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 first BCEF call of 2017 is to repair water damage in the rectory of St. Andrew's, Harringtom Park. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to BCEF with Call #1 in the memo line to: BCEF, c/o Diocese of Newark, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.
In a video on the website of St. Andrew’s Church in Harrington Park a member named Christine gives us her “top ten” reasons for loving this congregation. Reason #10 gives thanks for the opportunities the church provides her for fellowship. #7 describes a ministry to homeless people that the church has conducted for nearly 30 years. #2 explains how welcoming it is to children. But the #1 reason Christine gives for loving St. Andrew’s is especially powerful. “It feels like home…with a very big family,” she says. “A family who supports and loves you for who you are without reservation.”
Founded in 1925, St. Andrew’s has a well-cared-for church building dating from the 1950s and a nearby rectory that is considerably older. Sunday attendance averages around 50-55. The congregation is drawn primarily from the nearby communities.
The Rev. Diane Rhodes has served the congregation since 2007. She explains that music, worship, a focus on children, and a commitment to outreach are hallmarks of the congregation. She is especially proud that St. Andrew’s is one of thirteen faith communities which partner with Family Promise of Bergen County. Periodically the church houses four homeless families in its parish hall and helps them with issues of finding employment and permanent homes. Music is also a big part of ministry at St. Andrew’s. The church sponsors a number of public concerts each year and the building is known locally for its excellent acoustics. All God’s Children, a casual thirty minute Sunday service designed for special needs and other children, has also met with great success.
In the spring of last year disaster struck the church’s 90-year-old rectory when it suddenly became evident that a water leak, undetected for months, had completely saturated the walls and floor of the kitchen. “The entire area needed to be gutted,” explained Jim McGlone, a vestryperson responsible for buildings and grounds. McGlone and others with construction expertise contributed immeasurable “sweat equity” to help with the work, but the greater part of restoring the kitchen needed to be outsourced at considerable cost. While insurance and a capital reserve have helped to fund renovations, we hope you will consider making a gift to St. Andrew’s through this, our first BCEF call for 2017. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by the people of St. Andrew’s, enabling them to use existing funds for the other vital ministries they carry on in Christ’s name.
The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark