The newSpin Newsletter, April 2, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
• The Paschal Triduum ... [An excerpt from Celebrating the Eucharist by Patrick Malloy] One three-day-long event celebrating one saving dynamic, that even in the midst of death there is life. Here.
• The landmark Philadelphia abuse trial ... Daily reports. A NYTimes editorial suggests why this trial is especially important: "A long overdue step of accountability in the sex abuse of children by wayward Catholic priests — the first-ever trial of a diocesan supervisor for allegedly covering up the scandal — has opened in Philadelphia. The issue of hierarchal responsibility is finally front and center."how
• Christianity in Crisis ... [Andrew Sullivan, Newsweek Cover Story] Christianity has been destroyed by politics, priests, and get-rich evangelists. Ignore them, writes Andrew Sullivan, and embrace Him. Plus: Join Andrew Sullivan's live Q&A Tuesday, April 3rd at 2pm ET on Christianity in America.
• Diocesan Life, March/April ... Here.
• 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.
• Leonard Hall Scholarship: For diocesan youth active in youth ministries for college scholarships. Applications available April 1; due May 15; awarded June; checks mailed August. Contact Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow or Ely Valentin at Diocesan House, 610-691-5655, ext. 222 or 1-800-358-5655.
• Gressle Scholarship: Upon his retirement as the Sixth Bishop of Bethlehem, Bishop Lloyd E. Gressle established a scholarship fund to aid in the college education of the male children of diocesan clergy resident in Pennsylvania. Priority is given to clergy families in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Applications available April 1; due May 15; awarded June; checks mailed August. Contact Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow or Ely Valentin at Diocesan House, 610-691-5655, ext. 222 or 1-800-358-5655.
• Shannon Fund Scholarship: In accordance with the wishes of Elizabeth S. Bryant of Schuylkill Haven, PA the Fund was established to aid in the college education of the female children of diocesan clergy resident in Pennsylvania. Priority is given to clergy families in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Applications available April 1; due: April 30. Contact Edna Rauco at Trinity Church, Pottsville (570-622-8720).
• 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.
• 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).
• Allentown: Funds from Grace Montessori 15th Annual Benefit Auction will provide scholarships ... Grace Montessori School prizes economic diversity. About one-third of the students receive scholarship assistance.. This annual benefit accounts for a sizable part of that scholarship aid. There is a silent auction and a live auction, in a lovely atmosphere, with live music, food, and drinks. The event takes place this year on Friday evening, April 27, at the Fegleys' Allentown Brew Works. Tickets ($25) will be available in advance and at the door. Please consider attending, as neighborhood families often need financial support for their children to come to our school. Executive Director Mrs. Elizabeth House and The Rev. Beth Reed will each make remarks at the event. GMS website.
• Dallas ... Prince of Peace sponsors Step into Spring Fashion Show.
• Mt. Pocono ... [Pocono Record] Responding to a challenge by the Rev. Bob Criste-Troutman, parishioners of Trinity Episcopal Church, Mount Pocono, recently brought in more than 500 cans of soup for the Pocono Mountain Ecumenical Hunger Ministry. Trinity was one of four churches that began the ministry in 1985, when they served 10 to 15 families a week. Now supported by eight churches, they provide food — always including soup — to more than 300 families in the Coolbaugh/Mount Pocono area every month. Photo.
• Weekly eNewsletters from parishes
Allentown, Grace Church, March 30.
Bethlehem, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, March 30.
Dallas, Prince of Peace Church, March 30.
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.
• Huffington Post interviews the Presiding Bishop ... The movement toward legalizing same-sex marriage and the acceptance of gay people as clergy and lay members of religious groups is "a done deal" that represents "phenomenal" progress, the top figure in the Episcopal Church told The Huffington Post during a recent visit to its newsroom. In an hour-long conversation with HuffPost staffers, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, touched upon subjects that ranged from her views on how to interpret scripture and challenges that face the church as its demographics change to debates over contraception and the relationship between religion and science. ... "We don't count the right way. How many lives has the work of a congregation touched this year?" she said. "That's a more important question than counting who came to church on a Sunday."
• PB's Easter message ... [Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Give thanks for Easter, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Easter 2012 message. Give thanks for resurrection. Give thanks for the presence of God incarnate in our midst. Text and video.
• Live webcasts of Holy Week Services at the National Cathedral ... The Episcopal Church Office of Communication is partnering with Washington National Cathedral to provide live webcasts of worship services on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday, as well as the Great Easter Vigil on Saturday and Easter Service on Sunday morning. More here.
• 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.
• A love story of 61 years ... [Bill] Charles and Adrienne Snelling were 81, married 61 years. Adrienne had Alzheimer's disease. Charles cared for her for the past six years. Both were gifted and talented people. They were wealthy. On Thursday morning, Charles killed Adrenne and then himself. The lead stories in The Morning Call on Friday and Saturday were about the Snellings. The NYTimes published a story on Saturday. The Morning Call on Sunday published a story about how people who care for people with Alzheimer's often suffer in secret.
