April 15, 2013 Damien and Marianne of Molokai ... God of compassion, we bless
your Name for the ministries of Damien and Marianne, who ministered to
the lepers abandoned on Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands. Help us,
following their examples, to be bold and loving in confronting the
incurable plagues of our time, that your people may live in health and
hope; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and
reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Published on Monday
Occasionally, abbreviated, also on Thursday
• The new St. Alban's in Sinking Spring ... [Reading Eagle] When it comes to the miracle of growing a church community, parishioners and leaders at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Spring Township, could write the book. They know all about the old real estate mantra: "It's about location, location, location!" "St. Alban's was established as a mission church in the suburbs back in 1963," said Clemson N. Page Jr., attorney and co-chairman of the church's fundraising committee that raised about two-thirds of the roughly $3 million for a major church reconstruction and expansion. Read on.
• A home at the shore or other vacation property? ... [Bill] Grace Montessori School, a 20-year-old ministry of Grace Episcopal Church, Allentown, will hold its 16th annual auction on Friday, April 26, to benefit children and families in need of scholarships. Part of the school’s mission is to provide scholarships to approximately 30 percent of the children, ages 3 to 10, enrolled. This year the scholarship fund has provided scholarships for 26 children. In past years, owners of shore and vacation houses have donated a week's rental to the auction. Do you have a home at the shore or other vacation property? If not, do you know anyone who does and might want to make this kind of tax deductible contribution to children who would not otherwise be able to benefit from a Montessori education? If so, please contact Libby House, executive director of the school, at 610-435-4060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (web site: www.gracemontessori.org)
• Linda Henry named vice chancellor ...
[Bishop Paul] After consultation with the Chancellor and leaders in the diocese, it is my privilege to appoint Linda Henry, Esq. as our Vice Chancellor. Linda has a long connection with our diocese at Trinity, Bethlehem, and has served for many years in a federal practice. Atty Henry is a person I trust and respect. I am sure that she and Chancellor Ty Welles will work together splendidly.
[Mother Laura Howell] This is happy news! From working with Linda Henry, LO!, these many years, I can testify that she is a person with a strong sense of responsibility, of deep faith, and an all around wonderful parishioner. She also knows Latin and Greek, and has a great sense of humor--at least one of these qualifications makes her great to work with. We are fortunate to have people like her in the Diocese.
[Bill] A "cradle" Episcopalian, Linda Henry was born and raised in Philadelphia. She attended the University of Pennsylvania on the "seven year" plan (received both undergrad and law degrees from Penn. After double majoring in French and English as an undergrad, she says it was law school or McDonalds. Sh has practiced for 30 years as a litigator for the federal government. Her office is based in Philadelphia, but the responsibilities of that office cover a five state region that includes Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
I have known Linda as a reader/writer on Bakery and, before that, Bethlehem of PA, where I have enjoyed her wit and insight. She regularly refers to the Philadelphia Inquirer as the Inky and to her husband as the spousal unit.
Linda has been a member of Trinity, Bethlehem for 20 years, "ever since I married spousal unit (Robert Phillips, professor of classics at Lehigh) and moved to Bethlehem." She has served on the vestry, as a delegate to Diocesan Convention, on the Personnel Committee and as a reader, chalice bearer and usher. She served on the Diocesan Canon Law Committee. She serves also as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, a non-profit organization that started as a ministry of Trinity.
Linda lives in Bethlehem "with the spousal unit, six cats and thousands of books. (I'm not kidding; we have that many books. In Greek, Latin, German, French and even occasionally English.)"
• Episcopal mom pleads for common sense gun legislation in President's radio address ... [Episcopal Café] Francine Wheeler, whose son Ben was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, pleaded for common sense legislation to reduce gun violence in the President's weekly radio address this morning. The Wheelers are members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut. Video here.
• Shannon Fund Scholarships ... [Father James Rinehart] College Scholarships for the daugthers of Episcopal clergy in Pennsylavania. Information on the scholarship fund is on the Trinity Pottsville website. Applications can be obtained by contacting Father Rinehart or Edna Rauco at Trinity. Deadline for recieving applications is April 30.
• Applications are now being accepted ... [Episcopal Church] for the 2013-2014 awarding of more than 60 scholarships from the Episcopal Church. Scholarships are available for ethnic communities, children of missionaries, bishops and clergy, and other particular wide-ranging eligibility for education and training. Read on.
