Wisps of Straw

St. James Lutheran Church Newsletter

January 2008          Pastor: Rev. Dr. Jane Gaeta

Church Office Phone:  908-454-2864    E-mail:  strawchurch@verizon.net


From our Pastor

December 26, 2007

Dear Members of St. James,

Thank you so much for your kind and generous Christmas Remembrance!

Christmas Eve 2007 Worship will always hold a special place in my heart.


Pastor Gaeta

First Holy Communion

January 2008

Dear Parent or Guardian of current First Communion class member,

Thank you for the opportunity to prepare your child to receive Holy Communion.  I look forward to our time together.  I will also expect that they come to worship during the five weeks of preparation.  Classes: 2/10, 17, 24 & 3/2, 9 after Sunday School.  First Communion: Maundy Thursday, 3/20 at 7:00 pm.

Please feel free to attend class.  Although each student will receive a workbook which absolutely needs to come to class each time, nothing quite beats face to face information!

There is some memorization work that needs to be done:  The Lord’s Prayer and the following definition of Holy Communion.

Holy Communion is the body and blood of Jesus Christ, in, with and under the forms of bread and wine for our forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

Please let me know if your child has any specific learning challenges or if you have any questions whatsoever.

God’s joy and peace,

Pastor Gaeta


Please tear off and return to me

My child ____________________________ (his or her name) does ____ does not ____ (please check one) have my permission to taste a little communion cup of wine used for communion.

____________________________ (your name) ________ (date)


ELCA World Hunger Appeal

Your gifts will go far.  Even if you can not contribute large “Bill Gates” sums towards the Hunger Appeal, please know that each dollar helps someone in need.  For example, $1 – 2 can provide food for an AIDS orphan or street child in Africa or South America.  $1 can provide a feeding for ten babies in an African refugee camp, while $10 can provide a small grove of trees to protect the soil from erosion in Africa.  $250 can pay for a pair of barnyard goats in Uganda, $500 will cover the cost of a cow in Kenya, and $1000 will cover complete pre-natal care for 125 women in a developing nation.

If you happen to have a fortune or some inheritance to share, consider that $10,000 can provide nets and equipment for 60 fish farmers in Tanzania, while $100,000 will pay for tents to shelter 1000 families of four in times of emergency or disaster.  One million dollars, according to the ELCA, can provide land and building for a school for blind Palestinian women in Jerusalem.

Gifts of all sizes are appreciated and needed by the ELCA Hunger Appeal to minister to persons in need, many of whom live on only $1 a day.

For those who want to find out about planned giving, or giving to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal Endowment Fund, please contact:

The Rev. Rodger Prois

8765 W. Higgins Road

Chicago, IL  60631-4101

Phone: 800-638-3522 ext 2865

Email: Rodger.Prois@elca.org


Mark your Calendar

The annual Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, January 20, at 12:00 noon.  Please come and provide your input into matters pertaining to our church.  All adult members are encouraged to attend.

We are looking for volunteers to provide babysitting during the meeting.

In case of inclement weather, please call the office (908-454-2864) and press 3 for a prerecorded message.

Dealing with Bereavement

The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center offers support services for those living with grief in communities throughout Warren and Sussex Counties in NJ as well as Pike County, PA.  These services are offered at the Center, located at 214 Washington St. in Hackettstown, as well as at the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, 99 Sparta Ave. in Newton, NJ.

The Center provides services that include individual Support Services, ongoing Bereavement Support Groups, Grief Lecture Series, School Support Services, Community Education, Workshops, and Referrals to area agencies as needed.  In addition, it provides Anticipatory Grief Support for families dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one.

For additional information on the programs and services provided, call 800-882-1117 or log on to www.KarenAnnQuinlanHospice.org.



Weatherization Assistance

Many homes and apartments have high heating costs due to poor insulation and/or inefficient heating systems.  Help may be available to alleviate these problems for low income individuals or families in New Jersey.

After an energy audit is completed, you may be eligible for one or more of the following:

·      Insulation

·      Caulking and Weatherstripping

·      Compact Fluorescent Lighting

·      Refrigerator Replacement

·      Heating System Repair, Retrofit, or Replacement

·      Hot Water Heater Repair or Replacement

·      Window and/or Door Repair or Replacement

To apply, you must meet the annual income guidelines below, be a renter or homeowner, and not have received this weatherization service within the last 10 years.

Family Size

Maximum Annual Income











Add $5,950 for each additional family member.  These figures are for 2006 and may have been increased.

