HARLEM OPERA BENEFIT FOR JUBILEE MINISTRIES
ST. LUKE’S CHURCH/1867 SANCTUARY, EWING
In This Issue:
From the Bishop
AMP UP with Project Resource: What to Expect!
General Convention: The Big Issues
Diocesan Events and Recent Happenings
Select Congregational Events
FROM THE BISHOP:
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
“Let the day perish in which I was born,
and the night that said,
‘A man-child is conceived.’” Job 3:3
This past week, two high-profile suicides captured the nation’s attention: those of American fashion designer Kate Spade on June 5th and of Chef, Writer and Storyteller-Adventurer Anthony Bourdain announced today, June 8. These two suicides underscore the grim findings of a report recently released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide has been on the rise in the United States since 1999. Nearly 45,000 people died as a result of suicide in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
According to the CDC:
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the US. Suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress. (CDC Vital Signs; see website at https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/index.html )
In 1971, an uncle of mine committed suicide. At the time, he was the rector of Christ Church in Bellport, Long Island. He left behind his wife and three young children. I was 14 years old. All my cousins were younger than I. He also left behind a grieving church. 25 years later, I was asked to go to Christ Church to preach and dedicate a plaque in Frank’s memory. When I walked into the church, one parishioner burst into tears; the grief was still palpable.
We often don’t know the specific reasons some people choose to end their own lives; but it can safely be said that many are in pain they experience as unbearable. It is also true that those left behind are left with deep wounds and pain.
In her book, No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One, author Carla Fine, whose physician husband of 21 years committed suicide at age 43, writes:
The suicide of a loved irrevocably transforms us. Our world explodes, we are never the same. Most of us adapt, eventually learning to navigate on ground we no longer trust to be steady. We gradually come to accept our questions will not be answered. We try not to torture ourselves for having failed to predict the coming catastrophe and preventing our loved ones form taking their lives (New York: Broadway Books, 1997, p. 20).
Suicide is still a subject that is uncomfortable for us as a society. We don’t want to think about it and we don’t want to talk about it. The last official statement of The Episcopal Church concerning suicide was made at the 2000 General Convention in Denver, at which Resolution D008 was passed which stated the following:
We affirm our belief that, as St. Paul teaches (Romans 8:39), “Nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We pledge ourselves to collaborate with other religious bodies and secular agencies in educating ourselves to recognize and minister more appropriately to those among us who are especially at risk of suicide as well as those who are impacted by the suicide of others; and
We urge that all levels of the Episcopal Church, parochial, diocesan, and national, accord high priority to the prevention of suicide in prayers and programming.
(General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, Denver, 2000 (New York: General Convention, 2001, p. 173).
Both the clergy and laity of the church have a pastoral responsibility to all those who may be at risk of suicide and to those who are impacted by suicide. Some of our churches are proactive about addressing this. St. George’s-by-the-River, Rumson experienced the tragic death of a 16-year-old member. In response to this, their clergy, The Reverends Ophelia Laughlin and Jeff Roy, took a Mental Health First Aid class. The parish created a “Competent Community Crisis Team” with trained volunteers who are able to respond and offer help when there are mental health crises in the community. Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, regularly sponsors Mental Health First Aid classes to help train community members to be more knowledgeable and skilled in assisting persons with mental health issues.
There are a wide range of support systems available from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), to Suicide survivor support groups. The Center for Disease Control suggests that communities can respond to this health crisis by doing the following:
- Identify and support people at risk of suicide.
- Teach coping and problem-solving skills to help people manage challenges with their relationships, jobs, health, or other concerns.
- Promote safe and supportive environments. This includes safely storing medications and firearms to reduce access among people at risk.
- Offer activities that bring people together so they feel connected and not alone.
- Connect people at risk to effective and coordinated mental and physical healthcare.
- Expand options for temporary help for those struggling to make ends meet.
- Prevent future risk of suicide among those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
We believe in a God who came to us as light shining in the darkness and which the darkness did not overcome (John 1:5). May God give us grace to journey in that light and carry it into the darkness of those who feel they have no hope.
Blessings and peace,
Bishop’s Schedule Highlights
Friday, June 8, 2018:
3:00 p.m. Pre-Ordination reflection time with Ordinands
6:00 p.m. Stokes’ home: General Convention dinner meeting
Saturday, June 9, 2018:
10:00 a.m. Trinity Cathedral – Transitional Diaconate Ordination
2:00 p.m. Small conference room – Discerning Our Common Call planning meeting
Sunday, June 10, 2018:
10:00 a.m. Visitation: St. Peter’s Church, Medford
3:00 p.m. Holy Family Church, Laurel Springs Vestry meeting
Monday, June 11, 2018:
Tuesday, June 12, 2018:
4:00 p.m. Commission on Black Ministry meeting
Wednesday, June 13, 2018:
Staff meeting and Oversight meeting
5:00 p.m. Standing Committee meeting
Thursday-Tuesday, June 14-26, 2018:
St. John’s-by-the-Sea, Avalon – Bishop in residence
AMP UP WITH PROJECT RESOURCE THIS WEEKEND!
The New Project Resource diocesan-wide approach to Stewardship kicks off Saturday with a workshop at All Saints Church in Princeton. We’re at capacity right now, but we hope to share the valuable resources of the day with you via video and more!
WHAT’S GOING ON AT GENERAL CONVENTION: THE BIG ISSUES
by the Reverend Keith McCoy, Deacon
Each week, look for more stories about General Convention!