• Pope Francis ... [NYTimes, Reuters] First big decision ... Pope Francis, in his first major decision, on Saturday set up an advisory board of cardinals from around the world to help him govern the Catholic Church and reform its troubled central administration. The eight cardinals will help him put into place changes in an administration which has been held responsible for some of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict before he resigned in February. [NCR, John Allen] Here. [RNS] Here. And John Allen has five thoughts on the G8.
• When God is your therapist ... [NYTimes Sunday Review Op-Ed, T.M.Luhrmann, with more than 200 comments] It had never occurred to me to think of God as a therapist when I began to spend time, 10 years ago, at an evangelical church in Chicago. Like many secular observers, I was interested in the fact that people like me seemed to experience reality in a fundamentally different manner. I soon came to realize that one of the most important features of these churches is that they offer a powerful way to deal with anxiety and distress, not because of what people believe but because of what they do when they pray. ...
This approach to the age-old problem of theodicy is not really available to mainstream Protestants and Catholics, who do not imagine a God so intimate, so loving, so much like a person. That may help to explain why it is evangelical Christianity that has grown so much in the last 40 years. It can seem puzzling that evangelical Christians sidestep the apparent contradiction of why bad things happen to good people. But for them, God is a relationship, not an explanation. This may seem theologically simple-minded — indeed, even some evangelical Christians find it so. But there are lots of ways to explain things in this sophisticated, scientifically aware society. What churches like these offer is a way of dealing with unhappiness. Tragedy, and prayers that apparently go unanswered, can actually strengthen believers’ sense of a bond with God. That’s when they feel that they most need Him. Read it all.
• How to be a friend to a friend who is sick ... [WSJournal, Op-Ed] Conversing with the ill can be awkward, but keeping a few simple commandments makes a huge difference. First of all, do no harm. What to say, what not to say. Read on.
• 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.
• Speaking to the Soul ... An Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Trinity Soup Kitchen serves more than 150 people daily ... [Marcie Lightwood, Trinity social worker] Trinity has been serving Bethlehem's most disadvantaged people for more than 32 years. We provide a hot meal with fresh fruit, salad, dessert, bread and main dish every weekday, even holidays. We get donations from area grocery stores, which we put out for folks to take home. Over the past five years, our numbers have gone from about 80 guests a day to more than 150 people every day now. Our contributions have stayed stable, but our costs are way up. We are $20,000 behind for this year, and we are looking for monetary help from area foundations. Due to the economy, so is everyone else. The guests also need non-food items, especially: Deodorant, Shampoo & conditioner, Body Wash/Soap, Disposable razors, Toilet paper, Diapers (mostly larger sizes), Women's sanitary supplies.
Drop items off at Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 E. Market Street. Everyone is welcome to eat with us; you may come and see this mission of mercy with your own eyes if you wish. We serve from 12 - 1 every weekday. Someone is at the church Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., and of course, on Sunday mornings. I also would be glad to come speak to any group in your congregation.
• For those who work with youth and young adults ... The debut (April) newsletter. Download it here.
• Changes in Health Insurance Coverage for all Clergy and Lay Employees of the Diocese of Bethlehem ... [The Diocesan Insurance Committee and the Archdeacon] We have been hearing for some time that the Episcopal Church's Medical Trust has been crafting a denominational health insurance plan. General Convention requires that we participate. The Diocese of Bethlehem is among the many dioceses that are part of this new initiative. The Diocesan Insurance Committee has been working with Church Pension Group for many months to design a plan that will give us excellent coverage at reduced costs, since the "pool" of people is now the whole church.
In the next few weeks, those of you who are already covered by the diocesan health insurance plan will be receiving a letter from CPG about your new plan, with instructions for enrolling dependents The new plan is scheduled to take effect June 1, 2013. Please keep watch for this letter, and act speedily, so we can get you all enrolled.
Parishes which are not now members of the diocesan plan will have the opportunity to join after we process current enrollees. All clergy and lay employees of the Diocese of Bethlehem who receive health insurance must be enrolled in the denominational health plan by the end of 2013. Much more information will be forthcoming.
• Disaster Preparedness Training ... April 27, 10:00 a.m., St. George's Regional Disaster and Recovery Center, Nanticoke. Registrations may be made for the workshop by emailing email@example.com.
• Stewardship and Evangelism Conference ... May 18, St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Here.
• St. Matthew's Society Annual Reception ... May 19, Lehigh Country Club, Allentown
• Vocare ... May 31 to June 2, Kirby House. Registration will open online on April 15 at diobeth.org. See "Jim Thorpe," below, under Parish Spin.
• 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.
