The Conover Parish Churches are so named because of the support they received in the early years of their development from The Reverend Thomas Anderson Conover (1868-1943), the second Rector of Saint Bernard’s Church (Rector 1899-1939). He was instrumental in the founding of three of the five churches, as well as supporting the further growth of the two others toward independent parish status.
The Five Conover Churches are:
Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, Basking Ridge (1852)
Saint Bernard’s Episcopal Church, Bernardsville (1896)
Saint Luke's Episcopal Church, Gladstone (1904)
All Saints' Episcopal Church, Millington (1906)
The Church of Saint John on the Mountain, Bernardsville (1907)
In keeping with their unified origins, the clergy and people of the Conover Parishes continue to cooperate in ministry ventures in the Somerset Hills and beyond, and to celebrate together facets of a shared regional mission.
Along with the rectors of the two Morristown Episcopal parishes, Redeemer and St. Peter's, ordained and lay repfresentatives fron the five Conover parishes administer the funds of St. Martin's Retreat House supporting parish and regional retreats held throughout New Jersey.
The Conover Parishes
The Watchung Convocation of Episcopal Churches
The Watchung Convocation is a group of 16 Episcopal churches of the greater Watchung region in central New Jersey. The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey is divided into 8 convocations, Watchung being the northwestern most.
The work of the convocations can be as expansive or as limited as each convocation wishes. The purpose includes the facilitation of communication between parishes and the diocese, the sharing of ministries and cooperative ventures (confirmation services, youth groups, outreach, etc.), and mutual support. The diocesan canons describe this purpose as “for mutual assistance, for conference, and for consideration of and cooperative action upon matters in the Diocese” (Canon 30).
A Convocation Dean is elected from among the clergy (3 year term) and, together with a Secretary and Executive Committee, organizes periodic meetings of the convocation clergy and laity. In recent years, the clergy have met monthly (September – May) and the clergy and laity combined have met twice annually. The annual meetings of the convocation usually include a dinner and business meeting (discussion, election of officers, etc.). The deans meet with the bishop regularly.
The bishop and members of his staff have visited with our convocation annually in recent years (one of the two meetings of clergy and laity combined). Convocation Deputies from each parish (3 elected at the Annual Meeting in January) are expected to attend the meetings (typically 2 per year) and take an active role in the work of the convocation. Convocation Deputies from the parish stand for election each year and the number of terms they are permitted to serve is not specified.
Churches of the Watchung Convocation – 16 parishes, 1 mission
Alexandria (Pittstown), Saint Thomas’
Basking Ridge, Saint Mark’s
Bernardsville, Saint Bernard’s
Bernardsville, Saint John on the Mountain
Bound Brook, Saint Paul’s
Bridgewater, Saint Martin’s
Dunellen, Saint Francis’
Gladstone, Saint Luke’s
Lebanon, Holy Spirit
New Providence, Saint Andrew’s
North Plainfield, Holy Cross
Plainfield, Saint Mark’s
Scotch Plains, All Saints’
Somerville, Saint John’s