The newSpin newsletter, April 28, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
• A photo of a first ... Here.
• Holy Women, Holy Men may be downloaded as a .pdf for free here.
• Bethlehem churches look to expand winter sheltering. [Below, under "Diocese"]
• Renewal Assembly II. [Below, under "Diocese"]
• A six year old writes a letter to God. The Archbishop of Canterbury answers. [Below, under "The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion"]
• Magdalene, a recovery program for women with a history of prostitution and drug abuse, founded by Episcopal priest Becca Stevens. [Below, under "Spinning"]
• Three lectures on Narnia by the Archbishop of Canterbury. [Below, under "The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion"]
• May 14, to hear Bishop Michael Curry ... At St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Registration will close April 30, or when 300 have registered. See below, under "Diocese."
• June 11, to Renewal Assembly II ... At many locations. See below, under "Diocese."
• May Diocesan Life ... Read or download it here.
• Bethlehem churches look to expand winter sheltering program into year-round homeless shelter ... [The Express-Times] In the first year of Bethlehem's church-run winter sheltering program, the churches housed on average 20-some people with nowhere else to go for the night. In the second year, that amount grew to 30-something. The third year, which just concluded last month, saw numbers often topping 40. And it wasn't just the number of people adding to the challenges. Many people staying at the churches had mental and sometimes physical health problems. The organizers realized something had to change. Three more parishes to participate in their current 11-church rotation so two churches could be used as shelters each night of the week. Health care services for mental and physical needs. A year-round homeless shelter in Bethlehem, the only city in the Lehigh Valley without one. More here.
• Grace House provides hope in Allentown ... Read at page A5 in the May Diocesan Life.
• The Rev. Eleanor Hart will retire on June 1, after eight years as rector of St. Thomas Morgantown. More here.
• ECW Soup, Salad & Elegant Dessert Night at St. George’s Hellertown, Friday April 29 ... 6:00 p.m., Adults: $8.00, Children 4-12 yrs: $4.00. Children under 3 yrs: free. Tickets available at door. 735 Delaware Ave., Hellertown (610) 838-9355.
• Service for Canon John Fowler, Saturday April 30 ... [Dean Tony Pompa] A Memorial Service will be held in thanksgiving for the life of the Rev. Canon John Clinton Fowler on Saturday April 30, 10:00 a.m., in The Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Canon Fowler died of heart failure in Muhlenberg Hospital on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19th, 2011. Canon Fowler spent most of his ordained life in the Diocese of Arizona where he was the founding Rector of St. Michael and All Angels Church, Tucson. A considerable achievement of his time leading that parish was the establishment of a parochial school which continues to provide students with excellent education. In his retirement Canon Fowler served parishes in Florida and Pennsylvania, including parishes in our Diocese. Canon Fowler was an active and unique participant in the life of the Cathedral, particularly involved in issues of peace and justice. Obituary here.
• Workshop on mindful meditation, Wednesday May 4 ... at Prince of Peace Dallas, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. More here and on page A5 of the May Diocesan Life.
• Calendar of Events, updated April 13 ... Read here. Download here.
• Jesus loves a growing seed, with Bishop Michael Curry, Saturday May 14 ... North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry will keynote our 2011 Stewardship and Evangelism Workshop, Saturday, May 14 (9:00 to 3:00) at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre. The theme: Jesus loves a growing seed. Bishop Curry is a nationally recognized preacher known for his vivid and exciting spiritual messages packed with humor and thought-provoking ideas, encouraging listeners to think more fully about their spiritual lives and responsibilities as Christians. Participants will leave with something of value in their minds and hearts. Registration is open at www.diobeth.org (click on Register for Diocesan Events, at right). Registration will close April 30 or when 300 have registered. Cost per person, $10.00, includes breakfast sacks, beverages and lunch. More here and here. More about Bishop Curry here and here.
• All-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfasts at St. Mary's Reading ... The first of the Spring/Summer series of All You Can Eat pancake and sausage breakfasts will be held on Saturday, May 14, at St Mary's at Front and W. Windsor Streets, Reading. The basement sale will be held in the adjacent room with a wide variety of items there at moderate prices. More info: Scott Chambers at 484-333-8877.
• ECW Annual Meeting, May 18 ... at Kirby House. Details and registration info here.
• Creating a Culture of Peace Training, May 19-22 ...The Peace Commission is conducting another Creating a Culture of Peace Training at Christ, Reading, May 19-22. Register online at www.diobeth.org. Cost is $45. Scholarships are available. Deadline to register is May 13. More info: Barb Gessner, 570-460-9335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Renewal Assembly II, Saturday June 11 ... (9:00 to 1:30) at eight locations across the Diocese. Church of the Redeemer, Sayre; St. Paul’s, Montrose; Good Shepherd, Scranton; St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre; St. Peter’s, Hazelton; St. Mary’s, Reading; St. Stephen’s, Whitehall; and, St. George’s, Hellertown. More here and on page A8 of the May Diocesan Life. Register at www.diobeth.org (click on Register for Diocesan Events, at right). Registration will close on June 1. A new introductory video will feature Bishop Paul and lay people. Watch Assembly I video, with Bishop Paul, Mother Laura Howell and Father John Francis, at YouTube, split into two parts, or all in one at Vimeo. Length of video is 23:30.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts here.
• DioBeth Website and newSpin Blog
• 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.
• Royal Wedding? What Royal Wedding? ... [NYTimes] A witty conversation between Times columnists Gail Collins and David Brooks. Here. And "An Explainer" from Patheos on the religious aspects of this British event. Here.
