Have we as a church become so involved in our own petty personal pieties and politics that God’s Word cannot be heard? ... How do you know when it is God calling? Thereis no caller ID here. [Sermon, Epiphany 2B, by Rick Cluett]
A Time Magazine cartoon shows several people lined up at a checkout counter. A man holding a box of hemorrhoid cream turns around and scowls at Pat Robertson: "No, it's not God's punishment" ... The cartoon takes off on Robertson's shameless judgment that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke because he invited the wrath of God by dividing God's land. Mark Twain is said to have said: "A conclusion is the place where someone got tired of thinking." How little we know about God, far too little to jump to arrogant conclusions. Precious little -- each word is crucial. We look through almost clear yet opaque glass... through a glass darkly. [A sermon, Epiphany 3B, by Bill Lewellis]
Thirty-three youth and 13 adults attended the Diocese of Bethlehem’s Happening #15 in November, leaving only one bed empty in Kirby House, Mountaintop. Happening is a spiritual retreat for senior high youth.
"Although it was by no means our intended theme for this year of our
common life," Bishop Paul said at the beginning of his address t the
2005 Convention of the Diocese of Bethlehem, "it has turned out that
what our diocesan community has been about this year is compassionate
generosity." The following are among many acts of care, mission, generosity and sweat equity. This
is a work in progress. So much more, perhaps even more noteworthy,
might be listed. If you have noticed that I missed something, please
provide a short paragraph and I'll be sure to include it in the next
The Cathedral Church of the Nativity in the Diocese of Bethlehem has given away its entire Christmas offering since 1999 and its entire Easter offering since 2001. Their generosity to national, international and local ministries via this route during these years has reached $100,000. Actually, that's not the half of it. The unconditional dollar giveaway by the Cathedral Church to all outreach projects and ministries beyond its walls since 1999 comes to more than $350,000.
When Harleysville Insurance offered a week off to any employee who wanted to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Bill Fish, a member of Church of the Epiphany, Glenburn, decided to go. He knew it needed to be done and he knew he could help. AnnaBeth Fish, high-school junior of the Diocese of Bethlehem, writes about her father's ministry in Mississippi.
One day in late August at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Canon Anne Kitch and Laura Drum, the cathedral’s licensed Pastoral Visitor, met to discuss a critical situation, namely 45-50 members of the cathedral who are home-bound or confined to nursing or other care facilities who were not being visited on a regular or even irregular basis. On that day there was one full-time priest, one part-time priest, one retired priest, and one pastoral visitor available to visit among all their other duties in a congregation of nearly 1,000 members.
You cannot mandate justice and righteousness, you can only offer them... cherish that beauty [of Luke’s story of the birth of Jesus] but I have to remember that Luke the painter also wanted us to appreciate its oddness, its unattractiveness… But that IS why the scene is beautiful. It speaks of God’s presence among the weak… Without managing our development, God demonstrates solidarity with us, and comes among us in the most vulnerable and fragile form available: a baby born in complete poverty and social disgrace… God will not take over your life or make you a robot, but God does want us to see in Jesus a total companionship in our vulnerability, our fragility, and our mortality. This is the aha moment… God will be totally with us and take all of our experience in – we really never do walk alone. The most effective way for us to relate to each other is one that acknowledges mutual vulnerability, the fragile and precious child in each person, even the most hardened Scrooge we know.