The newSpin newsletter, Feb. 6, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.
• Visit to Kajo Keji ... Archdeacon Stringfellow and Mr. Charlie Barebo will return Wednesday from a New Hope visit/mission to the Diocese of Kajo Keji in Southern Sudan. They opened and blessed two new schools, discussed a micro-finance project and continued to build relationships with the people in our companion diocese. They also took gifts from private donors to St. Luke's parish for musical instruments and to Romogi Primary School for teachers salaries, and carried a gift and correspondence from the leaders and youth of Trinity Bethlehem to the leaders and youth of the New Hope school known as Star of Bethlehem. God bless Africa and our missioners.
• New publishing schedule for Diocesan Life ... [Kat Lehman] We will be moving to a bi-monthly publishing schedule with only six print issues this year. We will publish March/April, June/July, August/September, October/November, and December/January issues instead. The focus will be a bit more forward looking and issue oriented rather than reporting. Why? Well, we were quite surprised at the increase in postage when we mailed Diocesan Life to you for the February issue. The postage rates for the class we mail under have gone up over 250% this year. Because of budget concerns going into 2012, our previous budget for Diocesan Life had to be reduced (which is why we are no longer a wrap around Episcopal Journal). This saved us quite a lot in funds initially based on projections but those were predicated on postal rates remaining the same. That is now not the case. Because of the rate increase we will be moving to a bi-monthly printing schedule. Diocesan Council has formed a task force to look at print options and the future of Diocesan Life for the 2013 budget. We will keep everyone posted as progress and decisions are made on a path forward. In the meantime, please alert your parishioners and friends that we have several news blogs and that in the months in between print issues, our online outlets of the blogs: newSpin (general news and diocesan happenings), Re:Create (our youth and young adult blog) as well as our soon to be launched blog by the GC Deputies (on issues facing General Convention); Facebook page; Google+ page; and Twitter feed will have the most up to date news. I would also encourage people to sign up for Bill Lewellis's newSpin newsletter under our "Get Connected" box on the right side of our homepage to have highlights of all sorts of news (diocesan, local, and national news) emailed directly to you at least once weekly. We have a number of other specialty newsletters that are mailed on a monthly or quarterly basis as well that you might be interested in. Please understand that we are trying to be the best stewards of our limited resources as possible without leaving people behind digitally. Meanwhile, find the February 2012 issue here.
• Jubilate for Lent to Trinity Sunday ... Hymnody for Lent to Trinity Sunday (February 22 to June 3, 2012), published by the Diocese of Bethlehem for our diocesan community and for free distribution to the world, may be downloaded below as an Acrobat or MSWord file. Jubilate is a service of our Liturgy and Music Commission, specifically Canon Cliff Carr who has been doing this for more than 30 years. More here.
• Embezzlement expert finds hierarchy uninterested ... [NCR] Recent reports concerning a high Vatican official who had saved the church millions of dollars by eliminating "corruption and dishonesty" in various Vatican agencies aroused worldwide interest. But no one found the stories about Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's reform efforts more fascinating than Michael W. Ryan, a retired U.S. Postal Service security specialist, who has been trying for about 20 years to save the American church the millions it reportedly continues to lose through the embezzlement of Sunday collections and other fund sources. ... For years, there's been a steady stream of news stories in the media about parish accountants, ushers, parishioners, priests and even diocesan employees stealing large sums. Several days ago, an employee of the Philadelphia archdiocese was charged with embezzling $1 million over six years. According to the most modest estimates, at least $89 million donated each year by the people never gets to the intended Catholic cause or recipient due to theft. ... With the written endorsement of an auxiliary bishop from his home Boston archdiocese, Ryan sent about 100 packets of detailed information on establishing security for parish collections to pastors in the archdiocese's southern region and offered his service in helping implement the plan free of charge. He received not a single reply. More here.
• What people talk about before they die ... [CNN Belief Blog] People talk to the chaplain about their families because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence. We don't live our lives in our heads, in theology and theories. We live our lives in our families: the families we are born into, the families we create, the families we make through the people we choose as friends. More here.
