The newSpin Newsletter, March 26, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
• Chrism Mass on Thursday: March 29 at Cathedral, 11:00 a.m. ... See below, under DioBethSpin.
• Church of England rejects Anglican Covenant ... [Episcopal Café] Three of six dioceses voting on Saturday have rejected the proposed covenant, two have voted in favor, one has yet to report its vote. The covenant has been rejected by the Church of England. More here and here.
• Something very significant in the history of the Church of England happened on Saturday ... [The Guardian UK, Diarmaid MacCulloch] An absolute majority of dioceses in the Church of England, debating diocese by diocese, voted down a pernicious scheme called the Anglican Covenant. This was an effort to increase the power of centralising bureaucracy throughout the worldwide Anglican communion. However much the promoters denied it, the principal aim was to discipline Anglican churches in the United States and Canada, which had the gall to think for themselves and, after much prayer and discussion, to treat gay people just like anybody else ... So now Anglicanism needs to move forward and forget this sorry diversion, into which many perfectly well-meaning people poured a huge amount of energy over a decade when they might have been doing something useful. More here.
• Sinking Spring: St. Alban's to get long-awaited home ... [Reading Eagle] For longer than Moses wandered in the wilderness, members of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Spring Township, have worshipped in a circa 1963 building that was intended to be the congregation's temporary home. On Sunday, March 18, a groundbreaking was finally held for a new building to be completed in time for Easter 2013 ... The Rev. Karl Kern, rector of St. Alban's, said worship in the old church, with a capacity of 145, often felt crowded and he is hopeful the additional space will make worshippers feel more comfortable. So, members have been raising funds toward construction of a $2.4 million stone and stucco church that will be about 70 percent larger than the current building. The new sanctuary will hold 244 worshippers. More here.
• Diocesan Life, March/April ... Here.
• Chrism Mass: March 29 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity Bethlehem ... A professional choir, a new organ stop, and music by Haydn, Palestrina, Byrd, and…Wagner? And a free lunch. Reverent, moving, and just a hint of fun. More here.
• Joy or Control? Let the Joy Happen ... [Bishop Paul] Sermon at Clergy Day, March 15. Here.
• Stewardship ... Dan Charney points to great ideas for year-round stewardship. "Connecting Stewardship with Thanks" is his favorite.
• West Pittston Flood Care Project ... [Bishop Paul] On Tuesday, March 20, Fr. John Major and Janine Ungvarsky hosted a combined clergy meeting to review the progress in ministry to flood victims along the Susquehanna, particularly in the West Pittston area. Clergy from Tunkhannock to Honesdale and points north and south of that Rt 6 line were present. There were several joy-producing moments even in the recollection of devastation.
• Christophany registration is open ... More here.
• High School Mission Trip ... Here.
• Diocesan Events for 2012 ... Here.
• A Resource for Christian/Muslim Dialogue ... Here.
• 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.
• Sheltering the homeless ... Various churches throughout the Bethlehem Area continue to shelter the homeless. More volunteers are needed to help shuttle people in the mornings and evenings. Recently one person had to drive, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, Sunday morning, Monday night, and Tuesday morning. If you can help, please sign up here.
• Allentown: Helping neighbors find work ... Cecilia Rodriguez has a lot of experience connecting neighbors around Grace Allentown with jobs. She used to do that work for Allentown's Weed and Seed effort, and her office was at Grace. Weed and Seed was defunded by Pennsylvania this year. But Cecilia is back, doing similar work and again at Grace, now under the auspices of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV).
• Dallas ... Prince of Peace sponsors Step into Spring Fashion Show.
• Kingston ... Spring into family health and wellness with Grace Kingston, March 31. More here.
• Kingston ... Grace Kingston seeks a part-time sexton.
• Sinking Spring ... See above, under TopSpin.
• Weekly eNewsletters from parishes
Allentown, Grace Church, March 22.
Bethlehem, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, March 23.
Dallas, Prince of Peace Church, March 23.
Easton, Trinity Church, March 23.
Trexlertown, St. Anne's Church here, click on "Weekly Calendar."
There may be others. If so, please send me a link.
