Whether you called it a Choral Sing Concert or a Carol Sing Concert, the evening was glorious! Gretchen led a choir of 19 adult voices and 3 “trebles” or youth choristers along with 8 instrumentalists. There was not one, but two trumpets, oboe, harp, viola, flute and percussion, not to mention the organ and piano and bells! There were the familiar carols, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Joy to the World” and “Away in a Manger” to name a few which everyone sang, but there were also spirituals, some old English carols and and even a Spanish carol sung by the choir. The music told the story of the birth of Jesus with snippets of biblical text interspersed throughout the program.
Following the concert was a reception with wine, sandwiches, appetizers and plenty of sweets! It was a magical evening, a perfect start to the Christmas season and a celebration of the fine music and fellowship that makes Holy Innocents Church such a haven for all of us.
Nick led the “townspeople” in a valiant effort to capture the werewolves once again this year, but all to no avail. The werewolves triumphed in not one but two rounds of the game while the townspeople managed to get themselves all killed off! While the adults played the game, the kids watched a video supplied by the Lisas. Thanks to Arlene and Robin, the undercroft was decorated in delightfully scary fashion. We all pigged out on pizza, popcorn, candy galore and ice cream cones. Once again, a very successful TGIF!
Hope Gardens Produce
On September 17, a crowd showed up to work on Hope Gardens, one of Holy Innocents’ community outreach programs. Begun by our Senior Warden, Patti, the garden was begun over a year ago and has produced a wagon load of veggies which have found their way into local food pantries. Under Patti’s leadership on Saturday, parishioners spread mulch, planted bulbs, cleared a larger area for the garden and helped harvest. This day is so characteristic of the spirit of fellowship and willingness to pitch in to serve our community that pervades our church.
2016 Hegg Award
Bishop Beckwith presented the Hegg Award to Michael Lisa in June. The prestigious award is given to a long-standing senior member of the Holy Innocents congregation who has provided exceptional service to the church. Mike has served as head of the Buildings and Grounds Committee — a committee of one — for many years. He has overseen repairs both large, e.g., HVAC installations and small, light bulb replacements and everything in between. He is an extraordinarily valuable member of the CHI congregation!
“On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history.” Churches around the country held vigils and Holy Innocents participated along with the other churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.
Gifts for the Church School children
Toward the end of June the church school held its final session and a week later the choir members were honored for their service throughout the year. Both groups are celebrated with gifts and expressions of appreciation for their attendance.
During July and August, Gretchen conducts a “pickup” choir and services are held at 9:30 am.
The first Sunday in May welcomed Blake into the Church of Holy Innocents. Baptisms are always a joyful occasion when the church is packed with members of the child’s family, friends and God Parents as well as regular congregants.
2015 Hegg Awards
2016 Hegg Award
Next came the Diocesan Hegg Awards given to senior members of a congregation who have served the church with great dedication over many years. The 2015 recipients were Elaine and George, both very long standing and dedicated members of the congregation. Elaine has served in the choir and is Chair of Outreach as well as being a lay minister. George, who can fix all things, has been a member of the Wednesday Group for many years. In 2016, the Hegg award was given to Mike for his exceptional service to Holy Innocents as the head of Buildings and Grounds, as a member of the choir, as security manager, as crucifer and a host of other job titles and responsibiities that are simply too numerous to mention. Mike is simply amazing!
On Sunday, April 10, the deRonde family hosted their annual pancake breakfast to raise awareness of cancer. A special thanks to the family for their efforts on behalf of cancer victims everywhere!
CHI Men Cook See Photo Page
Master Chef Paul
Saturday, April 16th marked the 5th annual CHI Men Cook dinner. Organized by Arlene in honor of Earth Day, the men put forth an array of delicious dishes from a standing rib roast to curried chicken, to glazed ham and sweet potatoes, to pasta with sausages, spicy beans and at the end, the piece de resistance, George’s snickerdoodles! This event is certainly one of the most looked-forward-to occasions in the church calendar and is always very well attended.
