The Diocese of New Jersey: Who We Are
An Episcopal diocese, which is led by a bishop, includes all the parishes and missions within its borders. Trinity Church is part of the Diocese of New Jersey founded in 1785, and is the 2nd oldest diocese in the Episcopal Church. There are 144 congregations in our diocese, including seasonal, collegiate and institutional chapels. Our boundaries encompass the southern two-thirds of the state. We are one of the largest dioceses in terms of number of parishes and missions, ranking 6th out of 100 domestic dioceses in the Episcopal Church in the number of parishes and 14th in number of baptized persons. Northern NJ is part of the Diocese of Newark.
A diocese unifies their group of parishes and missions with a common vision. The Diocese of New Jersey has identified our purpose as “to form people as disciples of Jesus Christ so they can carry out God’s mission of reconciliation in the world.” Bishop Stokes reminds us that “we do this work through our congregations which are called to be “schools of discipleship.” To the degree that our congregations do this effectively, and we as a diocesan community support this work, we cannot but help strengthen disciples, and discipleship, for the future.” Please look in the coming months to learn how the Diocese of New Jersey tries to carry out this purpose and how you may too.
If you would like regular information about our diocese, see the newsletter called, Good News in The Garden State. To read recent issues and sign up for the weekly newsletter and other items of interest from the Diocese: https://dioceseofnj.org/good-news-in-the-garden-state/
Know Your Story: Telling our stories is the purest form of spreading God’s word. Whether it’s a tale of a life changed, a feeding ministry, a special worship service, or simple human community, your story can help inspire and bring others closer to Christ. Here is your spot to tell your story and to read other stories of faith from here in the corner of God’s kingdom known as the Diocese of New Jersey: https://dioceseofnj.org/know-your-story/
Diocese of New Jersey Group: A Sound Mind is a safe online space to discuss mental and emotional wellness, share information and resources and support each other through this tumultuous time. The group meets at 6:00 pm on Thursday evenings and will be held on Zoom using the Meeting ID: 832 1178 7286. Contact Kimme Carlos for more information.
The Diocese of New Jersey Reparations Task Force
The Diocese of New Jersey Reparations Task Force was established to initiate and oversee a multi-year process to examine our sins, complicity, and financial benefits through the history of slavery and its legacy continuing to contemporary practices, and to recommend appropriate actions for the Diocese.
The stated goal developed by the task force was in addition to outlining objectives, timeline, and tasks, their expectation is to engage the Diocese to journey with them and support this process through surveys, events, conferences, liturgies of lamentations, etc. They also anticipate being engaged in historical research on this topic across our nation, denomination, and diocese with summaries to inform the outcome of the meaning and impact of reparation for the Diocese and an ongoing Reparations Commission.
Members use the following working definition of reparations: the process to remember, repair, restore, reconcile and make amends for wrongs that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms. The process of reparations is “a historical reckoning involving acknowledgment that an offense against humanity was committed and that the victims have not received the justice that is due them.”
You can read their full report to hear about what they did in 2021.
On June 17, they supported the Juneteenth March & Rally for Reparations, Justice, & Democracy in Trenton to raise their voices to pass legislation for a Reparations Task Force (A938/S386), to invest in youth and our youth prisons, for same-day voter registration (A1966/S247) and for police accountability/civilian review boards.
Notes from the Burlington Convocation Meeting:
On June 2 the Burlington Convocation had their spring meeting. In the Episcopal Church, a convocation is a meeting of clergy and lay representatives from a section or area of a diocese. The term may also indicate the section or area of the diocese that is represented by the assembly. Mother Emily, Mother Angie, and Kristina Van Name, one of our lay representatives, attended.
- Information was shared about the Bishop search. This weekend the search committee will be reading through candidate profiles. If you have Facebook, consider liking the NJ Bishop Search page.
- The Rev. Canon Joanne Izzo introduced herself. She is the new Interim Canon to the Ordinary and Transitions Officer. She works for the Bishop on tasks he assigns her. She also assists churches in the diocese in finding new clergy. She mentioned the struggle of there being a shortage of clergy in the country. This makes the call for lay leadership even more important.
- The Rev. Legnani, who leads the ministry for retired clergy, spoke of the important role retired clergy fill for us, especially with clergy shortage. Even though they are retired clergy still answers God’s calls.
There are 14 churches part of this convocation. Many of them reported on special activities occurring in their parishes.
- St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Lumberton: sells hoagies on the second Saturday of every month
- Grace Church in Pemberton: June 4 hosting a flea market
- St. Andrew’s in Mt Holly: June 27 through July 29 Vacation Music Academy, a summer camp for children ages 7-17 offering classes in art, music, dance and theatre
- Christ the King in Willingboro is participating in a Community Yard Sale, June 11 9am to 3pm
The Reverend Ryan Paetzold, Priest in Charge at Christ Church In Palmyra announced: This week members of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and Congressman Andy Kim met to discuss health care justice.
From the Faith Formation Newsletter: Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, started in the Church of England, between the days of Ascension and Pentecost. During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will: 1. Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ, 2. Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus, and 3. Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness.
Two free resources for 2022 can be found at https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/new-2022
Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Journal aims to enable and stimulate your personal prayers over these.
Thy Kingdom Come Novena seeks to enable you in your waiting for the gift the Father promised, by focusing on nine particular verses in the first letter of St Peter. Each day you will take one of those verses and seek to be shaped by it.
