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Good News in the Garden State

March. 20, 2020

Worship Goes Digital: With the new limits of "social distancing," churches around the diocese and around the world are turning to the world of livestream. Washington National Cathedral streams Eucharist Sundays at 11:15. Bishop Stokes will preach during a livestream Eucharist at Trinity Cathedral Sunday at 10:00. Dozens of churches in our diocese livestream Eucharist and prayer services every day. See our Web page for a full list.
The Bishop's Corner

From the Bishop

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,

Querida gente de la diócesis de Nueva Jersey,
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

In the eighth chapter of his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul asserts a truth that has given Christians across the ages strength to meet any and all adversities. It is an assertion as true for us today as it has ever been: Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; not COVID-19, not "social-distancing," not "flattening the curve," not any of the challenges that our current circumstances present to us. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, I pray that this verse will continue to give each one of us strength, confidence and hope to persevere and to remember that, through it all, we remain loved by God and we remain members of the body of Christ. Having said this, the continuing evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic calls for on-going assessment, decision-making and adaptation.

On March 17, 2020, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry addressed a Letter to the Church "concerning the need to suspend in-person gatherings for public worship, in most contexts, during the sacred time of Holy Week and Easter Day." In this letter, Bishop Curry referred to guidance offered March 15th from the Centers for Disease Control which "recommended the suspension of public gatherings in the U.S. of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks," which was reinforced in Executive Order #104 issued by the Governor of New Jersey. The Presiding Bishop also referred to guidance offered on March 16th by officials of the federal government "asking persons in the United States to 'avoid gatherings of more than 10 people' for the next 15 days." Bishop Curry observed, "It is reasonable to assume that some form of recommendations restricting public gatherings will continue for some time."

Bishop Curry concluded:
Considering this changing landscape, I believe that suspension of in-person public worship is generally the most prudent course of action at this time, even during Holy Week and on Easter Day. I am also mindful that local situations vary. Bishops must make this determination and the duration of said suspension in their respective dioceses, based on the public health situation in their context and the recommendations or requirements of government agencies and officials.
Current information offered by public health authorities at both the State and Federal level makes clear that we have not yet seen the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak and that the threat of spreading this pandemic remains very real and will remain so for at least several more weeks, perhaps even months.

In light of all of this, I order the following:
  • That there be no public worship or other public gatherings in Church buildings or other properties of the Diocese of New Jersey until the public health crisis is ended.
  • That there be no church gatherings sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey or any of its congregations involving more than 10 people for any purpose in or on church property or anywhere else.
I am stipulating this to preclude organizing indoor or outdoor public worship events including for Holy Week and Easter because of the inherent risk of exposing persons to the virus unnecessarily.

This directive remains in effect for an indefinite period. It will be evaluated on a regular basis, but will not be reconsidered any sooner than May 1, 2020.

Many people have asked me for specific guidance and direction on other specific questions and issues. For this, I direct your attention to our Diocese of New Jersey COVID-19 information page for more information about our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic including an FAQ section that will answer many of the questions you may have. If something is not covered there, please feel free to e-mail me at

It is vitally important for us all to recognize that the steps we are being asked to take as a society and as a church are for the sake of the love of our neighbors - all of our neighbors. As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy explained in a March 16, 2020 statement he made when issuing Executive Order #104 implementing aggressive "social-distancing" initiatives:
"In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must take aggressive and direct social distancing action to curtail non-essential activities in the state. ... Our paramount priority is to 'flatten the curve' of new cases, so we do not overwhelm our health care system and overload our health care professionals who are on the frontlines of the response ..."
I recognize that these directives cause sadness, and even pain and hardship to many. Moreover, self-distancing and isolating runs against our very human desire and need for relationships. I am deeply saddened by it all. In the face of this crisis, God is calling us to find a different way to be Church in this season. God is also inviting us to be neighbor, showing our love, in a very different way than that to which we are accustomed.

In correspondence with our Diocese of New Jersey Canon Theologians, The Rev. Dr. Kara Slade and Keven Moroney about the current COVID-19 crisis, both independently reminded me of the importance of the so-called "Desert Tradition" in our Christian history. In imitation of Christ, the Desert Fathers and Mothers went out into the desert wilderness to encounter and be encountered by God.

In his rich and powerful book, In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, (Bloomington, IN: 2008) John Chryssavgis observes:

"The desert was a positive and a beautiful place, where those who so desired were able to see God, to hear God, and to live with God." (p. 85)

I pray that in this very different season of Lent, you will journey with Jesus into the spiritual desert and there see God, hear God and live with God in new and powerful ways as we all wait with patience for the time to come when we will gather again as God's faithful people.

Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

The Right Reverend William H. Stokes, D.D.
12th Bishop of New Jersey

¿Quién nos separará del amor de Cristo? ¿Tribulación, angustia, persecución, hambre, desnudez, peligro o espada? Como está escrito: «Por causa de ti somos muertos todo el tiempo; somos contados como ovejas de matadero.» Antes, en todas estas cosas somos más que vencedores por medio de aquel que nos amó. Por lo cual estoy seguro de que ni la muerte ni la vida, ni ángeles ni principados ni potestades, ni lo presente ni lo por venir, ni lo alto ni lo profundo, ni ninguna otra cosa creada nos podrá separar del amor de Dios, que es en Cristo Jesús, Señor nuestro.
Romanos 8:35-39

En el octavo capítulo de su Carta a los romanos, San Pablo afirma una verdad que le ha dado a los cristianos de todas las edades la fuerza para enfrentar cualquier adversidad. Es una afirmación tan cierta para nosotros hoy como lo ha sido siempre: nada puede separarnos del amor de Dios en Cristo Jesús nuestro Señor ; no COVID-19, no "distanciamiento social", no "aplanar la curva", ninguno de los desafíos que nuestras circunstancias actuales nos presentan. Mientras continuamos respondiendo a la crisis de COVID-19, rezo para que este versículo continúe dándonos a cada uno de nosotros fortaleza, confianza y esperanza para perseverar y recordar que, a pesar de todo, seguimos siendo amados por Dios y seguimos siendo miembros del cuerpo de Cristo. Dicho esto, la evolución continua de la pandemia de COVID-19 requiere una evaluación continua, toma de decisiones y adaptación.

El 17 de marzo de 2020, el Obispo Presidente Michael B. Curry dirigió una Carta a la Iglesia "sobre la necesidad de suspender las reuniones en persona para el culto público, en la mayoría de los contextos, durante el tiempo sagrado de la Semana Santa y el Día de Pascua". En esta carta, el obispo Curry se refirió a la orientación ofrecida el 15 de marzo por parte de los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades que "recomendó la suspensión de reuniones públicas en los Estados Unidos de más de 50 personas durante las próximas 8 semanas", que se reforzó en la Orden Ejecutiva # 104 emitida por el gobernador de Nueva Jersey. El Obispo Presidente también se refirió a la orientación ofrecida el 16 de marzo por funcionarios del gobierno federal "pidiendo a las personas en los Estados Unidos que 'eviten reuniones de más de 10 personas' durante los próximos 15 días". El obispo Curry observó: "Es razonable suponer que alguna forma de recomendaciones que restrinjan las reuniones públicas continuará por algún tiempo". 

El obispo Curry concluyó:

Teniendo en cuenta este panorama cambiante, creo que la suspensión del culto público en persona es generalmente el curso de acción más prudente en este momento, incluso durante la Semana Santa y el Día de Pascua. También soy consciente de que las situaciones locales varían. Los obispos deben tomar esta determinación y la duración de dicha suspensión en sus respectivas diócesis, en función de la situación de salud pública en su contexto y las recomendaciones o requisitos de las agencias y funcionarios gubernamentales.

La información actual ofrecida por las autoridades de salud pública a nivel estatal y federal deja en claro que aún no hemos visto el pico del brote de COVID-19 y que la amenaza de propagar esta pandemia sigue siendo muy real y lo seguirá siendo durante al menos varios más. semanas, tal vez incluso meses.

A la luz de todo esto, ordeno lo siguiente:

  • Que no haya culto público u otras reuniones públicas en los edificios de la Iglesia u otras propiedades de la Diócesis de Nueva Jersey hasta que finalice la crisis de salud pública.
  • Que no haya reuniones de la iglesia patrocinadas por la Diócesis Episcopal de Nueva Jersey o cualquiera de sus congregaciones que involucren a más de 10 personas para cualquier propósito en o dentro de la propiedad de la iglesia o en cualquier otro lugar.

Estoy estipulando esto para evitar la organización de eventos de adoración pública en interiores o exteriores, incluso para la Semana Santa y Pascua, debido al riesgo inherente de exponer innecesariamente a las personas al virus.

Esta directiva permanece vigente por un período indefinido. Se evaluará periódicamente, pero no se reconsiderará antes del 1 de mayo de 2020.

Muchas personas me han pedido orientación y orientación específicas sobre otras preguntas y problemas específicos. Para esto, dirigir su atención a nuestra Diócesis de Nueva Jersey COVID-19 página de información para obtener más información acerca de nuestra respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19 incluyendo un FAQ sección que responder a muchas de las preguntas que pueda tener. Si algo no está cubierto allí, no dude en enviarme un correo electrónico a .

