The newSpin newsletter, Jan. 31, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
Diocese of Bethlehem
• The Very Rev. H. Lawrence Whittemore, Jr. RIP ... [From Bishop Paul] Sisters and Brothers, I was sorry to learn of the passing of Dean Whittemore yesterday in Vermont. Although he retired in 1983, he was a constant and encouraging correspondent who never lost sight of our mission and supported our New Hope work. He and Elizabeth were married in 1951. His funeral will be on February 4th. If any other details emerge, I will share them. He had been dean of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and four-time deputy to General Convention. May his soul ring out in joy to Christ.
• R2O: Renewal Assembly, February 19, 9:00 to 1:00 ... Story here about the Assembly and the making of a video for the Assembly. Register here by Feb. 9. Some 120 people have signed up as of this morning. The Assembly will be held in six locations: Christ Church Towanda, Trinity Carbondale,Trinity West Pittston, Trinity Pottsville, St. Anne’s Trexlertown and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Bethlehem. Lunch will be provided. Registrants will be assigned to the most appropriate site.
• Stumbling into the Sacred ... Canon Anne E. Kitch's new book on meditations for Lent. More here.
• Diocesan Training Day ... April 2, Wilkes-Barre. Much more here.
• My Father's House, a refurbished apartment attached to the former rectory of St. Luke's Lebanon, was recently dedicated for community service. The apartment will be used for transitional housing for people in need in Lebanon County. The pilot project received grant money from the New Hope Campaign in which funds were solicited for the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in Sudan and the needy in Pennsylvania. More at Episcopal News Service.
• Diocesan Life ... Download the February edition here.
• Episcopalians and Moravians will celebrate full communion relationship on Thursday, February 10, at 6:00 p.m. at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preside, joined by the heads of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America. More here. ... [From Bishop Paul] Some in the diocese have received official (albeit electronic) invitations. I have been assured that attendance is not limited to those invited, and that the District office of the Moravian Church has in fact urged its general membership to attend. I would very much encourage those who are interested to attend--and to come a bit early as parking in Bethlehem can be a challenge. I hope to see many of you there.
• Calendar of Events ... Download the current calendar, updated Jan. 4, here. Updated on Jan. 18 for next month, here.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Bulletin inserts for Feb. 6, Epiphany5: Celebration of full communion with Moravians, the Presiding Bishop's letter to President Obama about the Middle East peace process. Feb. 13, Epiphany6: feast days of Absalom Jones, Cyril and Methodius, Joseph Parry, and Janani Luwum. Here.
• Evening in the Black Forest Dinner ... St. George's Hellertown, March 4. More here.
• DioBeth Website ... Here.
• DioBeth newSpin Blog ... Here.
• Moravian, Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodist ... Beginnng with this issue of the newSpin newsletter, I will try to include relevant news/info about our faith partners as well as the RC Church and the dioceses of Allentown and Scranton. See below. I welcome tips on online info that I might not otherwise pick up. Thanks.
• The perils of literary profiling ... [NYTimes, Sunday Book Review] H/T for this to Bishop Paul who says his "inner librarian rejoices in this essay." Read it here.
• Authority or Leadership? ... [Alban Institute, Dan Hotchkiss] In olden times, we like to think, society accorded great authority to clergy. Whether or not this rosy generalization stands up to scrutiny (it does not), we mainstream clergy certainly have lost some of the cachet our counterparts enjoyed from 1945 to 1965 or so. ... I believe our loss of authority presents clergy with a great opportunity. Authority, appealing as it is, can also be confining. In the days of easy postwar growth, U.S. congregations fell into rigid patterns and became more similar to one another. Like an inbred, highly cultivated strain of livestock, they became vulnerable to common threats. The social changes of the 1960s brought death to many congregations, especially--I would say--those that depended too much on authority. More here.
• Tussling over Jesus ... NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof says the Phoenix church controversy is a bellwether of a profound disagreement that is playing out at many Catholic hospitals around the country. More here. Also here.
• First Wednesday Music from St. John's on Lafayette Square in Washington DC ... This Wednesday at 12:10 pm (ET). The 35-minute concert is called “Musical Flowers,” featuring selections from Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali and Langlais’ Hommage a Frescobaldi. The live webcast will be available on the home page of the Episcopal Church’s website, www.episcopalchurch.org and on the Episcopal Church Facebook page. The concert will also be available on-demand following the live performance.
• ERD Lenten Meditations Booklet and ERD Sunday ... More info here.
