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A full listing Fall 2015 Ministry Institute events is now available!
The next month of events is below!

September 26

Trinity Church, Princeton

September 26
Evensong: Honoring the Witness, Faithfulness, and
Contributions of Older Adults in Our Diocese
Trinity Cathedral, Trenton

October 3
Parish Leadership Day
Grace-St. Paul’s, Mercerville

October 3
Sexual Misconduct Awareness Workshop
Church of the Holy Spirit, Lebanon

October 3
Sexual Misconduct Awareness Workshop
St. John’s, Somerville

October 4
Sermon: Discovering Your God-Given Gifts for Service
St. John’s, Somerville

October 9-12 – Youth
Camp Crossroads, Port Murray

October 10
Christ Church, Toms River

October 10 & 17
Workshop: Discovering Your God-Given Gifts for Service
Christ Church, New Brunswick
Mercer Oaks, West Windsor
October 15-17
Undoing Racism: Help Us Build the Beloved Community
St. Augustine’s Atlantic City
October 17
Workshop: Discovering Your God-Given Gifts for Service
Christ Church, New Brunswick

October 17
Sexual Misconduct Awareness Workshop
All Saints’, Navesink
October 21
Adults Who Work with Youth
Diocesan House, Trenton
October 24
Deacon’s Day
Grace-St. Paul’s, Mercerville

October 24
Trinity Church, Princeton
October 24
St. Barnards, Bernardsville
October 25
Trinity Cathedral

October 31

Stir Up the Spirit: Episcopal Church Women Present The Episcopal Activism Fair
Trinity Cathedral

November 2-4
Clergy Conference

Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Galloway
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
What did you go out to see?  A man dressed in fine clothes?  Matthew 11:8
As I write, there is great excitement across the country about the visit of Pope Francis to the United States. For months we have all been warned about the crowds that will descend upon Washington, New York and Philadelphia this weekend, especially for the papal mass on Sunday. Pope Francis has captivated the hearts and imaginations of people – Roman Catholic and non-Roman Catholic alike – around the world. The Roman Catholic Church and, perhaps, Christianity in general hopes this will spark growth and renewal in the Church.
There is even a phrase for it all: “the Francis effect.” What is it is about? What are people going out to see?
I can’t help thinking of images of Francis that have impressed themselves upon us: The former Cardinal of Argentina who used to ride the bus to work. The newly elected Pope who took the name of the most gentle and beloved Saint of the Church, Francis of Assisi (and, as a Jesuit, received a double blessing in honoring St. Francis Xavier as well). His insistence on simple vestments. He charmed the world by personally going to the front desk of the hotel where he had been staying during the Papal enclave to pay his own bill. He visited an Italian women’s prison on the Maundy Thursday after his election and washed the feet of inmates, one of them a Serbian Muslim. Who was not moved when he embraced and kissed a young man with cerebral palsy as he greeted the crowds on that first Easter Day as Pope? He chose to live in modest guest quarters at the Vatican instead of living in the grander Papal apartment (He also got on the case of Cardinals around the world who were living in palatial residences!)
More than anything, it is Pope Francis’s determination to be among the people, his compassion for the poor, his prophetic voice speaking out about the brutal inequalities of the world and about the damage we are doing to the environment that draw so many to him. What are people going out to see? I believe what people see in Francis is an icon of Jesus, a man infused with the love of God in Jesus Christ. What is most attractive about Francis is that which most reminds us of Jesus.
To be sure, we Episcopalians have significant differences with Francis and the Roman Catholic Church over a variety of questions: We differ over authority and governance in the Church; the role of women and LGBT, especially with respect to ordination; over divorce and remarriage and many other issues. On the other hand, there are many, many places where we can find, and have found, common cause: care for the poor and marginalized,  deep concern about climate change and the environment; an urgent desire for justice.
Moreover, whether or not we accept the Pope’s ecclesiastical authority, he is, in fact, a symbol of Christianity in a way that no other figure is for any other world religion. In an increasingly unchurched society, many people are making judgments about all of Christianity based on what they see in Pope Francis. Therefore, all Christians should pray for Pope Francis to be a good and loving Pope, one in whom we will always see an image of Jesus. Oh, and by the way, according to our own Baptismal Covenant and theology, our prayer should be that people see the image of Jesus in each of us as well.
This week, I ask all the people and congregations of the Diocese of New Jersey to pray for Francis and to pray for the Church Universal of which we are all a part.
Blessings and peace in Christ,
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
XII Bishop of New Jersey

Equipping all God’s servants


All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

This year’s event will be hosted by

Grace-St. Paul’s Church

3715 E. State St. Ext., Hamilton, NJ 08619

Click here for directions

 Program Fee:  $10

Lunch may be ordered during registration process

for an additional fee of $10

Register Here

 Adaptive Leadership in Our New Environment

Presenter:  Craig Van Gelder, PhD

We are all aware of the massive social and cultural changes that have taken place during the last half century, most of which have deeply impacted the church. This workshop provides perspective on this new environment we find ourselves in, and how we reached this point.

This workshop then provides a way forward by learning how to engage in what is known as “adaptive change.” This type of change helps to answer the question, “What do we do when we no longer know what to do?” Practical tools are offered for engaging in adaptive change through designing and conducting experiments which help us to “behave our way into new thinking” as we are led by the Spirit of God into uncharted waters.    

