THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
by Giovanni Bellini, c, 1460-64
FROM THE BISHOP:
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
…but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint…..Isaiah 40:31
It will be an exciting weekend for many in New Jersey. Super Bowl LII is upon us. From my travels across the diocese, I know there are a lot of die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fans. The Eagles have a great story in 2018: a very impressive 13-3 season; a brilliant starting quarterback in Carson Wentz who led them though most of the season but was injured late in the season; gutsy, mature play by Nick Foles, the backup Quarterback who replaced Wentz following his injury. The Eagles are the underdog going against one of the great quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and against a proven New England Patriots team. The Eagles are relishing their underdog status. It is David against Goliath and has all the makings of a great game.
Of course, we need to recognize that the Super Bowl is a commercial endeavor. It is part of the sports entertainment industry aimed primarily at generating profits. As Kurt Badenhausen writes in this week’s issue of Forbes Magazine, “The NFL is the richest sports league in the world with the average team worth $2.5 billion and operating profits of $101 million per franchise. The Super Bowl is the league’s crowning event and money will be one of the storylines in Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.”
Badenhausen reports that Robert Kraft paid $172 million for the Patriots in 1994 which was a record at the time. According to Badenhausen, “The team is now worth $3.7 billion, tied for second with the New York Yankees among the most valuable sports franchises in the world…” Badenhausen notes, “Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie topped Kraft’s record price for an NFL franchise with his $185 million bid for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are now worth $2.65 billion, tenth most in the NFL.” According to Badenhausen, the Eagles had the NFL’s fourth highest cash payroll in 2017 at $151 million and that the Patriots ranked 12th with $132 million. Each player on the winning Super Bowl Team will earn $112,000. Players on the losing side will receive a consolation bonus of $56,000.
These are astounding numbers. Beyond all this are the revenues that will be realized from commercial sales (Super Bowl commercials are always a favorite – some watch the game only to see them). Of course, there is also the revenue that is generated from the sale of snacks, soda and beers. Americans spend a fortune in the course of enjoying the game. Truth be told, it’s obscene.
Many years ago, I learned about “The SouperBowl of Caring” a charitable initiative which began in 1990 when organizers, recognizing the enormous amount of money Americans spend around the Super Bowl, decided to “[Use] the energy of the Super Bowl to mobilize youth in a united national effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and those in need” (From the Mission Statement on the website of The SouperBowl of Caring). One effort generated by the SouperBowl of Caring organizers was really simple: each person who attends church on Sunday morning is asked to contribute $1.00 into a special collection, the proceeds of which the church donates to a local charity.
At St. Paul’s, Delray Beach, Susan Stokes would label two big cooking pots with the logos of each of the Super Bowl teams for that particular year. We would ask our parishioners to donate $1.00 for the team they were rooting for. Every year we collected several hundred dollars and every dollar went to a local charity St. Paul’s designated.
After the amount had been collected and counted, Susan went to the SouperBowl for Caring website and entered the amount we had collected and also indicated the designated charity so that we could see we were part of a larger nationwide effort to fight hunger and homeless. Millions of dollars have been raised in this effort. Every dollar has gone to support local charities.
Given the amount of money we were spending on chips, dip and beer, we could all afford to contribute at least $1.00 to this effort. Some of our congregants “loaded the deck” by contributing more that $1.00! It was great fun and by the end of the service we would announce the winning team (the team for whom the most dollars had been given). Of course, the real winners were the charities and the people they serve.
I invite all our churches to participate in the SouperBowl of Caring this year. Donate the proceeds to a local charity that fights hunger and homelessness, maybe even one that is supported by your church.
Bishops of the two regions involved in this year’s Super Bowl have also initiated a fun effort to leverage the game into a fundraiser for Episcopal Charities. Alan Gates, Bishop of Massachusetts has created #TeamPatriots and, Dan Gutierrez, Bishop of Pennsylvania has created #TeamEagles with a specific fund-raising site that persons can use to make a donation in honor of their favorite team. The goal for #TeamEagles is to raise $20,000 by game time. As the Diocese of New Jersey is home to an extraordinary number of Eagles fans, I have joined Bishop Gutierrez’s effort with #TeamEagles, made my own donation and am encouraging others to support the effort. It’s one way to offer some balance to the excesses that surround the Super Bowl. It also adds another dimension of fun.
I am planning on enjoying the game on Sunday. I will also remember that there are many in desperate need who don’t enjoy the privileges and comforts I and so many of us do to relax, escape, and enjoy the game. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
Blessings and peace, .
The Rt. Rev. William H. Stokes, D.D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey
Collect of the Day:
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Bishop’s Schedule Highlights
Friday, February 2, 2018:
St. Matthew’s, Pennington – meeting with leadership
Saturday, February 3, 2018:
10:30 a.m. Board of Consultation meeting
7:00 p.m. Pennsauken Country Club – St. Andrew’s, Camden Banquet
Sunday, February 4, 2018:
10:00 a.m. St. Mary’s Church, Stone Harbor – Celebrate and Preach/Vestry Meeting
Monday, February 5, 2018:
Wednesday, February 7, 2018:
1:00 p.m. The Episcopal Church in Cuba Working Group Zoom meeting
7:00 p.m. Christ Church, South Amboy – Joint Town Hall meeting with Trinity Church, Matawan
Thursday, February 8, 2018:
6:00 p.m. Holy Innocents’ Church, Beach Haven vestry meeting
Upcoming Diocesan Events
Diocesan Calendar for the through late winter 2018..
Trinity Catheral, Trenton
Absalom Jones Service of Witness
Notices and Classifieds
Diocean Acolyte Festival
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The theme of this year’s Festival is the Light of the World…
Absalom Jones Service of Witness to Black Ministry
Celebrant: The Rt. Rev. William Stokes, D.D.
Preacher: The Rev. Dr. E. Roland Clemons
February 11, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, NJ
Sponsored by the Black Clergy Caucus and the Earl B. Scott Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians.
Save the Date!
NEW JERSEY COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Opioids: The Next Step
Diocesan Convention – Save the Date!
The 234th Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey will take place on March 2-3, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.
Book your accommodations: February 10, 2018
Register by February 19, 2018
Exhibitors register by February 19, 2018
February 6, 7 pm – St. Luke’s, Gladstone
February 8, 7 pm – St. Augustine’s, Asbury Park
February 15, 1:30 pm – St. Stephen’s, Whiting
February 15, 7 pm – St. Thomas, Glassboro
February 20 7 pm – Christ Church, Somers Point
PART-TIME ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT POSITION
Send a resume to The Rev. J. Connor Haynes by email or mail to 145 West Broad Street, Burlington, NJ 08016.
ABOUT ELECTRONIC GIVING
St. Francis, Dunellen, is exploring setting up an electronic giving system If your congregation is using such a system, please contact them with the following: Name and contact info of the service you use, fees/costs involved for parish and/or donor, rough percentage of households that use this option, pros and cons, anything else we should know.
SEEKING LEVAS II
St. Thomas’, Glassboro is looking to buy used copies of LEVAS II. Contact us if you have extra copies.
Proclaiming Christ in the Garden State
We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement in the Southern 2/3 of New Jersey.