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 2022 is for Hurricane Ida recovery at Christ Church, Bloomfield/Glen 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.
Christ Church, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge was actually founded in Bloomfield, which back in 1858 included Glen Ridge within its limits. When the original church was destroyed by fire in 1892, its replacement came to be situated in both Bloomfield and in the newly formed town of Glen Ridge. For good reason Christ Church has been called one of the most beautiful churches in our diocese. Designed by noted architect William Halsey Wood, the beautiful Gothic Revival structure features signed Tiffany windows, impressive stone arches in the crossing, and a more recently added 28-foot-wide labyrinth in the nave.
Before the pandemic crisis, Christ Church had an average weekly attendance of between 80 and 90 worshippers. Streaming services over the Internet has held the community together when in-person services were not possible. “The diversity of our congregation is a distinctive blessing to us,” says the Rev. Diana Wilcox, who has served as rector of the parish since 2014. “Visitors on Sunday can simply feel how diverse our congregation is!” Recent growth in the Bloomfield area has resulted in many new members, she explained, with people of color and the LGBTQ community being especially well represented.
Music has always had a prominent place in the life of Christ Church. The Adult Choir consists of 15 to 18 singers including four professional section leaders. Their repertoire ranges from traditional Anglican church music to jazz pieces and spirituals. The parish also houses a 1951 Moeller pipe organ, the console of which was completed restored in 2015, greatly enhancing the congregation’s liturgical and musical life.
The Christ Church congregation’s central ministry to the surrounding community is its year-round Nursery School, which offers complete childcare for over 100 children, infants through Kindergarten age. As a direct ministry of the church, the school meets the needs of an ever-increasing number of working mothers seeking quality childcare. In addition to her duties as Executive Director of the school, Mother Wilcox is temporarily serving as director of the school’s day-to-day operations,
Like the other churches benefiting from this year’s BCEF grants, Christ Church also suffered significant damage from Hurricane Ida at the end of August 2021. “Bloomfield Avenue became a virtual river,” remembers Mother Wilcox. “Our exterior lighting was ripped out by the flood and mud and debris covered the floors of the church.” Proceeds from their insurance have helped greatly with the recovery, she explained, but, after paying the deductibles, the parish was still left with a sizable number of storm-related expenses. I hope you will prayerfully consider making a generous contribution to assist this congregation as they strive to maintain the vital role they play in their local community.
+Carlye J. Hughes
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
Bishop of Newark