Charles arranged dinners at their home within the week of their death, one day with their children, another day with their best friends. Their 2010 Christmas card had a photo of them from the back, walking hand in hand. The caption was, "Going home." While reading about their lifelong love story, try to prescind from judgment about what Charles did on Thursday.
Very active in GOP politics – local, state and federal – he had been described as an Establishment Rockefeller-type Republican, conservative in his fiscal views but moderate in social policies. Whenever I saw one of his "Your View" columns in The Morning Call, I knew I'd be angry before finishing it, and often didn't finish it. Had I known the man he was, I would have had much more respect for his opinions and might have read every word. Within a week of their deaths, he wrote a column on the public pension crisis, how "public employee unions have been eating the taxpayer's lunch with impunity." I just read it.
Bill White wrote on Saturday in his Morning Call column, titled Charles Snelling was forceful, persistent leader: "Snelling represented a disappearing wing of the Republican Party — the Establishment Rockefeller-type Republican, conservative in his fiscal views but moderate in social policies — that I look back on with a certain amount of longing, at least in contrast to the approach and attitudes that have shoved so many moderates in both parties out of power. Still, he was a forceful man who was passionately disliked by some of his political opponents and others who butted heads with him." His attorney who knew Charles for decades described him as a benevolent dictator.
I suppose this is another instance of "We don't know people we don't know," despite what we might read and think and hear what others say.
• The Sh*t Kids Say ... [AdAge, Creativity] The UK's NSPCC enlisted Skins director Amanda Boyle and London agency Inferno for this heartbreaking YouTube spot, highlighting the fact that many people wait too long to report suspected child abuse. The charity's research found that most people ignore worries over a child's safety for about a month before calling. Don't wait.
• 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.
• God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians ... [UM Portal] United Methodist church sign goes viral.
• How psychology explains the slander of Trayvon Martin ... [The Daily Beast] In the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a concerted campaign has been mounted online to portray Martin as a "thug" despite the lack of any evidence that he ever engaged in any sort of violence. But while race is undeniably a factor in the power of the rumors, it's not the only one, the Daily Beast reports. Psychologists have long studied the various quirks that perpetuate rumors and twist facts in difficult cases.
• In 2012, why are we still arguing about contraception? ... The RC Bishops of Pennsylvania declared last Friday a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence in response to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage in health benefit plans.
• 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 ... March 27.
• Khan Academy ... Here. Watch a March 11 segment on the 60 Minutes program here.
• 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.
• Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary
• Why I am hopeful about the Trayvon Martin case ... [Bishop Stacy Sauls, COO, The Episcopal Church, Huffington Post] In some ways I worry that I have no right to speak on the events of the last week in the United States, and especially in Florida, where I happen to be at the moment. I am, after all, a white person, and the victim of this unspeakable event is African American. I am also a white person who is the father of two sons who are not. I am a white Southerner who grew up in a world where segregation was the law and learned over time while I was growing up that the way things were did not in fact speak to the way things had to be because, as a matter of faith, they did not speak to the way God wanted things to be. I am a white Southerner who learned over the course of growing up that morality was a term that went beyond sex and had something to do with justice and peace. Even then, I'm not sure I have a right to speak about this event. But I am also a pastor, a minister of the Gospel. And I am a bishop who has taken a vow to "defend those who have no helper" (BCP, p. 518). I have no right to speak, and yet I must speak. It seems to me there are four things that need to be said about the death of Trayvon Martin.
• Where are the normal Christians? ... [Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.com] On the news, people of faith -- like me -- are cast as lunatic right-wingers. But we're not all like that ... You see them on the news every night. Extremists. Hate groups. The lunatic fringe. And you cringe every time some new radical or abusive psychopath makes the papers again, because you know that strangers and even friends are going to be wary of you now. You suspect they’re afraid you’re like that too. You feel caught in the crossfire between the frightening, hateful fanatics who call themselves by the same name you do, and the bigots who tar you all with the same brush. You’re a Christian. More here.
• When poverty was white ... [NYTimes Op-Ed] 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.
• Why they left ... [America Magazine] What might be learned from exit interviews of NJ Roman Catholics.
• The Philadelphia trial ... See above,under TopSpin.
• 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.
• It's never too late ... to start exercising. [h/t Diana Marshall]
• Like adults, kids need exercise ... Most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. Regular exercise helps children. [h/t Diana Marshall]
• The Hunger Games and moral formation ... Here.
• Great places on the web for book lovers ... [Elizabeth House, AuthorsAdvocate] Each of them is unique in their structure and offerings, and yet they all have in common the notion of creating a community for readers to be able to exchange ideas about books. Here.
• Books by Bishop Paul ... Here.
• Seeing and Believing ... [The New Yorker] A review of T. M. Luhrmann's new book, "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God."
• 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]