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Third BCEF Call of 2021: Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral, Newark

security cameras

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 2021 is for a security upgrade at Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral, Newark. 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.

On Sunday, July 11 the congregation of Trinity and St. Philip’s Cathedral in downtown Newark returned to worship in their historic building after many months of gathering each week on Zoom. The day was especially meaningful for vestry member Gail Barkley who was confirmed at the cathedral at age 12, having been a member of St. Philip’s Church prior to its merger with Trinity Cathedral a half century ago. “It was so energizing,” said Ms. Barkley. “We were really delighted to be in the church building again. All of us even applauded after the organ was heard again for the first time!”

St. Philip’s Church in Newark was a predominantly black Episcopal parish. Destroyed by fire in 1964, St. Philip’s merged with Trinity Cathedral two years later. Prior to being elevated to cathedral status in 1944, Trinity Church had a rich history dating back to colonial times. Occupying almost the same footprint as the present day Cathedral, the first Trinity Church building was erected in 1743. It served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War, during which time it sustained severe damage. Construction on a new church building was completed in 1810. The church was significantly enlarged in 1857. Today Trinity and St. Philip’s stands as the nation’s oldest Episcopal cathedral building.

Though it is central to the Diocese of Newark, the Cathedral functions as a self-supporting parish church. Members of the congregation serve as vestry members, in the altar guild and as ushers. There is an active Bible study group that meets each Wednesday and a singing group that performs periodically.

The Cathedral serves the surrounding community with a lunch program for seniors twice a month. There is also an Advent program that provides Christmas gifts to children and seniors. In February the Cathedral invites homeless guests to a Super Bowl Party during which the game is screened and a wonderful meal is shared. The Cathedral serves the Newark community indirectly through the many programs offered at its nearby property on Park Place. Outside service providers at Park Place include a cycling center and a meditation group.

Situated in the state’s most populous city, the Cathedral faces many of the same challenges as other inner city churches—chief among them being security. Adjacent to Military Park where many of the city’s homeless gather at night, the Cathedral has recently had to upgrade lighting and add security cameras and new door locks. While the Ward J. Herbert Fund has provided assistance for the expense of new fencing, the cost of these other measures must be undertaken by the Cathedral congregation. I urge you to be as generous as you can to help as we seek to defray these costs with this our third BCEF Call for 2021.

God's peace,

+Carlye J. Hughes

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