• Holy Enrollers ... [TIME Magazine, Jan. 31, 2011] In July, 64-year-old Patrice Fike sold her home in Coral Gables, Fla., and her Mercedes, stored most of her furniture and moved into a one-room studio where many of her meals are provided. If she sounds like a retiree relocating to an assisted-living facility, guess again. Fike is living in dormitory housing for the Episcopal Church's General Theological Seminary in New York City, where she will spend three years and $100,000 of her savings and retirement income to prepare for her new career as a priest. She's not alone. [This one-page article, page 58, may no be available online beyond this.]
• Peace and Justice events ... Saturday, February 5 - "Hope and Despair: Haiti after the Earthquake" with Johanna Berrigan is rescheduled from January 26. at Lehigh Valley Friends Meeting, north of Rt. 22 on Rt. 512, Bethlehlem. Tuesday, February 15, 7 PM - Zak Ebrahim, Peace Advocate and Lecturer, will speak at the Lehigh Valley Unitarian Universalists Church, 424 Center St., Bethelem. Thursday, February 17, 7 PM - Monthly Lehigh Valley Peace Coalition Meeting. Saturday, March 5, 5 PM - LEPOCO Annual Dinner at Cathedral Church of the Nativity (321 Wyandotte Street) in Bethlehem. (info on flyer). Download Peace and Justice Events Flyer. More info: Tom Ulrich, tomulrich @ mybluelight.com
• Episcopal Peace Fellowship Newsletter ... January 28. Here.
• Dealing with Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets ... [NYTimes Magazine] Cover story.
• More than 99 percent of voters in southern Sudan opted to secede from the country's north in a vote held earlier this month. The weeklong vote, held in early January and widely praised for being peaceful and for meeting international standards, was a condition of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a north-south civil war that lasted two decades and killed 2 million people. Voter turnout in the 10 states in the south was also 99 percent. Only some 16,000 voters in the south chose to remain united with northern Sudan, while 3.7 million chose to separate. In northern Sudan, 58 percent of voters chose secession. Some 60 percent of eligible voters participated. More here. And this from TIME Magazine.
• A collection of news/info about Sudan and the Diocese of Kajo-Keji ... Here.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• Episopalians condemn murder of Ugandan gay rights activist ... [Episcopal News Service] The brutal murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato has left much of the world in shock and caused outrage among Episcopalians who have repeatedly called for the church and society to step up the campaign to combat homophobia throughout the world. More here.
• On the murder of David Kato ... Statements by the ABC and the PB.
• David Kato funeral marred by commotion ... An anti-gay Anglican priest protester created a commotion at the funeral Friday for a prominent activist slain in Uganda, yelling out homophobic phrases that led to a scuffle with mourners attending the burial. More here.
• In Dublin sermon, presiding bishop challenges all to 'show up' to heal the world ... [Episcopal News Service, Dublin, Ireland] "We're challenged in this very body to 'show up,' to present ourselves ready, willing, and able to help heal this broken world," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Jan. 30 during her sermon at the 9 a.m. Sung Eucharist service at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. More here.
• PB lectures at Paulist Fathers college in DC ... [A catholic future: shared mission beyond unitary communions] We are the respective heirs of different strands of western Christianity. I will not begin with the Reformation, but with a much earlier, indigenous Christianity in the British Isles. Roman soldiers appear to have taken the Christian tradition with them when they were posted to the frontiers of the Roman Empire – at least by the second century. That tradition remained when the Roman Empire receded, but the faith continued to grow and develop in its new context. Read it all here.
• More than 4,000 Mississippi Episcopalians are expected to attend the 184th annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi meeting this weekend, possibly the largest gathering of Mississippi Episcopalians in recent history. The event theme is "The Spirit of Mission." More here.
• Trinity Institute ... Reading Scripture through Others Eyes. Updates and videoclips.
• Episcopal Church Website ... Here.
• Episcopal News Service ... Here.
• Anglican Communion News Service Weekly Review ... Jan. 22-28. Here.
• Grant will help fund Appalachia documentary ... [Episcopal News Service] The ministry and work of the Episcopal Church to people residing in the vast Appalachian area of the United States will be the focus of an in-depth video exploration, funded by a grant from Odyssey Networks. More here.
The Moravian Church in North America
• In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, love.
• Moravian Church in North America website ... Here.
• Moravian Church Northern Province website ... Here.
• Celebration of Full Communion ... A February 10 festive service will celebrate full communion between The Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America. More here.
• Moravian Theological Seminary ... Here.
• Moravian College ... Here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• Northeast PA Synod website ... 14 counties in eastern and northeastern PA ... Here.
• Synod E-News ... Here's the Jan. 28 edition. You can sign up to receive it by emil at the Synod web site.
• ELCA, Episcopal Church Mark 10th Anniversary of Full Communion ... Chiago, Jan. 7, 2011 -- Ten years ago this week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church launched a relationship of shared mission and ministry in a worship service and ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. More here.
