A weekly publication for telling and hearing the stories
of this extraordinary time

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Download The VOICE Digest printable PDF with highlights from this issue.
Note from the Editor: After this issue, publication of The Voice Online will change from weekly to every other week. The next issue will be Wednesday, June 10 .
From Our Bishop
We want our churches to be a safe haven
As we begin to evaluate when churches are ready to entertain the thought of public worship, Bishop Hughes says our goal is not to be afraid – our goal is to be wise. And to be wise means we have to think things through.

Click on the video at right to watch (time: 5:09), or click here to read the transcript.
From Our Canons
Come Holy Spirit
By the Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew R. Wright
This time of year – between Ascension Day last Thursday and the Day of Pentecost next Sunday – I'm always intrigued by this in-between time, between Jesus' Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Ascension is the withdrawal of the Incarnate One, Jesus in his human body, from our world. There is a specificity, a concreteness to that historical Jesus that we long for, in some ways, but is elusive for us. Had Jesus stayed put here on earth, instead of "working from home," as a popular meme has described the Ascension, we would be deeply limited in our encounter of Jesus by our own specific place and time in this world. Read more.
Stories from Our Congregations
We want your stories and photos of this time. What is your congregation doing that's different or new, that might help or inspire other congregations? What is your congregation experiencing that will be important to remember? Was your church covered by local media? We want to share those stories! The submission deadline for the next issue on Wednesday, June 10 is 10 AM Friday, June 5 . See the Submission Guidelines .
The Rev. Rod Perez-Vega (right) accepts a donation of food from a candidate for State Senate,
who ran a food drive as part of her campaign. PHOTO SOURCE: FACEBOOK
Suddenly busy food pantry needs volunteers
The Rev. Rod Perez-Vega says the food pantry at St. John’s Church in Dover, where he is rector, didn’t used to be as big as it is now. “Usually our traffic would be, let's say 200 to 250 people in a quarter.”

That abruptly changed the week of March 16. In the next three weeks, St. John’s provided food to more than 400 people. Perez-Vega attributes the increase to people losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Formerly open three days a week, St. John’s food pantry tried for a while to open its doors six days, Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM, but found this unsustainable. The problem was not the availability of food; it was that most of St. John’s members who volunteer at the food pantry are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“I had to make a decision,” said Perez-Vega. “As much as they wanted to [volunteer], I said no you can't.” Read more.
Introducing the COVID Creations Project:
Telling our story in a time of pandemic
It is important for us to find ways to tell the story of these challenging times, even as we live through them. Telling our stories helps us examine and process what we are experiencing, gives us insight into what we have lost and learned, and records what has happened for ourselves and future generations before our memories of these intense days merge and fade.

Through the COVID Creations project, we invite you to help tell your stories using various artistic media. Read more.
Upcoming Events
Regional Zoom Meetings with the Bishop
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of our lives gives us quite a lot to talk about. Bishop Hughes is eager to spend time in conversation with the members of the diocese, to reflect and consider what we, our churches, and our communities have learned and experienced as we have adjusted to the changes this time has demanded of us.

The Bishop has grouped all congregations into eight Regional Ministry Networks, named for saints and further identified by geography. She is inviting the parishes of each Regional Ministry Network to join her for a Zoom meeting. Upcoming regional Zoom meetings will be held at 6 PM on these dates:

Click the link for each event above to see the churches invited to that meeting.

There will also be a special make-up meeting:
Due to an issue with Zoom that prevented some people from joining the original meeting on Tuesday, May 19, the Bishop is inviting members of this Network to a “make-up session” for those unable to join the call. In fact, this session is open to all members of this Network who want to attend; please be assured that the same materials will be covered as in the original call.

It is not necessary to register for these meetings. ALL members, lay and clergy, are encouraged to attend.

The information needed to log in to each Zoom meeting will be emailed to each church’s leaders, who will in turn email it to the congregation the day before the scheduled meeting.
Other Zoom meetings with the Bishop
The information needed to log in to these Zoom meeting is being emailed directly to the participants.

WED, MAY 27, 6 PM: Wardens and Treasurers

WED, JUN 3, 6 PM: Adult Confirmands
Today is last day to register for Church Leader University!
SAT, 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 to participate but registration is required by 5 PM TODAY.

Click here to register and for more information, including workshops.
For Youth & Young Adults
Pop In With Pop Up
SUN, JUN 7, 4 PM
All youth grades 6-12 are invited to participate in the next Pop Up Youth Ministry Zoom meeting, scheduled for Sunday, June 7 at 4 PM. Find out more, download the flyer and register online.

