30 Sep

Newsletter, September 30

Reverend Sheelagh’s Thought for the Week: September 30, 2015

“Lord make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Prayer attributed to St. Francis (BCP 833)

Saint Francis Day is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday in October, and we will hold our Blessing of the Animals service at 1pm in the Church yard, or if wet, in the Parish Hall.  It offers us a moment to consider the comfort that our animals and pets bring to us.  We have a new addition to our cat family, “Other”.  He is (we know this now) a feral cat, who showed up on our doorstep at the end of the winter snows.  Very soon he wormed his way into the hearts of the two softies in the family. Now he is neutered, and vaccinated and given a clean bill of health.  He is indoors, learning(!) to use the litter tray, and has become less skittish.  His only problem is a tendency to over-groom giving himself skin issues.  Stress, the Veterinarian tells me. Stress! I ask you, how can a cat who has landed on his four paws like he has,  have stress! Needless to say, when he burbles at me, and runs to greet me in the early morning, he makes me smile.  He is the keeper of my secrets, and he knows way too much about what goes on, – maybe that’s where his stress is coming from!  Anyway, let us all thank God for the gift of unconditional love of our faithful keepers of secrets. And don’t forget to bring them for a blessing on Sunday.+ Continue reading

23 Sep

Newsletter, September 23

Reverend Sheelagh’s Thought for the Week: September 23, 2015

The new school and church year always brings much activity and joy to our campus.  Our Preschool is full! –  Yes, full!  It is wonderful each day to see the children riding those little yellow trikes around the driveway.  It is wonderful to see their creative artwork so beautifully displayed each month in the hallways.  Sometimes we need to see the very good things that happen around us and count our blessings. Our church, cemetery and buildings are beautiful; our outreach ministries touch many lives and make a real difference.  We have a magnificent organ, and gifted organists who come and play it; we have a whole crop of young children enjoying God’s word through Godly Play; our high school kids are still with us,  active in our youth mission work, our drumming outreach, food programs and our church life.  We are truly blessed, with each other and by each other.  Let us give thanks for all the good things we find around us. In our over-scheduled, over-busy lives, Let us be intentional, and take an hour each week on a Sunday to count our blessings, and come together as a community to rejoice and be glad! Continue reading

10 Sep

Newsletter, September 9

Reverend Sheelagh’s Thought for the Week: September 9, 2015

It has been four years since I walked into the preschool yard with my wellies on in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. In many ways it feels longer than four years, in others it seems like just yesterday. Together, we toiled to clean up, rebuild and refocus our buildings. We have started new ministries, and let some go. Reading the gospel for Sunday, I found myself smiling. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” Jesus tells his disciples, and that has always felt like the truth to me. Being a disciple is not easy. When we say “yes” ordained or not, it means we have “died” to our old life and are born into a new life. We don’t get to choose what happens in ministry or our parish life; when the Holy Spirit calls, all we can say is “here I am, Lord, send me.”

Continue reading

03 Sep

Newsletter, September 2

Thought for the Week: September 2, 2015
by Kim Williams.

Our hearts are filled to overflowing with thanksgiving for the week we just had with the PATCH kids and their chaperones at our third annual Drumming Camp.  We give thanks for each one who participated in some way. You played, you sang, you danced, you fed, you taught, you listened, you talked, you laughed, you drummed, you read stories, you took photos, you organized, you picked up trash, you set up, you took down, you moved drums and chairs, you swept floors, you bought supplies, you made name tags, you picked up name tags off the ground, you shared smiles and hugs, you cooked, you made deserts, you served, you led, you helped out, you made t-shirts and maracas and collages, you brought food, you brought treats, you opened your hearts. In short, you lived out the motto of St. Stephen’s: a place where love begets love.

Thank you to each one of our 36+ volunteers:

Sara Ruth, Fran, Sue, Gesine, Claas, Deacon Kathleen, Karen, Patti, Sophia, Luke, Jaydn, John, Rammie, Elizabeth, Susan, Collette (and friends), Blair, Eugene, Carole, Felder, Julia, Ellen, Denise, Jean, Nancy, Judy, Jane, Muriel, Alex, Dick, Linda, Rev. Derek, Peter, Gary, Kim, Rev. Sheelagh (and anyone else we inadvertently forgot)

To modify Yah’Ya’s drum circle ending,
“Thank you, heart. Thank you, God, Thank you, heart, Thank you, everyone!”

