The newSpin Newsletter, December 3, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published weekly, on Monday
I am grateful for your personal notes and prayers regarding yesterday's visit to Fox Chase Cancer Center for my six-month checkup. Although the report was mostly good, bloodwork indicated that another diagnostic test be scheduled, January 3. Thanks. -Bill
• Room at the Inn: Emergency Shelter at Bethlehem churches ... The emergency shelter for the homeless in Bethlehem churches will start up on Thursday, December 16. We need volunteers to sign in guests, prepare and serve dinner, stay overnight (two people required), and launder the linens. If you have any questions or would like to sign up, please contact Jeremy Joiner at Avalonjj@ptd.net, 484-515-8380 or Rodney Conn at email@example.com, 610-865-0727. You can also sign up immediately using the Sign-Up Genius site. Go to www.SignUpGenius.com. Click on "Find a Sign Up" and enter the email address AvalonJJ@ptd.net. Click on the Emergency Shelter link and choose which date and activity you wish to help with.
• Humanity at its best ... As relief efforts continue in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, St. Luke & St. Matthew’s Church in Brooklyn partnered with the Occupy Sandy movement to serve as a hub. Organizers set up a registry on Amazon to list the needs of the communities, such as generators, diapers and heaters. More than 20,000 volunteers have come to the church to be trained, The Rev. Michael Sniffen said. “This is humanity at its best,” Sniffen said. “This is a community coming together to help people who need help in really practical ways.” Video here.
• Advent Opportunities ... [Episcopal Café, Canon Ann Kitch and Unapologetically Episcopalian] Many offerings online for celebrating and meditating on Advent. The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs notes some. Canon Kitch offers many more. The Unapologetically Episcopalian blog will use a different selection of Advent music each morning and each evening throughout the season. Connect here.
• Four to be ordained to diaconate ... [Bishop Paul] Today [Dec. 3] the Standing Committee met and took final action. I am now able officially to announce that on the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, at 7:00 p.m., there will be the ordination to the diaconate of John Davis (of Good Shepherd, Scranton); Foster Mays (of St. Gabriel's, Douglassville); Andrew Reinholz (of Grace, Allentown) and Kimberly Rowles Reinholz (of Christ Church, Reading). The liturgy will be celebrated at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem.
• 12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [Charlie Barebo] The New Hope campaign has been a great success and has given new hope to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Kajo Keji.Very shortly, we will be running around buying Christmas presents for our loved ones. As we do so, let us consider gifts to the children of Kajo Keji. Even a small donation will make a remarkable difference to these wonderful children. You can read the full description and download a .pdf form to fill out to sponsor the schools and purchase books, desks or tuition on our web site here.
• 30 Years for Kajo Keji ... Canon Andrew Gerns will celebrate 30 years of priestly ministry on December 18. He hopes people will join him in helping provide desks and books to our New Hope schools in Kajo Keji. For more information, please see this note.
• Christmas at Sea ... [Canon Jane Teter] Many thanks to all of you who knitted and crocheted items for the mariners on the high seas this Christmas season. I received a thank you note from the Seamens Institute thanking us for the articles we sent: 48 scarves, 88 hats, 20 sets, 2 vests, 5 helmets and a few other items. It is not too early to begin making items for next Christmas! They are appreciated by the many mariners who cannot be home for Christmas.
• Double the impact of your gift to ERD ... [John Major] Donors making end-of-year gifts to Episcopal Relief & Development will be able to double the impact of their contributions, thanks to a group of very generous supporters who have pledged $300,000 in matching funds toward the 2012 Matching Gift Challenge. Between November 1 and December 31, gifts of any size – online, via mail or by phone – will be matched dollar-for-dollar as long as matching funds are available.
• Bishop's Day with Youth ... February 1-2, Night Watch in Philadelphia. Registration opened December 1, Here.