Upcoming Pop Up Youth Zoom meetings will be held at 4 PM on Sunday, June 21 and Sunday, July 5.
College Students' Zoom meeting with the Bishop
WED, MAY 27, 4 PM
All college students in the diocese whose semesters were interrupted by COVID-19 are invited to join Bishop Carlye Hughes and Canon Margo Peckham Clark for an interactive conversation via Zoom.

College students should contact their clergy, wardens and/or parish office to get the credentials necessary to access the Zoom meeting.
Confirmation Retreat Online
SAT, JUN 6, 9:30 AM - 12 PM
A Confirmation Retreat is being organized to take place online. Watch this space for more information.

Questions? Contact Canon Wright, Canon to the Ordinary, at [email protected].
Cross Roads suspends camp this summer
The Cross Roads Board of Trustees has made the difficult decision to suspend summer camp programs for 2020. Read more.
Diocesan Announcements & Resources
Outdoor worship guidelines
Last Friday, May 22, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an official guideline permitting groups of up to 25 people to gather outdoors. A Guidance for Outdoor Worship [PDF] has been developed in response to this state permission and was shared with the clergy earlier today.

Please note that if the official state position changes, diocesan policy may change accordingly, including withdrawal of permission for outdoor worship. As always, our highest goal is to safeguard the health and safety of our clergy, our members, and our neighbors.
Introducing the Journey Forward Team
The Journey Forward Team has begun meeting to determine next steps as we consider gathering for public worship. They will research the most up to date safety protocols for our use as pandemic continues. The guidelines they develop will help parishes prepare their plans for public worship. We expect that as more is discovered about the properties of the virus, our guidelines will continue to change in order to keep our clergy and congregations safe. Please keep the Journey Forward Team in your prayers as their work for us continues.

Members of the Journey Forward Team
By Regional Ministry Network

Absalom Jones (South East)
Tom Murphy, St. Paul’s Jersey City (Clergy)
Brian Crimmins, All Saint’s Hoboken (Lay)
Dr. Jim Sanderson, Trinity Parish, Bergen Point (Lay)

Benedict of Nursia (North East)
Andy Olivo, St. Elizabeth’s, Ridgewood (Clergy)

Constance and Her Companions (North West)
Robert Griner, Christ Church, Newton (Clergy)
Pat McKenzie, Our Saviour, Denville (Lay)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Central North)
Pamela Fueshko, St. Peter’s, Clifton (Lay)

Florence Li Tim-Oi (Central South)
Brent Bates, Grace Church, Newark (Clergy)
Renee Charney, Holy Spirit, Verona (Lay)

Harriet Tubman (South West)
Vicki Geer McGrath, All Saints, Millington (Clergy)
Jody Caldwell, Redeemer Morristown (Lay)

Evelyn Underhill (South)
Paula Toland, St. Stephens, Millburn (Clergy)

Augustine of Hippo (East)
Mark Collins, All Saints, Glen Rock (Clergy)
Online & Home worship resources
We are continuing to post opportunities to worship online with congregations across our diocese on our Online & Home Worship page. Included are some offerings specifically for children. Please send changes to Nina Nicholson at [email protected]. Updates received after 4 PM Friday will be posted the following week.
Prayers of Pandemic from the Diocese of Newark
Bishop Hughes has invited members of the diocese to write and share their own prayers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are collecting these prayers at Prayers of Pandemic from the Diocese of Newark and sharing them in The VOICE and on social media.

Prayers can be sent to Canon Wright at [email protected] for posting. Please include the name and town of your church.
Are you attending diocesan meetings via Zoom?
Beginning this Saturday, May 30, all Zoom clients must be on version 5.0+ in order to join any meeting. Go to the Zoom Download Center to download and install the latest version of Zoom Client for Meetings.
Gratitude Matters reflections
This week's reflection is The Bells of St. James by Martha Boughner of St. James, Upper Montclair.

If you'd like to participate in this weekly series please send your reflection (250 word maximum) to Cynthia McChesney, [email protected].

In addition to these mini-essays, we hope you'll also participate on social media for more! We'll be posting with the hashtag #GratitudeMatters.
News from The Episcopal Church
Embracing Evangelism series
The Episcopal Church announces the launch of Embracing Evangelism, a six-part digital course exploring our call to seek, name, and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people – and then invite everyone to more. Find out more.
Episcopal News Service coverage of COVID-19 and the Church
Go to episcopalnewsservice.org/tag/coronavirus for their full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic as it's affecting The Episcopal Church.
The VOICE Online is currently being published weekly on Wednesdays
for as long as needed