06-21-2020(new and updated items in red)

THANK YOU! BISHOP STOKES FOR JOINING US TODAY! The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes is the twelfth Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. Elected on May 4, 2013, he was Consecrated on November 2, 2013 and succeeded The Right Reverend George Councell. Prior to becoming the Bishop of New Jersey, he served as the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, Florida, a position he held from January 1999 through July of 2013. From 1995 to 1998, he was the Associate for Christian Education at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. Prior to this, he served as the School Chaplain and Curate to Grace Episcopal Church and Day School in Massapequa, Long Island, serving there from 1990 to 1994. Bishop Stokes earned a Master of Divinity Degree from the General Theological Seminary in New York in 1990 and a Bachelor of Arts from Manhattan College in 1987; he was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary. He is a recognized preacher and Christian educator. He has been active in the area of anti-racism, is a certified trainer in multi-culturalism and anti-racism and was a member of the Committee on Anti-Racism for the Episcopal Church. He has served at many levels of governance in the Episcopal Church. While in Florida, he served as Chairman of the Board of Episcopal Charities of Southeast Florida. He was an active leader in his community in Delray Beach serving on several Boards and Committees and working actively to see that St. Paul’s was actively engaged in the life of the city. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of General Theological Seminary. He and his wife Susan have been married for 38 years and live in Trenton.  He and his wife Susan have been married for 38 years and live in Trenton. They have four grown children, one granddaughter and a grandson. (https://dioceseofnj.org/about-bishop-stokes/)

 

THE 2020 YOUTH CONFIRMATION PROJECT PRESENTATION

As many of you know, the 2020 Confirmation and Visitation of our Bishop was originally scheduled for Sunday, April 26 (new date TBD). In order to receive this Holy Sacrament, our registered Youth were requested to attend Confirmation prep classes since September 2019 and complete certain projects and activities. Their final projects are included in this email to share with you, just as would have been done in our Church building on Confirmation Sunday. Here is a closing letter to the Parish from Confirmation Class Teacher, Dale Chant: Christ Church Confirmation Classes Preparing our youth for confirmation is a challenging and important work of the church. I am very grateful for the leadership of the Church School Directors (Shanon Chant and Diane Zaraza), our clergy (Mother Petrina, Deacon Ted and Deacon Jose), our teachers (John Boland, Selena Garcia, Phyllis Long) and the parents of the students who created the space to make confirmation a priority in their children’s lives. We had 2 class times. One group met at 9:30 am and one at 12 noon. With the leadership of John Boland at the morning class and Selena Garcia and myself at the later class, the students learned about the Episcopal Church, their faith and explored what being confirmed means. We met 3 Sundays/ month and on the 4th Sunday the students participated as acolytes, ushers or lector’s in the Church services. Our groups joined together for several activities throughout the year: -The Diocesan Lock In. A shared Eucharist in the Cathedral followed by an outreach program where they prepared nutritional food packets that would be distributed to areas of need throughout the world. -The Martin Luther King Day service at the 2nd Baptist Church where 2 of our students addressed the congregation telling of ways that they were serving their communities. After the service we joined together for lunch and shared stories and experiences of racism in their personal lives. -The Christmas Pageant was an opportunity for them to share their many talents as some were narrators, actors and musicians. -They came together to help decorate and run the All Parish Birthday Party. -Retreat in an Envelope: this replaced a full day retreat that we had planned before the Covid19 shutdown. The people who were scheduled to present at the retreat provided thoughtful and inspiring written materials, activities, and even a YouTube guided meditation as an alternative to the day we had hoped for. All students were required to complete a confirmation project. They participated in an outreach program by volunteering a set number of hours and then sharing what they learned from their experience. They all worked very hard to complete their projects and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Please take the time to look at each one (emailed to you on June 17). The afternoon class did a group outreach project addressing one of our Marks of Mission: Caring for the Earth. They put together new recycling bins to be placed throughout our church buildings with educational materials and posters. Unfortunately, we were not able to complete our last steps before the building was closed but we will. Thank you to all who participated in the success of this year. Looking back on our time together I see that many seeds were planted in rich and fertile soil. God will surely continue the good work that has been started and these young people will walk with the love and support of Jesus and their Church as their faith journeys continue. Gratefully, Dale Chant

 

STRESS MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP:

Have you been feeling stress these past few months? Stressed over the national news or maybe stressed over events in your personal life? If so, you are invited to attend a three week stress management virtual workshop on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:15 PM. These sessions will be facilitated by Deacon Ted and his wife Kathy. Kathy has over 30 years experience as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). In these sessions you will learn techniques that will help you identify the source of your stress and ways to help manage it. The remaining sessions will be held June 23 and June 30. Please check you email inbox for official invitation to this Workshop. If you do not receive, please contact Nicole at 732-349-5506 or email nicolestrada@christchurchtomsriver.org 12

