newSpin, the newsletter
February 11, 2013
Published on Monday
Occasionally, abbreviated, also on Thursday
• B16 to step down Feb. 28 ... [NYTimes] Pope Benedict XVI, 85, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who took office in 2005, said on Monday that he will retire Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in six centuries, citing deteriorating health."I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry." Read on. More at National Catholic Reporter. Also, Legacy full of ups and downs by John Allen. And at Episcopal Café. Reactions at Episcopal Café. According to The Guardian, UK, "the end of a sad and storm-tossed eight-year papacy." Also at The Guardian, pressing matters awaiting his successor. And, resources for journalists, for covering the historic event. Making book on who will be the next pope. Finally, Andrew Brown, writing in The Guardian: "In Benedict's resignation statement can be seen an implied rebuke to his predecessor, who argued that clinging to life and power for as long as possible was itself a form of witness to Christ's suffering.
• I saw you kneeling there ... [Bishop Paul Marshall's reflection on Ash Wednesday] As you look at the people around you in worship (and that’s OK to do!), let your imagination go and see if one of the gifts of Lent isn’t increased empathy and prayer for those who stand around the table with us. See if the other gift is not a greater sense of our own belonging to the human community that Christ came to redeem. Here.
• Diocesan Training Day ... Saturday, March 9, at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. More info here. Register online here.
• DioBeth Missioner for Communication and Congregational Renewal ... A new full-time position in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Download the job description and details on submission.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's February newsletter on Christian formation ... Here.
• Mistakes on your credit report ... [CBS] More than 40 million people have mistakes on their credit reports. Some 20 million have significant mistakes. A 60 Minutes segment, broadcast last night, and 60 Minutes overtime indicate that's it has been practically impossible to correct those mistakes at any of the big three reporting agencies. Check your report free at annualcreditreport.com. Don't buy the "checking services" you see advertised on TV, even if they suggest "free."
• Lent Madness: Who will win the Golden Halo? ... [USA Today] The website LentMadness.org invites people to play along with a tournament of saints and learn their stories, virtues and foibles. USA Today story here.
• Busted Halo for Lent ... Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the Busted Halo's calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Fast, pray and give on.
• Feeding and Fasting ... Reflections for the Lenten season from CREDO. Here. Four different authors drawn from the diverse CREDO faculty write in prose and poetry about the season of Lent. Through their unique voices and reflection styles, Joe Chambers, Bud Holland, Molly O'Dell, and Winnie Varghese explore Feeding and Fasting. Available in both text and audio; some reflections will end with questions to ponder and some will conclude with a suggested practice.
• Online Lenten retreats ... [NCR] Here.
• Lenten resources at DioBeth sites ... Here and Here.
• Episcopal Church offers Lenten resources, meditations ... [ENS] 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.
• Disaster preparedness training sessions ... [John Major] At last year’s diocesan convention, the delegates approved a resolution calling for every parish in the diocese to establish a disaster preparedness plan and put that plan on file in their church office and the diocesan office by the end of 2013. With almost daily news reports of wildfires, floods, tornados, heat waves, freezes and an almost endless list of disasters affecting every part of this world, it’s easy to see why a preparedness plan is a good idea. But the thought of actually creating one might be daunting.
It doesn’t have to be. Drawing on years of experience helping parishes throughout the world deal with disasters of every sort, Episcopal Relief & Development has created a program our parishes can use to create a disaster plan customized to the resources and abilities of each parish that will prepare that congregation to handle the disasters most likely to affect its area.
Twelve parishes in the diocese have completed a short workshop on the Episcopal Relief & Development program and are on their way to creating their disaster plans. Four more workshops are scheduled. One will be held as part of Diocesan Training Day on March 9 at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre. The others will be held on April 27, August 17 and October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (including Noon Prayer and lunch) at St. George’s Regional Disaster Recovery & Outreach Center in Nanticoke. Registration for the March 9 workshop will be through the Training Day registration process. Registrations can be made for the April, August and October workshops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you will join us for one of these four workshops to learn how to create a preparedness plan and about the many resources available through Episcopal Relief & Development. If you have any questions about Episcopal Relief & Development, the workshops or disaster preparedness, please email us at the above address.
• Renewal Assembly VII ... February 16 at multiple locations across the Diocese. Last chance to sign up. Online registration and more info here.
• Diocesan Training Day ... March 9 at St. Stephen's, Wilkes-Barre. Here. Register online.
• 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.
• A Year in the Life of Trinity Easton ... The video, "A Year in the Life of Trinity 2012," served at the recent annual meeting as the rector's report to the people of Trinity Easton. It is on the Trinity website. Watch it here.
• Organ concert with Ken Cowan in Wilkes-Barre ... On Sunday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m., St. Stephen’s will celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the dedication of the Berghaus pipe organ with a concert by renowned organist Ken Cowan. Read on. [N.B. It's Sunday, March 10, not Saturday.]