• A crop of new books explores homosexuality and the church ... [Publishers Weekly] Here.
• Nashville Prostitution, An Alternative to the Streets, A Tale Of Two Prostitutes ... [NPR] A three-part series, –– one, two, three –– featuring Magdalene a recovery program for women with a history of prostitution and drug addiction in Nashville, founded by Episcopal priest Becca Stevens.
• When the King saved God ... [Vanity Fair: Christopher Hitchens] An unbeliever, argues that our language and culture are incomplete without a 400-year-old book -- the King James translation of the Bible. Read it here. [H/T Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
• DC church founded by former slaves in 1860 receives more than 100 threats after comments from Sean Hannity ... [Washington Post] Shiloh Baptist Church in the District said it has received threatening phone calls and e-mails after an Easter visit from President Obama and a conservative television commentator’s subsequent playing of an earlier videotape in which the pastor said that those espousing racial prejudice do so “under the protective cover of talk radio.” More here.
• Exodus: cargo of hidden stories ... [Krista Tippett, On Being] In this week’s show, we hold the Exodus story up to the light and turn it — like a jewel, the ancient rabbis would say. And Avivah Zornberg tells us what she sees: astonishing detail, hues of meaning, and a cargo of hidden stories. We follow Zornberg and find ourselves addressed, whoever we are. This story, among all the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, has proven itself a bearer across time of near-universal themes. More here.
• Norway or San Francisco? ... Norway is offering to spend about $2.5 million for infant circumcisions to make sure they're done correctly; don't tell the folks in San Francisco. More here. [H/T Religion News Service]
• Do Christianity & capitalism clash? ... [Out of Ur blog] New survey finds white, wealthy evangelicals love the free market... most others don't. Here. [H/T Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
• Times Square Church founder dies in car crash ... [Associated Press] The Rev. David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and author of the best-selling book, "The Cross and the Switchblade," died Wednesday afternoon in a car accident in East Texas. He was 79. More here.
• Pray for those killed by recent tornados, now 213, and for those left homeless.
• The Daily Office ... with the assistance of the Mission St. Clare.
• 20 + 1 + 1 = Renewal ... Challenge yourself to pray for 20 minutes daily, to worship for one hour weekly, and to serve others for one day a month. Find Mother Laura Howell's blog here.
• Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families. Here.
• That you can join our diocesan interactive list. It's called "Bakery" because Bethlehem means "House of Bread." At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side.
• If you don't see your parish news or events ... If you think news or events regarding your parish merit sharing with the diocesan community and you have not seen mention of these in the newSpin newsletter, that may be because no one has sent the info to Bill. Of course, you may also post your info directly on Bakery. I may then post it on the newSpin blog and reference it here as well.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran leaders issue joint pastoral letter ... [Episcopal News Service] Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran leaders in the United States and Canada have issued a joint pastoral letter to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the churches' full-communion relationships saying that they "look forward to the development of fuller relationships that will lead to a common mission, ministry, and witness in the world." More here.
• Three lectures on Narnia ... Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams devoted his Holy Week Lectures this year to the Narnia stories of C. S. Lewis. Listen to them online: Lecture 1: Not a tame lion –– Lecture 2: I only tell you your own story –– Lecture 3: Bigger inside than outside. When a child listened to the first lecture, she turned to her father, wide-eyed, and said: "He even sounds like a character from Narnia!"
• A six year old writes a letter to God. The Archbishop of Canterbury answers ... [The Telegraph] Delightful, and good theology, understandable even to a six-year-old. Here.
• Episcopal Church Website and News Service
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
• NEPA Synod website ... Here.
• Synod E-News ... April 21. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter by email here.
The United Methodist Church
• April Communication newsletter ... Here. • UMC website ... Here. • UMC 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. • Facebook ... Here. • Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
The Roman Catholic Church
• Let's be clear on the budget ... [Editorial, America Magazine] As the nation’s political discourse becomes increasingly theatrical and incoherent, the bishops, along with other leaders and sectors of the church, need to speak with clarity about the budget as a moral document. ... Many high-powered lobbyists will flood Washington in May. But when the red pencils come out, who will speak for the poor? The U.S. bishops have been among the few consistent voices in defense of the needs of the most vulnerable. That voice needs to be loud and persistent as budget allocations are hammered out and budgetary trial balloons are floated by both parties. Representative Paul Ryan’s proposal to convert Medicare and Medicaid into yet another free-market enterprise is wrongheaded. This would amount to federal welfare for the shareholders and chief executives of the nation’s for-profit insurance companies. Ryan’s proposal essentially assures millions more Americans that they will one day be cut off from affordable health care or impoverished trying to secure it. All sectors of the church need to speak up repeatedly and with clarity on the moral limits of further health care reductions before dialogue hardens into ideological concrete. ... Bishops have shown no reluctance to speak authoritatively on issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Bishops and the whole Catholic community must speak with the same clarity and vigor about the budget and the direction it sets for the nation. More here.
• Newt Gingrich explains his move to Roman Catholicism ... [Huffington Post and Religion News Service] Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here. • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website ... Here. • Catholic News Service ... Here. • Diocese of Allentown website ... Here. • Diocese of Scranton website ... Here.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem
(1) The DioBeth newSpin blog
(2) The DioBeth website
(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 website
(9) The Lead, Episcopal Cafe
(10) Daily Episcopalian, Episcopal Cafe
(12) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
(13) Anglican Communion website.
(14) 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. Edited by retired communication minister Bill Lewellis and ordinarily published twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday, it 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.