The newSpin Newsletter, December 31, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published weekly, on Monday
Happy New Year!
• Deacons Driving Deftly ... [Bishop Paul Marshall, sermon at the ordination to diaconate of John Davis, Foster Mays, Andrew Reinholz and Kimberly Rowles Reinholz] We who entrust ordained ministry to four ordinands tonight recognize that we are passing something on. Passing something on, even through prayer and the laying-on of hands, is also letting go, a surrender of the future in both hope and anxiety. A new generation is going to have new perspectives. Some refreshing, some perhaps unsettling. Read on.
• Where is the shelter? ... [Bishop Paul Marshall, sermon at the early Christmas Eve service] There is a Central American custom that I hope we will pick up as the culture of the USA becomes more diverse. It is an observance of the nine days before Christmas as Las Posadas, the dwellings. It is originally from Spain, but in troubled America Central it took on a certain passion.
That is, people who have deep memories of oppression, homelessness, and persecution, gravitate naturally to the fact that when Joseph and Mary as poor people sought shelter, they had to take whatever hospitality they could get, if they could get it. When at long last Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem, there was no room for such as them as they went from inn to inn. “No room for them” should be read as “no room for THEM,” as it was anciently a polite expression of contempt. They were poor, dirty from travel, and there were rumors about her. And just as they flashed on in this country in the 1950s, the motel sign repeatedly switched to “no vacancy” when the couple from Nazareth appeared. So they wandered, seeking La Posada, seeking some shelter.
Nowadays, on the nine evenings of Las Posadas, Dec 16-24, Latino people practice going to each other’s dwellings, and the hospitality they celebrate is an affirmation of decency and compassion. It is also defiance of anything in human nature that rejects Christ by denying, marginalizing and ignoring those who are even a little different. Especially children. They ask at each place they visit, “¿dónde está la posada?,” where is the dwelling? Wouldn’t the world be different if we asked that of ourselves each day?
• Shelter provided by Bethlehem churches ... The emergency shelters for the homeless in Bethlehem churches need volunteers to sign in guests, prepare and serve dinner, stay overnight (two people required), and launder the linens. At the Cathedral Church of the Nativity ... If you have any questions or would like to sign up, please contact Jeremy Joiner at [email protected], 484-515-8380 or Rodney Conn at [email protected], 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 [email protected] Click on the Emergency Shelter link and choose which date and activity you wish to help with. At St. Andrew's Church ... They too are in need of volunteers to cook and serve dinner and breakfast. They also need overnight volunteers. They do not, however, use signup genie. Email or call Cindy Bowlby ([email protected], 610-760-2170.
• Death of Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon ... [Episcopal Café] Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon, who died Christmas Day, was "seen as a warm, empathetic mentor, particularly to female lay leaders and clergy in the Episcopal Church, which has wrestled in recent decades with rifts over gender roles, sexuality and biblical literacy," the Washington Post reported. She was the second female bishop in the U.S. More here and here and here and here.
• ABC's Christmas Day sermon ... [ENS] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is urging people to go and ‘join the human race’ and become agents of transformation and renewal. In his final Christmas sermon in Canterbury Cathedral Dr Williams says the purpose of the Christian message isn’t to defend religion or make the church credible, but to pose a challenge to everyone to reconsider who they are. ... “Jesus does not come just to answer the questions we think important … he does not come to give us a set of techniques for keeping God happy; and he certainly doesn’t come to create a harmlessly eccentric hobby for speculative minds. He comes to make humanity itself new, to create fresh possibilities for being at peace with God.”
• Reports on the CofE House of Bishops December meeting ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] Thinking Anglicans publishes more reports from the Church of England December House of Bishops meeting, noting their discussion of Women in the Episcopate legislation and nomination for the episcopate of men in civil partnerships. David Pocklington in Law and Religion blog notes: The explanatory memorandum "Women in the Episcopate – Synodical Process: A summary of the legislative steps" prepared by Secretary General to the General Synod for parliamentarians is now generally available. It concludes: “It would, therefore, be possible for legislation introduced in 2013 to complete all its stages in the lifetime of this Synod, which ends in July 2015. Pending the discussions with all interested parties in the early months of 2013 it is too soon, however, to offer a confident prediction of what the timescale will be given the imperative need to avoid a second failure.” Read on.
• On the massacre of the Sandy Hook Innocents ... [The Episcopal Church Office of Governmental Relations] The Holy Innocents: Newtown, Washington and the Way Forward. Here.
• First openly gay Episcopal bishop refects on his tenure in NH of successes, threats and pain of exclusion ... [Associated Press] New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson says he chafed for several years at being branded the first openly gay bishop of the Anglican Church until he realized that he was wasting a pulpit from which he could advocate for equality. “I’d been given this really remarkable opportunity and it would be selfish of me not to be the best steward of that opportunity,” he recently told The Associated Press in an interview as he prepares to retire in January. “We went from my consecration, which set off this international controversy, to nine years later seeing gay, lesbian and transgender congregants welcome at all levels of the church, including bishop. Read on.