• Jim Thorpe ... [Father John Wagner] We, at St. Mark’s and St. John’s, Jim Thorpe, had a powerful experience on Sunday, April 7. Patrick and Mary Boggs from Christ Church, Reading, made a presentation to our congregation on their faith walks and, in particular, how the Vocare experience had served them in their ministries. Vocare, for young adults from 18 to 30”ish”, is an opportunity for these young adults to meet together, share their experiences, and place tools in their toolbox for expanding their ministries. Mary will be serving as “Lay Rector” for this event. If any of you would like a member of the Vocare #3 (May 31st, June 1st, and 2nd at Kirby House) staff to address your congregations, please do drop me an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to pass that request along to the Vocare staff. Alternatively, please share any requests with Ellyn Siftar, Diocesan Missioner for Youth and Young Adult development.
• Reinvent or die ... [Tom Ehrich, RNS Commentary] Church is being reinvented. So are technology and education. And all for the same reasons. ... The reason: the marketplace is highly dynamic. New needs emerge. New products stimulate new needs. New entrants want to make a difference right away. Problems and opportunities multiply faster than bureaucratic pillars can respond. ...Many church leaders continue to believe that reinvention is an optional choice they can or cannot make. They think they can control the pace of change and shape its outcomes. Those attitudes are delusional. The reality is: reinvent or die. The pace of change is driven by external factors, not by earnest deliberations and visioning exercises. Read on.
Rest in peace
• McCandlish Phillips, a former reporter for The New York Times who wrote one of the most famous articles in the newspaper’s history — exposing the Orthodox Jewish background of a senior Ku Klux Klan official — before forsaking journalism to spread the Gospel, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 85. Here is the NYTimes obituary by Margaret Fox. Here is how Mark Silk parses and praises it.
• Jonathan Wintters ... An Episcopalian, he often helped support various ministries with his comic talents. Here and Here.
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.
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• Breaking bread with Matt Malone, SJ ... [NYTimes] Peace has not always reigned between the Vatican and America magazine, based in New York and once described by a former editor in chief, the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, as “the Catholic PBS.” Eight years ago, Father Reese was forced to resign because of Vatican displeasure with articles critical of church positions on sensitive matters like same-sex mariage. ... Across its 104 years, America has never had a chief editor as young as Father Matt Malone, who was 40 when appointed last June, the same month he was ordained as a priest after a decade of preparation. ... Jesuits elicit various reactions among Catholics, from a sunny belief that they are the brainiacs of the church to a darker view that they are grand conspirators, too clever by half. “Jesuitical” is not a word always said in admiration. But Father Malone cautioned against sweeping judgments: “There’s an old saying that if you’ve met one Jesuit, you’ve met one Jesuit.” ... “With many of the world’s most intractable problems,” he said, “a kind of radical love and forgiveness is the only solution.” Read on.
• Tell me who you are ... [FoxNews, Robert V. Taylor] It was a life-shifting question from South African social rights activist and Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu inviting me to tell him about my life – “Not what you’ve done, but who you are.” No one had ever asked me such a question before. Read on.
• Seminaries and the future ... [Sightings, Martin Marty] On scores of issues, how these religious leaders are trained—most of them are seminary graduates—has something, usually very much, to do with their exercise of ministry. Read on.
• It was on the night of April 14, 1912 ... [The Writer's Almanac] that the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on its way from Southampton, England, to New York City. The ship, on its maiden voyage and carrying more than 2,000 people, was designed with watertight compartments to withstand a head-on or side-impact collision. Instead, it scraped along the side of an iceberg for 10 seconds trying to avoid it, tearing open numerous separate compartments. The accident happened at 11:40 p.m.; less than an hour before, a nearby ship attempted to radio the Titanic to beware of ice ahead. The ship's wireless operator on duty, overwhelmed with his job of relaying personal messages to passengers, replied, "Shut up, shut up, I'm busy ..." Google "RMS Titanic" for more info than you'll ever want.
• OMG ... Richard Evans of St. Martin's tells us about the first use of OMG in a letter. Here.
• Man sues bishop for failing to exercise flatulent demons from his home ... [First Things] A Romanian lawyer is suing his local Orthodox bishop and four priests claiming they failed to properly exorcise flatulent demons that were forcing him out of his home. Sniff here. [h/t Religion Daily News]
• As they turn 150 ... [RNS] You might expect Adventists to celebrate their success while marking their church's 150th anniversary this May. There’s just one problem: the church wasn’t supposed to last this long. Back in the 1860s, the founders of Seventh-day Adventism preached that Jesus would return – and soon. Read on.
