January 28, 2013
Published weekly, on Monday
• Living the Gospel: Churches unite to shelter homeless ... [The Morning Call] That's the headline of a front-page story in today's Morning Call that is mainly about the Cathedral (Thursday night) and St. Andrew's (Friday night) who welcome the homeless in from the cold overnight. As an old communication person, I think first of what a wonderful piece of evangelism; it is not so wonderful, however, that homelessness and people freezing nearly to death are a reality right in our own backyard. Nevertheless, here are a few excerpts:
Subhead: Volunteers at rotating sites provide those in need hot meals and a warm place to stay during the winter.
The story opens: When the nights are frigid as they have been lately, it's not unusual for the overlow of homeless men taking shelter at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church parish hall on Fridays to wind up sleeping in the church itself, clustered near the altar. To the Rev. T. Scott Allen, who preaches from that spot on Sundays, that image is the living embodiment of his message. "It's what we do on Friday night that gives us the privilege to do what we do on Sunday morning," Allen said. "The Gospel is about the good news for the poor. If we're not doing that, we're not doing what we are called to do as Christians." ...
Organizers say the revolving shelter, known as Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering, is on track to exceed the number of homeless served each winter since it started in January 2009. ... "A lot of them are working poor," Allen said. "They have a cellphone but they don't have a place to live." ...
"Homelessness is a complex issue and the people who are homeless are homeless for a variety of reason," said the Rev. Anthony R. Pompa, dean and rector of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. ... Most days [some] end up at the Bethlehem Area Public Library to get warm and use the computers for job searches and diversion. Some go to New Bethany Ministries for a shower and to Trinity Episcopal Soup Kitchen for lunch. "If it wasn't for the organization of churches in Northampton County, we'd be dead," one said. ...
Most churches take one night a week but West Side Moravian feeds and houses homeless women Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Story, photos and video here. [You might not be able to access this online because The Morning Call has begun to enforce its paywall. Try it.]
• Profile of Justin Welby: from mammon to man of God ... [The Observer, UK] After his enthronement next week, the new archbishop of Canterbury faces several divisive issues within his church. He will need all his smart business skills – honed while an oil executive – to unite the worldwide Anglican communion. Read on.
• Need help preparing tax returns? ... [IRS] Do you need help preparing your tax return? Learn about the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. VITA Program: If you make $51,000 or less, IRS-certified volunteers can inform you about tax credits for which you may qualify, and prepare a basic tax return with electronic filing. TCE Program: If you are 60 years of age or older, you may qualify for free tax help from IRS-certified volunteers who specialize in issues that pertain to seniors. There are thousands of locations across the United States where you can get free tax help through the VITA and TCE programs.
• A sudden breakthrough on immigration reform? ... [Episcopal Café] One day before President Barack Obama is to announce his plans for reforming the nation's immigration laws, a bipartisan package of reforms is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. Read on.
• Gospel of Intolerance ... [NYTimes] The filmmaker Roger Ross Williams reveals how money donated by American evangelicals helps to finance a violent antigay movement in Uganda. Raised in Pennsylvania, I grew up in the black church. My father was a religious leader in the community, and my sister is a pastor. I went to church every Sunday and sang in the choir. But for all that the church gave me — for all that it represented belonging, love and community — it also shut its doors to me as a gay person. That experience left me with the lifelong desire to explore the power of religion to transform lives or destroy them. I became interested in Uganda, an intensely religious country that attracts many American missionaries and much funding from United States faith-based organizations. The American evangelical movement in Africa does valuable work in helping the poor. But as you’ll see in this Op-Doc video, some of their efforts and money feed a dangerous ideology that seeks to demonize L.G.B.T. people and intensifies religious rhetoric until it results in violence. It is important for American congregations to hold their churches accountable for what their money does in Africa. Read on and view.
• How to love a friend who is sick ... [Episcopal Café] We are all called to offer pastoral care to sick friends, loved ones and in our parishes, sometimes to folks we don't know well. It's important to be positive, not maudlin, and to consider what would really be most appreciated. Carepages.com offers some practical suggestions. Here.
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP. 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.
• 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.
• Spiritually literate films of 2012 ... [Spirituality and Practice] Here.
• On DVD ... [Spirituality and Practice] Here.
• Spiritual Literacy blog ... [Frederic Brussat] Reading the book of the world as revealed through articles and images available on the Internet. Here.
• Archdeacon Stringfellow's is on sabbatical ... began Jan. 24. Here.
• Living the Gospel: Churches unite to shelter homeless ... See above, under TopSpin.
• 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 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. 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 (CindyBowlby@gmail.com, 610-760-2170.
• More about shelter in Bethlehem... [Scott Allen, writing on Bakery, Jan. 3] The Cathedral and St. Andrew's offered the first overnight shelter in this recent history and we are going on our 5th year I believe. It is definitely harder this year as we have had over 30 men each Friday night (last week 45) which greatly taxes our human and material resources. But no one has suggested we stop doing it!
• Montessori School in Allentown celebrates 20 years of diversity ... [The Morning Call, Libby House] Did you know Maria Montessori's first classroom, Casa del Bambini
(House of Children), was founded in 1907 in a tenement in Rome? The
first Italian woman to receive a medical degree, Montessori started her
school with 50 poor children living in a slum and successfully taught
them, using her method based on the belief that each child has within
his or her own potential that can be developed fully when allowed to
work independently, with great educational materials and help from
highly trained teachers. News of her school quickly spread throughout
the world, as did the highly respected Montessori Method. While
most people think of Montessori schools as located in leafy suburban
locales or cosmopolitan areas, did you know that a very successful
Montessori School has been operating in inner-city Allentown for the
past 20 years? A Montessori School in downtown, drawing families with
children from all over the Lehigh Valley? Read on. Also here.
• Ash Wednesday ... February 13
• Renewal Assembly VII ... February 16 at multiple locations across the Diocese. Registration and more info here.
• Diocesan Training Day ... March 9 at St. Stephen's, Wilkes-Barre. Here. Registration will open online January 20.
• Chrism Mass ... March 21 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, 11 a.m.
• Christophany ... April 19-21 at Pocono Plateau Retreat Center in Cresco. Online registration opens March 1.
• Diocesan Evangelism and Stewardship Conference ... May 18 at St. Stephen's W-B.
• 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.
• Watch the Super Bowl on the big screen at the Cathedral ... February 3, 6:00 p.m., Sayre Hall. Stay until halftime or later. Benefits our Journey to Adulthood 2014 Pilgrims. Tickets will be available for sale in the lobby of Sayre Hall on Sundays from 9:30-10:45. $10 for Adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. Includes big game, snacks, dinner and nonalcoholic beverages. More info? Call Karen Kitabwalla at 610-366-9898 or the church office at 610-865-0727.
• Allentown/Bethlehem ... Social ministries at St. Andrew's. Here.
• Bethlehem ... Social ministries at Trinity. Here.
• Easton ... Social ministries at Trinity. Here.
• Forest City ... Social ministries at Christ Church. Here.
• Hellertown ... Social ministries at St. George's. Here.
• Reading ... Social ministries at Christ Church. Here.
• West Pittston ... Social ministries at Trinity. Here.
• Wilkes-Barre ... Social ministries at St. Stephen's. Here.
[Highlighting parish social ministries will be a continuing item.
Corrections and additions are welcome.]
• The shelter at Grace Church Honesdale ... [WYOU-TV, Wilkes-Barre] Grace Church Honesdale is opening its doors to help the homeless during this brutal cold snap. The church has 20 cots available. They have been opening their doors for three years... and have helped many people over the years. "The church is heated, the lights are on and we might as well make use of it in some good way to help the community," said Father Ed Erb. When the weather warrants, the emergency shelter will be open from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. People can stop by to get warm soup, drinks, or even spend the night and get a hot breakfast in the morning. Here.
• Recovery Sunday at Mediator Allentown, Feb. 3 ... [Jo Trepagnier] Mediator will host a Recovery Sunday – 8:00 and 10:15 – and we invite all who struggling with addictions, who are part of a 12-step program, who care for someone struggling with addiction or who want to learn more about Christianity and the 12-steps. We will highlight the ministry of AA and the courage and strength of those in recovery from addictions. Alexander W., who worships at a neighboring Episcopal church, will share his story with us in place of the sermon at our services. Leaders of the AA groups that meet at Mediator will discuss AA, its history, philosophy and spirituality at our Adult Forum at 9:00. Our service will include Prayers for Healing. More information is available here, under Canon Tjeltveit’s message.
