The newSpin Newsletter, December 10, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published weekly, on Monday
• U. S. Supreme Court to review gay marriage cases ... [Pew Forum] A research package. Here. Episcopal Café posting by Andrew Gerns, and comments, here.
• Joan Chittister on Radical Christian Life ... [Trinity Wall Street] In the opening address for the 2012 Trinity Institute Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change, Joan Chittister, OSB, returns to Trinity Institute for a keynote address that will offer tools for making the vital connection between contemplation and social action. View or Listen.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
• 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.
• What is Peace? ... [Aeon Magazine] It's harder to study peace than you might think. Read on.
• Ordination of women would correct an injustice ... [National Catholic Reporter, Editorial] Here.
• Odyssey/CBS Christmas produced in Reading ... [Odyssey Networks] Like so many of America’s once bustling industrial centers, Reading, PA, has been on a downward spiral for decades. The city has lost factories, jobs and population. The latest economic recession amplified its burdens. Something that Reading has never lost, however, is hope—hope and an abiding belief in the power of community. One Christmas Story: People Rich in Spirit , a new production from Odyssey Networks, takes viewers to the heart of this small American city for a celebration that reflects the true meaning of the holiday season—hope and caring. CBS will air the one-hour program, without commercials, starting at 11:35 PM on Christmas Eve. Read on.
• Four to be ordained to diaconate ... On the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, at 7:00 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem: 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).
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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. Festival Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent, Dec. 12, here.
• 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.
• Allentown/Bethlehem Christmas Cookie and Baked Goods Sale ... [St. Andrew's] Saturday, December 22, 10 to 2; Sunday, December 23, – 9 to noon. Phone: 610-865-3603. Website: www.standrewsbethlehem.org. Cross baking off your holiday to-do list. Leave the baking of your favorite Christmas sweets to us! Purchase kiffles, Italian cookies, chocolate babka, chocolate covered cherries, Moravian Sugar Cake, pumpkin pie, etc. Proceeds benefit the church’s ministries to the hungry and the homeless. The church is the home of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Food Pantry and is one of the host sites for the Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering Program during the winter months.
• Jermyn ... [St. James-St. George, Joyce Covaleski] All Aboard for the Polar Express! The Men’s Club, in conjunction with the Youth Group, will be hosting a holiday party for all ages on Saturday, December 22, at St. James-St. George Church, 398 Washington Avenue in Jermyn. Doors open at 5:30; there will be fun activities from 6 till 7, and then we will show “The Polar Express” complete with popcorn! The event is free to all, refreshments will be served. Kids may wear their PJ’s and bring a pillow and blanket for comfort! Please visit our website at ssjandg.weebly.com for more information or for directions.
• 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.
• 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)
• The special Task Force for Church Structural Reform ... [Episcopal Café] Who the members are and what they do. Here.
• PB accepts Mark Lawrence's renunciation ... [Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Citing Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 of the Constitutions and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and following thorough discussion with the Council of Advice, with their advice and consent, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence as made in his public address on November 17 and she has released him from his orders in this Church. Read on. Lawrence, however, says he's still the bishop.
• 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.
• Being called – the occasion, the meaning, the mystery ... [Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call] "Relax," my laptop screen advises. "You are in the loving presence of God. How and when have you experienced being called by God? What have you left behind? What have you discovered or gained?" Meditative time. As a teen, I struggled with "being called." Something mysterious was going on, in and beyond the land of the free. ... Some of us may not experience the joy of mining the depths of the meaning. Some of us may receive periodic insights, renewed zeal and other consolations – including that the wisdom and rhythm of Christianity is the law of the cross, allowing God to draw greater good from whatever evil comes our way. The most powerful meanings are often those we don't recognize until we look back, reflecting in completely different contexts on the occasions of the calls. Then, having waited for the unfolding of meaning, we may experience God opening to us new life and new possibility. Read it all at the newSpin blog or on the website of The Morning Call.
• ABC commentator Cokie Roberts: Help the Saints ... [USCC Media Blog] As a girl growing up in the 1950’s I had one great advantage that most women my age did not enjoy: I was educated, raised really, by nuns who took girls seriously. Read on. Not everyone is happy, however, about some of her other statements about the Vatican and the bishops.
• A priest who inspired and infuriated ... [ENS, Dan Webster] Thoughts on Robert Castle. Here.
• Taking the fun out of ... [Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver] "The woman had no feeling for children's joy. She could take the fun out of ice cream, dirt, fishing with live bait, you name it."
• In theology as in politics, conflict is not only real, it is necessary ... [Guardian UK, Giles Fraser] The Church of England's fear of conflict evolved to hold the nation together. But now it just breeds seething animosity. ... The difference between the politics of the church and the real world of party politics is that in the church people are nice to each other in public and nasty to each other in private, whereas in real politics it's often the other way round. But the church is so dysfunctional that it prefers the rhetoric of unity to its reality. Read on.