ANOTHER WAY TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE:

What is your understanding of God's parting the Red Sea into walls of water for the Hebrews to cross on dry land? Was it a divine act? Are you intrigued by the naturalistic explanation that a great wind created a storm surge that left a passageway? Do you think these are the only options to choose from? Or is there another way to understand the Bible and its message about God’s relationship with us? Let’s get together and read Marcus Borg’s book Convictions to explore his ideas on another way to realize the truth that is Christianity. Donna Devlin will moderate the discussion. We will be “meeting” via Zoom every other week on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, starting June 30th. If you are interested or have questions, contact Mary Lou Steed for more information: marylousteed@yahoo.com or 732-408-5837 or 732-848- 9222.

 

RE-OPENING CHRIST CHURCH BUILDING:

Please know that your Wardens, Vestry, Clergy and Staff are prayerfully working together to discuss and address the requirements provided to us by the RRR Task Force in order to safely Re-Open our Church doors. There are many important steps to accomplish, one being a Questionnaire Survey for the Parish to complete. Your completion of this Survey will be added guidance as we discuss when it is most safe and appropriate to Re-Open our building. Please be on the “look out” for this emailed (snail mailed to those who have not provided an email address) Survey in the next week. We appreciate your time to complete it. Please know that virtual / “stay at home” options to attend services will remain in place even after the building reopens and future in-person services resume.

 

THE COVID-19 REENTERING, REOPENING, REIMAGINING (RRR) TASK FORCE presented its preliminary report on June 4 to Clergy and Staff of the Diocese of New Jersey. The Rev. Canon Valerie Balling, St. Peter's Medford, is chair of the Task Force. She told the meetings that the Task Force developed a report and recommendations for congregations to reenter their church buildings and reopen them for public worship and gatherings. Congregations are urged to use this document to develop THEIR PLAN for reentering and reopening for their context, which may require some reimaging in order to offer their ministry as desired. A questionnaire must be submitted to the Diocese and approved by the RRR Task Force and the Bishop’s Office before a congregation can reopen to the public. Reopening will be done in stages, with continued physical distancing requirements and cleaning and sanitation requirements to ensure safety. The Bishop will say what “Stage” the Diocese is in. No congregation may be in a later Stage; some congregations may be in an earlier Stage depending on local context. (from NJ Diocesan Good News in the Garden State dated 6/5) A second group--the Learnings and Breakthroughs Task Force--has been formed to look at the lessons we’ve learned during this crisis and how we can keep the good parts happening. We’ve been amazed at the level of community we’ve been able to build online, bringing Christ’s word to people who haven’t been in church in years. We don’t want to lose those aspects when we return to “normal.”

 

COVID-19 DISCRETIONARY FUND:

While everyone's life has been impacted by the coronavirus, we have become aware of several people in our parish who have already lost their jobs and income and are in dire need of emergency assistance. Also, as this disaster continues, we expect that more jobs will be affected. For this reason we are setting up a Coronavirus Discretionary Fund. This fund will provide emergency assistance to people affected by this disaster. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please contact one of the clergy (Mother Petrina, Deacon Jose, or Deacon Ted). If you are able to contribute to this fund, please send a check to Christ Church (415 Washington St. Toms River, NJ 08753) with "Coronavirus Fund" in the memo. A restricted account has been established specifically for this purpose. May God bless us all. We will get through this together. ** As of June 11, the COVID-19 Fund balance stands at: Contributions: $22,555.50; Disbursements: $5,866.80

PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING — We want to hear from you! And know that you are doing “ok” amongst this pandemic. Please leave us a Voicemail or send us an Email!

 

FOOD PANTRY:

Thank you for all of your donations Christ Church! The FOOD PANTRY is very well stocked. This week (6/16) we would like to ask that you please hold off on bringing any donations while we reorganize and deplete some of the food we have on the shelves. Please watch for announcements on our updated needs for next week. THANK YOU!!!

 

WEEKLY FINANCES: During the year 2020, we have budgeted $5,635 to come from pledges and loose offerings each week. For the week ending June 12, we received $4,242 in pledges. (There were no loose offerings due to there not being any services in church.)