North Porch Donations
On Sunday, April 17th CHI turned out in force with an enormous outpouring of gifts for the Diocesan North Porch Fund. North Porch Women & Infants’ Centers provide emergency 7-day supplies of diapers, Enfamil, toddler food, baby wipes, diaper rash ointment and toiletries for needy mothers and their infants and toddlers in the Newark, Paterson, Dover, Hackettstown, Hackensack and Wharton areas of northern New Jersey. Rev. Anne has been associated with the organization over many years and we were proud to rise to the occasion.
Palm Sunday. The palms were distributed throughout the congregation and were blessed following the traditional processional. Rev. Anne delivered a powerful sermon which can be replayed by following the link under the “Sermons” heading.
Maundy Thursday. Several parishioners participated in the Maundy Thursday washing of feet which was followed by the solemn stripping of the altar. The sacrament was moved to the altar of repose while the church lights were dimmed.
Good Friday. During the Friday night service, the story of the crucifixion was read in parts by members of the congregation while Rev. Anne read the words of Jesus. As we all filed out after this most moving service, it was impossible not to reflect deeply upon the sacrifice that Christ made out of love for us all.
Easter Sunday. What a joyous occasion! The church was packed, the bells rang out and we all sang mightily. The choir, accompanied by trumpet, violin and flute, was simply awesome! The children engaged in their usual race to gather up the most eggs on the church lawn while we all congregated in the undercroft for our Easter potluck brunch.
December began with Advent and the distribution of advent wreaths. Then came the first Saturday in December and what a glorious event! The Christmas Choral Sing Concert was the first in what is hoped to be a Holy Innocents concert series. The choir alternated traditional hymns sung by all in attendance with a choir-only sampling of Christmas choral music from different ages and different locales. Food and wine flowed freely at the reception following the event.
The greening of the church took place the Sunday before the 25th. Everyone pitched in and Holy Innocents was decked out in its traditional Christmas finery. The Christmas story was told at the 4 o’clock service on Christmas Eve and we all retired to finish Christmas Day preparations.
The annual parish meeting in January, delayed for a week as a result of a massive snow fall, ushered in new Vestry leadership. Reports celebrated the successes of the past year, the 2016 budget was approved, resolutions of thanks to Vestry members completing their terms were passed, the new slate was approved and a delicious lunch was had by all!
Then came Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Shortly afterward, several of us met with members of the West Orange Community Police Division at ShopRite as part of a Police-Clergy Alliance initiative.
Much has happened at Holy Innocents since our auction last May. Our church school children were celebrated in June at their last day with gift certificates to enjoy over the summer. We said “good-bye” to our choir members at the end of June as well although several continued over the summer as part of a “pick up” choir.
The Hope Gardens, the brainchild of Patti, were launched and blessed by Rev. Anne. An abundance of veggies, herbs and flowers were planted and thrived thanks to the efforts of the CHI parishioners, especially Patti and Daniel with Ben helping to water the garden. There were squashes, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and even a greenhouse (see photos.) The fall harvest showed up in casseroles at coffee hour!
Rev. Chris conducted many of the services over the summer while Rev. Anne enjoyed a summer vacation. Rev. Anne, however, was on hand to baptize the youngest member of the Lisa family (see photos) and also conducted a house blessing for the Raimondi family.
Our 10 am services began after Labor Day and choir rehearsals began once again on Wednesday evening and before the service on Sunday. We celebrated fall with our traditional picnic and welcomed our children back to the church school.
October began with the traditional pet blessing (see photos) and ended with the TGIF Werewolf night. Nick once again organized the game and kept the “townspeople” guessing. The evening featured pizza, popcorn and ice cream with prizes allotted for best costume. Casey’s “Maleficent” was far and away the most dramatic!
CHI also participated in the soup kitchen at Holy Trinity during October and helped gather hats, scarfs, mittens and blankets for Rev. Chris’s shelter. Each week donations of food are continuing to be collected for the Holy Trinity and St. Agnes food pantries.