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First BCEF Call of 2024: Holy Trinity, West Orange


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 2024 is for municipal water back flow Valves for Holy Trinity Church in West Orange. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to Diocese of Newark with BCEF Call #1 in the memo line to: Diocese of Newark, Attn: BCEF, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.

Holy Trinity Church in West Orange calls itself “the small church with a huge heart.” Chief among the parish’s several pioneering ministries is Holy Trinity’s outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community. The full story of how this inspiring ministry developed over the ten-year-long tenure of the Rev. Dr. Miguel Hernandez, priest-in-charge, is explored in an article that appears on our diocesan website. It all began with things as simple as Father Henandez and Deacon Peter Jackson distributing flyers in the surrounding neighborhood, 20% of which is Spanish speaking. The parish currently celebrates the Holy Eucharist in English at 9:30 each Sunday, followed by a 12:30 service in Spanish which by itself can draw up to thirty worshippers each week.

In addition to its commitment to meeting the needs of North Jersey’s growing Hispanic population, Holy Trinity operates Christine’s Kitchen which provides lunches without charge to close to two hundred guests each Saturday. The parish also runs a food pantry, working with local agencies to provide groceries to families in need. Lastly, the church’s thrift shop is open two days each week to help provide low-cost clothing and household items. These ministries are in addition to the congregation’s opening its doors to weekday AA meetings and sharing its space for monthly meetings of the West
Orange Hispanic Foundation.

Each summer the parish undertakes a major bilingual initiative for local children and teenagers called the God, Science, and Art Program. Held on Saturday afternoons in July and August the program brings together students and guest mentors to work creatively on special art and science projects. Last summer students built their own AM and FM radios.

An important component of the outreach ministries of Holy Trinity is the ongoing presence of its clergy both in the life of the West Orange community and even beyond US borders. Deacon Jackson believes it is critical for the clergy to be seen in local businesses and restaurants “to spread the word in the community that from now on this church at the top of the hill will be offering services in both English and Spanish.” Father Hernandez strongly supports the church’s role as a community center and frequently provides referrals on immigration issues and other legal matters, as well as how to enroll kids in schools. As this article describes, he also gives generously of his time to serve as a faculty member for an Episcopal seminary in El Salvador.

Holy Trinity Church was founded in 1907 in a residential neighborhood of West Orange, a community best known as home to the estate of inventor Thomas Edison. Having weathered significant financial challenges in the past, the church with the big heart now faces serious and unexpected demands from the town’s water company. Along with commercial customers the parish is now required to install a back-flow valve at a cost exceeding $7,000. In this the first BCEF call of 2024 we hope to relieve the church of this entire cost, enabling it to better fund its many vital outreach programs. Please be as generous as you can to further this very worthy aim.

God's peace,

+Carlye J. Hughes

The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
Bishop of Newark