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Third BCEF Call of 2020: St. Paul's & Resurrection Church, Wood-Ridge

St. Paul's & Resurrection Church, Wood-Ridge

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 third BCEF call of 2020 is for stained glass window repair at St. Paul’s & Resurrection Church, Wood-Ridge. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to Diocese of Newark with BCEF Call #3 in the memo line to: Diocese of Newark, Attn: BCEF, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.

St. Paul’s and Resurrection Church in Wood-Ridge describes itself as “a model of America’s increasing racial and cultural diversity.” At its present Wood-Ridge location since 1920, St. Paul’s Church merged with Resurrection Church of East Rutherford in 1991. With the merger came many Resurrection members who had been affiliated with the Church of South India. As a result Indian American families comprise a large majority in the present congregation and worship services are offered in both English and Malayalam, the official language of the state of Karala on the southwestern tip of India.

The Rev. Dr. Jacob Nanthicattu, priest-in-residence, came to the U.S. from the Church of South India in 2007. While Christians comprise less than 3% of India’s population, the Church of South India still has close to four million members—nearly twice the size of the Episcopal Church. “Many in our congregation travel considerable distances to worship with us, some from as far as sixty miles away,” explains Dr. Nanthicattu. “What I cherish most is the congregation’s energy and commitment—especially among our young people.”

Young people lead worship regularly and the parish’s website features several of the their highly creative videos. Parish fellowship groups for men, for women, and for young people meet monthly. Since the pandemic, these meetings as well as Sunday worship services have been held online using Zoom. The church has an active music program and prior to the pandemic its choir performed regularly at a nearby nursing home. Five AA groups also use the parish’s facilities.

St. Paul’s and Resurrection is a well-maintained white frame building in an attractive residential neighborhood. Since hurricane Sandy however, the church has been dealing with a serious leak around one of their stained glass windows, allowing water to enter the sanctuary. Depicting St. Paul the Apostle, the historic window was created by the British firm J. Wippell & Co. “It’s a large window located above our front door,” explained parishioner Anil Matthew. “We’ve tried a few temporary fixes but the problem is now more serious and requires a permanent solution.” This will require installation of a custom-built aluminum frame to replace the rotting wood, as well as restoration of the window itself. After receiving several bids, the church has selected a Clifton, New Jersey firm to do the work.

Construction and installation of the new frame plus the extensive work needed on the window is a costly project totaling $17,500. The parish has received a grant from the diocese’s Ward J. Herbert Fund for approximately 1/3 of this amount to be used for replacing the window frame (WJH Fund doesn’t cover stained glass work). The congregation plans to raise the funds themselves needed for work on the window itself, assisted by this our third BCEF call for 2020. I hope you will be especially generous in helping to assist this vibrant congregation to maintain their beautiful worship space.

God's peace,

+Carlye J. Hughes

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