Es de vital importancia para todos nosotros reconocer que los pasos que se nos pide que tomemos como sociedad y como iglesia son por amor a nuestros vecinos, a todos nuestros vecinos. Como explicó el gobernador de Nueva Jersey, Phil Murphy, en una declaración que hizo el 16 de marzo de 2020 al emitir la Orden Ejecutiva # 104 que implementa iniciativas agresivas de "distanciamiento social":

"Con el fin de frenar la propagación de COVID-19, debemos tomar medidas agresivas y directas de distanciamiento social para reducir las actividades no esenciales en el estado ... Nuestra prioridad primordial es 'aplanar la curva' de nuevos casos, por lo que no abrume nuestro sistema de atención médica y sobrecargue a nuestros profesionales de atención médica que están en la primera línea de la respuesta ... "

Reconozco que estas directivas causan tristeza e incluso dolor y dificultad a muchos. Además, el distanciamiento y el aislamiento de uno mismo van en contra de nuestro deseo humano y la necesidad de relaciones. Estoy profundamente triste por todo esto. Ante esta crisis, Dios nos está llamando a encontrar una manera diferente de ser Iglesia en esta temporada. Dios también nos está invitando a ser vecinos, mostrando nuestro amor de una manera muy diferente a la que estamos acostumbrados.

En correspondencia con nuestros teólogos canónicos de la Diócesis de Nueva Jersey, el reverendo Dr. Kara Slade y Keven Moroney sobre la crisis actual de COVID-19, ambos me recordaron independientemente la importancia de la llamada "Tradición del desierto" en nuestra historia cristiana. En imitación de Cristo, los Padres y Madres del Desierto salieron al desierto del desierto para encontrarse y ser encontrados por Dios.

En su rico y poderoso libro, In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers , (Bloomington, IN: 2008) John Chryssavgis observa:

"El desierto era un lugar positivo y hermoso, donde aquellos que lo deseaban pudimos ver a Dios, escuchar a Dios y vivir con Dios ". (p. 85)

Oro para que en esta temporada muy diferente de la Cuaresma, usted viaje con Jesús al desierto espiritual y allí vea a Dios, escuche a Dios y viva con Dios de maneras nuevas y poderosas mientras todos esperamos con paciencia el tiempo por venir cuando nos reuniremos nuevamente como el pueblo fiel de Dios.

Por favor, sepa que está en mis pensamientos y oraciones.

Fielmente tuyo en Cristo,

El Reverendísimo William H. Stokes
Obispo XII de Nueva Jersey

The Bishop's Schedule Highlights

Friday, March 20
10:00 am
Bishops' Joint Task force on
COVID-19 Response
Zoom meeting

1:00 pm
CCS Zoom meeting

3:00 pm
Outreach Ministries Zoom meeting

Sunday, March 22
10:00 am
Holy Eucharist Livestream
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

Monday, March 23
1:00 pm
Presiding Bishop's Office and ERD
Zoom meeting

Tuesday, March 24
2:00 pm
CCS Zoom meeting

Wednesday, March 25
9:30 am
Oversight Zoom meeting

12:30 pm
Staff Zoom meeting

7:00 pm
Bible Study with the Bishop

Thursday, March 26
11:00 am
Clergy Town Hall meeting

1:00 pm
Deans Zoom meeting

7:00 pm
Lay Leaders Town Hall meeting

Live Stream Worship and Bible Study

Find the most recent list on our web site
Churches all over the diocese are going online to keep connections with their congregations. Know about a New Jersey church offering online worship? Let us know!


On demand: Daily Office from Mission St. Clare
8:30 a.m.: St. Mary's Stone Harbor
9:00 a.m.: Fr. Ed Zelley
10:00 a.m.: St. Mark's Basking Ridge
10:00: St. Mary's Haddon Heights
Noon: Fr. Ed Zelley
5:00 p.m.: Fr. Ed Zelley
6:30 p.m. (except Sat/Sun): The Episcopal Church at Princeton
7:30 p.m.: Grace Church Merchantville
7:30 p.m: St. Mary's Haddon Heights
8:00 p.m.: St. John's Little Silver
8:45 p.m.: Fr. Ed Zelley


6:00 p.m.: St. Andrew's Mt. Holly Stations of the Cross
6:00: Holy Innocents Stations of the Cross


10:00 a.m.: St. Mark's Basking Ridge
5:00 p.m.: St. Peter's Medford
5:30 p.m. St. Luke's Metuchen


7:45 a.m.: St. Peter's Medford
8:00 & 10:00: St. Luke's Metuchen
8:00 & 10:30: Christ Church New Brunswick
8:15: Grace Church Haddonfield
9:00: St Paul's, Westfield
9:30: Church of the Holy Spirit, Tuckerton
9:30: Holy Innocents, Beach Haven
9:30: Holy Trinity Collingswood
9:30: Trinity Swedesboro
9:30: St. Stephens Mullica Hills