• The benefits of gratitude ... [LATimes] Our expression of gratitude is not an empty exercise. If we developed the discipline to be consciously grateful on a regular basis, year-round, research shows we'd be happier and suffer less depression and stress. We'd sleep better and be better able to face our problems. Read on. [A version of this feature appeared in The Morning Call, Dec. 31, 2012.]
• Nature, Beauty, Gratitude ... Excellent, illustrated 10-minute TED-talk by Louie Schwartzberg here.
• Why, God? ... [NYTimes, Maureen Dowd] A contemporary theologian has described mercy as “entering into the chaos of another.” Read it all.
• 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.
• Holy Women, Holy Men ... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• Enough ... [From Sam Portaro's blog on CREDO] It’s a profoundly spiritual practice to acknowledge and affirm when enough truly is enough. Here.
• Daily Episcopalian ... An Episcopal Café blog. Commentary on our Church and Communion as well as feature articles on theology, peace and justice initiatives and poplular culture. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... An Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Pray-As-You-Go ... [Irish Jesuits] Beautifully-done, 10-13-minute daily reflections for your MP3 player. Here.
• Bishop's School, Spring Semester 2013 ... At St. Stephen's Whitehall, beginning Jan. 12. Here.
• New Bethany Ministries ... [Morning Call] Christmas breakfast. Eight photos.
• James William Caskey, 91, husband of Dolores for 65 years, died Dec. 21. He was an Army Air Force fighter pilot in World War II, retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, former director of financial aid for Moravian College, long-time Bethlehem resident. An active member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Bethlehem, Jim and Dolores served as volunteers in Trinity Soup Kitchen for 20 years. Burial will take place in Arlington National Cemetery. A Memorial Service will be announced. May the angels lead him into Paradise. Obituary here.
• Jane T. Arrington, 86, mother of the Rev. Jane Arrington Bender (All Saints, Lehighton) died on Saturday, Dec. 15. Obituary here. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
• The Rev. Randall Clinton Giddings, 91, retired priest of the Episcopal Church, died on December 16. Father Giddings, born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania April 27, 1921, was graduated from Keystone Academy, Lehigh University, The Episcopal Divinity School; he also received certificates from Christ Church College, Canterbury, Kent, England and Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. He began his ministry in 1937 as a Lay Preacher at four Mission Churches in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Obituary here.
• Four new deacons ... On Friday, the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Bishop Paul ordained 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) to the order of deacon.
• William Edmund Reinholz, RIP ... The father of newly ordained Deacon Andrew Reinholz died at his home in Berks County. A funeral liturgy was celebrated St. Thomas, Morgantown, on Friday. Please pray for the repose of William's soul and for all who mourn him. May the Christ Child's peace be theirs. Thank you. +Paul – Obituary here.
• 12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [Bishop Paul] I hope that as we turn our eyes toward the manger, each heart is touched and each eye moistens just a bit as we recall the scene of Christ's entry into the world for us. The Twelve Days of Christmas, from the 25th December right up to Epiphany, are the historic time for Christians to give gifts, just as the three Magi came from afar to bring gifts to the Christ Child. I write to ask for a particularly holy gift for children who live in unimaginable poverty, children who enter the world with about the same advantages the infant Jesus had. We will once again be the wise ones to assist them. For some years now, it has been our custom to make an appeal throughout the diocese for the children of Kajo-Keji, our sister diocese in Southern Sudan. We help them primarily through education. There are opportunities at every level to be of assistance. Your parishes have received a .pdf flyer with the details. I commend this effort to you, and ask you to help make a difference in the lives of children. Thank you, and God bless you, every one. +Paul [Details on our web site.]
• 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.
• Easton ... [Canon Andrew Gerns, rector of Trinity Easton, written on the 30th anniversary of his ordination to priesthood] Where you see one set ofj footprints is where I carried you ... that long groove is where I dragged you kicking and screaming. Read on.
• Former Grace Allentown rector featured in architectural journal for award-winning design ... [GTS News] Father Patrick Malloy, professor of Liturgy and associate dean of General Seminary, is featured in the new issue of Faith & Form, the quarterly journal of the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA), part of The American Institute of Architects, for his leadership of the award-winning liturgical renovation of Grace Church in Allentown, PA. IFRAA will bestow the 2012 Religious Art & Architecture award next June in Denver, Colorado. Grace Church’s project was chosen in the Liturgical/Interior Design category for the 2008-2009 renovation of its worship space, for which Dean Malloy, then rector of the parish, was both the liturgical consultant and “general contractor.” Founded in 1978, the annual IFFRA awards honor the best in architecture, liturgical design, and art for religious spaces. Read on.
• Midnight theft at Christ Church Reading ... [WFMZ-TV] During or just before Christmas Midnight Mass, a thief broke into the basement choir room and stole gifts wrapped intended for choir members. Story and video here. The video includes a few nice comments about the work of Christ Church in the community.
• 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)
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• 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.
• From nuns to 'nones' – 10 ways religion shaped the news in 2012 ... [RNS] An excellent review. Read it here. Don't miss the revolving pics. Unless I missed something, the only reference to TEC, Episcopalians or the Anglican Communion was a brief mention of the election of a new ABC. Good or bad?