The LGBTQ Commission was formed in the last year. Their mission is two-fold: education around issues of gender and sexuality and to advocate for full inclusion of all God’s children, regardless of orientation or gender identity. For more information on their mission and how to get involved visit the diocesan website or their Facebook page.
Do you know what the six colors of the most familiar form of the Rainbow Flag mean? Red means life, orange means healing, yellow means sunshine, green means nature, blue means harmony, and purple means spirit.
Jubilee Ministries is “a ministry of joint discipleship in Christ with poor and oppressed people, wherever they are found, to meet basic human needs and to build a just society.” In our diocese there are over 30 Jubilee Centers. These ministries encompass an enormous range of initiatives, services, programs, and people, and provide aid and support to a diverse collection of communities. There are more than 600 Jubilee Centers, spread across all dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Many provide direct services, such as food, shelter, or health care. Others advocate on issues of human rights. Many do both, but all focus on empowering their congregations and communities.
This year’s report to the NJ Diocesan Convention shared highlights over their work. Nine of our diocesan Jubilee Ministries participated in the virtual fundraiser Soles for the Harvest 5K Run/Walk, raising $6,222. The DJO awarded six grants, totaling $2,850, to Jubilee Ministries to enhance the following: Feeding Programs, Martin Luther King Day of Service and Housing for the homeless.
The Lifelong Christian Formation Committee
The Lifelong Christian Formation Committee (LCFC) of the Diocese of New Jersey works to provide resources, training, and support to those pursuing the ministry of faith formation across the diocese. It is their ministry to engage people of all ages in relationship with Jesus; equip people, by resourcing and modeling faith practices; empower people, by giving them space and permission to become disciples of Christ; and encourage people, by walking with them in their faith journeys.
LCFC regularly searches for and reviews existing curriculums, programs, and best practices that reflect our Episcopal traditions but also innovate to meet the needs of our modern realities. One thing they put together is Keys of Faith Guide: A Guide for Equipping, Empowering, and Encouraging Faith at Home
To see their report from the convention, click here.
To see Lent and Holy Week Resources shared through the diocese see our web news.
What is Lent Short Video Series
Did you know that 2 years ago Mother Emily helped create a series of videos on “What is Lent”? If you are looking for something to do at home for Holy Week check out the video series here.
Episcopal Community Services:
We are stronger together. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24
Episcopal Community Services (ECS) is an initiative that focuses on proactively addressing human needs, such as food and shelter, and relentlessly working against both social and racial injustice. They accomplish these goals by 1. providing grants to our ministries and projects; 2. offering educational and training opportunities; 3. opening up crucial connections and networks; and 4. advocating for meaningful systemic change.
For examples of the work that they have already done see: https://dioceseofnj.org/know_your_story/ecs-nj-awards-117k-in-grants-to-diocese-churches/
Report from the 238th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey
Abigail Merk, Bob Litsinger, and Kristina Van Name attended as Trinity’s delegates to the virtual convention on March 5th. Mother Emily and Mother Angie were also in attendance. Elections were held for committees and roles for the diocese. Our Mother Emily will continue to serve as a General Convention Deputy. We also voted on resolutions (a proposed action or decision to be considered by a legislative body). One of the resolutions passed was a new Canon that defines the structure, membership, and responsibilities of the Anti-Racism Commission as it has evolved to its current functioning entity in the diocese. Another resolution passed to establish a Creation Care Committee to lead individuals, parish communities and the diocese on environmental subjects, with special focus on the present climate emergency.
Bishop Stokes, Presiding Bishop Curry (pre-recorded), and Bishop Hughes (Diocese of Newark) addressed the convention. Presiding Bishop Curry and Bishop Hughes were complimentary on what NJ has done.
Bishop Stokes spoke of the transition churches have been going through and continue to go through. He reminded us of our core mission and call as: Our purpose is to form people as disciples of Jesus Christ who participate in God’s mission of reconciliation in the world. We do so as an interconnected community of schools of discipleship. This was developed through the Discerning Our Common Call Committee, chaired by Mother Emily. This group continues to work as a strategic vision and mission team to assist the diocese in clarifying and focusing on our distinctive call to join in God’s mission as the Episcopal Church in this region.
Bishop Stokes highlighted the diocesan’s significant investment of time, money and ministry to Social Justice and Equity. He highlighted the work of Episcopal Community Services and Reparations Task Force. Both of these groups also presented at the convention. Episcopal Community Services (ECS-NJ) is a new initiative that focuses on proactively addressing human needs, such as food and shelter, and relentlessly working against both social and racial injustice. Trinity Moorestown was recognized as a founding member for our commitment from our capital campaign to support this group. As a diocesan we are committed to working on reparations and have a Reparations Task Force.
If you would like to listen to Bishop Stoke’s and/or Presiding Bishop Curry’s addresses see:
Bishop Stokes’s Address: at time 49:48
Presiding Bishop Curry’s Address: at time 1:49:31
The Bishop’s Search and Nominating Committee gave a presentation. Bishop Stokes will be retiring next year. The process of finding a new Bishop has begun. The 13th Bishop of New Jersey hopefully will be ordained on June 24, 2023. For the timeline see: https://dioceseofnj.org/know_your_story/search-committee-releases-timeline-for-election-of-bishop/
The 2022 Budget for the diocesan was approved without any discussion.
The Projected 2023 budget was amended to return the Canon of Black Ministry from part-time to full-time as both an acknowledgement of the extended effort in the area and to make a clear statement of full equality of the Black community.
Please look in future weeks for highlights on diocesan ministries and committees. There is wonderful work occurring in our diocesan. You may even be called to help.