Sunday (cont)

9:30: St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Lumberton
9:30: St. Barnabas Monmouth Junction
10:00: All Saints Scotch Plains
10:00: Calvary Flemington
10:00: Holy Eucharist, Trinity Cathedral Facebook and YouTube
10:00: St. Mary's Episcopal Haddon Heights
10:00: St. Peter's Spotswood
10:00: Holy Trinity Wenonah
10:00: Trinity Princeton
10:00: St. Francis Dunellen
10:00: Holy Trinity South River
10:00: St. John's, Chews Landing
10:00: St. Thomas Glassboro
10:00: St. Michael the Archangel
10:00: Church of the Holy Spirit
10:00: St. John on the Mountain
10:00: Christ Church Middletown
10:00: St. Peter's Freehold
10:00: Christ Church Somers Point
10:00: St. Mark's Basking Ridge
10:00: Holy Cross N. Plainfield
10:00: Trinity Woodbridge
10:00: Saint John's Little Silver
10:00: St. John the Baptist, Linden
10:00: St. Mary's by the Sea
10:15: All Saints Church, Princeton
10:15: St. Peter's Medford
10:30: St. Barnabas by the Bay
10:30: St. Stephens Beverly
10:30: Church of the Advent Cape May
10:30: Christ Church New Brunswick
11:15: Washington National Cathedral
7:30 p.m: St. Mary's Haddon Heights


6:00 p.m.: Holy Innocents


7:00 p.m.: Bible Study with Bishop Stokes

COVID-19 Web Site from the Diocese

To help you navigate the brave new world of church and COVID-19, the Diocese has developed a mini-web site with news, information, and frequently asked questions about ongoing church operations in the face of this unprecedented challenge.

The site is continually updated and expanded, so check it often. Current headings are for FAQsOnline WorshipCOVID-19 Info, and COVID-19 Finance Info.

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New Date for Diocesan Convention

This week, Bishop Stokes announced a new date for the postponed Diocesan Convention. Convention is now scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill. This is the only date available at the hotel after what we hope will be the end of the current social distance restrictions. If you registered for the March convention (and/or paid for lunch), your registration will carry over to November.

This will be a partial-day convention, ending by 3:00 p.m. 

Email fraud warning

The FBI is warning about a rise in "phishing" scams--fake emails attempting to secure your personal or financial information--from criminals taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Churches are a particular target. Typically, scammers create a fake email similar to that of your priest or bishop, and then send out a request to a broad range of people in the church or diocese. Often, the person pretends to be the priest or the bishop and asks the recipient to buy gift cards and then email the numbers to them.

Other email scams involve offers to sell COVID-19 cures, or fake emails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with links designed to install harmful software on your computer or get personal information from you.

Always ensure that email is from the named person before you share any information or make any purchases. Look closely at the email. Is it really from the stated person? Call the person to make sure.

See the alert from the FBI for more information.

Episcopal Asset Map

The Episcopal Asset Map is a listing of every Episcopal Church and ministry. It's a great place to let the community know about the things going on in your church--service times, food pantries, thrift shops, women's groups, outreach ministries--everything. This is more important than ever during these times of crisis. Anyone can update your church's listing. All changes will be reviewed and approved before they go live. This is also the information that drives the "Find a Church" feature on the Episcopal Church web site. Review your church's information now to make sure it's complete and up to date.

News In Brief

What is Lent? Video Series explains it all
The days, practices, and beliefs of Christianity's holiest season explained in simple, straightforward language. Four short videos are available now, with four more coming in the next two weeks. Now available: What is Shrove Tuesday?; What is Ashes to Go?; What is Ash Wednesday?; and What is Lent? Watch them all, and subscribe to the Diocese YouTube Channel so you don't miss future episodes.
Happening Around the Diocese
** All public worship services and events are suspended. Events that are taking place are virtual events.**

To receive emails about events around the Diocese, please update your preferences to subscribe to the Announcements List. You can update your preferences here.

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Let the diocese and the community know about your upcoming event by adding it to the Diocesan Web Calendar. Your event may also be featured in Good News in the Garden State and on Diocesan social media.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located in Perth Amboy, NJ, is seeking a new organist to play the weekly 10 a.m. Sunday service, major feast days, and special music functions throughout the year. For more information, click here.
Van Duzer Scholarship Application Now Available

The Van Duzer Scholarship supports recent high school graduates entering their first year of study at an accredited post-secondary institution. Apply here by April 1.

Christ Church, located in New Brunswick, is seeking a Sunday Sexton responsible for set ups, clean ups, security, and other duties on all Sundays throughout the year. For more information and to apply click here.

Submissions for Good News in the Garden State should be sent to Steve Welch no later than close of business on the Wednesday before publication on Friday.
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