In the course of a week and a half, St. Stephen’s welcomed 10 drummers and 23 neighbors to its campus on the edge of downtown Millburn. Though two very different occasions, both grew out of the parish's desire to live its faith and its identity as “The Church on Main Street…where love begets love.”
The 9th annual Drumming Camp was held August 24 - 26, welcoming eight experienced drummers and two new to the fun. Yah’Ya Kamate and a team of creative staff and volunteers encouraged these young people, whose lives are impacted by incarceration, to drum and dance, to create beautiful art, to play games, and to share delicious meals. Though for the second year, Covid required that some things be done differently, you wouldn’t know by the laughter and the joy in the smiles. At the end of camp, each child left with a fully packed backpack, a bag of treats, and the kind of memories that will last a lifetime. As one of the older campers, who has been participating for five years, said, “Drumming Camp is the best week of the year!”
On September 5, just four days after flooding caused tremendous damage to several neighborhoods in Millburn, including to St. Stephen's three buildings, St. Stephen’s hosted a cookout for its closest neighbors, many of whom are facing months of recovery from the floods. Although there isn’t much the parish can do to help them at this point, they can offer simple things. A couple of the neighbors have used the working shower in the preschool, which feels like a blessing. Sharing a meal brought people together for a brief respite from all that is part of clean-up and recovery. A cookout, linen tablecloths, centerpieces made from the altar flowers ordered before the flood – all simple things. All examples of the profound grace that is found in caring, compassionate relationships. And quite possibly just what Jesus would have them do.