• Free new or redesigned websites for parishes ... [Kat Lehman] If you want to take advantage of the diocesan offer to have your web site redesigned onto a WordPress CMS platform or to have a web site created for you at no cost to you, you need sign up with Post Companies by Dec. 31. This offer is only good until then and we will cover the cost of hosting through December 1, 2013. No time like the present to give your parish a wonderful present of a new web site (especially as it won't cost you a dime for the design or hosting for the first year). Check it out 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. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.
• St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... December musical events.
• Used men's clothes, especially coats and warm pants ... [Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem] Our Thrift Shop needs more men's clothes especially coats and warm pants. You can bring them to us three ways: (1) directly to the Thrift Shop, Tuesday through Fridays from 10 to 3, (2) if the Thrift Shop isn't open, come to the lower lot, ring the bell at the double doors and place them in the cardboard bin under the steps, or (3) bring them to the church office Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.
• Join the Dean and the Cathedral Choir on a Sunday Dec. 9 journey to the historic parish of St. Mark’s and St. John’s in Old Mauch Chunk. Celebrate Advent Lessons and music sung by the Cathedral Choir in support of Jim Thorpe’s Old Time Christmas weekend. More here.
• Cathedral Church of the Nativity ... December 16, at 4:00 p.m. The 49th annual performance of Handel's Messiah by the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Choral Society; Russell Jackson, Organist. Donation $10
• Trinity West Pittston ... Toy Swap. Here's how it works.
• Holiday Gift Shoppe at St. Brigid's Nazareth ... [Trula Mosher, parish administrator] Come to St. Brigid's Holiday Gift Shoppe where you can find great holiday gifts provided by crafters and vendors, a gift basket auction, a 50/50 drawing, a gold elephant table, a used book sale, children's toys, yummy baked goods, soups, breads, chili and hot dogs, and much more. This event will be held at St. Brigid's Episcopal Church, 310 Madison Avenue, Nazareth, on Saturday, December 8 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Call 610-746-3910 with any questions or visit www.stbrigidspa.org.
• Note to parishes ... Post news summaries and links on Bakery or send them to Bill.
• Calendar of Events ... Here and Here.
Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Liturgy for blessing same-gender relationships begins provisional use ... [ENS] In the final debate before General Convention approved a provisional church liturgy to bless the lifelong relationships of same-gender couples, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Deputy Ian Hallas, 22, spoke about his sister, Louisa, and her civil union. “The love that she shares with her partner is unconditional and speaks to the ideal relationships all of us should strive to have,” he told the House of Deputies on July 10 in Indianapolis. “I often get asked by churchgoers and nonchurchgoers why I am a part of this body. The reason I return is for my sister. I seek to assure that she not only has the same rites as myself but also the same privileges.” The new rite, “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” was authorized for use with diocesan episcopal permission beginning Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent. Read on.
• Retired priest of largest Episcopal Church becomes RC ... [Religion News Service] The Rev. Larry Gipson, 70, was dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1982-94. Gipson retired in 2008 from the 8,000-member St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parishioners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. More here.
• Hannah Anderson ... onetime rector of Grace Allentown will become canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of New Hampshire. "A new calling came to me," Anderson said. "The bishop asked me to join and work with him in New Hampshire, and I felt this deep sense of joy and spirit that I can do more to continue to meet the needs of people in the world." Read on.
• Episcopal Church Website ... ENS blog ... Episcopal Church on Facebook ... Episcopal Church on YouTube ... Anglican Communion website ... Anglican Communion News Service. ... Anglican Communion News Service on Facebook.
• Episcopal Church positions available ... Applications are now being accepted for four full-time positions: Africa Partnership Officer, Domestic Policy Analyst (based in the Washington DC office), Domestic Poverty Missioner, UTO Coordinator. Information available here. Previously posted positions still open are: Director of Development, Development Research Analyst, Digital Front-end Designer/Drupal Themer, Legal Counsel. For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at HRM@episcopalchurch.org.
