cross Roads Facebook page here and follow them on Instagram @crossroads.camp.  

 
YOUTH MINISTRY POP UP 
Events will be back in September!  

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 us for our monthly events. Follow YM on Facebook and Instagram @popupym.
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, 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, here.

The Episcopal Church, nationally and internationally, has information on its website, including pastoral messages from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, 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.  Some 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.
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  reconciliation@episcopalchurch.org.

You can find the link to current resources here.  Read Presiding Bishop Curry's Word to the Church here.

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
Eleanor Robinson
Grace Bitting
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Jack Moreno
Stephanie Gubin
Sue Macbeth
Francis
Marcia Mein
Christine Conti
Xander
Evan
Sara Ruth Dorn
Felder Dorn
James Tranberg
Debbie and Geoff Robarge

Lectionary

This Week:  September 6
 
 

Next Week:  September 13


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.