Highlights and Recording of Dec. 7 Town Hall

Recording of the Lay Leaders Town Hall of  Dec. 7


All lay people in the diocese are welcome to attend this Town Hall with Bishop French and leaders from around the state. Register here to receive the link for the Zoom meeting held the first Thursday of each month

Dec. 7 Meeting Summary

UK Trip and Prayer Meeting Agenda

Bishop French led the team in an opening prayer to commence the meeting. She shared her recent trip to the UK where she attended a bishops’ course for the Anglican communion. Bishop French also highlighted a crucial meeting at Grace Church in Plainfield and asked the team to pray for their needs. The meeting officially started after the prayer session.

Climate Conference Delegation Discussion

Bishop French led a prayer session followed by a discussion about an agenda. It was revealed that Canon Barbie Bach is in Dubai as part of the Presiding Bishop’s delegation attending the United Nations Global Climate Conference. Barbie shared her experiences and challenges at the conference, including concerns about the host country’s status as a petro state and the skepticism of climate change science by the conference’s president.

Climate Crisis, Creation Care, Diocesan Budget, Staffing Changes

Barbie voiced her concerns about the climate crisis and proposed to form a group dedicated to creation care within the diocese of New Jersey. She highlighted the importance of collaboration with the Creation Care team at Trinity Cathedral and shared her intention to present to the diocese about global efforts to save God’s creation. The discussion also shifted to the upcoming special Diocesan Convention for the 2024 budget, emphasizing the importance of registration. Bishop French outlined the budget cuts and savings measures, including changes in staffing positions and requests for relief from the National Church. She also announced staffing changes within the diocese, including the departure of the interim Office Manager, Chris Briegs, and the appointment of Canon Joan Mason as interim Transition Officer.

Covid-19 Impacts Church Visitations

Bishop French discussed her visits to congregations, explaining that not all congregations were visited in the past three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted the importance of visitations, which involve checking the service register and having conversations with the leadership, as a way to connect with the congregation. Bishop French encouraged congregations to reach out to her executive assistant, Miss Mirelle White, if they want the bishop for a visitation or special event.

Parish Status Changes and Clergy Updates

Bishop French announced the closure of Saint John’s Maple Shade due to its struggling status, noting that it was a decision reached after multiple meetings with the community and a focus on outreach ministry. They also mentioned that Saint Andrews in Lambertville decided to move from parish to mission status, and that Saint Simeons in North Wildwood also made a similar decision. Bishop French emphasized that moving from parish to mission status provides additional support to struggling congregations. Other updates included the appointment of new clergy in three congregations, the signing of interim agreements for Holy Trinity, South River, and St. John’s in Salem, and the fact that there are more clergy joining the diocese than in previous years. Rosina then updated attendees about ECS New Jersey’s 501 c. 3 status, their upcoming summit, and fundraising efforts. Finally, Vanessa discussed the anti-racism training sessions planned for 2024.

Anti-Racism Training and Diocese Leadership Nominations

Vanessa and Bishop French emphasized the importance of anti-racism training for everyone in the diocese, particularly with an impending election year. They invited those interested to reach out to Karen Moore or Reverend Mark Smith, co-chairs of the Anti-racism Commission. Bishop French also highlighted the significance of this training for leaders in the diocese and suggested that it would be beneficial for others in parish and congregation leadership roles. A link for registration was added to the chat by Vanessa. Bishop French then moved on to discuss the nominations update for various positions in the diocese, urging people to nominate others or themselves before the end of December. She encouraged people to consider taking on these roles for hands-on church leadership experience and to promote the nominations process to potential candidates.

Service, Feedback, and Nominating Committee

Bishop French announced that there would be a Martin Luther King, Jr. worship service on January 13 at 3 PM at the cathedral. The service was being planned and details would be shared soon. She also mentioned that the service was moved to Sunday from Monday to support service projects. Bishop French then opened the floor for questions and feedback about the town hall meetings. The participants agreed that the meetings were helpful, although some felt overwhelmed by the amount of information shared. Bishop French also addressed a concern raised by Arthur about the removal of convention proceedings from the website. Steve clarified that a glitch had occurred but the proceedings had been restored and if anyone had difficulty finding anything, they should contact him. Arthur also encouraged everyone to consider filling positions through the nominating committee.

Religious Service and Prayer Sharing

The meeting closed with a Compline service led by the bishop.

Links Shared During Meeting