• Sexton at the Lutheran Center ... The position of sexton at the Lutheran Center will become available in December. The job entails vacuuming and dusting the offices, meeting rooms and worship area, cleaning bathrooms, removing trash, and other maintenance as time permits. Hours (approximately eight hours per week) are flexible, and applicants must be able to work independently. An application is available here. The Lutheran Center is at 2354 Grove Road, Allentown.
• A Wrinkle in Time ... [The Writer's Almanac] Nov. 29 was the birthday of novelist Madeleine L'Engle, born in New York City (1918). She wrote a science fiction novel for young adults. Her three children loved the book, but it was rejected by 26 publishers; many thought it was too hard for children, and others thought that a science fiction novel shouldn't have a female as a main character. She gave up on the book until her mother visited for Christmas, and she hosted a tea party for her mother's old friends. One of those friends was in a writing group with John Farrar of the publishing house Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux. They didn't publish young adult fiction, but the woman insisted that L'Engle meet Farrar and at least show him the manuscript. He published L'Engle's novel, A Wrinkle in Time (1963). It won the Newbery Medal; it sold more than 10 million copies. Read on.
• The most dejected and reluctant convert ... [The Writer's Almanac] Nov. 29 was also the birthday of novelist and theologian C.S. Lewis, born Clive Staples Lewis in Belfast, Ireland (1898). He grew up going to church, but he was more interested in mythology, and after his mother died when he was a boy, he became even less convinced that God existed. By the time he was a young teenager, he was a committed atheist. He received a scholarship to Oxford, and although he did not like England and though English accents sounded strange, he loved it there and ended up teaching there for nearly 30 years. At Oxford, he met another faculty member, J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis said: "At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a Papist, and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both." But they became close friends, and it was Tolkien who helped convince Lewis to give up his atheism and embrace Christianity. Lewis described himself as "the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England," but he went on to write books that are now considered classics of Christian apologetics. Here. [Bill: I never heard the story told this way. Dissenters?]
• Photo of officer giving boots to barefoot man warms hearts online ... [NYTimes, Nov. 28] On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on. The act of kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for a tourist from Arizona. Her snapshot — taken with her cellphone on Nov. 14 and posted to the NYPD official Facebook page – has made Officer DePrimo an overnight Internet hero. Read on. [h/t Jim Lewellis]
• The Christian case for gay marriage ... [LATimes, C.S. Pearce] According to the Pew Forum, a majority of mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics now favor legalizing same-sex marriage. So when our more conservative Christian kin claim that gay marriage is against God and against the Bible, we beg to differ. And since Christians are a "people of the Word," we look to the Bible to justify our thinking. That's essential to Christianity, although all too often we get it wrong, at least at first. Read on. 266 comments.
• Rob Bell's new American Christianity? ... [Martin Marty] One dismisses a Rob Bell at peril, because he generates so many ideas, takes so many risks, and issues valid criticisms. But what will come of all this? The profiles we are quoting tell us that he has changed pace, appearance, and interests. He now goes surfing off the California coast, and is as devoted to the fifty-member mini-church as he was to the mega-church. The old styles against which he rebelled certainly deserve examination, critique, and in many cases, abandonment. But Christianity and its religious counterparts were not developed with just the present generation in mind, kinetic as it is in style and digital in its favored literary constructions. The inherited forms, though in need of revision, in any case often speak with an authenticity that demands some patience, while the quickly formulated and celebrity-endorsed versions may go as they came. One hopes Rob Bell sticks with some promising inventions long enough for him and us to see that while "Love wins," "new" is less likely to. More here.
