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 2021 is for repairs to sanctuary water damage at St. John's, Boonton. 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.
Boonton, New Jersey is a historic Morris County community of about 8,000 with a long history, beginning with iron production in the 1770’s. Situated high above the town’s shopping district, at the corner of Cornelia and Cedar Streets, St. John’s Church was built in 1863 in a style later known as Carpenter Gothic. Designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn, the picturesque white building replicates many features of the Gothic Revival style seen in stone churches but using wood. St. John’s also features several magnificent Tiffany windows dating from 1907 and a beautiful 1893 E & GG Hook pipe organ.
In late May, St. John’s congregation resumed worshipping once again in their beloved church after close to a year of online worship using Zoom. The Rev. Barry Signorelli continues serving St. John’s as long-term supply priest following the 2019 departure of the Rev. Timothy P. Carr. Also serving at St. John’s is the Rev. Deacon John Van Dine. The congregation looks forward to the return of the choir as Covid restrictions are lifted, as well as education programs, the weekly coffee hour, and a popular sewing class for children.
St. John’s is often called “the small parish with a big heart.” Church warden Sharon Liparini says, “In our outreach ministries we really have one overarching mission: that no person should go hungry in Boonton.” Prior to the pandemic restrictions, she explained, St. John’s hosted a program known as the Saturday Luncheon Social where homeless persons, seniors, and anyone desiring a hot meal and good conversation was welcomed to St. John’s parish hall. Responsibility for preparing the food was shared among five other churches. Once restrictions are lifted, the highly successful program will resume. Parishioners are also very active in collecting donations to the Boonton Food Pantry.
St. John’s campus consists of the church building, the house next door (the former rectory) and next door to this, the current rectory. The parish is seeking BCEF assistance with cost of repairing damage to the church’s ceiling near the organ. Carl Sparano, a long time parishioner and member of the vestry, currently oversees St. John’s buildings and grounds. “Close inspection enabled us to rule out water damage as the reason for the falling plaster,” he explained. “Earth tremors and the settling of the building over its long history was determined to be a possible cause. To use the church again we had to take immediate action.”
Like many churches with aging 19th century buildings, St. John’s is challenged by ongoing maintenance issues, though none as urgent as the ceiling repair. After a year when donations and fund-raising activities were severely diminished, this expense was a particular hardship. I hope you will prayerfully consider assisting this spirited parish in their time of need.
+Carlye J. Hughes
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
Bishop of Newark