• Jackie Robinson ... [WSJournal, Chris Lamb] Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey first met Jackie Robinson on Aug. 28, 1945. Rickey told Robinson that he wanted to sign the 26-year-old ballplayer and break the national pastime's color barrier. But for him to succeed, Rickey said, Robinson couldn't respond to the indignities that would be piled on him: "I'm looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back." Rickey then opened a book published in the 1920s, Giovanni Papini's "Life of Christ," and read Jesus' words: "But whoever shall smite thee on the cheek, turn to him the other also." Robinson knew the Gospel and knew what was required of him. He replied, "I have two cheeks, Mr. Rickey. Is that it?" This meeting between the two Methodists, Rickey and Robinson, ultimately transformed baseball and America itself. Read on. [Bill] God got tired waiting for the churches to do something about racism, someone once quipped, so God went to major league baseball. [Episcopal Café] 42 and non-violent resistance.
• Are there required Christian beliefs? ... [Episcopal Café] It is commonly, and mistakenly, assumed that Christianity consists of a uniform set of fundamental beliefs. ... Some Christians insist that the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin is absolutely essential to being a Christian, while others consider that belief irrelevant and misguided. Some Christians assert that one cannot be saved without being baptized, others do not. There are conflicts over the meaning of the Trinity, the authority of the church, whether there is a heaven or a hell, whether there is an afterlife. There are great differences over the meaning of “accepting Jesus” and “being saved.” ... There have been many efforts to establish agreement among Christians concerning beliefs. It seems that we humans have a strong urge to seek uniformity of belief. Perhaps it is because we feel more secure when others believe as we do, ans we are troubled by those who challenge our beliefs. The need for other people to believe as one believes, and the fear of those whose beliefs differ, are powerful impulses. They have led to the redrawing of boundaries of communities and nations, to murder, and to religious wars. Read on.
• North Carolina minorities remain worried ... [RNS] A resolution to allow North Carolina to defy the Constitution and establish a state-sanctioned religion may be dead in the state capitol, but minority faiths say there’s more than enough reason to remain nervous. Read on.
• Interfaith unions: a mixed blessing ... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Naomi Schaeffer Riley] Before the 1960s, about 20 percent of married couples were in interfaith
unions; of couples married in this century’s first decade, 45 percent
were. (My definition includes Catholic-Protestant unions, marriages of
mainline Protestants to evangelical Christians, and unions of those who
affiliated with a religion and those who didn’t.) Here.
• Don't stop. You're okay ... Can you imagine that the bishop of the RC archdiocese of Detroit recently said that supporters of same-sex marriage should refrain from receiving Holy Communion, comparing it to perjury? On the other hand, a retired bishop of the same diocese said, "Don't stop going to communion. You're okay." More here.
• Calvin Klein clerical wear ... [Episcopal Café and Prairie Home Companion] Here.
• Communication newsletter (tips and tools) Here.
• UMC website Here.
• News Service Here.
• Communication Resources ... Start here.
• Eastern PA Conference website Here. Facebook Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
• Pro-gun Catholics clash with bishops' desire for firearm regulation ... [NCR] Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Dying is hard work ... [Morning Call, Milton Carrero] It’s a concept that I had not thought about until recently when I read Dr. Rick Boulay’s perspective on the deaths Mildred and Elwood Osman at a Lehigh Valley Hospital hospice room last month. “Wrapping up a lifetime’s worth of complex relationships and learnings is plenty of work,” wrote the Lehigh Valley Health Network oncologist in a letter to the editor published April 7 in the Morning Call. “Taking time to tell somebody how much they have meant to you, how much you’ve loved them while sharing a lifetime’s worth of memories is very important work. Making time to pass along decades of accumulated wisdom with your hopes and dreams to the next generation is very important work. Patching relationships run afoul by the ravages of quick tempers, misunderstandings and other nonsense is very important work. Reconciling your existence to yourself and your God: the things that we have done and left undone. All important work.” Read on.
• Getting a brain boost through exercise
... [NYTimes, Well] Two new experiments, one involving people and the other animals, suggest
that regular exercise can substantially improve memory, although
different types of exercise seem to affect the brain quite differently. Read on.
• Three reasons to plant green ... [Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Health Blog, Alisa Bowman] They're easy. They make salads ultra convenient. They're nutritional powerhouses. Read on.
• Resources for caregivers ... Here. • Medline Plus ... Here. • WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• O Coen Brothers, Where art God? ... [IndieWire] A conversation between Matt Zoller Seitz and Jeffrey Overstreet. 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.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
Events in our parishes ... Here.
Around the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• The Chalice, a publication created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution available online ... 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 in a somewhat abbreviated form, 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]