newSpin, the newsletter
June 24, 2013
Published on Monday
• Gay 'conversion' ministry is closing its doors... [RNS and The Atlantic via Theresa Johnson on Episcopal Café] In the wake of an apology from Alan Chambers, leader of the prominent "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International, the organization is shutting down. The group embraced and encouraged "conversion therapy" for homosexuals. RNS reports that the group announced yesterday that it’s shutting its doors, and that "Exodus’s board unanimously agreed to close the ministry and begin a separate one, though details about the new ministry were unavailable at the time of the organization’s press release. The announcement came just after Exodus president Alan Chambers released a statement apologizing to the gay community for many actions, including the organization’s promotion of efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation." In an interview with the Atlantic, it's clear that Chambers is the one who has undergone a major conversion. Read on. Also at USNews.
• At the Tunkhannock Celebration of New Ministry (Lou Divis) ... Archdeacon Stringfellow's sermon. Having been through a flood, having rebuilt your church, and now having called a rector, are you ready to receive to your hearts this third act of salvation? Are you ready for a rector who leads you to discover the ministry of Christ in you and in your community? For you have been saved for a purpose and for a mission.
• Lourdes said to be an economic disaster ... [The Local, France's news in English] after flooding ravaged the shrine in southwest France that attracts millions of pilgrims. The shrine's famous grotto was submerged under muddy water while chapels and the bathing pools filled with water many believe has curative powers, were left in ruin, as millions of gallons of flood water rampaged through the town. Lourdes is visited by millions of pilgrims each year, meaning the town’s economy is almost entirely dependent on the tourist trade. But the famous sanctuary, which the Catholic Church has linked to 68 miracles, may never fully recover from the disaster and will remain closed for the foreseeabe future. Read on.
• Ideas of the Year 2013 ... [The Atlantic] A guide to the intellectual trends that, for better or worse, are shaping our lives today--plus a bunch of other insights, proposals, and provocations. Read on. One clever section ... Ideas that seemed bad at the time, then maybe not so bad, but ultimately really bad: •The Great Gatsby as a 3-D movie, •Marrying Tom Cruise, •Dennis Rodman, diplomat, •Snapchat, •Tim Tebow, NFL quarterback, •Real Housewives, •Paul Ryan.
• Former South African president Nelson Mandela ... Onetime poliical prisoner where he became president is in critical condition. The language used in the most recent statement was the strongest yet concerning the health of Mr. Mandela, whose progress has been a matter of international concern since he was rushed to the hospital in the early hours of June 8. Mr. Mandela, who was freed by the apartheid government in 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment, became South Africa’s first black president after the country’s first all-race elections in 1994. He retired from public life in 2004. Read on. His daughter told CNN: "All I pray for as a daughter is that the transition is smooth. … He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world. I believe he is at peace."SoulSpin
• By his absence... [Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann] That's what I like about God. You get to know him by his occasional absence.
• Be careful what you thank God for in public ... [Bill] Last week, I celebrated Eucharist and preached at Episcopal House in Allentown. During an informal conversation afterwards, a few women – they were all women – said, "I used to be Roman Catholic." Which, of course, led me to say, "So was I." When questioned about that, I shared my elevator talk about my 18 years as a Roman priest and the rest of my life as a husband, father, Episcopal lay person and Episcopal priest. I ended by thanking God that I've had "two wonderful lives." An elderly woman with a walker replied, "I haven't had any." I didn't try to deny her grief, but it jolted me and broke my heart. Which continues as I write this.
• Even doing good can be all about me ... [The Lamb's War via Episcopal Café] So often in my life, I have told myself that I was working for a righteous cause, justice, or even God, but far more often than I would care to admit, my most compelling motivation has been the surge of energy and affirmation from taking a stand, leading the charge or doing the right thing. In the end, my good deeds were more about me than about anything transcendent. I must confess that this has even been true in my devotional life. The object of Christian worship is to direct one’s own attention away from one’s self and towards God, yet how many times have I judged whether or not we had good worship based on the way I felt emotionally, or was nourished intellectually? I believed I was worshiping God, but clearly I was far more focused on my own satisfaction! Read on.
• Death Cafés: contemplating the end ... [NYTimes via Episcopal Café] Socrates did not fear death; he calmly drank the hemlock. Kierkegaard was obsessed with death, which made him a bit gloomy. As for Lorraine Tosiello, a 58-year-old internist in Bradley Beach, N.J., it is the process of dying that seems endlessly puzzling. 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.