• Musical events at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... Here.
• Evensong at St. Gabriel's Douglassville ... [Fredrick Bahr, Organist/Choirmaster] As we did to mark the beginning of Advent, St. Gabriel’s Choir will sing Evensong (sung Evening Prayer) on Sunday, February 17, at 5:00 p.m. to mark the First Sunday in Lent. The service will feature the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in E by John Rutter, and the exquisitely beautiful anthem, Hear My Prayer, by Mendelssohn with our own Julie Eurillo as soloist.
• Note to parishes ... Post news summaries and links on Bakery or send them to Bill.
• Calendar of Events ... Here and Here.
• Alice Vivian Pease, 77 ... formerly of Montrose, former wife of the late Father Henry Pease, died on December 28. A memorial service will be held January 30 at 12:00 noon at St. Paul's, Montrose. Find her obituary here. Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Episcopal Church Website ... ENS blog ... Episcopal Web Radio ... Episcopal Church on Facebook ... YouTube ... Twitter ... foursquare ... and Linked-In ...
• Anglican Communion Website ... News Service. ... and News Service on Facebook.
• PBS series depicts American abolitionists as fired by faith ... [RNS and PBS] As the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, PBS premieres The Abolitionists, a three-part series. Part three: Jan. 22. Documentarian Rob Rapley, the writer and director of the series, talked with Religion News Service about the role religion played in the lives of the abolitionists. Documentarian Rob Rapley, the writer and director of the series, talked with Religion News Service about the role religion played in the lives of the abolitionists. Read on. Premiering on PBS January 8, 15 & 22, 2013. Abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation. More here. Dive deeper and catch up here.
• The Joe Biden of the Episcopal Church ... [RNS] “He’s like the Joe Biden of the Episcopal Church. He has the personality and respect that can bring people together.” - The Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest at All Saint’s Church in Pasadena, Calif., Pasadena, describing the Very Rev. Gary Hall, the new dean of Washington National Cathedral, who previously worked at her church. She was quoted by The Washington Post.
• A contemplative child-and-dog moment ... Here.
• Catholicism's Curse ... [Frank Bruni, NYTimes Op-Ed] “I have nothing against priests,” writes Garry Wills in his provocative new book, “Why Priests? A Failed Tradition,” and I’d like at the outset to say the same. During a career that has included no small number of formal interviews and informal conversations with them, I’ve met many I admire, men of genuine compassion and remarkable altruism, more dedicated to humanity than to any dogma or selective tradition. But while I have nothing against priests, I have quite a lot against an institution that has done a disservice to them and to the parishioners in whose interests they should toil. I refer to the Roman Catholic Church, specifically to its modern incarnation and current leaders, who have tucked priests into a cosseted caste above the flock, wrapped them in mysticism and prioritized their protection and reputations over the needs and sometimes even the anguish of the people in the pews. I have a problem, in other words, with the church’s arrogance, a thread that runs through Wills’s book, to be published next month; through fresh revelations of how assiduously a cardinal in Los Angeles worked to cover up child sexual abuse; and through the church’s attempts to silence dissenters, including an outspoken clergyman in Ireland who was recently back in the news. Read on.
• Eyes Wide Shut: 'Going Clear,' Lawrence Wright's book on Scientology ... [NYTimes Sunday Book Review] That crunching sound you hear is Lawrence Wright bending over backward to be fair to Scientology. Every deceptive comparison with Mormonism and other religions is given a respectful hearing. Every ludicrous bit of church dogma is served up deadpan. This makes the book’s indictment that much more powerful. Open almost any page at random. That tape of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder, that Wright quotes from? “It was a part of a lecture Hubbard gave in 1963, in which he talked about the between-lives period, when thetans are transported to Venus to have their memories erased.” Oh, that period. Of course. How could I forget? We are all thetans, spirits, trapped temporarily in our current particular lives. Elsewhere, though, Hubbard says that when a thetan discovers that he is dead, he should report to a “‘between-lives’ area” on Mars for a “forgetter implant.” Read on.
