From the Bishop
Meet Kara Slade
Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Federal Tax Proposal
Seeking New Voices for New Boards and Task Forces
Congregational Events (Add events here)
Notices and Classifieds
FROM THE BISHOP:
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
If there was ever a time of year for parents and grandparents to take the lead in the spiritual development of their children and grandchildren, Advent is it. All around us, the culture has erupted with garland and tinsel and ubiquitous Santas ho, ho, ho-ing on city streets, department stores and shopping malls. I will confess that I love all of this.
When I was a young boy, my mother worked in Bloomingdales in New York City. I would often meet my mother at work, hanging around the store until her work day was done. I had the run of the place. I’d go to Santa’s workshop, get an ice cream clown in the restaurant, hang around the toy section just taking it all in and seeing what I would ask for from Santa. Popular Christmas music was playing in the background.
Even then, however, I knew that all of this had little to do with Jesus or with Advent. Advent is a rich liturgical season filled with profound meaning and an ethos of holy anticipation. I sang in the choir at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in those days. We sang the hymns of Advent, lit the candles of the Advent wreath, prepared for the coming anew of Jesus into our world and into our lives.
There are wonderful rituals and traditions that families can engage in observing a holy Advent.
- Have an Advent wreath with candles in your home. Each Sunday, as part of grace before dinner, light a candle and say the prayer for that Sunday in Advent from the Book of Common Prayer. These can be found online if you don’t have a Prayer Book at home (although the Book of Common Prayer is a great spiritual resource for the home!).
- During your Advent candle lighting, read portions of Luke’s Gospel, chapters one and two, telling the story of John the Baptist’s birth, of the Annunciation and of Christ’s birth.
- Make a Jesse Tree. Jesus’ roots are in the family of King David. David’s father was Jesse. A Jesse tree is made up of symbols that represent the genealogy of Jesus from Jesse’s line. Again, this is a resource that can be found on-line.
- Use an Advent calendar to mark the days leading up to Christmas.
- Build a crèche. Have a family crèche and add figures each week leading up to Christmas. Start by adding animals, then the shepherds. Lastly add the Holy Family and Jesus on Christmas Eve. Place the Wise Men some distance from the crèche and beginning with Christmas, move them closer to the crèche. Put them in the crèche on the feast of Epiphany (January 6).
During Advent, the voice of prophets ring out, reminding us of God’s judgment and calling us to repent. It’s an appropriate time to have caring conversations as a family about injustice and about our vocation as Christians to respond to the world’s suffering and need.
Advent clashes with the consumerism of our secular society. As people of faith, we serve our children and grandchildren well when we make them aware of this clash and lead them to deeper truths.
May you and yours have a blessed and Christ-filled Advent.
Grace and peace,
Blessings and peace,
The Rt. Rev. William H. Stokes, D.D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey
Bishop’s Schedule Highlights
When your Priest Really is a Rocket Scientist
Might you be called?
Following our Special Convention of October 7th, we request your assistance in filling positions on the newly created boards and task forces.
Mission, Structure and Budget Alignment Task Force
Resource & Revenue Task Force
Committee on Lifelong Christian Formation
Task Force on Development of Canons for Distressed Congregations
December 5, Trinity Cathedral
Notices and Classifieds
From the Department of Youth and Young Adults:
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.
Registration information will be available in the coming weeks.
Nominations material are available here and are due January 1, 2018.
January 30, 7 pm – Christ Church, Toms River
January 31, 1:30 pm – St. Barnabas, Monmouth Junction
January 31, 7 pm -Trinity Church, Princeton
February 1, 7 pm – Grace Church, Plainfield
Feburary 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
HIRING A DAY SCHOOL DIRECTOR
St Paul’s, Westfield is seeking a directory for a preschool school with students aged 2 through kindergarten with a current student roll of 235.
Contact the head of school for more information.
SEEKING LEVAS II
St. Thomas’, Glassboro is looking to buy used copies of LEVAS II.
Proclaiming Christ in the Garden State
We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement in the Southern 2/3 of New Jersey.