• Three to be ordained priests ... Bishop Paul will ordain Foster Mays, Andrew Reinholz and Kimberly Reinholz to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Sunday, June 30, at 4:00 p.m., at the Church of the Mediator, 1620 Turner Street, Allentown.
• DioLight ... Seventh issue. "Since returning from my sabbatical," Archdeacon Stringfellow writes, "I have revisited the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, those authenticating signs that any community of faith is following Jesus by ministering as Jesus ministers." Back issues: this fifth issue of DioLight. Back issues are available here: first issue, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's monthly newsletter on lifelong Christian formation, June.
• As we enter the summer storm season [Father John Major, Interim representative for Episcopal Relief & Development for the Diocese of Bethlehem] I'd like to introduce this newsletter as a new resource to you in preparing your churches, congregations and family to weather and respond to disasters. Here.
• Resolutions for Diocesan Convention ... Deadline to submit resolutions is August 5. Here.
• Bishop's School, Fall 2013 ... Here.
• 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.
• St. Matthew's Stevensville ... Repairs, resoration, photo. Here.
• The 'Race Street Run' in Jim Thorpe ... [Father John Wagner] For those of you who are still “fleet of foot” and in reasonable physical shape, St. Mark’s and St. John’s, Jim Thorpe, will be hosting our eighth annual “Race Street Run” on Saturday, July 6. Registration will be from 7:00 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. in the Tolman House, directly across Race Street from the church. Contestants in the 4-mile run will start at 8:30 a.m., while those who opt for the 15K run, will start at 8:45 a.m. Refreshments, awards and random drawing will be held in the church immediately following the completion of each race. Registrations are $20 through June 28th, and $25 from June 29th through the day of the event. The first two hundred registrants will receive a tee-shirt. For further information, e-mail email@example.com, or visit our event website at www.racestreetrun.org. If you don’t desire to participate, but would like to offer your help with this event, please use the e-mail address above.
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.
• The Christian Century reviews Speaking Faithfully ... Here.
• Announce your presence with authority ... [Episcopal Café, Jim Naughton] Here.
Rest in peace
• Bernard Cooke, 91 ... an educator who foresaw the need for well-formed lay theologians, died May 31 in San Antonio. He is rememered as a visionary educator and an inspiring theologian. In a career that spanned five decades, Cooke's theological scholarship focused on the sacraments and on ministry in the Catholic church. He held posts at Marquette; Boston College; the University of Windsor in Ontario; the University of Calgary in Alberta; the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.; Santa Clara University in California; Loyola University New Orleans; the University of San Diego; and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. He earned the admiration of several generations of theology students. He joined the Missouri province of the Jesuits in the 1940s and was ordained a priest in 1952. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from St. Louis University, and a licentiate in sacred theology from St. Mary's College in St. Mary's, Kan., in 1953, when it was a Jesuit seminary. He left the priesthood in 1969 and married Pauline Turner the next year. Media outlets such as First Things, Catholic World Report and Eternal Word Television Network labeled Cooke as a "dissident theologian" with no regard for the traditions of the church. Read on.
• Leon Phillips, Jr., 76 ... Lutheran pastor. Obituary. Leon learned about disasters first hand, Eric Shafer adds, when he lost his home and most possessions in the Wilkes-Barre flood of 1972. Out of his experience, Leon created Lutheran Disaster Response for our church (the ELCA & the LCMS) and his "fingers" remain all over this work today.
• James Gandolfini, 51 ... Obituary here. Funeral on Thursday at St. John the Divine, NYC.
• 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)
• Presiding Bishop's sermon controversy ... [NYTimes via Episcopal Café] Back in May, the Presiding Bishop preached a sermon in Curaçao that made waves around the blogosphere, setting some people's hair on fire. Read on. Jim Naughton notes: If you pay much attention to the politics of the Episcopal Church you know that if Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says "Please pass the ketchup" there are a cadre of folks out there who will whip up essays about the centrality of tomato imagery in the writing of Gnostic heretics. For some reason, The New York Times, which really ought to know better, has decided that this is news.
• Anglican Communion News Service launches new website ... [Episcopal Café] The news service of the Anglican Communion has today launched its first ever purpose-built news website. Story here. Website 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.
• Lehigh County Conference of Churches seeks Ecumenical Director Full-Time Position ... Does your call from God include a ministry focused on • Building relationships with congregations and pastors; • Listening to their dreams for community ministry and linking them up with community partners that can bring those dreams to reality; • Extending the opportunity to people to volunteer their time, talent and treasure to making a difference in individuals and the community’s life; • Being an advocate for those in greatest need among us. If this is the passion that drives you, have 5 years experience working with congregations and volunteers, work best in a team setting, are not afraid to ask for money, time or talents to be used in God’s work, then email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or go online www.lehighchurches.org and make application for the Ecumenical Director position of the LCCC. Equal Opportunity Employer.