Application may be made no later than February 28th to the local outreach center:


350 Marshall Street

Phillipsburg, NJ  08865





The Senior Page


Please be aware that the January Senior League meeting has been cancelled.  The next Senior League meeting on February 6th will be a covered dish supper followed by our Ash Wednesday Worship Service.

Continuing the attempt to make all Seniors aware of the range of resources available, the speaker at the November meeting was a representative of the Division of Senior Services, Warren County Dept. of Human Services.

The Division has published a pamphlet titled “Aging & Disabilities Resource Connection” which details what the county has available.  A copy can be obtained from the Division at 165 County Rte. 519 So., Belvidere, NJ 78232, or by calling 908-475-6591.

The list of services is extensive, including such items as tax preparation and money management assistance, volunteer help with minor home repairs, and nutrition programs (including Meals on Wheels).  A copy of this pamphlet would be most informative.  Incidentally, I have seen that in the past it has usually been available at the County booth during the Warren County Fair.



You Can Help St. James!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organizations, none more so than the Church.  St. James has been fortunate over the years to be blessed with members who have given generously of their time to help our congregation thrive and be a vibrant witness to the Word in our community.  We now have several opportunities for you to help make a difference.

It is obvious that the same few Assistant Ministers serve at every Worship Service.  Please prayerfully consider whether you could ease the load on these dedicated people by joining them in this ministry.  For more information, contact the church office or Pastor Gaeta.

If the Church is to continue its mission, it is of paramount importance that the children be educated in the Faith and become familiar with the truths set down in Holy Scripture.  Our Vacation Bible School has been a key instrument in this endeavor.  We are now in need of volunteers to serve on the VBS staff next summer, and especially in need of a person to serve as coordinator of this vital work.  If you can help in any capacity, please contact Susanne LaCourte, 908-995-2298.














Ash Wednesday Service

Worship Service with distribution of ashes will be at 7:00 pm on February 6th.  Come and join us in this solemn preparation for the Forty Days of Lent.

Conference on Congregational Ministries

This year, the 19th Annual Conference on Congregational Ministries will be held on Saturday, April 12th, at the Steinert High School in Hamilton Square, NJ.

Dozens of workshops will encompass the seven ELCA faith practices: pray, study, worship, invite, encourage, serve, and give.

More than 80% of those who attended last year’s event indicated they would return in 2008.  Come find out why!

Keynote Speaker:

The Reverend Paul Lutz
Pastor and Disciple
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Princeton, NJ

We Want to Hear from You

Members of St. James, please be assured that this is your newsletter.  Feel free to leave any comments in the church office Newsletter Editor box, or e-mail to me at regalcsgs@verizon.net.

If you have any items that you wish included in the next issue, please leave them at the church office no later than February 17th.



Within New Jersey, there are also numerous other programs available, not only for energy assistance but other issues as well.  The list below is courtesy of PSE&G.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP):

www.energyassistnce.nj.gov     800-510-3102

Universal Service Fund (USF)

www.energyassistnce.nj.gov    866-240-1347

NJ Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (NJSHARES)

www.njshares.org                   866-657-4273

PSE&G Payment Assistance Outreach



NJ Division of Ratepayer Advocates

www.state.nj us/publicadvocate/utility


New Jersey Comfort Partners

www.njcleanenergy.com          888-773-8326

211 –First Call for Help

www.firstcall.org          800-435-7555 or 211

NJ FamilyCare

www.njfamilycare.org              800-701-0710

Kinship Care – Child Care Subsidies


877-816-3211 or 800-332-9227

Rx4NJ – A Partnership for Prescription Assistance

www.rx4nj.org                        888-793-6765






In addition, there is a booklet published by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services on NJ state programs and services for older adults.  For details on the various state programs, you can visit www.state.nj.us/health/senior, or call NJ EASE at 877-222-3737 and request a copy of “Are You a Senior Citizen?”

This booklet categorizes the programs into groups depending on what is available for each age group.  It also explains some benefits at the Federal level.

Of special interest to older NJ homeowners would be the provision that freezes (by means of reimbursement) the effective property tax at the level for the year the application is processed.  There are income level and residency requirements that must be met for this program.  Currently, they are 10 years continuous residency in NJ, and 3 years ownership and residency in the home.  Residents applying for the 2007 reimbursement must have total income for 2006 that is less than  $43,693 for single applicants and $53,576 (combined income) for married couples, and total income for 2007 that is less than $45,135 for single applicants and $55,344 (combined income) for married couples.