• Monthly Newsletters from parishes ... Most parishes publish a monthly newsletter that is mailed to parishioners. Many, if not most, of those are available at the parish websites.
• Church of England rejects Anglican Covenant ... See above, under TopSpin
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts 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.
• Doctor Jan Brunstrom specialty chose her ... [KDSK] Most doctors choose their specialty. In the case of Dr. Jan Brunstrom, her specialty chose her. "I never thought I would do this," she tells KDSK News in St. Louis. One of the busiest doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital, she and her team treat kids with cerebral palsy, more than 2,000 a year. Her patients face many challenges and no one knows that better than Dr. Brunstrom. She too has cerebral palsy. "When I was born, they told my dad that I had zero chance of survival."
• Book by Elizabeth Geitz of Good Shepherd Milford on Nun's struggles helping Cameroon orphans ... [Pocono Record] Babies often arrive in taxis at the Good Shepherd Home for Orphans in Cameroon these days, sent by relatives or by anyone who finds them. But the boy who sparked the idea for the orphanage was found sleeping on the street in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital by Sister Jane Mankaa. She was recently at the Artery Gallery in Milford for a gathering to celebrate a book about her founding of the orphanage — "I Am That Child" by Elizabeth Geitz. The author is an associate priest at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Milford. When Mankaa talked to the homeless boy and several others in similar straits, she found they were alone after their parents died of AIDS. Relatives had fed them meagerly and beat them. At the time she was an Episcopalian contemplative nun, and gathering funds to start an orphanage was challenging, se says, as many worried about corruption in Africa. But she persisted. The orphanage that Mankaa began in 2003 is now self-sustaining, guided to success by several failures, which is detailed in Geitz's book. More here.
• Rethinking his religion ... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Frank Bruni] I moved into my freshman-year dorm at the University of North Carolina after many of the other men on the hall. One had already begun decorating. I spotted the poster above his desk right away. It showed a loaf of bread and a chalice of red wine, with these words: “Jesus invites you to a banquet in his honor.” This man attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie, feeling that church deserved such respect. I kept a certain distance from him. I’d arrived at college determined to be honest about my sexual orientation and steer clear of people who might make that uncomfortable or worse. I figured him for one of them. About two years ago, out of nowhere, he found me. His life, he wanted me to know, had taken interesting turns. He’d gone into medicine, just as he’d always planned. He’d married and had kids. But he’d also strayed from his onetime script. As a doctor, he has spent a part of his time providing abortions. More here.
• Hello, Cruel World ... [NYTimes Sunday Magazine] What the fate of one college class of 2011 says about the job market. Unpaid internships, 4 a.m. shifts, a job at the Wawa. What the fate of Drew University’s class of 2011 says about the job market. More here.
• A $100,00 home for their dogs ... [AP] Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch have faced plenty of mountains building their religious broadcast empire — among them allegations of a homosexual tryst and a prolonged battle with the Federal Communications Commission — but the most recent attack on the founders of Trinity Broadcasting Network comes from their own flesh and blood. Their granddaughter, Brittany Koper, recently filed court papers that include allegations of $50 million in financial shenanigans at the world's largest Christian broadcasting network. Her suit was followed by another from a Koper in-law, who detailed opulent spending at the network on items such as private jets, mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida and a $100,000 mobile home for Jan Crouch's dogs. The lawsuits came after Koper's husband was accused by a debt collection company of embezzling more than $1 million from TBN. The debt collection company that filed the lawsuit later added the Crouches' granddaughter and two of her in-laws as defendants. The outbreak of legal skirmish offers a rare window into the secretive world of the sprawling religious non-profit and exposes a family feud that could draw more outside scrutiny of TBN.
• Yes, you skeptics, there is a Muscatine ... [Bill] Grace Allentown's parish administrator Bob House, a retired Presbyterian minister, has been heard to say he grew up in Muscatine, Iowa. Bob's wonderful sense of humor has long inclined me to suggest there was no Muscatine. However, recent news of President Obama's nominee to lead the World Bank indicates that Jim Yong Kim grew up there as well. Bob is delighted. "It has been such a burden," he says, "to be the only internationally recognized celebrity coming out of this great community."