• Lehigh County Conference of Churches accepting resumes of candidates for the full-time position of Accounting Assistant ... The Assistant will support the Accounting Manager in performing accounting functions, filing and documentation. Qualifications: One or two years of bookkeeping experience and aptitude for math. Have Basic computer knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel. QuickBooks experience preferred. Please send resume and 3 references to LCCC, 534 Chew Street, Allentown, PA 18102 or e-mail to email@example.com. EOE
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• In gospel songs of yore, clues to the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr ... [NYTimes] “The image of liberal secular King misses the essential role of prophetic Christianity,” Dr. Jonathan Rieder, a professor of sociology at Barnard College in New York, said in a recent interview. “Jesus wasn’t just an interesting historical figure to King. He saw Jesus as a continuation of the prophets. He has a powerful association with Jesus. Read on.
• The Decline and Fall of the English Major ... [NYTimes Sunday Review, Verlyn Klinkenborg] Parents have always worried when their children become English majors. What is an English major good for? In a way, the best answer has always been, wait and see — an answer that satisfies no one. And yet it is a real answer, one that reflects the versatility of thought and language that comes from studying literature. Former English majors turn up almost anywhere, in almost any career, and they nearly always bring with them a rich sense of the possibilities of language, literary and otherwise. ... What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature. ... Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you. No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance. Read on.
• Pastors' words that liberate ... [Episcopal Café] Rachel Held Evans writes another top 11 list: "11 Things I Wish More Pastors Would Say." Her first three: 1. “I don’t know.” 2. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” 3. "What do you think?" The irony, of course, is that saying these things not only liberates a congregation; it also liberates the pastor. Read on.
• A more secular Europe, divided by the Cross ... [NYTimes] ... A commemorative euro coin intended to celebrate the 1,150th anniversary of Christianity's arrival in Slovak lands became the center of a fight with the European Commission. At a time when Europe needs solidarity and a unified sense of purpose to grapple with its economic crisis, religion has become yet another a source of discord. Read on.
• Superman: Flying to a church near you ... [CNN Belief Blog] As the new Superman movie takes flight this weekend, filmmakers are hoping the Man of Steel lands not only in theaters, but also in pulpits. Warner Bros. Studios is aggressively marketing "Man of Steel" to Christian pastors. Read on.
• Religion and the Marketplace ... [Market Watch and RNS via Andrew Gerns on Episcopal Café] One way to look at the place of faith in society is to follow the money. Here are two indicators of where the culture is going relative to faith: charitable giving and sales of art. Market Watch says that charitable giving is up but giving giving to religious institutions is down. Religious art, particularly of the crucifixion, commands less at the auction house. Read on.
• The feel-good faith of evangelicals ... [Christianity Today] Are we really as "biblical" as we think we are? The Vineyard is hardly representative of evangelicalism. However, I found T.M. Luhrmann's conclusions to accurately describe, at least in part, what has been my experience in evangelical churches. In the Baptist, Presbyterian, charismatic Episcopalian, and non-denominational churches I've attended over the past 20 years, I've often found—as Luhrmann did— that "what people want from faith is to feel better than they did without faith." Read on.Evangelical Lutheran
• 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.
• Archdiocese of Philadelphia grappling with pensions for clergy ... [Philadelphia Inquirer] A pension fund for priests cited as a priority in a $200 million fund-raising campaign by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has fallen precariously short of money, and church officials want parishes and retired clergy to help cover the shortfall. In meetings this spring, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told priests the plan had been underfunded, poorly managed, and was spent on rising health-care costs for clergy, according to three priests who attended or were briefed on the talks. Chaput said the fund needed $90 million to be solvent but had less than $4.5 million, they said. Read on.
• Parvum Opus ... [RNS] Followers flock to Pope's Latin Twitter account ... When the Vatican was preparing to launch the Latin Twitter account, it ruled out the Latin word for the sound of chirping birds — pipilare – saying it didn't sound serious enough for the pope. So officials took a cue from the orator Cicero who once wrote to a friend while he was in a hurry: "Breviloquentem iam me tempus ipsum facit," he wrote – Time itself is forcing me to speak briefly. The name of the Twitter account is Summi Pontificis Breviloquentis, the briefly speaking supreme pontiff. Lege amplius.
• The Pope and the 'Gay Lobby' ... [NYTimes, Op-Ed, Francis Clines] The prese
• Vatican website ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg ... Here.
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... June 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
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Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]