Thank You To All Our Sponsors Who Kindly Donated Food Or A Gift Card!
Shoprite, Trader Joes, Goldberg’s Famous Deli, Peters, Millburn Diner, & Pizzeta.


Sep 6, Sunday10amSenior Choir Resumes
Sep 8, Tuesday11am – 2pmSenior’s Luncheon
Sep 13, Sunday9amWelcome back Sunday Breakfast
Sep 19, Saturday11amDick Debevoise Memorial Service
Sep 20, Sunday11:30 am – 2pmVestry Meeting
Sep 23, Wednesday7:30pm -10pmFinance Committee Meeting

  Serving at the Altar Sunday 9/6  & 9/13

8 am Reader: C. Francis8 am Reader: Marvin Walker
10 am Readers:

1. F. Dorn

2. N/A

3. Open

10 am Readers:
1. B. Riedel2. J. James3. L. Owolabi
Chalicist: J. SoughanChalicist: Dick Cole
Ushers: Paul Boegershausen and Eric MaurerUshers: James and Katie Wade
Coffee Hour Host:  Open
Flowers are given by:  Alex and Dick Cole in honor of their wedding anniversary.
Welcome Back Breakfast:
Blair Majtyka
Flowers are given by:  Sarah Ruth Dorn

Coffee hosting and flowers needed

Please sign up with Susan Dinan for coffee hour.  Please let Eugene or Claire know if you want to donate flowers.  There are only 40 weeks in the year that we need flowers for the altar – please consider taking ONE in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving for an event.  Flowers are priced at $40, $50 or $60 for the two vases.

Thanks to Summer Musicians!

Thank you to all who shared their musical talents with us throughout the summer during the choir’s vacation: Harriet Jernquist, Dick Cole, Denise Price, Kira Hanson, Peter Wick and Ellen Pluta. The Senior Choir resumes rehearsals this Sunday, September 6 at 9 am.

Drumming Camp was a huge success!
Please See Article Below

On August 29, the children involved in a drumming camp had their first live performance at Taylor Park.  The week-long PATCH (Parents And Their Children) drumming camp has been hosted by St. Stephen’s Church for the past three summers.  The children involved in the camp are part of an Essex County program for children who have at least one parent who is incarcerated. Each summer the camp attracts about 20 children ages 6 to 13, and most of these children continue drumming throughout the year with this program.  On Saturday, some family members of the children came to Taylor Park to enjoy the performance.

In the past, the children performed inside the church, but this year the kids did an outside performance for the public to show off their drumming skills. And they loved making music in the park, according to a girl at the camp, doing the performance was “rewarding” and “made her feel proud to be a part of this camp.”

The campers are taught drumming by Yah’Ya Kamate. He is a great and energetic teacher who attracts the attention of the kids by being charismatic and kind. He is a dancer and drummer for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, a traditionally black dance company in New York City.  He is originally from Ivory Coast. He was the one who had the idea to make the Taylor Park performance a tribute to Nelson Mandela and included a speech recited by all the children, dancing, and drumming to make them feel proud about their heritage.

At the end of the week the kids were asked to review the camp so the church can figure out how to change it for the better.  When asking the kids how they felt about the camp the response was overwhelmingly positive. One of the girls, said, “I wish it was an overnight camp! I love when Yah’Ya comes and teaches us drumming and dances.”  Another girl said “I love the camp because I love to drum, most of the time I don’t get to play the drums and when I do it is a lot of fun.” Both of the girls made it very clear that they do not get similar experiences elsewhere and that they want to continue participating in the camp.

It felt great knowing that the kids had a wonderful experience, so I asked the adult directors how they felt about the camp. According to Reverend Sheelagh Clarke, the woman who runs the drumming camp, “while this camp isn’t exactly easy to run I wouldn’t want it any other way, I love being able to help these kids and this is a great way to do it because it gives them a hobby that they can develop over time.”

-Elizabeth Hawk


Annual Fund Raising Breakfast

You are invited to the annual fundraising breakfast for the Interfaith Hospitality Network, October 14 from 8-9 am at Mayfair Farms. Learn more about the agency’s programs for the homeless and enjoy a continental breakfast. Please contact Tina Kelley at tinapetekate@yahoo.com or 917 439 9484 if you would like to attend. Thanks!

Tina Kelley
co-author, Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope
(Wiley, Oct. 2012)
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