• 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.
• 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.
• Resources to help and/or welcome the mentally ill into community life ... [R. Jane Williams] There is lots of discussion these days (post-Newtown) about mental illness and the need to diagnose and treat it (and I'm hearing a bit of stigma attached to some of the conversation about the role of mental illness in shootings). Here are a couple of resources I have found to be helpful to clergy and lay people who want to find ways to work through their parish in some way to help and/or welcome the mentally ill into community life: (1) This comes from the Church Health Reader produced by the Church Health Center -- the Church Health Center is in Memphis and a is a tremendous model of the religious community and health professionals working together to provide resources to the working poor who lack health insurance. Just an aside -- the Church Health Center comes and gives workshops in other communities who are interested in their model for their community. (2) Another Resource re: clergy/parishes/the mentally ill is www.pathways2promise.org. Excellent resources for all kinds of issues and encounters.
• Gross grocery bags ... [Real Age] You're trying to do your bit to save the planet by using eco-friendly grocery bags, but if you don't clean those reusable totes frequently and properly, you may be putting your family's health at risk for contracting nasty food-borne illnesses, such as salmonella, listeria, and E.coli O157:H7. A new survey shows that only 15% of Americans regularly wash their reusable grocery bags. Here.
• Take time to pray, meditate and enjoy nature ... [Milton Carrero, The Morning Call] There have been some exceptions, but the healthiest and happiest people I've interviewed take time to pray, meditate and enjoy nature. This affects their mood and the way they relate with others. So as you seek to become healthier this year, take time to dwell within to find that spiritual center in which ever way you choose. Read on. I've noticed lately that whenever I see Milton Carrero's byline I take a look further. Here's another and another.
• National Episcopal Health Ministries ... [Diana Marshall] The brochure for the conference, May 9-11, can be downloaded here. More info here.
• New strain of Norovirus is circulating in the U.S. ... [TIME] Piggybacking off this year’s influenza epidemic, a new strain of the highly contagious norovirus has reached the U.S. from Australia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
that the new norovirus strain, called GII.4 Sydney, is currently the
leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. and accounted for 58%
of cases of the infection in December. Often confused with the stomach flu because of its contemporaneous
circulation with influenza during winter months, norovirus causes 21
million cases of illness, often involving severe vomiting and diarrhea;
70,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S.; and 800 deaths. While
influenza is a respiratory illness, norovirus, which comes in five
forms, favors the stomach and intestinal tract, causing inflammation of
tissues that leads to pain,
nausea, as well as diarrhea and vomiting. According to the CDC, about
51% of the cases in the U.S. were caused by person-to-person
transmission and 20% resulted from contaminated food. Most infections
occur in places where large numbers of people are gathered, such as schools, nursing homes and cruise ships, where the virus can pass easily from host to host. Read on.
• Seriously: Wash your hands ... [Diana Marshall] “While hand sanitizers kill the flu virus, they are not effective at getting rid of the norovirus. Medical experts suggest washing your hands with soap and water repeatedly to keep the norovirus off them." Read on.
• Resources for caregivers ... Here. • Medline Plus ... Here. • WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For the people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg ... Here.
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here.
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here.
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• When 'Spiritual but not Religious' is not enough ... [Religion&Ethics interview with Lillian Daniel] Here.
• Serendipity ... [The Writer's Almanac] On this day in 1754, the word "serendipity" was first coined. It's defined by Merriam-Webster as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." It was recently listed by a U.K. translation company as one of the English language's 10 most difficult words to translate. Read on.
Calendar of Events/The Episcopal Church ... Here.
• How does the American Taxpayer Relief Act affect you? ... [USA.gov] President Obama signed the ATRA on January 2, 2013. This new law addresses many of the "fiscal cliff" policies that were debated by Congress at the end of 2012. Learn about the law and how it could affect you.
• Alban Institute's top ten articles of 2012 ... Here.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... January issue of Canon Kitch's newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• 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]