• No book has given more to the English-speaking world ... [National Geographic] It's where we got the phrase, "powers that be." Have you guessed? I'm sure. See the National Geographic article here. [h/t Episcopal Café]
• Diocesan Training Day ... Find all the info you need, here. The annual Diocesan Training Day is now open for online registration. The event, held Saturday, March 24 at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre will feature twelve workshops from a variety of ministries.
• Walter C. Krieger, 95, father of the Rev. Walter L. Krieger, died on February 2. Find his obituary here.
• Howard F. Murphey, 104, oldest member of Good Shepherd Scranton died February 2. He was the father of Canon William F. Murphey, a retired priest canonically resident in the Diocese of Central PA, who began his ministry as an assistant at Trinity Bethlehem and later as rector St. Stephen's Catasauqua (now in Whitehall). He was the stepfather of Canon William T. Warne II, retired and licensed to officiate in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Find his obituary here.
• Chancel Oratorio at Mediator Allentown ... A special addition to the Sunday service on February 12 (8 & 10:15 a.m.). A new sermon-length chancel oratorio in costume called “Naaman the Leper” (based on 2 Kings 5:1-19) will be offered. More here.
• AuthorsAdvocate ... Elizabeth "Libby" House, senior warden at Grace Allentown and executive director of Grace Montessori School, publishes an insightful blog, AuthorsAdvocate.net, for Dorrance Publishing in Pittsburgh. Her blog focuses on the world of book publishing. Don't miss it. After a ten-year career at Westminster Press in production, sales and promotion, Libby has worked for the past 28 years in the self-publishing industry with Dorrance. BTW, she is a "Baker" as well as an elected member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem and a deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
• Anne's 50th ... [Canon Anne Kitch] I am turning 50 this spring and I am inviting you to celebrate with me.I am throwing a party called.50 desks in 50 days. More here.
• Bishop's Beach Party (Rescheduled) ... March 17, 2:00 to 7:00, Cathedral. More here.
• The newsletter and the blog ... You are reading the newSpin newsletter. There is also a newSpin blog. The newsletter is accessible (1) As a post on the newSpin blog where anyone can pull it down. (2) As a note that is posted on Bakery for members of that interactive list. (3) As a note pushed to some 1,000 addresses on the newSpin list on ChurchPost.
• Calendar of Diocesan Events ... Updated Jan. 10. Here.
• Weekly Parish eNewsletters ... Here are links to the attractive, newsy, and user-friendly weekly electronic newsletters of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Grace Allentown, Prince of Peace Dallas, Trinity Easton and St. Anne's Trexlertown. The Cathedral's newsletter is created with ChurchPost that, through a diocesan contract, is available free to all parishes. Cathedral, Feb. 3, here. Grace Allentown, Feb. 2, here. Trinity Easton, Feb. 3, here. Prince of Peace Dallas, Feb. 3, here. St. Anne's Trexlertown, here, click on "Weekly Calendar." There may be other weekly electronic newsletters, besides these five, that might be looked at. If so, please send me a link.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts here.
• DioBeth Website ... newSpin Blog ... Re:Create blog for youth and young adults ... Twitter.DioBeth ... Twitter.Kat Lehman ... Facebook.DioBeth ... Flickr, search under dio_beth • 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.
• The cost of football glory … [NYTimes Op-Ed, Joe Nocera] Thanks to rule changes aimed at lessening the chances of career-ending injuries, football is a tad less dangerous than it once was. But it is still a game whose appeal lies in its violent nature. You cannot play football at the professional level without having it affect — and quite possibly shorten — the rest of your life. More here.
• How to fight the man … [David Brooks, NYTimes Op-Ed] The viral phenomenon of "Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus" and the debate that it prompted have a fogy offering advice on how to beat the fogies. "Effective rebellion isn’t just expressing your personal feelings. It means replacing one set of authorities and institutions with a better set of authorities and institutions. Authorities and institutions don’t repress the passions of the heart, the way some young people now suppose. They give them focus and a means to turn passion into change." Read it here. [h/t Deacon Larry Holman]
• Ongoing creation ... Here. [h/t/ Libby House]
• Fleecing the Flock ... [The Economist] Affinity fraud. The big business of swindling people who trust you. Here.