 

MONDAY EVENING VIRTUAL "COFFEE HOUR" FROM 7-8PM Join this Zoom Meeting Here! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/94333201452 OR Dial by Phone (audio participation only): 1 646 558 8656 And then enter the Meeting ID: 943 3320 1452 For those not familiar with ZOOM, it is a video chat room/meeting space. If you have a phone or computer with video/camera functions, you will be able to join in and SEE the faces of your Church Family as well as show us your face. If you are not interested in being visible, having your video off is an option. If you do not have or are not comfortable using a computer or internet, you can still participate by calling in on your phone. You will still be able to listen and speak to everyone else participating (but you will not have a visual). We look forward to “seeing” your faces in these virtual Coffee Hours as we take this opportunity to say "Hello!" and "How are you?" If you need any help, please let me know!

 

BIRTHDAY CLUB: We all have one day of the year that is just for us; it’s our birthday. We may celebrate in grand style with family and friends singing that special song, eating cake and GETTING gifts; or we may choose to celebrate in a quiet fashion. However you choose to celebrate, it is YOUR special day. The Endowment and Stewardship Committees have come up with another way to celebrate this day. How about GIVING a gift that will KEEP ON GIVING? Each year on your birthday, we are inviting you to join the Birthday Club by writing a check in the amount of your age to Christ Church, which will be deposited into the Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund is invested with the diocese. By giving to this fund on your birthday, you will be contributing to the day-today life of the parish as well as the future of Christ Church. It is truly a gift that will keep on giving! How can you donate? Simply write out a check for the amount of your age, put Birthday Club in the memo and put it in the offering plate, mail it or drop it off to the office mailbox. So that we can all watch our gifts grow, we will update you on what we have received. We look forward to celebrating each of your birthdays! The current total for the month of JUNE is $212 (3 birthdays & 1 Anniversary)!

 

JEWELRY REQUESTED: While many of us are spending more hours at home these days, now is a good time to look through that jewelry for any you would like to donate to the Women of Christ Church (WCC). The WCC are interested in all kinds of jewelry, including costume, tarnished and broken. Please set these items aside until the church doors reopen and it is again safe for you to visit the building. There will be a collection bin labeled “jewelry” on top of the mailboxes. Thank you!

 

JOIN US IN DAILY PRAYER AT 8:00PM: Pray, wherever you may be …at home, at work, in the car...let us pray together for a resolution and end to the COVID-19 pandemic...let us pray for health care workers, first responders, law enforcement and all essential workers... let us pray for our federal and state government officials ... let us pray for those that are sick and those that have died from the virus...let us pray for the families of the victims of the virus and all those who are poor and more vulnerable to the virus...let us pray for New Jersey, the United States of America and the World. There is no right, wrong or specific way one should pray ... pray the "Our Father", the "Prayer in Time of Pandemic" from our Sunday bulletins, or pray using words expressing how your heart feels.

 

JOIN US FOR “SERVICE” FROM THE SAFETY OF YOUR HOME! During this time of “public service suspension” through at least the month of May, your Clergy and Staff are providing multiple times a week live and recorded services via phone and email. The current weekly schedule of live services via phone are: Sundays, 9:45am — Wednesdays, 10:00am — Fridays, 7:00am We plan to have many of the services recorded and then posted on our website www.christchurchtomsriver.org for access at your convenience. To listen to the live service please: Dial: 712-770-5505 and Enter Access Code: 189853# If you have any difficulty, please email or call the church office (leave a voicemail).

 

CONTRIBUTIONS & PLEDGES DURING COVID 19: Our pews will be empty for the next several weeks, that also means our collection plate is empty. We are asking if you would please continue to send in your pledges even though our weekly worship services have been suspended. Although most of life as we know it has come to a halt, the bills continue to come in and need to be paid. You can help us keep our bills current by keeping your pledge up to date. You can do this by mailing a check to the office (415 Washington St. Toms River, NJ 08753), or you can set up online bill pay through your bank (see your bank for details). Please consider doing this, so that once we are back in church, we can continue moving forward without the worry of how we are going to “catch up”. Thank you!

 

IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOU, WOULD WE KNOW ABOUT IT? Do the people who care about you know to notify the church right away in case of your hospitalization, or an accident, or an extended illness, etc.? Please give them the church's contact information with clear instructions to contact us right away. We hope to be praying for you during any incidents rather than after the fact. Thank you!!

 

THE CHURCH OFFICE IS RECEIVING VOICEMAILS, EMAILS & MAIL: If you need to reach us for any reason, please 1) Call the church office at 732-349-5506 and leave a voicemail. Voicemails are being immediately received offsite and we are calling you back as soon as possible. Or 2) Email NicoleStrada@ChristChurchTomsRiver.org and she will reply as soon as possible. We are also receiving our USPS mail.

   

Previous Church Chat

April 24, 2020 PDF