• Distribution-warehouse ministry of Lutheran Congregational Services and partners has distributed more than $250,000 worth of laundry and personal care products over the past six months to people in need at food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in the Lehigh Valley. Read Letter to the Editor here.
The United Methodist Church
• United Methodist website ... Here.
• United Methodist News Service ... Here.
• UMC Communication ... The United Methodist Church has long been a leader in providing useful resources for church communicators. Start here.
• Eastern PA Conference of the UMC website ... Here.
• Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
The Roman Catholic Church
• Courtyard of the Gentiles ... In March, the Vatican will launch a new permanent Vatican structure to be known as the "Courtyard of the Gentiles." Its aim will be to promote dialogue and encounter between believers and non-believers. More here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site ... Here.
• Diocese of Allentown website ... Five counties in eastern PA ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton website ... Eleven counties in northeastern PA ... Here.
• Inductions on money, religious freedom, and polarization ... [John Allen, NCR] I'm going to try my hand at some induction this week, teasing out broad implications from three specific storylines percolating around the Catholic world. Here are the conclusions to which I'll build: The Catholic church may be entering a season of major reform regarding money management, religious freedom is destined to be the towering diplomatic and political priority of the Vatican, and, against all odds, there's hope for overcoming polarization in American Catholic life. More here.
• On Tullia Zevi's Death ... Boston Globe columnist James Carroll recounts the death of Italian journalist Tullia Zevi, whose passing prompted the Vatican to issue "an almost unheard-of expression of condolence, praising her for 'sincere and fruitful dialogue' between Christians and Jews." Carroll writes that this undertaking required the Catholic church, and indeed the greater Italian community, to take stock of its own anti-Semitic history, a legacy that stretches beyond Italy's fervent support of the 1938 race laws and extends into previous centuries. Zevi's work, Carroll says, was necessary to stop a cycle of hatred, because memory can act as a safeguard against future genocides. "Clouds of denial threaten again to obscure the truth to which such witnesses testified, with heinous crimes restricted, in a phrase Pope Benedict XVI used at Auschwitz, to 'a ring of criminals.' As if the German nation were innocent. Or the broader culture. Or the church. Or, for that matter, Pope Pius XII. Anti-Semitism is the poison fruit of Western civilization, which is what became so undeniably apparent when it flowered in the Eternal City." More here. [H/T The Atlantic Wire]
• How the King James Bible changed the way we speak ... [BBC] No other book, or indeed any piece of culture, seems to have influenced the English language as much as the King James Bible. Its turns of phrase have permeated the everyday language of English speakers, whether or not they've ever opened a copy. Here.
• Parish Nurse/Health Ministries Course ... in Lancaster. Download flyer here. Scholarship funds are available for persons from Diocese of Bethlehem parishes. Contact Diana Marshall. Download Parish_Nurse_Brochure-EMU_March2011.
• Could your iPhone become your iCash? ... A chip that links an iPhone to your bank account could break mobile commerce wide open in the U.S. More here.
• Sundance thrives on more than just money ... [NYTimes] The number of religious-theme American selections this year suggests that a minor cultural shift might be under way as filmmakers take one of the most important and, certainly in our mainstream cinema, under-addressed truths in people’s lives: their struggle with God and issues of belief. More here.
• Top Ten Historically Misleading Films ... according to TIME Magazine. Here.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem
(1) The DioBeth newSpin blog
(2) The DioBeth web site
(4) Twitter.Kat Lehman
(5) Public news and info lists: At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.
(2) News & Notices
(4) Episcopal News Service
(5) Episcopal Church web site
(9) The Lead, Episcopal Cafe
(10) Daily Episcopalian, Episcopal Cafe
(12) Anglican Communion Web Site.
(13) Anglican Communion News Service.
• Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here and recent ones in the left column here.
Send info about newSpin to friends you think may be interested ... newSpin is an electronic newsletter that includes news, information and commentary related to the Diocese of Bethlehem, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the world of religion ... with some spin, of course, from the editor. It is edited by retired communication minister Bill Lewellis and ordinarily published twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday. The newSpin newsletter is currently received by some 1,200 people, many of whom forward it to many others. To have it emailed directly to you, subscribe at the "Get Connected" box on the right column of www.diobeth.org. Select newSpin under the groups. You may find samples of the newSpin newsletter on the left column of the newSpin blog, www.diobeth.typepad.com.
About the newSpin newsletter ... Composed at least weekly (usually twice a week) by Bill Lewellis, the newSpin newsletter appears as a post within the newSpin blog, but newsletter and blog are not identical. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor, but the views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments may be addressed to Bill.