• Does reading the Bible only as a devotional tool de-value it? ... [Episcopal Café] An essay by the Rev. George Clifford has provoked a lot of comment. In it, he says that perhaps reading the Bible indiscriminately and only as a devotional tool de-values the Bible, hurts the church, and inadequately prepares Christians. Read it here. [h/t/ Canon Andrew Gerns]
• Viola player reacts to cell phone ring during concert ... Video here.
• Teachable Moment Videos ... [Oprah.com] With Ed Bacon of All Saints Pasadena. Here.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem, January 2012 ... Canon Anne Kitch's monthly newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources. Here.
• Aging out of health care? ... [The Morning Call] Ever-increasing costs prompt some medical ethicists to ask if a patient can be too old for a lifesaving but expensive procedure. "We need to stop thinking of medicine as an all-out war against death, because death always wins." More here.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... Here.
• All Saints Pasadena marks gay rights milestone ... [Pasadena Sun] All Saints Episcopal Church consecrated the union of a same-sex couple 20 years ago. On Jan. 18, 1992, All Saints Rector Emeritus George Regas broke with Episcopal tradition to preside over a commitment ceremony for physician assistant Mark Benson and postal worker Phil Straw, who began attending All Saints in the 1980s. Approximately 500 church members watched the couple exchange vows at the altar. Here.
• Episcopal Church new website ... complete transformation and redesign, launched December 28, efficient and user friendly. Read about it here. ... Episcopal News Service ... ENS blog ... Episcopal Church on Facebook ... Episcopal Church on YouTube ... Anglican Communion website ... Anglican Communion News Service. ... Anglican Communion News Service on Facebook.
• The Rev. Jesse Jackson to speak at Moravian College ... One of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures, the Reverend Jesse Jackson will present a lecture focusing on poverty and inequality when he visits Moravian College on Tuesday, February 14, at noon in Johnston Hall. The program, “A Conversation with Jesse Jackson,” is open to the public and admission is free. The program moderator will be Grace Kim, associate professor of doctrinal theology, Moravian Theological Seminary.
• UMC website Here. News Service Here. Communication Resources Start here. Communication newsletter (tips and tools) Here. Eastern PA Conference website Here. Facebook Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
• Cardinal Bevalaqua of Philadelpia, 88, died on January 31, a day or so after a Common Pleas Court judge reaffirmed an earlier ruling that the Cardinal, though described as "moderately senile," was legally competent to testify in the forthcoming trial of three priests accused of abuse. More here.
• A make or break moment for the Vatican ... [NCR, John Allen] "Toward Healing and Renewal," Feb. 6-9, will be hosted by Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University, co-sponsored by several Vatican departments. Its primary audience is officials from bishops' conferences and religious orders from around the world. The idea is to identify best practices in abuse prevention and detection and to ensure that those practices become part of the church's standard operating procedure. Participants in this event represent a good share of the church's best and brightest minds on fighting abuse, and both the Vatican and the Gregorian have invested considerable resources in putting it together. If these four days don't produce momentum towards wider and deeper reform, it's an open question what might. More here.
• Allentown Diocese will start paying taxes on former Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School ... [Pottsville Republican-Herald] Here.
• Former RC priests refuse to 'disappear' ... Here.
• Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez, 77, who as the nation’s first Hispanic archbishop fought discrimination within the Roman Catholic Church, but who resigned in 1993 while facing accusations that he had had sex with several women when they were teenagers, died recently in Albuquerque. More at NYTimes.
• Priest refuses to stop ad libbing during the Mass ... After 47 years as a priest, and at least two decades of straying from the Roman Catholic Missal by ad libbing parts of the Mass, the Rev. Bill Rowe of St. Mary Church has resigned under pressure from the bishop ... Rowe, who has served for 17 years in Mount Carmel without accepting his priest's salary, relying, he said, on an Air Force pension and Social Security, said that he is unsure of what he may do when his career as head of a parish ends. "Maybe I'll run a soup kitchen," he said. More here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here. Diocese of Scranton ... Here. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here. Catholic News Service ... Here. Vatican website ... Here. Vatican Information Service blog ... Here. Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
• Why politicians get away with lying ... [NYTimes] Maybe it’s a sign that the public has given up on honesty from presidential candidates. Instead, in a recent flurry prompted by the public editor of The New York Times, the assumption seems to be that politicians will always lie and that voters’ defense against that is fact checking by journalists. But … why do voters let politicians lie to them? What sort of lies do people accept, and which do they object to? Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School and Michael I. Norton of the Harvard School of Business organized this discussion. Read the discussion at the NYTimes.