• Catholicism and Tobacco ... [Catholic World Report and First Things] A history of Catholicism and tobacco, and featuring Pope Benedict XVI – yes, Joseph Ratzinger – as the Marlboro Man. [h/t Religion News Daily]
• Drama at Bellevue ... [New England Journal of Medicine, Danielle Ofri, M.D., Ph.D.] By 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, Bellevue was empty of patients — probably for the first time since it opened its doors on March 31, 1736. The night after the bulk of the patients had been evacuated, I walked past the hospital. Lower Manhattan was still without power, and First Avenue was eerily black. Bellevue sat dark and silent, like a hulking Henry Moore sculpture. It suddenly looked so fragile to me, so forlorn. Bellevue's enormity is more than its imposing physical presence, more than its legacy as the oldest public hospital in the country, more than its outsized reputation in popular culture. Its grandeur resides in its status as a living, breathing medical organism. It possesses a gritty industriousness and a cacophonous vitality. The ferocious loyalty it has engendered for the past 276 years is apparent in its staff as well as its patients. Many of us have spent our entire working lives at Bellevue and couldn't imagine being anywhere else. The preternatural quiet of the hospital was unnerving. But the overwhelming feeling was one of sadness. Grief, really. The adrenaline surge of the evacuation had receded, and we were all left grieving — for our scattered patients, for our disrupted educational programs, for our stilled hospital. The 4000 faculty and staff members, residents, and medical students of Bellevue have been dispersed throughout the five boroughs, taking care of our inpatients, struggling to care for our tens of thousands of outpatients. The generosity of spirit from the hosting hospitals, our peripatetic patients, and our coworkers has been boundless. But without our nexus of Bellevue to knit us together, we feel unmoored. When a hospital is forced to halt, it's not just the patients who are evacuated. Read on. And a return after the storm, a quasi follow-up in the NYTimes. [h/t Steve Lewellis]
• The Muslim 500 ... [RNS] There are more Muslims from America than any other country on this year’s list of the world's 500 most influential Muslims, compiled by a respected think tank in Jordan. Read on.
• Doomsday prophecies spike ... [ReligionLink] Predictions about the world’s demise are not new but rumors of apocalypse have spiked as Dec. 21 approaches, a date when many say an ancient Mayan calendar will wind down – and signal the end of the world as we know it. Experts debunk this idea but the story illustrates our fascination with The End. Read on.
• Fifty Shades ... [Religion News Service] Evangelicals may not be reading "Fifty Shades of Grey," but that hasn't stopped them from talking about it. Read on.
• When is a sister not a nun? ... [Canon Law Made Easy] 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.
• B16 will become a Twitter ... [Reuters] His handle is @Pontifex, which means both "pope" and "bridge builder." Iinfallible tweets? Benedict will be pushing the button on his first tweet himself on December 12 but in the future most will be written by aides and he will sign off on them. Already 100,000 followers. In 2009, a new Vatican website, www.pope2you.net, went live, offering an application called "The pope meets you on Facebook", and another allowing the faithful to see the pontiff's speeches and messages on their iPhones or iPods. The Vatican famously got egg on its face in 2009 when it was forced to admit that, if it had surfed the web more, it might have known that a traditionalist bishop whose excommunication was lifted had for years been a Holocaust denier. Read on. [h/t Religion News Daily] Also at Episcopal Café.
• 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.
Calendar of Events/The Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Speaking Faithfully ... [Episcopal Cafe] A new book on Communication as Evangelism in a Noisy World by Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson of Canticle Communications. An attempt to persuade the church to bring the techniques and insights of mass communications to bear on the challenge of evangelism. The acknowledgements mentions of those who have worked with the Episcopal Cafe since it's inception including Bishop-elect Nick Knisely and Canon Andrew Gerns.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... November and December issues of Canon Kitch's newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources.
• Forward Movement ... News and Notes, November.
• Holy Women, Holy Men ... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Chalice, a publication of DioBeth's Lifelong Christian Formation Committee created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.
Additional sources for news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.
(1) The Episcopal Church
(2) Episcopal News Service
(3) Episcopal Café
(5) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
• Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary
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Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]