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Second BCEF Call of 2024: St. Andrew’s, Newark


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 2024 is for replacement of the church furnace for St. Andrew's Church in Newark. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to Diocese of Newark with BCEF Call #2 in the memo line to: Diocese of Newark, Attn: BCEF, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.

Ground was broken for St. Andrew’s Church in November of 1910 at the corner of Clinton Avenue and South 17th Street in Newark. From its earliest days, the parish was a strong presence in the community, particularly in its relationship with Saint Barnabas hospital. Women in the congregation made summer and winter gowns for the patients and fresh fruits were taken from the altar after the service and delivered to the hospital.

Parts of Clinton Hill, where St. Andrew’s is located, are some of the poorest neighborhoods in Newark, the state’s most populous city. Lower Clinton Hill has the city’s highest concentration of empty buildings. What began as a nineteenth century enclave for wealthy white residents became home first to  Ukrainian and Jewish Americans and then to African Americans who remain to this day.

Donna Nelson and Arinola Lawson-Sodeke have been parishioners at St. Andrew’s for 19 and 29 years respectively. They currently serve together as parish wardens. Asked what they would consider two of the parish’s hallmarks, they answer without hesitation: the love members of the congregation have for one another and the church’s commitment to making a difference in their community.

“Some of us often stay at the church long after the coffee hour just to be together and to share what’s happening in our lives,” says Mrs. Nelson. “That’s how tightly knit we are as a congregation.” The wardens say St. Andrew’s attracts 25 to 30 adult worshippers on a typical Sunday along with a half dozen or so children. The parish is served by a roster of rotating supply clergy. With a younger membership than many small congregations, the average age is estimated to be around 40. Most of the congregation are nearby residents.

St. Andrew’s continues its historic concern for the needs of the surrounding community. Volunteers staff a bag lunch program that takes place from 11 am to 1:30 pm each Friday and currently provides greatly needed assistance to close to 100 individuals and families. At Christmas, special gift baskets are distributed to those in need, in partnership with the church’s nearby block association.

With its limited financial resources, St. Andrew’s finds itself challenged by the current maintenance demands of its century-old buildings. It’s a constant battle to repair failing sections of the slate roof, say the church’s wardens. But the greater challenge still is the need to completely replace the church’s furnace, the cost of which exceeds $20,000. Your generous gift to this our second BCEF Call of 2024 will provide much-needed assistance to the parish in paying back the Emergency Fund Loan they have received for this purpose.

God's peace,

+Carlye J. Hughes

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