• The Smallpox Virus ... [The Writer's Almanac] On Dec. 9, 1979, a panel of scientists declared the smallpox virus to be eradicated. It's the first and only disease to be driven to extinction through human efforts. Read on.
• The Character Project ... [RNS] To better understand virtue and vice and how to define good character, The Character Project at Wake Forest University has granted funding to theologians and philosophers from around the world. The Character Project, a three-year, multi-million dollar program, awarded 16 grants, totaling nearly $1 million to scholars seeking new insights into the nature of character. More here.
• Colm Toibin's Virgin Mary is far from meek and mild [RNS, Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer] The Da Vinci Code was entertaining, and completely foolish. The Testament of Mary is something better, a reminder that Jesus indeed had a mother, and she was nobody's fool. Read on.
• Divorce before marriage? ... [Faith World, Reuters] An Israeli court has awarded the country’s first divorce to a gay couple, which experts called an ironic milestone since same-sex marriages cannot be legally conducted in the Jewish state. Read on.
• Onetime peak ... [RNS] At its peak, the RC parochial school system in 1968 enrolled one out of every ten American students.
• Officer's gift to 'homeless' man triggers controversy ... [Daily Beast] The cynics are crowing after Jeffrey Hillman turned out to be neither homeless nor shoeless, but we shouldn't be so quick to discount a simple act of kindness. Read on. [h/t Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
• Former RC bishops' staffer banned over women deacons ... [National Catholic Reporter] Former U.S. Catholic bishops' conference staffer banned from speaking publicly in the Philadelphia archdiocese because he co-authored a book investigating the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. Read on. [h/t Bruce Baker and Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
• Episcopalians under fire for hosting Muslim convention ... [Religion News Service] Leaders of a progressive Episcopal church are defending themselves against charges of sympathy. Read on. [h/t Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
• Jesuit, 92, penalized after eucharistic liturgy with woman priest ... [NCR] Here.
• Vicar wears Prada ... [Episcopal Café] A little stir in the Church of England over a photo shoot featuring a Vicar wearing Prada. Some think it's terrible - others laud her style. Read on.
• Winking ... [Comment] During my time as a Roman priest, it seemed to me that RC clergy winked at Protestants who strongly and publicly opposed drinking and gambling. Here's something from a recent Gallup survey indicating that we are “wetter” than ever, but churchgoers are still more abstemious than others – except for Catholics. Prohibition, by the way, came to an end on Dec. 5, 1933, when ratification of the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th. [h/t Religion News Daily]
• Named black ... This headline from an Alabama newspaper seemed strange to me: UM grad named third black priest in diocese history.
• Ministry with Our Elders (Senior Adults) ... [Moravian Continuing Ed] A course for clergy, parish nurses, secretaries of congregations, pastoral care visitors, and other caregivers. Luther Crest (800 Hausman Road, Allentown) will host a Moravian Theological Seminary course on Mondays, January 21 through February 25, 2013, 1:30-4:30 p.m. This six-week course is designed for clergy and laity who want to become more effective in ministry with the senior adults with whom they serve. Participants will have an opportunity to improve their skills of communication with older adults, as well as gain an understanding of the life issues that confront them. The course will cover the following topics: grief, dynamics and issues of dementia and aging, caring for the caregiver, life review, spirituality and faith, visitation and communication skills, effects of aging on family systems, and community resources. Cost for this 1.8 CEU course is $60 (payable to Moravian Theological Seminary, 1220 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018-6650); early bird registration is $50 (by January 7, 2013). For more information, please contact Luther Crest's Chaplain Dianne Kareha (610-391-8210) or go to http://moravianseminary.edu/continuing-ed.html.
• Moravian Church in North America website. Moravian Church Northern Province website. Moravian Theological Seminary website.
• 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.
• Beyond Twitter: The Vatican's other communications revolution ... [RNS] After more than seven years as pope, Benedict XVI is still known as much for the public relations nightmares that have occurred on his watch as for the battle against secularism and relativism that he wants to wage. Now the pontiff has a Twitter feed and the Vatican has a plan to overhaul its antiquated communications apparatus. Read on.
• 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.
• Mileage Rate ... The Internal Revenue Service has issued its 2013 mileage rates that can be used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning January 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 56.5 cents per mile for business activities, 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, and 14 cents per mile in service of charitable organizations. The rate for business driven during 2013 increases 1 cent from the 2012 rate. The medical and moving rate is also up 1 cent per mile from the 2012 rate.
• Speaking Faithfully ... [Episcopal Café] A new book, Speaking Faithfully: 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 include those who have worked with the Episcopal Café since it's inception including Bishop Nick Knisely and Canon Andrew Gerns. More at Religion News Service.
• 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
You are reading the newSpin newsletter. The newSpin blog, which includes the newsletter and other items, is available here,
where you may comment on anything posted here. When the
newsletter is completed on Mondays
and occasionally on
Thursdays, it is
published immediately to the
blog and on Bakery and on a
ChurchPost list of some 1,000
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
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. If you think something about
your parish or agency merits
inclusion, 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]