• A Question of Growth ... [Alban Institute] The result of an extensive period of discernment was to establish a new model for pastoral ministry that de-emphasized the role of ordained clergy. No longer was the program life of the church going to be created and driven by professional religious leaders. If a program was going to be implemented in the life of our church, it needed to be generated by the efforts and initiative of church members. Pastors were no longer to engage in ministry unless they were helping to train lay members for the ministerial tasks before them. We created a Teaching Pastorate model for ministry that stressed preparing the laity to take on the work of the church. More here.
February: Music at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral. Updated. Here.
Feb. 11: Renewal Assembly IV, seven locations, 9 to 3. More here.
Feb. 12: Naaman the Leper, chancel oratorio at Mediator Allentown. More here.
Feb. 19: Celebration of New Ministry, Christ Church Stroudsburg
The Rev. Doug Moyer as rector, 4:00 p.m.
Feb. 19: Arts on the Mountain ... At Trinity Mt. Pocono, Feb. 19. Here.
March 2: An Evening with C.S. Lewis at Trinity Easton. Here.
March 5: Financial Sanity Seminar At Trinity Easton, Four Mondays, 7 to 8:30 p.m., March 5 to 26. More here.
March 9-11: Nativity Cathedral's 10th annual retreat for Episcopal women, here.
March 17: Bishop's Beach Party (Rescheduled) Here.
March 24: Diocesan Training Day, St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre 9:00 to 3:00.
March 29: Chrism Mass, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem 11:00 a.m.
April 13: Ordination, Nativity Cathedral Bethlehem, 7:00 p.m.
April 15: Trinity Pottsville Concert: Mark Laubach, organist; Cora Gamelin-Osenbach, soprano. Here.
April 20-22: Christophany Retreat, grades 6-12, at Pocono Plateau Retreat, Cresco.
May 3-6: Icon Workshop with Peter Pearson at Cathedral. More info here.
May 16: Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting, Kirby House 9:00 to 2:30.
Program: Prefer Nothing to ChristBenedictine Wisdom for the Christian Life.
The Rev. Laura Thomas Howell
May 20: St. Matthew's Society Gathering, Lehigh Country Club, Allentown 3:00 p.m.
June 1-3: Vocare Retreat for Young Adults, Kirkridge Retreat Center.
June 16: Renewal Assembly 5, various locations.
June 30: Bishop's Day with Kids
July 5-12: 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Indianapolis.
July 28: Bishop's Day with Kids
Summer: Senior High Mission Trip. Dates and destination TBA.
Sept. 20: New Hope 5th Anniversary
Sept. 25: Pre-Convention Meeting, St. Albans, Sinking Spring 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 27: Pre-Convention Meeting, Church of the Epiphany, Clarks Summit 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 2: Pre-Convention Meeting, Nativity, Bethlehem 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 5-6: Diocesan Convention at Good Shepherd Scranton
Nov. 11: Joint Eucharist with United Methodists
Asbury UMC, Allentown, 4:00 P.M. Bishop Paul to preach.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... here.
(1) The Episcopal Church
(2) Episcopal News Service
(3) Episcopal Café
(5) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
You are reading the newSpin newsletter. The newSpin blog, which includes the newsletter and other items, is available here. When the newsletter is completed on Mondays and occasionally, more often than not, on Thursdays as well, it is published immediately to the blog and on Bakery and on a ChurchPost list of some 1,000 addresses. Many recipients forward it to many more. Bakery and the blog are interactive. The ChurchPost list is not. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. 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. If you're wondering why you haven't seen something related to your parish or agency here, it's probably because no one has sent relevant info. Regarding items about your parish or agency as well as feedback on any other items ... send email to Bill.
Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998)
Blog , Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]