• Draft rite for Same-Sex Blessings and supporting documents ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] The Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has released excerpts from its “I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing: Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships,” report, including the text of its proposed rite of blessing. Excerpts from the commission’s report to General Convention are now available for study online. More here.
• John Lewis, a Congressman from Georgia, former civil rights leader (veteran of the push to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville in 1960, leader of the march across the Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, chairman for some years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, etc.) will speak at Prosser Auditorium, Moravian College, at 8:00 pm on Thursday, 29 March. The event is open to the public. [h/t Addison Bross of Grace Allentown and Co-Chair, Diocesan Peace Commission]
• Holy Women, Holy Men ... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's March newsletter.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... Here.
• The Consortium for Media Literacy ... Here.
• Many kinds of Catholics ... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Frank Bruni] American Catholics have been merrily ignoring the church’s official position on contraception for many years, often with the blessing of lower-level clerics. When my mother dutifully mentioned her I.U.D. during confession back in the 1970s, the parish priest told her that she really needn’t apologize or bring it up again. Which was a good thing, since she had no intention of doing away with it. Four kids were joy and aggravation enough. Despite church condemnation of abortion and same-sex marriage, American Catholics’ views on both don’t diverge that much from those of Americans in general. These Catholics look to the church not for exacting rules, but for a locus for their spirituality, with rituals and an iconography that feel familiar and thus comfortable. In matters religious, as in “The Wizard of Oz,” there’s no place like home, and Catholicism is as much ethnicity as dogma: something in the blood, and something in the bones. The Catholic hierarchy, meanwhile, keeps giving American Catholics fresh reasons for rebellion. More here.
• 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.
• Local priest's cause moves one step closer to canonization ... The cause for the canonization of the Rev. Walter J. Ciszek S.J. still has a long way to go, but an announcement by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints has moved the process a major step forward. The CCS issued a "decree of validity" in the Diocese of Allentown's investigation into the life, virtues and reputation for sanctity of Ciszek, a native of Shenandoah who is buried at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Berks County. More at The Republican-Herald, The Morning Call and The Reading Eagle.
• JPMorgan Chase closes Vatican-held account ... [The Daily Beast] The Vatican is in public-relations panic-mode ... again. But it’s not the pedophile priest scandal or Vatileads that has the pope’s image-makers hopping. This time the Holy See faces serious allegations that its curious accounting practices are really a cover for a money-laundering scheme. ... Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department named the Holy See on a list of its own, as a “jurisdiction of concern” for money-laundering practices in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, alongside countries like Honduras and Syria.
• NJ Catholics give church a piece of their minds ... [The Star-Ledger] As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics in the Trenton Diocese were asked what issues they would raise with Bishop David O’Connell if they could speak to him for five minutes. O’Connell would have gotten an earful. Their reasons ranged from the personal ("the pastor who crowned himself king and looks down on all") to the political ("eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing") to the doctrinal ("don’t spend so much time on issues like homosexuality and birth control"). In addition, they said, they didn’t like the church’s handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal and were upset that divorced and remarried Catholics are unwelcome at Mass.
• 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.
• How much was that treatment? ... [NYTimes Editorial] One big health plan paid $2,300 for a colonoscopy at a particular hospital, while another paid $3,100; one plan paid $1,400 for magnetic resonance imaging of the back, while another paid $2,300 ... The bottom 25 percent of prices for a day in the hospital were $1,450 or less, and the top 5 percent were more than $11,500. For routine doctor visits, those numbers were $64 and $162. More here.
• Way behind ... [Bill] You know the generations have left you in the dust when you can't put a coherent sentence together on "The Hunger Games."
• US War-culture, Sacrifice and Salvation: Religion and Violence ... That's the title of a new book by Kelly Denton-Borhaug, associate professor at Moravian, Lutheran minister and member of Grace Episcopal in Allentown. How's that for a denominational trinity? Kelly's webpage.
• Book by Elizabeth Geitz of Good Shepherd Milford, See above, under TaleSpiin.
• Church Publishing offers eHymnals in Tablet Editions via Apple iBookstore ... Here.
Calendar of Events ... updated Feb. 15. Here.
Diocesan Events for 2012 ... Here.
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 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]