Confirmation classes will begin on Sunday, April 8, and conclude on May 20. All classes will be on Sundays at 9:00 am in Classroom Three.
Each class will be about forty-five minutes long, which will give us all an opportunity to participate in the 10:00 am Eucharist.
If you are interested in the Sacrament of Confirmation, please speak with Fr. Terry.
Organ Virtuoso Gordon Turk
In Concert, April 22, 4pm
A critically acclaimed concert organist, Gordon Turk has performed throughout the US and Europe. Turk is well known as the Resident Organist of the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ where he presides over one of the finest organs in the United States.
This concert will be a major event in the life of our community. Invite your friends and your neighbors. We expect a full house, so plan now to get here early, so you don't end up in the choir loft!
Nursing Home Special Appeal
There is a special appeal by a local Nursing Home. They are in great need of men’s shoes, slippers and sneakers, sizes 8-12. If you can help in this regard please see Gloria Davis, or donations may be left in the Narthex.
The Order of St. Luke
Spaces are still available for the OSL Retreat taking place May 17th-19th at St. John the Baptist Retreat House in Mendham, NJ. The cost 1s $190.00 and includes everything. If interested, please see Corinne Cromwell for additional details.
Our Sunday Seminar continues at 11:30am in the Parish Hall with the topic "Understanding and Living 'The Kingdom of Heaven.'" Cherie Calletta Martin will be joined by Marcel Tabone, who has extensive experience in the areas of psychology and spirituality. Marcel and Cherie will both facilitate. Please join us!
The Wednesday Night Bible Study will start again on April 11. We will begin our study of the Book of Leviticus.
We celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 6:30 in the church, and then retire to Classroom One for Bible Study at 7:00. Please join us as we read, mark and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures.
Looking for Shoes
Our “Shoe Collection” fundraiser continues. We are looking for children to adult sizes. They may be placed in the blue basket in the Narthex. Thank you!
Strategic Planning Initiative
Our new Mission Statement for our parish:
Connecting with God,
Building Community and
Core Values Statement
Worship - We are called into the world to give ourselves in response to God's grace. We share that grace with the support and example of the Church past and present.
Fellowship - Fellowship provides a Christian home for fostering meaningful, loving relationships with God and our fellow human beings. Community - We are called by Christ to love our neighbors. We support being in community within our Parish, our Diocese and local townships.
Ministry - We recognize that outreach for the care of the one is the ministry of the many.
Stewardship - Stewardship teaches us to become faithful stewards of our time, talent and treasure to the glory of God, for the growth of God's kingdom, for the care of God's creation and as an inspiration and example to others.
Faith - The Christian faith as affirmed by the Book of Common Prayer, our Anglican heritage, value of scripture, tradition and reason are the cornerstones of our faith. We trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in decision making and continued spiritual growth.
The Garden Chapel
April 15 to October 15
5:00 Eucharist on Saturdays
Our Saturday Evening Eucharist will now become a "seasonal" offering. We will offer the Holy Eucharist in the Garden Chapel from April 15 to October 15. During rainy days, we will gather in the Church.
In Memory of Jane Platt and
Jane Platt’s Memorial Service will take place Sunday, April 8 at 2:00pm.
June Burdge's Memorial Service will take place Saturday, April 28 at 2:00.
May light perpetual shine on these much loved member of St. Stephen’s.
The Bishop's Easter Message
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,
He has been raised; he is not here!
For the first time since 1956, Easter Day fell on April Fools’ Day. How appropriate! After all, we were duped! We were sent out on a fool’s errand. “Go to the tomb,” we were told. And to the tomb we went, along with Mary Magdalen and some other women. But when we arrived at the tomb, we found it empty. April Fools!
I celebrated and preached at Trinity Cathedral this Easter. We heard Mark’s account of Easter morning. In that Gospel reading, a man dressed in white said to the women, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’
Most contemporary biblical scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel originally ended at chapter 16, verse 8 which says, So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
They said nothing? To anyone? Then how do we know about all this? And what about Jesus? Where is he?
Mark’s account of Easter strikes many as a little odd. Jesus never makes an appearance. There is only assertion of Easter from a young man dressed in a white robe sitting in the tomb, “He is not here; he has been raised” (Mark 16:5). Clearly this young man is an angelic messenger.
After telling the women that Jesus has been raised, the young messenger offers them an assurance, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him just as he told you” (Mark 16:7). Jesus is spoken of, his resurrection is proclaimed, his appearance anticipated, but he himself doesn’t show up. Is this an April Fools’ joke?
It’s a strange way to end the Gospel. It’s a cliff-hanger. We want to know what happened after that? Mark doesn’t tell us. The other Gospels – Matthew. Luke and John – included resurrection appearances in their accounts. Not Mark. How come? There have been many arguments about why Mark ended his gospel in the way that he did.
Some suggest he ended this way because he expected the Second Coming of Jesus imminently. “Wait,” he was saying with this cliff-hanger ending, “Wait, he is coming at unexpected hour…Watch!” It’s a good argument.
There were some who were apparently so concerned about Mark’s abrupt ending that they wrote endings for him to finish the story. Reputable Bibles include more than one ending for Mark. Most scholars believe that these alternative endings don’t come from the original Mark. What is the answer to this mystery?
What if Mark intended to end his Gospel just the way he did? The Oxford Bible Commentary suggests this, stating, “Mark’s narrative may be only the beginning of the gospel…The rest of the gospel must be completed by the reader, but the reader can only complete the story by following as a disciple of Mark’s Jesus, and that means going to Galilee, being prepared to follow the way of discipleship as spelt out by him, i.e. the way of the cross…There, and only there, will Jesus be seen and experienced…”
“Maybe Mark’s gospel is unfinished,” they conclude. “But perhaps that is deliberate. It is up to the reader to supply the ending – and that is the perennial challenge of this gospel to all its readers today.”
As wondrous and powerful as the accounts of Easter are in Matthew, Luke and John, they are still about the encounter others had with the risen Christ. That’s not unimportant. They provide insights that invite understanding. When all is said and done, however, what really matters is the encounter each and every one of us has with the risen Christ. This is what Easter faith is about: Has Christ been raised in you? Does he live and breathe in you? Does his deep love for you and for all humanity, fill your soul? Is his resurrected Spirit, his very real presence the animating reality of your life? And with Christ’s presence living in you, raised in you, will you go forth and be his hands and feet and ears and eyes serving the world in his name; loving the world, in all of its brokenness, in his name?
As the baptized, we are all called to be apostles; those sent out in Jesus’ name and love. We are called to be “the body of Christ,” his resurrected presence in the world. St. Paul described this ministry in a way that is perfect for us this Easter. Paul said that apostles are Fools for the sake of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10).
Go forth! Be fools for the sake of Christ this Easter season. Go out and be fools for Christ every day.
Blessings and peace in Christ,
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, D.D.
Bishop of New Jersey
Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church
Waretown, New Jersey