• Evangelism: Following Jesus ... [Jason Evans, Episcopal Diocese of Washington] You may have noticed that what I’m proposing is basic communication skills. It’s not all that radical. Our unease with the subject of evangelism simply skews what most of us can do quite well in other conversations. Listening well to others, attempting to understand their perspective and communicating in a coherent manner–these are practices we are accustomed to. I work from the assumption that we are interested in relationships with others. Relationships take time. We are all put off by utilitarian efforts at relationships. We can’t expect anything less from others. Read on.
• Wounded Knee massacre: Treaty broken for gold ... [Writer's Almanac] December 29 was the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, which took place in South Dakota in 1890. Though it wasn't really a battle, federal soldiers killed almost 300 men, women, and children. The famous medicine man Black Elk, wounded at Wounded Knee, said in 1932: "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream." Read on.
• Laws of Physics Can't Trump Bonds of Love ... [NYTimes] Jeffrey Wright is well known around his high school in Louisville, Ky., for his antics as a physics teacher, which include exploding pumpkins, hovercraft and a scary experiment that involves a bed of nails, a cinder block and a sledgehammer. But it is a simple lecture — one without props or fireballs — that leaves the greatest impression on his students each year. The talk is about Mr. Wright’s son and the meaning of life, love and family. Here. Don't miss the amazing video. [h/t Larry Holman]
• Tornado rips through historic Trinity Church in Mobile ... [Alabama Media Group] The roof to the sanctuary at Trinity Episcopal Church on Dauphin Street in Midtown Mobile was completely ripped off during tornado ... Established as Mobile's second Episcopalian church in 1845, the congregation voted to move to its current location from downtown in 1945. The church was moved brick by brick, according to its website, to keep its Gothic Revival architecture intact. The church was badly damaged during 1979's Hurricane Frederick. There was a hole in the roof, bashed-in windows, and the spire needed repair. Trinity underwent major renovations in 2010, including a new roof and brick work. More here.
• The Emperor's New Clothes ... [USA Today] Cartoon. [h/t Larry Holman]
• A Search for Light amid dark tidings ... [NCR Editorial] The silencing of academics -- through direct edict or by intimidation -- is most worrying and must be looked at seriously. The level of fear among the academic community, especially the theologians, is the highest we have ever seen. We fear that we are losing our best Catholic thinkers. This would be a shameful waste that ultimately will harm us all. But these are only examples of high-profile cases and individuals. In the shadows of darkness, there are many more stories. The silenced live among us. Every day at the NCR editorial offices we receive phone calls, emails and letters from people who are afraid: high school and religious education teachers who are afraid to talk openly in class. Pastoral workers unsure of how to respond to an edict from the chancery or the pastor. Ecumenical relationships built up over years severed by a single decree. Threats to withhold Communion from people used to come in four-year cycles and involved a politician. Now we're hearing stories about people denied sacraments because they are gay or support women's ordination. Is this the church we want to live in? The answer must be a resounding no. Such a church will dwindle into insignificance. Amid the shadows and darkness, however, some church leaders are shining lights. Read on.
• Have your commercials CALMed down? ... [FCC.gov] Has CALM lowered the volume of commercials on your TV? Read on.
• Coffee with Jesus ... From Radio Free Babylon. The whole set of cartoons. "Join Lisa, Carl, Ann and Kevin as they sip the hot liquid hope with the Saviour." Here. [h/t Episcopal Café] Michelle Franci-Donnay writes at her Quantum Theology blog about how the cartoons often bring her up short about living her faith.
• ABC Rowan Williams: It is the religious who are often threatened by Jesus ... [Ekklesia] "You should never open the New Testament without remembering that the religious experts and the Temple hierarchy are the ones who see Jesus as their enemy. They don’t want to be interrupted, to stop and see. Read on.
• Deeply impoverished without fiction ... My professional life as an English teacher and literacy specialist would be deeply impoverished without fiction, and it comes as no surprise to me when my students find more truth resonating in novels than in news broadcasts. More here. [h/t Ann Fontaine at Episcopal Café]
• 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.
• Retrenchment in the Philadelphia Archdiocese ... [CBS] It was a rough year for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which had to sell off several valuable properties, lay off employees, and fold the Catholic Standard and Times newspaper after 117 years of publishing — all to close a $17-million budget deficit. More here.
• Küng still resists the 'Roman Inquisition' ... [NCR] This is the first in a series of articles, a joint reporting project by NCR and GlobalPost.com, examining the background and the principal players in the Vatican's investigations of U.S. women religious. Here.
• A New Inquisition: The Vatican targets Nuns ... [NCR] This is the second in a series of articles, a joint reporting project by NCR and GlobalPost.com, examining the background and the principal players in the Vatican's investigations of U.S. women religious. 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.
Calendar of Events/The Episcopal Church ... Here.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... November and December issues of Canon Kitch's newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources.
• Forward Movement ... News and Notes, November.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• 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.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... 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 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. 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]