Learn about the history and ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, the Episcopal Church in northern New Jersey. (Time: 4:51.)
Video production: Nina Nicholson, Allison Davis, and Cynthia Black.
Narration: Kirk Petersen, Leslie Thomas, Harry Clark, and Cynthia Black.
Welcome to the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, the Episcopal Church in northern New Jersey. It stretches from the Hudson River with its views of Manhattan, to the Delaware River at the Pennsylvania border. The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes is the 11th Bishop of Newark. She's the first woman and first black person in that role, and has served since 2018. We have more than 90 parishes in neighborhoods ranging from urban in the east, to suburban and rural, farther north and west. New Jersey is one of the most racially diverse states in the United States, and you can see that diversity in our congregations, whose members are a wonderful mosaic.
Our Sunday worship styles also reflect our diversity. Our cathedral, Trinity and St. Philip's, received its charter from King George II of England in 1746. Its original building was destroyed during the Revolutionary War, after being used as a hospital by both American and British troops. The current building, completed in 1810, is in the heart of downtown Newark. It is the oldest Episcopal cathedral building still in use in the nation.
We're the home of the beautiful Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, which we run in partnership with the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Our diocese also includes the Community of St. John Baptist, an Episcopal convent that has been active in Mendham, New Jersey since the early 20th century. One of the 12 religious communities for women in the Episcopal Church, they run St. Marguerite's Retreat House, which welcomes visitors from all over for spiritual renewal.
Located within our diocese is Port Newark, the principal shipping port for the northeast quadrant of North America. For nearly 200 years we've worked with Seamen's Church Institute to minister to the mariners who spend months away from their families, bringing us many of the goods that we purchase. This ministry became even more important after 9/11, as mariners' access beyond Port Newark was restricted in response to Homeland Security's need to protect our waters, and during the height of the pandemic, when crews were not allowed shore leave at all.
Social justice is very important to us. The Diocese of Newark was an early supporter of women's ordination, and is proud to claim one of the Philadelphia 11, the Rev. Canon Nancy Wittig, as our own. We were one of the very first diocese in the Episcopal Church to fully include openly LGBTQ people in the life of the church. In 1989, The Oasis was founded as a diocesan ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In the early 1990s, our diocese made national news when our assisting bishop at the time, the Rt. Rev. Walter Righter, was tried for heresy after ordaining an openly gay man. In a landmark decision, the court dismissed the charge, finding that the Episcopal Church, quote, has no doctrine prohibiting the ordination of homosexuals, end quote.
In recent years, we've responded to mass shootings by working for gun safety. Our former Bishop, Mark Beckwith, co-founded Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Our churches run more than a dozen food pantries. Some of them support other food ministries by donating fresh produce from their Good News Gardens.
We have an active prison ministry and provide a summer camp and other special events for the children of incarcerated parents. We advocate for immigrants and asylum seekers, and several of our congregations have renovated their unused buildings to host refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. And our support is global. Through our Alleluia Fund for Outreach, we support dozens of ministries close to home, as well as overseas in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.
We are the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. Working for justice, peace, love, and a world transformed, and looking forward to where God is taking us next.