About Craig Van Gelder
Emeritus Professor of Congregational Mission, Luther Seminary and Consultant, The Missional Network Van Gelder holds a MDiv (1978), a Ph.D. in Missiology (1982) and a Ph.D. in Administration in Urban Affairs (1985). He served as Professor of Congregational Mission at Luther Seminary from 1998-2014, preceded by 10 years as Professor of Domestic Missiology at Calvin Seminary. This discipline utilizes biblical and theological frameworks in developing a missional approach for helping congregations in the U.S. engage changing contexts while pursuing adaptive change and transformation. Initially ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), his ordination currently resides with the Christian Reformed Church.


Now retired from full-time teaching, Van Gelder continues to consult with churches in helping them participate more fully in God’s mission in the world. His most recent book was co-authored with Dwight Zscheile, The Missional Church in Perspective (2011); is the author ofThe Essence of the Church (2000) and The Ministry of the Missional Church (2007); co-authored with Rick Rouse A Field Guide for the Missional Congregation (2008); and has served as editor of and contributor to numerous other volumes.


Back to school. In July these words make me wistful, a little sad that summer will come to an end. In August I’m in a panic. But come September my alarm turns to elation. It’s time to go back to school!

In my household we all go back to school. Emma will be a Senior in high school, preparing to apply to colleges, and Sam will be entering as a Freshman—his world is about to get a whole lot bigger. My wife Jacq will be back in the classroom at Princeton Theological Seminary, teaching, counseling students, serving on committees, and working on several writing projects. And I will be observing my first September at Holy Trinity, the start of a new season, a fresh start for us all, a season for growing in faith and commitment.

There is good energy in our church! Visit Holy Trinity and you will sense that the Spirit is moving among us and leading us in new directions. Over the summer, our Way of St. Paul team interviewed people in our church and preschool, as we listened and discerned what may be up into our world and in our lives. Some small experiments—big steps in faith—are soon to follow.

The Board of Calico Cat Preschool & Day Care Center—Holy Trinity’s ministry to families—is working with director Dominique Cappiello and her dedicated staff to provide loving care and excellence in education for our youngest neighbors and their families. Based in part on the findings of our Way of St. Paul team, we will be responding to the spiritual needs of our preschool children and families through some new initiatives to form faith in children and support families on weekdays during preschool hours.

Our Earth Care Committee is taking concrete steps to upgrade our energy efficiency and implement new conservations practices. We have applied for state funding to install new LED lighting and replace some of our inefficient air conditioning systems (read more inside this issue). There is a passionate desire in the parish to be leaders in the stewardship of the environment and model change for our community.

Calico Threads Thrift Store, Holy Trinity’s storefront ministry at 54 Ferry Street, will be celebrating its second anniversary during September. Visit on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 11 a.m. and worship with our dedicated volunteer staff and our neighbors who shop at the store. We will be giving thanks to God for all the many blessings that have come to us through the store, as we add to the number of our neighbors in Christ and enlarge our sense of neighborhood to include the downtown.

Our September worship will be full of blessings for people of all ages. Our choir under music director Br. Richard Thomas Biernacki will be seeking to recruit new voices and learn new music. Based on your constructive feedback, you may look for a new worship booklet in early October that brings together the best in our Episcopal and Anglican traditions.

As we start a new season of Sunday School (registration is on Sept. 13 and classes begin on Sept. 20) I am praying for our children and their families and for volunteers to come forward to support these vital ministries of Christian formation. Everything that we might want to achieve as a church, including both financial sustainability and effective service to our community, will come about only as we seek to grow in faith and commitment to the ministries of our church, and especially those that seek to form faith and deepen commitment in young people. I am grateful to Jennie Racek and Alicia Rodriguez for their continuing commitments to our youngest children and our youth, and for Cherie Spielman’s willingness to take the lead in teaching older children. Can you lend a helping hand?

What would you like to learn? How would you grow in Christian faith and service? What will be your involvement in Holy Trinity’s ministries? How may we count on you? What may God be saying to you? It’s time for us all to go back to school—and that’s what the Church is, a school for prayer, a community of love and care where faith is shared from one generation to another.

“Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

Your neighbor in Christ,
Fr. Greg+

September 20th is a big Sunday at Holy Trinity!

Sunday School for all ages starts at 9:45 p.m. on September 20. Children in Pre-K through Grade 7 will meet in their classrooms in the Rectory. Youth Grades 8 through 12 will meet in the Rector’s study.

Fr. Greg invites parents and grandparents of Sunday School students to meet with him in the church at 9:45 a.m. for a conversation about parenting, Christian formation and finding faith in the home.

Blessing of backpacks: Students may bring a backpack or lunchbox for a blessing after they rejoin their families for the 10 a.m. service.

All are invited to coffee hour and to explore the Ministries Fair: Learn about a variety of volunteer opportunities and ways of becoming involved in the life of Holy Trinity and in service to the community.

And there will be a special election for Senior Warden. Balloting begins after the 8 a.m. service and continues again after the 10:00 a.m.

EYC (Episcopal Youth Community) meets 6-8 p.m. All are welcome!


Sunday School start