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 2018 is to repave the driveway at Christ Church, Bloomfield / Glen Ridge. 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.
“We believe that our community of faith has much to offer the community around us. We feel our liturgy, music, and fellowship expresses much about how we feel about God and ourselves.” These words from the Christ Church website describe a congregation that has been moving steadily forward in recent years. A beautiful stone building at a busy intersection on Bloomfield Avenue, the actual border between Bloomfield and Glen Ridge runs right through its worship space. Founded in 1858, it is a thriving congregation that has seen an increase of 30% over the past four years, including twelve new members last year alone. It is a diverse congregation with Afro-Caribbean and LGBT members appearing in increasing numbers.
Most times in the church year, Christ Church has three services each Sunday. The adult choir of fifteen singers and a magnificent thirty-five rank Moeller pipe organ reflect the congregation’s special emphasis on music, which includes jazz, spirituals, and the work of contemporary composers. “Weekdays are busy as well,” said the Rev. Diana Wilcox, the congregation’s rector. “Monday evening we have a group for seniors. Wednesday evening we have walking meditation using the church’s indoor labyrinth and on Thursday night we offer the service of Evening Prayer.” Ministries outside the church’s walls include assistance to a local food pantry, Theology on Tap, which meets for fellowship at a nearby pub, and a ministry that supports a local animal shelter. The church’s primary service to the community, however, is the nursery school it operates for over 100 children.
Christ Church’s non-profit, church-owned nursery school continues to offer the lowest tuition in the area and employs a staff of forty. A number of the students receive full tuition scholarships. “Since 1967 this has been a vital ministry for Christ Church,” says Wilcox. “It is also a much needed service to the surrounding community.” In addition to offering a complete program for infants through Kindergarten, extended childcare is offered from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday throughout the year—including times when the public schools are on break.
Both the nursery school and the congregation depend on a large 28-car parking lot on the church property. Recently the costly job of repaving the lot could be put off no longer as the many potholes had become a real danger to children and parents. Funding the repaving was a serious challenge for the congregation, which was also dealing with a boiler replacement and much-needed masonry work. I hope you will prayerfully consider the vital work of this congregation and that your contribution to this, our first BCEF Call for 2018, will be especially generous.
The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark