newSpin, the newsletter
May 27, 2013, Memorial Day
Published on Monday
O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
• History's Headlines ... [WFMZ-TV69, Frank Whelan] St. Mark's in Jim Thorpe. A Victorian gem. Here.
• Grace Montessori School in Allentown ... celebrates 20 years, dedicates new labyrinth. Morning Call story, with brief video, here. Six Morning Call photos here. News release by Libby House here. Also at Episcopal Café. An excerpt from the Morning Call story: Part of the Grace Montessori mission is to provide quality education for children of all incomes. A third of its students, from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, are on scholarship and many live in the downtown, GMS executive director Libby House said. Uma Rajendran of Breinigsville and Shruti Saraf of Whitehall Township, who attended the dedication, said they weren't put off by the proximity of the parking garage and all the concrete when they chose to send their children to Grace Montessori for pre-school. Saraf said her son is in his second year and loves it. "The school was so good, no matter where it was I would have sent him," Saraf said.
• Helping with Tornado Relief ... Diocese of Oklahoma or Episcopal Relief & Development.
• Former Bethlehem dean shepherded Delaware cathedral in its final days ... [ENS feature by Sharon Sheridan] "The typical Episcopal cathedral," as the Very Rev. William "Bill" Lane describes it, "is a parish-plus: plus hospitality to
the diocese, plus prophetic ministry to the community, plus a showcase
for best practices in worship and programs." Lane shepherded the Diocese of Delaware’s
Cathedral Church of St. John through its closing in 2012. Previously, he
served as dean of the Diocese of Bethlehem’s Cathedral Church of the
Nativity in Pennsylvania. Read on.
• Minnesota legalizes gay marriage ... [HuffPost] Minnesota officially became the 12th U.S. state to approve same-sex marriage May 14 when Gov. Mark Dayton appeared before a jubilant crowd to sign a marriage equality bill into law. Read on.
• State-by-State on gay marriage ... [Pew Forum] Here.
• Boy Scouts end longtime ban on openly gay youths ... [NYTimes] The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday ended its longstanding policy of forbidding openly gay youths to participate in its activities, a step its chief executive called “compassionate, caring and kind.” The decision, which came after years of resistance and wrenching internal debate, was widely seen as a milestone for the Boy Scouts, a symbol of traditional America. More than 1,400 volunteer leaders from across the country voted, with more than 60 percent approving a measure that said no youth may be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Read on. Also, NYTimes editorial.
• The only path to amazing ... [Seth Godin] runs directly through not-yet-amazing. Read on.
• Prayers, please ... [Bill] A friend has been in touch with me to seek our prayers for a close relative who has been gang raped. "O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember her, O Lord, in mercy, nourish her soul with patience, comfort her with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon her, and give her peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
• Bishop Shaw's brain tumor is cancerous ... [Episcopal Café and Diocese of Massachusetts] The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, met with his doctors at the Dana Farber Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Boston Friday and learned that the tumor removed from his brain last Friday is indeed cancerous. He will begin both radiation and chemotherapy in the next few weeks. Read on.
• Me, a hoarder? ... [Catherine Meeks] We need to make space in our lives by letting go of some of the things with which we have filled them so we can hear our heart's voice. If we learn to listen to our hearts we can begin to hear the voice of the Spirit as well. We don't have to spend money to do this or anything other than turn our attention and intention in this direction. This is one way to assist in transforming the world. Read on.
• It's time for an ecclesiastical yard sale ... During the early 90s, former Bethlehem Bishop Mark Dyer wrote this in an Episcopal Life column: Christianity has had five significant yard sales. Each one has had to do with the church's struggle to resist the temptation to domesticate God's vision, to settle for change when God seeks transformation. The sixth is now. It's something that seems to happen every three or four hundred years. In Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, God empowers the church to discover its roots and its center, and transform itself in new, exciting and wonderful ways. Jesus announced the first yard sale. Then Benedict, in the sixth century. Then the Franciscan Spring in the thirteenth century. Then Martin Luther and the reformers in the sixteenth century, the only yard sale led by an ordained person. It's time once again for a massive yard sale, a transformation led by lay people. Our 400 years are up.
[Bill] Phyllis Tickle took this idea, revised it somewhat, and wrote a 2008 book, The Great Emergence, based on it, with attribution to Bishop Mark for the idea. Tom Ehrich's recent column,The Revolution is Upon Us, takes the idea up again, with attribution only to Phyllis Tickle and "religious historians." Ehrich writes: "Now comes a new millennium, and Christianity wears so many different faces that it’s difficult to speak of a single “Christian movement.” We see more than 1,500 denominations in the U.S. alone, by one count. ... Tickle calls this one the 'Great Emergence.' One could also call it the 'un-formation of Christianity,' or in Diana Butler Bass’ words, 'Christianity after religion.' It’s an exciting and hopeful time. Faith communities brought to their knees by changes beyond their control will land in exactly the right posture: to confess, submit, pray and serve."
• 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.
• Parish preparedness plans ... As we approach the half-way point of 2013, it’s time to assess our progress as we all work towards meeting the terms of the 2012 Diocesan Convention Resolution for all Diocese of Bethlehem parishes to have preparedness plans on file in the diocesan office by the end of 2013. Read on.
• DioLight ... Read about Bishop Paul's "Leave of Absence" in this fifth issue of DioLight. Back issues are available here: first issue, second, third, fourth.
• Dolores Evans ... got married May 18. Her name is Dolores Evans Smith (no hyphen). [h/t Jane Teter]
• Vocare #3 ... May 31 to June 2, Kirby House. Blog post here. Facebook event here. Registration here.
• Bishop's Day for Kids 2013 ... June 22 in Scranton and June 29 in Whitehall. More info here. Our friends in Kajo-Keji have sent special greetings to the Children of the Diocese of Bethlehem. Come and see!
• When in our Music God is Glorified ... July 14, a Lovefeast and Song Service of Christian Unity. Here.
• Diocesan level events ... Here and 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.
• Painting classes in Mountain Top ... [Janeann Lokken] Have you thought that you might like to give painting a try? St. Martin-in-the-Fields has something that might interest you. Robert Kray of Mountain Top will be holding painting classes at St. Martin’s starting June 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. for ten weeks. For more information you may speak with Mr. Kray at 570-868-3751 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. See some of his work here.
Rest in peace
• Frank Wismer, III, 65 ... vicar of Christ Episcopal Church, Norwalk CT, onetime rector of St. Alban's Sinking Spring PA, husband of Patricia McClaren Coller, died on May 12. ENS obituary here. Frank's widow, onetime parishioner at St. Alban's, is Executive Vice President - Policy, Education, Research and Church Relations for the Church Pension Fund.
• Our young men and women who died recently in Afghanistan and for their families ... Here ... Pray also for the fallen heroes also of our coalition partners, and for the citizens of Afghanistan who have died, unnamed and unknown to us, and for those who mourn ... and for the end to this endless war.
Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Episcopal Relief & Development: New website, New URL, Fresh look [EpiscopalRelief.org] Here.
• Texas Episcopalians share faith dinners ... [Diocese of Texas] Here.
• Around the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• 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.
• Good Shepherd and St. John the Evangelist in Milford [one hour East of Scranton at the tri-state juncture of NJ/PA/NY] is seeking an organist and a choir director OR an organist/choir director. More info.
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• Vandalism as a conversation starter ... [Religion Dispatches] The Rev. Thomas Broad and wardens of Grace Episcopal Church in the rural hamlet of Randolph, New York engaged in a remarkable act of social media ministry when the following graffiti appeared on the side of their church: Can I still get to heaven if I kill myself? Read on.
• Westboro Baptist Church defector struggles with her past ... [LATimes] The house was empty, just as Libby Phelps had planned. Slipping inside that afternoon four years ago, she felt as if her heart would burst through her chest. She peeked through the curtains, terrified that her aunt and uncle across the street would notice the cars parked in the driveway with doors and trunks open. Moving quickly with three co-workers by her side, she shoved clothes, high school yearbooks, photo albums, a pillow and an old TV into boxes and suitcases. She felt like a thief in her own home. And, in a way, she was. At age 25, Libby Phelps was stealing her life back. She never dreamed growing up in Topeka that her last name would become so evil to so many. Her grandfather is Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, a place despised by many for its virulent protests against homosexuality at the funerals of U.S. troops. Read on.
• Godless funerals thrive in 'post-Catholic' Ireland ... [RNS] Patricia Wojnar left a 32-year career in interior design to pursue a degree that wasn’t in demand: a master’s in bereavement studies. Having seen four family members die early, she wanted to understand how to adapt. As it turned out, the degree perfectly prepared her to enter one of Ireland’s emerging professions.Wojnar is now a registered civil celebrant, presiding over funerals and weddings for people who refuse to associate with Ireland’s scandal-tarred Roman Catholic Church. She’s not alone; many newly minted civil celebrants are starting their own businesses as part of Ireland’s “post-Catholic” economy. Read on.
• The church has lost control of marriage ... [RNS, Father Peter Daly] Our county courthouse is across the street from our parish church. Weddings are performed on both sides of the street. We both use the "vocabulary" of marriage, but the words don't have precisely the same meaning. Let's face it -- the church has lost control of the cultural conversation on marriage. Just about any parish priest can tell you that. Even devout Catholics often ignore the church's teaching and views on marriage. They live together before they are married. They have babies outside of wedlock. They get married outside the church, often in entirely secular settings. They don't stay married very long. They divorce with the same frequency as the general population. They remarry without benefit of annulments from the church. They often don't consult with us on whether they can go to Communion. And lately, in a dozen states and 14 countries, some very Catholic, they are marrying people of the same sex and bringing their babies to church for baptism. Read on.
• One school's Catholic teaching ... [NYTimes, Frank Bruni] No one at the Catholic high school that fired Carla Hale in March
claimed that she was anything less than a terrific physical education
teacher and coach, devoted to the kids and adored by many of them. No one accused her of bringing her personal life into the gym or onto
the fields. By nature she’s private. And she loved her job too much to
risk it that way. But she lost it nonetheless, and the how is as flabbergasting as the why is infuriating. Rather suddenly, her mother died, and an hour afterward, she and her
brother numbly went through the paces of a standard obituary, listing
survivors. Her brother included his wife. So Carla included
her partner, Julie, whom her mother had known well and loved. Leaving
Julie out would have been unthinkable, though Carla didn’t really think
it through at the time. Her grief was still raw. A parent of one of the school’s students spotted the obituary, and wrote
an anonymous letter to the school and to the Diocese of Columbus,
saying that they couldn’t allow a woman like Carla to educate Catholic
So they don’t, not anymore. Read on.
• When bad theology happens to good people ... [Christian Century] This is a good call for greater compassion on my part toward people who blurt out bromides in the wake of disaster, illness or suffering: God needed another angel in heaven. Everything happens for a reason. We’re being punished for our sin. Linda Holmes, writing in a completely different context,hf talked about the difference between a reaction, and a thought, and a conclusion. A reaction is just that—an initial response, easily tweeted but not much of substance, unless we examine it, test it, develop it into a thought, and maybe in time, a conclusion. If our reaction doesn’t survive that scrutiny, we should let it go. The trouble with a lot of our public discourse is that we don’t get past the reaction stage. Read on.
• Scranton ... [Intrepid Report, Postcard from the end of America, Linh Dinh] The message is clear: One must be willing to kill and die in any war, without questions. These slabs were approved by a three-member Lackawanna County Commission, but two of these politicians, A.J. Munchak and Robert C. Cordero, are now serving lengthy sentences for bribery, extortion and tax-related charges. As they preached sacrifice and duty, they robbed and looted to enrich themselves, and let us not kid ourselves by thinking this is some weird, coal country aberration or Pennsylvania joke. Read on.