• Women's Renewal Weekend ... [Cathedral] Friday, April 12 ~ Sunday, April 14. Bryn Mawr Mountain Retreat Center, Honesdale PA. Please join us for a weekend of renewal of body, mind and spirit. This is an opportunity for women to relax, share time with other women of faith, journey spiritually, renew ourselves. For more information contact: Tracy Eisenreich at 610-217-9662 or call the church office at 610-865-0727.• 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.
Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Simplifying the process towards women bishops in the CofE ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] An advisory group set up by the House of Bishops in the Church of England has proposed a streamlined process to move along legislation for women bishops. Read on.
• 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.
• DioBeth Missioner for Communication and Congregational Renewal ... A new full-time position in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Download the job description and details on submission.
• Boy Scouts on the wrong side of history ... [The Morning Call, Bill White] Their traditional position — that gay people aren't fit to be Scout leaders or to be Scouts at all — increasingly is under fire, as it should be, because it's a relic from a time of much different attitudes. The organization has delayed until May a vote on whether to end the controversial ban and let local units decide for themselves. Even that concession will fall short for those who feel the doors should be open everywhere. Read on.
• Faith of the Founders ... [ReligionLink] America’s Founding Fathers serve as patriarchs of the nation’s civil religion, but also as flashpoints in debates about faith in U.S. society. The Presidents Day holiday spotlights this enduring focus on religion and the nation’s leaders – then and now – a theme running through recent books and movies, and in ongoing arguments about church and state. Read more.
How the Internet reinforces inequality in the real world ... [The Atlantic Cities] Here.
• The NRA's enemies list ... [CNN] Question: What do George Clooney, Chaka Khan, the American Medical Association, Bon Jovi and C. Everett Koop have in common? Answer: They are among the 500 names on the National Rifle Association's absurd new "enemies list." Read on.
• Relax! You'll be more productive ... [NYTimes] Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less, The New York Times reports. New research shows that strategic renewal -- like daytime workouts, afternoon naps, and longer, more frequent vacations -- boosts productivity, job performance and health.
• Love makes bearable the beak of winter ... A column by Barbara Crafton. Here.
• What could be more New York ... (RNS) "A Polish Jew in an Episcopal graveyard in a largely Dominican neighborhood. What could be more New York?" [New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking of his late predecessor Ed Koch, who was buried at Trinity Church Cemetery. He was quoted by USA Today.]
• Editorial: On HHS mandate, the RC bishops' fight is with themselves ... [National Catholic Reporter] Under the new rules, women who work at exempt (or accommodated, in the rule’s language) organizations can obtain contraceptive coverage from a plan administrator who will be reimbursed via the exchanges being set up by the Affordable Care Act. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, has argued in a response to the new rules that such a provision still means that all employees, even of church ministries, will ultimately have access to contraceptives. That is a bit like arguing that all drug stores should close because the Catholic church objects to contraceptives. More here. And more by Andrew Gerns at Episcopal Café. More by Lisa Miller, On Faith at WaPo. Also, by Margaret Carlson, "U.S. Catholic bishops have a lot to worry about: the gunning down of children; 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of them Catholic; a warming planet; a chilly economy. Instead they’ve spent the last year obsessed with contraception."
• Tired of 'growing the church' ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Café] Here.
• Ralph Reed's big gothic straw man ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Café] Ralph Reed and the Faith and Freedom Foundation is circulating an online petition seeking to stop alleged federal funding to the National Cathedral if they marry same-sex couples. Of course, the Cathedral receives no federal funding...and what about freedom of religion Mr. Reed? 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.
• Flu Situation 2013 ... Here. • 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.
• Earth from Space ... [PBS] "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. 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. Also at Salon.com.
• 'Beyond Belief,' niece of Scientologist leader tells all ... [The Daily Beast] Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, grew up with the organization and spent most of her life as a member. That is, until she escaped at age 21. In Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Insie Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, which was released Feb. 5, Miscavige Hill recalls her life as a member of Sea Org, the church’s most devoted core group, describing what it was like to be sent away as a child to receive an education in Scientology, the manual labor she says she was forced to perform, the coercion she says she faced from officials throughout her life, and what drove her to break away. Read on.
• The British Invasion ... [The Writer's Almanac] On February 9, 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, as teenage girls screamed hysterically in the audience and 73 million people watched from home — a record for American television at the time. Here.
• Sundance Film Festival captures human experience ... [NCR, Sister Rose Pacatte] In this year's Sundance Film Festival, the first I've attended, women made half of the approximately 200 films screened. This is a milestone even for a festival that has celebrated independent filmmaking from its beginning in the early 1980s. Read on.
• I AM, the documentary ... Hollywood filmmaker Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty) sold his Beverly Hills home, gave away most of his money and made Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn the stars of his latest documentary film, I AM. The film seeks to identify the sources of and solutions to human suffering.
• 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.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
Calendar of Events/The Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here. A strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a force for justice, compassion and the common good.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... 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.
• 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]