March 2020
Dear Sunday School Families,

I wish all of you could have been at the children's table at Annual Meeting.  Though the group was not large (just Greg and three of our kids), the discussion was so good.  Using a children's version of the adults' activity, the kids talked about the particular spiritual gifts God has given them.  It was beautiful to see them wrestle with the question of how God has made them special, unique, and then how they can use those gifts in church, the community, and their daily lives.  I had a tear or two in my eyes as I listened to them build each other up, affirming the gifts and offering examples of what that looks like.  

We are not a large parish and, though we are growing in this area, we do not have a large number of children and young families.  What we do have - and what will help us grow in number and other ways - is an abundance of young, faithful people, whose wisdom belies their years.  Over the past year, particularly since we began this "re-boot year" of our Sunday School, it has been a joy to see signs that our children are starting to trust our commitment to them and are having fun exploring faith and relationship with God.  There is more to be done (no doubt there will always be more to be done) but we are making a good start.  

I am grateful to all of you for your patience and support as we grow this vital ministry.  It's often said that, "children are the future of the Church."  The truth is that children are the Church NOW, not just in the future, and the more we do to live into that truth, the better we live our faith.

Peace & Blessings,
Family Pages for This Month
For those weeks when getting to church and Sunday School is impossible, please take a few minutes to read the stories for the week with your children.  If you did not receive the Bible we have for your child, please ask.  I have them in the office.  

Here are the links to the Sparkhouse Digital "Family Pages."  If you are promoted to enter a password, it is "Sunday School".  The italicized pages are those that correspond to the lectionary for the Sunday.  

March 1st -      Jesus Blesses the Children
March 8th -     Jesus Heals Two Blind Men 
March 15th -   Jesus Feeds 5,000
March 29th -   Lazarus

Upcoming Events and Other News
Crossroads Camp & Retreat Center

Did you miss church on February 23rd?  If you did, we know you know we missed you.  What you might not know is that you missed meeting Anthony Briggs, Executive Director of Crossroads Camp & Retreat Center.  Anthony gave us a taste of what lies in store for your children when they go to camp and, of course, he had lots and lots of information about Crossroads to share.  Please talk to Rev. Paula if you'd like more information or check out Crossroads' website here.   If tuition is a problem, do talk to Rev. Paula.  She and Anthony agree that together they can work with families to make a week of camp possible for any child of the parish.

In addition to summer camp and retreats, Crossroads has an active role in the diocesan Pop-Up Youth Ministry, which is a youth group for kids in grades 6-12 from all across the diocese.  Activities and location vary month-to-month but all are a blast!  Because we are a small parish with not enough middle and high school age children to have our own youth group, this is a great option. Rev. Paula would love to attend one or more of these events with your child and you, if you're interested.

Don't miss the information about the Middle School retreat the weekend of March 13th - 15th.  A couple of the parents talked to Anthony and expressed great interest, so you and your child would not be alone.  

Ministry Opportunities for Kids!

We would love to have your children involved in our worship, especially the monthly Youth Sunday services.  If there is any question of any interest, please let Rev. Paula know.  She'd love to provide the support and encouragement needed to help grow in faith in this way.  And (which might be of encouragement in and of itself) she loves, loves, LOVES kids in church!

Kim would love to talk to you about how your child may be a part of the music ministry at St. Stephen's.  There is always an invitation to sing in the Children's Choir.  If your child has other musical gifts, talk to Kim.  She may have other ideas of how your child can be a part.
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
Main email:
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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.