• NEPA Synod website ... Here.
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
• 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.
• Church whistle-blowers join forces on abuse ... [NYTimes, Laurie Goodstein] They call themselves Catholic Whistleblowers, a newly formed cadre of priests and nuns who say the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators. Although they know they could face repercussions, they have banded together to push the new pope to clean house and the American bishops to enforce the zero-tolerance policies they adopted more than a decade ago. Read on.
• Newark monsignor loses job for failing to stop priest's work with children ... [NYTimes] One of the top officials in the Archdiocese of Newark has been forced out for failing to properly monitor the activities of a priest who had been forbidden from having contact with children, the archdiocese announced on Saturday. The departure of Msgr. John E. Doran, who reported to Archbishop John J. Myers, is the latest fallout from a sexual abuse scandal that stretches back more than a decade. Read on. [Bill] Here's the report from the NCR.
• Pope Francis on newsworthiness ... [RNS] "It breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don’t have food – that’s not news. This is grave. We can’t rest easy while things are this way." Read on.
• Pope Francis wants to be the priest everybody wants to have in his parish, putting the poor front and center ... [NPR, Sylvia Poggioli] Pope Francis has launched a crescendo of attacks on the global financial system and that does not help the poor. The Argentina-born Jorge Bergoglio is
shaping up as a papacy focused on the world's downtrodden. And in sharp
contrast with the two preceding papacies, this one even contains echoes
of the Latin American liberation theology movement that John Paul II
and Benedict XVI had repressed. The new pope's popularity is
growing day by day. When Francis appears in St. Peter's Square, the
crowd shouts his name in every imaginable language. Women hold out their
babies to be kissed; everyone wants to touch him. Vatican security guards are at a loss as Pope Francis gets off his popemobile to shake hands, to hug and to be hugged. "Bergoglio
wants to be the priest that everybody wants to have in his parish, as
confessor, as spiritual director," says church historian Alberto
Melloni. "And what we have seen in these few weeks is the start of a
pastoral papacy." Read on.
• Francis' humility and emphasis on the poor strike a new tone at the Vatican ... [NYTimes] He has criticized the “cult of money” and greed he sees driving the world financial system, reflecting his affinity for liberation theology. He has left Vatican officials struggling to keep up with his off-the-cuff remarks and impromptu forays into the crowds of tens of thousands that fill St. Peter’s Square during his audiences. He has delighted souvenir vendors near the Vatican by increasing tourist traffic. Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, has been in office for only two months, but already he has changed the tone of the papacy, lifting morale and bringing a new sense of enthusiasm to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Vatican itself, Vatican officials and the faithful say. Read on.
• Attempts to use the Vatican to launder money ... [Reuters and AP] A financial watchdog group said it had detected six possible attempts to use the Holy See to use the Holy See to launder money last year. Also here.
• 20 free publications ... [USA.gov] A collection of 20 free, quick to read, easy to understand publications from the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health and the General Services Administration's Federal Citizen Information Center. Here.
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here.
• WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• An oh so creative dance troupe ... [Bill] Go to my Facebook page and watch the video under "Watch and Share." You may find yourself mouth agape and speechless.
• Swindles and spam, lurking in your search results ... [NYTimes] Most of our ventures onto the Web still begin with a search — a fact readily exploited by spammers and swindlers who rely on excessive use of keywords, link exchanging and other manipulation techniques to push their content higher in the list of search results, hoping you will click on them. Read on. Also see Personal Tech.
•• Checking out library e-books on an Amazon Kindle ... [NYTimes] 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.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... May issue here.
• Insights into Religion ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... May News.
• 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 ... 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
Comments are welcome at the newSpin blog.
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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]