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Third BCEF Call of 2023: Christ Church, Budd Lake


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 2023 is for rectory kitchen renovations at Christ Church, Budd Lake. 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.

While Christ Church has been a presence in Budd Lake for the last three decades, it has a considerably older history having been organized as a mission in 1865. In 1993 the congregation moved from Stanhope to its present location in Budd Lake, Mount Olive Township. The church’s four-acre property accommodates an attractive, modern church building and parish hall together with spacious lawns and parking for dozens of cars.

Ray Bonker has been a member of Christ Church ever since its move to Budd Lake, serving as the parish treasurer for much of that time. Beginning in 2007, Ray was also instrumental in Christ Church pioneering an innovative worship service for children with developmental or physical challenges.

More recently Ray, vestry member George Ackley, and other parishioners have been involved in renovating the kitchen of the nearby rectory. For many years rental of the rectory has been a core component of the parish’s annual budget. Now, with the mortgages paid off and a new roof, windows, and bathroom tiles installed, renovating the rectory’s dated kitchen was the next priority in the plan to fully maximize the rental income the property would provide. The countertops were paid for, Ray explained, but virtually all the rest of the work was done by volunteers. Even so, the total cost for the renovations still exceeded $15,000.

The rental income from the rectory also plays a critical role in enabling the parish to maintain a number of social outreach ministries that have become critically important to the surrounding community. Chief among these is the Mount Olive Food Pantry, which occupies the entire downstairs of the church. Open three days a week and staffed by 12-15 volunteers, the pantry serves more than 150 families each month. The ministry is a sizable operation with its own van and 4-5 large freezers. Ray Bonker has written an inspiring story about the food pantry for our diocesan website.

In addition to the food pantry, Christ Church provides space to Alcoholics Anonymous for five daily meetings each week¬¬—a partnership going back well over a decade. Eight other social service ministries are also supported by the congregation—from assisting seamen, prisoners, and young mothers to helping needy families and children at Christmas.

You might expect these undertakings to be the work of a large well-funded congregation, but Christ Church is modest in size, with an average Sunday attendance of fewer than twenty worshippers. In meeting the critical needs of its surrounding community, Christ Church clearly embodies its mission statement, Proclaiming God by Serving God’s Children. Please be as generous as you can in helping them maintain this vital focus on ministry while making needed improvements to their rectory.

God's peace,

+Carlye J. Hughes

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