The Bishop’s Church Emergency Fund (BCEF) provides financial support for church buildings in the diocese needing repairs and renovation, usually with a special focus on emergency and unforeseen needs. Through the BCEF, you can support the critical needs identified by the Bishop.
The second BCEF call of 2017 is for chimney and flue repairs at St. Michael's, Wayne. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to BCEF with Call #2 in the memo line to: BCEF, c/o Diocese of Newark, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.
This past March 19 was cause for celebration at St. Michael’s Church in Wayne, for on this Sunday in 1957 the fledgling congregation held its first service. St. Michael’s celebrated with the Eucharist followed by gala brunch at well-known Paterson restaurant. For sixty years St. Michael’s has faithfully served Wayne Township, a municipality that now numbers over 50,000. In addition to the modern A-frame structure that houses the nave of the church, St. Michael’s campus includes offices, a nursery, a large parish hall, two smaller meeting rooms, a garden, and ample parking. Sunday attendance averages around 75 with members drawn mostly from the nearby community.
“The primary ministry of our congregation is one of prayer and healing,” said the congregation’s Rector, the Rev. Keith A. Gentry who continued by describing an active prayer chain ministry and regular healing liturgies. He is also enthusiastic about the parish’s outreach program to persons with special needs, done in partnership with St. Agnes Church, Little Falls. Fr. Keith came to St. Michael’s five years ago.
Despite some recent cutbacks in staffing, St, Michael’s is a fiscally healthy congregation. Its building is well maintained largely because of a generous bequest the church received in 2010. “The bequest funded a sizable initiative to preserve our stained glass windows,” Fr. Keith explained, “as well as a second costly project to replace faulty electrical wiring.” Because of the bequest, the congregation was able to accomplish these renovations without incurring debt.
This past October, however, a more serious, even life-threatening, problem arose. It began as a ceiling leak in an office but, as so often happens, additional problems were discovered. Flues running through the office from the boiler were producing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide requiring emergency repairs. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and yet deadly gas. New stainless steel liners needed to be installed in the flues and entire exterior chimney replaced. Fr. Keith says the assistance of Diocesan Property Manager Jim Caputo was invaluable in locating a contractor they could trust to do the job. The project was satisfactorily completed at a cost of over $11,000.
For this emergency work it seemed the church would once again have to turn to the 2010 bequest, which, owing to other capital projects, had already been depleted by 90%. With this our second BCEF call for 2017, I ask you to respond generously to assist the people of St. Michael’s. By enabling them to keep their legacy fund at its present level you are actually helping to fund the important ministries they pursue in Christ’s name.
The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark