THE NATIONAL ALTAR GUILD AT ST. MARGUERITE’S
Sister Suzanne Elizabeth (center) showing CSJB treasures to NAGA members in the Church Workroom at the Convent.
This month we welcomed members of the Episcopal Church’s National Altar Guild Association (NAGA) to St. Marguerite’s for their annual meeting. The Guild has been meeting online during the pandemic, and it was truly a joy to see them in person again. Sister Suzanne Elizabeth led an ecclesiastical embroidery tour for the members, who were amazed at the Convent’s collection of richly embroidered 19th and 20th century samples and vestments.
From Sister Margo Elizabeth
Greetings dear friends!
Well, our visit to Cornwall and the Southwest of England seemed to be a great success. The weather was hard to believe for the UK. Sunny every day with occasional clouds, but no rain. Quite hot the first few days, and of course, no AC! But as we approached Cornwall and closer to the sea, it became cooler.
It was a high energy group, totaling 16 including yours truly. With the attentive and knowledgeable Andrew Langdon as our guide for 3 days while in Cornwall, they were taken to places never imagined (Merry Maidens stone circle, Roche Rock, Lanyon Quoit, Madron Holy Well…) and a few churches with 15th c. stained glass windows still intact (Lanteglos church outside Camelford, St Petroc’s church in Bodmin with its well-known reliquary.)
Andrew skillfully led them like a shepherd and his flock… along the cliffs of the Botallack mines (where Poldark was filmed).
The trip lasted 9 days, and as promised, Stonehenge was a highlight for many. And then there were the cathedrals. Oh my, were there the cathedrals! Bath Abbey, Wells, Exeter, Salisbury, Glastonbury Abbey, Winchester…
And on the last evening the “piece de resistance…” choral Evensong at St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Truly transporting…
On a more personal note, when we returned, I hit the ground running! The itinerary for Wales and Northumbria for September 2024 had to be put in place. The arrangements always need to be made well in advance as some of the locations don’t have many choices for hotels. So, deposits for a coach company, airline and accommodations all have to be factored in a year ahead. So please if you are considering going with us in 2024 to Ireland or Wales, kindly send in your deposits and registrations.
It is always a privilege and an honor to design and lead these trips year after year. The first Celtic Journeys was to Ireland in 1999, and people began to ask, “why not Scotland? Cornwall? Wales?” Hence, this is how it all evolved…
If you haven’t experienced one of our “adventures of the spirit” or perhaps you might like to return to a favorite place, we hope you can join us. You won’t regret it.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD HOME IN CAMEROON
Children in chapel at the Good Shepherd Home
It’s September, and that means the children of the Good Shepherd Home in West Africa are back in school. Sister Jane Mankaa, the late founder of the Home, always stressed education as a way to empower the children in her care. Ndomenga Dickson, who grew up at the Home and is now an accountant, says: “We for this last academic year had a 100% in the public exams written by the children of the Home. We have 8 of the children going to secondary school, 5 going to the high school, and 2 going to the University. We look forward to having a successful academic year in 2023/2024.” If you are interested in becoming a Good Shepherd Home sponsor for as little as $40.00 a month, please email email@example.com for more information.
CONCERT AT THE CONVENT
HOMELESS SOLUTIONS: A HAND UP, NOT A HANDOUT
Each month Sr Victoria Michelle joins members of The Church of Messiah at Homeless Solutions in Morris Township to prepare a dinner.
Sr Victoria Michele with Church of Messiah Outreach Team: CSJB Associate Linda Ochs, Pat Kerrigan, Terry Lopasky, and Chris Ochs. CSJB food ministry network assists Messiah in this Outreach through the Good News Garden ‘Garden of Hope’ and other collaborative efforts with Messiah’s Good News Garden and CrossRoads Camp Good News Garden as well as donations from Alstede Farms in Chester.
In September HSI hosted their annual Women's Day event and raised over $31,000. Consider pampering yourself in the future next year with this networking opportunity.
OUR COMMUNITY PASTOR
LEGACY SPOTLIGHT – TREE REMOVAL
ST. MARGUERITE’S RETREAT HOUSE
IAPC Workshop at St. Marguerite's Retreat House
Our new season at St. Marguerite’s Retreat House has begun, and the groups that have stayed with us in the past months gives a great indication of the wide variety of people who benefit from our sacred space. In August, we welcomed the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, a group of teachers from all over the world who have been meeting annually here for many years. The group is affiliated with Montclair State University and seeks to train teachers to educate schoolchildren in ethics and philosophy.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE EVENT: PRAYERS FOR PEACE
SEPTEMBER 21, 2023, CHESTER, NEW JERSEY
Church of the Messiah Social Justice Team member Dave Sullivan shared the History of the UN International Day of Peace and presented the prayer Messiah offered this month during worship services. Each September 21 at noon the United Nations rings a bell created from coins donated by children from around the world:
We ask your prayers for our nation and all nations, for refugees fleeing climate change and war, for resources and land in conflict, for lawmakers, peacemakers, and informed citizens. We pray for redistribution of wealth for the poor and marginalized. Amen
Dr. Ali Chaudry, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge provided insight on how common themes of peace serve as a thread in all religious and cultural traditions, presented the Stand Up for the Other Pledge and offered this prayer:
O our God, Our Creator, Our Sustainer, who possesses love, compassion, forgiveness, bring peace to all of your people by showing us to love each other with a burden greater than our capacity to bear. Open our hearts and minds, so that all of humanity strives to develop your attributes of love. That you engrain in us that you made us. Teach us to care for each other in times of pain, suffering, and illness. Give us courage to embrace all our brothers and sisters and help us to reconcile with peoples of all colors, race, and religious identities. Let patience, perseverance, and prayer be our means to reach your highest ideals. Create in us bonds of genuine friendship where we can hold up each others’ rights and stand up for justice. Even if it brings witnesses against ourselves, against our children, and against our parents. Let not the nationalism of one nation be the cause of injustice to any other nation. Give us the courage to stand up for righteousness and help us to engage with people who are rich and powerful and who with compassionate hearts work for the stranger and less fortunate, the poor, the destitute, the hungry, and the homeless, of not only this country but all over the entire globe. Remind in us the highest values and a sense of responsibility to fight crime, drug abuse, and gun violence that are harming our youth and neighborhoods. O compassionate God grant spiritual guidance and blessing to all who have gathered here this evening to seek your love. Bless this country and people who live as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Bhuddists, and people of other faiths and no faith. O Lord show us how to work for the common good for all humanity and give us the wisdom to maintain peace and tranquility for the people of this great nation, The United States of America and for the entire world.
The Reverend Lorna Erixson, St Marks, shared about her experiences during The Troubles in Belfast and offered a closing prayer from The Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation The Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation works to prevent and transform political and inter-communal conflict and build peaceful, inclusive societies. The Center brings individuals and groups from around the world impacted by conflict together and helps them find pathways to reconciliation and sustained peace through facilitated dialogue, relationship-building, public discourse and shared learning. The Glentee Centre offers this Prayer of Peace in Our Times.
OUR BOY SCOUT TROOP
THE CLEWER INITIATIVE – FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
THE COLLABORATORY AT PRINCETON:
Giving Young Adults Voice by Meeting Them Where They Journey
By Julie Crawford & Elizabeth Girady, Church of Messiah
The purpose of the program is to provide compass points toward the spiritual quests of young adults
The program is well vetted by a 4-year study called The Zoe Project funded by Eli Lilly and Princeton Theological Seminary with the goal of meeting the next generation where they are and to foster future church and community leaders. The Collobaratory is hosting 2 more cohorts in the winter and spring and then will develop an on-line platform to rollout nationwide. If your church is interested in applying feel free to reach out to The Church of Messiah. Elizabeth and Julie can assist with background information and with your application. In some of the more urban areas, The Collaboratory chose a cluster of interfaith churches, who can work together, so when applying, encourage other nearby faith communities to join in the application process. The Collaboratory Cohort Training Application
Part of the training program centered on Restorative Creation Justice and the group spent several hours at The Farminary in Princeton.
Hatch Innovations provided examples of PopUp events and activities that have been tried and tested in different settings around the nation. The Ripple Effect fosters ways to engage and then release random acts of kindness to address challenges in one’s life or from within the community. Whoopsie, whose targeted audience is age 3+, focuses on the group identifying an issue from within their community that they felt needed to be addressed. Through a series of guided questions the group then creates a web that at the end identifies alternative solutions.
In terms of issues impacting the 19 young adults who attended the program, in the Whoopie game they chose to brainstorm about the following challenges: isolation, loneliness, high cost of living, student loan debt, and gun violence.
The Church of Messiah is grateful for the spiritual guidance and support of Sr Monica Clare and all the Sisters of The Community of St John Baptist on this envisioning journey. If you have any interest in the program feel free to reach out to Sr Monic
SERMONS BY THE SISTERS
The Sisters of CSJB often preach in the Convent chapel and at local parishes. Here are some of the recent sermons:
ASSOCIATES AND OBLATES
ST. JOHN BAPTIST SCHOOL – FLASHBACK!
Please mark your calendars. The 2024 St. John Baptist School reunion will be August 24! Please contact Pam Nelon at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP for the reunion or go to the St. John Baptist School Facebook page.
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR
We pray especially for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO
The DCLM Fund
The Ross Foundation
The S.A.D. Foundation
The Community of the Transfiguration
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool
The Rev. Kevin Coffey
The Rev. Cynthia L. Black, DD, and the people of the Church of the Redeemer
The Rev. John A. Rollins
The Rev. Lorna Erixson and the people of St. Mark's Mendham
The Rev. Margaret Otterburn and the people of the Church of the Messiah
The Rev. Victoria McGrath and the people of All Saints Millington
The Rev. Anne C. Thatcher and the people of St. Peters Morristown
TO SUPPORT OUR GENERAL FUND
Sister Deborah Francis showing her card art to visitors Sr. Elizabeth (L) and Brother John-Aelred (R) from the Community of Initia Nova, OSB in the Church Workroom
Because the pandemic suspended our ministry of hospitality for 19 months we, like many nonprofits, are still having a very difficult time covering our monthly operating costs.
If you'd like to help us continue our ministries, please consider making a gift to our general fund through our online Paypal portal:
We thank all our generous friends, Associates, Oblates, and benefactors who generously give to CSJB to keep Mother Harriet Monsell's dreams alive.
CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR:
COVID-19 Resources from the Diocese of Newark
COVID-19 Information from the Centers for Disease Control
Dialogue from the Diocese of Newark
THE CLEWER INITIATIVE
PROGRAM founded by our Sisters in England and the Rt. Rev. Alastair Redfern
THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS!
Thank you to all our donors who raised over $480,000 to replace our 114-year-old septic system!
Next, we hope to replace the Convent stucco, St. Marguerite's roof, and restore our cemetery.
Thank you for supporting our Capital Campaign to help us continue God's work in our sacred space.
It's easy to help!
To donate by check, make your check out to:
St. John the Baptist Foundation
"Capital Campaign" on the ledger line of your check.
Mail to: PO Box 240
Mendham, NJ .7945
To donate by PAYPAL, go to
and in the "purpose" section of your online donation type "Capital Campaign."
Thank you for supporting our ministries of retreat and spiritual direction which are needed more than ever in today's world.
The State of New Jersey recently stopped giving grants for repairs to religious structures, so this has taken away half our funding for repairs and restorations. The COVID crisis has also negatively impacted our funding for these projects.
If you're interested in contributing to our Capital Campaign to help with these goals, or you'd like to learn about donating in other ways to the ministries of CSJB, CLICK HERE