“The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do”
The Lectionary lessons for the Fifth Sunday of Easter in 2023 emphasize the glory of God and how Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. As you develop your sermon for ECS Sunday, one connection you could make is that ECS is a means by which we come together as a Diocese to follow Christ’s mission and ministry of love and service (as said by Bishop Stokes in his letter in the 2022 ECS-NJ Impact Report). The work of ECS in the domains of education, advocacy, grantmaking, and prayer are all designed to point to the glory of God.
—From the ECS Sunday Sermon Resource
It’s not too late to make use of these resources to mark this Sunday as “ECS Sunday.” Even if you haven’t planned ahead, make mention in your sermons, discuss at announcements, talk about it in coffee hour. This is our opportunity as a diocese to confirm our commitment to Gospel Justice and to being Christ’s hands and feet on the earth.
The first Sunday in May is ECS Sunday, a day when we come together as a diocese to celebrate our common mission of service and reconciliation in the Diocese of New Jersey and lift up our witness to justice and peace.
All congregations are asked to recognize ECS Sunday in worship services, making the ECS story part of sermons, Prayers of the People, and congregational communications through the use of some of the following resources:
- A Collect for ECS-NJ (included in the bulletin insert and shown above)
- A Bulletin Insert
- Sermon Resource ECS-NJ
- Bulletin Insert—ECS Sunday 2023
- Prayers of the People (in English and Spanish)
- The ECS-NJ 2022 Impact Report
As part of our efforts to build community and strengthen our common work across the Diocese, ECS-NJ has been in the process of launching a “Champion” program for every church in the Diocese and seeks someone in each congregation who knows ECS-NJ. Through this program, an ECS-NJ Champion can:
- Be the “human face” of ECS-NJ in your congregation,
- Serve as a liaison to the vestry,
- Advocate for support of mission outreach efforts and needs, and
- Highlight ECS-NJ news, events, and advocacy opportunities.
Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey (ECS-NJ) is a diocesan initiative that works to strengthen our collective ability to proactively address human needs and relentlessly work against both social and racial injustice.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for more information.
Building Relationships over Fresh Produce
An ECS Story
“Our Spring 2022 ECS-NJ grant allowed us to make a variety of fresh produce available to those who come to our food pantry. The ‘produce table’ is always jampacked with luscious fresh produce always at least 4 products and often 10 or more products. As inflation has dramatically increased the price of food and specifically the price of fresh produce—clients visiting our food pantry gain considerably from the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables on our tables, ready for them to choose what works for their families.
Sometimes the selection leads to a conversation and recipe-sharing. How many of us know what to do with kohlrabi, for example. When these conversations happen we are slowly building relationships with our clients in a way that just isn’t possible when the choice is canned soup and ravioli. This program provides an opportunity for relationship.”
—St. James Bradley Beach