If we’re sending eleven people (eight deputies, two alternates, and a bishop) to Austin TX for almost two weeks in the middle of the summer to do the church’s business, what are they going to be spending their time on? There is more to this gathering than approving minutes and financial reports. There are some significant issues to be discussed and decided upon at the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.
Your deputation has been meeting monthly for over a year to discuss these topics and more, to seek a better understanding of them. Here are the major questions facing the bishops and deputies.
Money: Matthew 6:21, everyone. How we budget our income over the next Triennium expresses how we will proclaim our faith in God in the Episcopal tradition. Over the course of this three year budget, we will spend about $133 million, raised from dioceses, endowments, and fees. Evangelism, racial justice and reconciliation, and care of the creation are the major areas of added spending. Also on the table is a proposal to pay a salary and benefits (not just reimburse for expenses) to the President of the House of Deputies.
The Prayer Book: The “new” BCP is now more than 40 years old, and experience indicates that parts of it are well-loved and other sections ignored. The Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music has been studying what to do, and the options are to: a) start the revision process; b) “deeply engage” our prayer book at all levels and come to understand it more thoroughly.
Gender and Sex: the wars over ordaining women and gay people are past, but related issues linger to be addressed. Among these are: how shall the Church respond to those who have been abused by persons in positions of church authority (our version of #MeToo)? While same-gender marriage is now allowed in the US, several of our dioceses are not part of the United States, and a few domestic bishops have not authorized the trial use marriage rites in their diocese; where will The Episcopal Church stand on these exceptions? Shall inclusive rites be part of our official liturgies, or shall they remain as “alternatives”?
The Epidemic of Gun-Related Deaths: Three years ago, in Salt Lake City, our bishops and deputies marched through the streets to protest the large number of gun related deaths across our nation. The murders continue, but little has been done politically. How are we going to be more effective in promoting a cultural change in the use of guns?
Over 220 resolutions have been introduced by deputies, bishops, committees, dioceses, and provinces. Some will not even get to be debated in committee hearings, let alone make it to the floor of General Convention to be voted on. But every one of them has a group passionately interested in that topic, and will be asking for the attention of the more than 900 “legislators” in the two houses of this 79th meeting of Episcopalians.
Please pray for your deputation, that we may listen and learn, and seek the right way to do the Lord’s work in this world.
Look for more reflections on General Convention every week this June and July!
DIOCESAN EVENTS, RECENT HAPPENINGS AND UPCOMING
Click Here for the Calendar of Upcoming Events!
The Hispanic Coalition of Churches Plans for the Fall:
Representatives from the churches who share the ministry of the Rev. Ramon Ubiera-Torres met on Friday, planning a June gathering of Hispanic Coalition partner churches toshare our challenges and celebrations, and also brainstorming a Fall Information Day for all churches interested in starting Hispanic ministry. And yes, those are delicious donuts from Purple Glaze at the center of the table. Look for more on the Fall Information Day and other events coming soon!
Jubilee Spotlight: St. John’s Church, Somerville
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Somerville recently completed paperwork to become a Jubilee site. Among several incredible programs is their renowned thrift shop, “From the Heart.” Discover more at http://www.stjohnsomerville.org/thrift_shop.
All photos by Chris Gregory, Clutch Shot Photography and Video
Are you 5-18 Years in Ministry? The VISION Program and Union Theological Seminary invites your application!
Thanks to generous funding from the Lilly Endowment, Union will launch its third cohort of the VISION program in the Fall of 2018.
The VISION program engages early/mid-career faith leaders (5 – 18 years in ministry) in a two-year collaborative program designed to support new ministries and build clergy relationships across denominations and religious traditions.
The VISION cohort meets monthly at Union in New York City during the academic term to collaborate and dialogue with civic leaders, academics and scholars, and other innovators from the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Each summer the group meets at a retreat to continue the conversation and work together. VISION fellows undertake a culminating congregational project supported by a cash grant from VISION and close collaboration with other fellows and mentors.
The deadline to apply is July 1, 2018. Visit https://utsnyc.edu/life/institutes/vision-program/ for more information and to apply online.
For more information, please contact VISION Director, The Rev. Jane Huber, PhD at: email@example.com
Pet Adoption and Awareness Day at St. Raphael the Archangel, Brick. Saturday June 9, 10 am – 3 pm.
Come join for a day of fun for the family and pets. Rescue groups will be onsite if you are looking for a new pet. Police Dog demonstration. Vendors. Food and fun!
50th Anniversary of Ordination: The Rev. Cn. Terrence W. Rosheuvel
Canon Terrence W. Rosheuvel will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood on Sunday, July 8, 2018. All are invited to join him and the congregation at St. James, Bradley Beach on that day for a Festive Celebration of the Eucharist at 9:00 a.m.
The guest Preacher will be Rev. Canon Leroy Lyons, retired Rector of St. Mark’s,Plainfield. Reception follows.
CHOIR ROBES TO CLAIM
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Wenonah has 20 maroon choir robes and collars which are no longer needed. The contact person is Margie McWilliams, 856-468-6664, if you have interest in these items.
SEEKING MUSICIANS AND SINGERS
Seeking musicians and singers, of whatever ability, who wish to explore contemporary praise and worship music together. The goal would be to practice and render song and music that could move at least ourselves to deeper worship, and to experiment with how this might fit within our Episcopal context. Hillsong United, Jesus Culture, Israel Houghton — the usual suspects. Please contact the Rev. Shawn Armington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proclaiming Christ in the Garden State
We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement in the Southern 2/3 of New Jersey.