newSpin, the newsletter
September 23, 2013
Published weekly, usually on Monday
• Diocesan Convention ... Friday/Saturday, Oct. 4-5, Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Here. Here. • Pre-Convention Meetings ... Tues 24 Sept at St Alban's, Sinking Spring, at 7 pm; Thurs 26 Sept at Epiphany, Clarks Summit, at 7 pm; Tues 1 Oct at The Cathedral, Bethlehem, at 7 pm (Some calendars have had the incorrect date for the Oct 1 meeting. It is on Tues 1 Oct, not Thurs 3 Oct.) • The Convention Pre-print ... will be available on the DioBeth website by Tue 24 Sept, and hard copies will be available at each Pre-Convention meeting. • ECW In-Gathering at Convention ... The ECW will collect shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, razors, bodywash, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, socks, cotton underwear, cough drops, and over-the-counter medications. Items will be given to the guests of Trinity Soup Kitchen. Here.
• Two celebrations ... [Canon Andrew Gerns] We as a Diocese are entering a season of change and we start this time out with two celebrations. We are saying “Godspeed” to both Bishop Paul Marshall and to Bishop Jack Croneberger. Bishop Paul will enter retirement on January 1, 2014 and Bishop Jack retired (again) as our Assistant Bishop on August 1, 2013. We are grateful to both men for their leadership and pastoral care to our diocese. We will be holding two events to honor and thank them for their ministries. Read on.
• Francis bluntly faults RC Church's focus on gays and abortion, seeks new tone ... [NYTimes]
Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old
papacy, said that the Roman Catholic church had grown “obsessed” with
preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he
has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some
critics. In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the
church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel”
focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope
told the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica,
the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the
Vatican. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all
equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the
transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed
insistently. “We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the
moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards,
losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” Read on. Here's the full interview from America Magazine. See also, Pope rejects church of small-minded rules by John Allen in NCR. Also, Pope keeps on surprising in NYTimes. And, at RNS, Five things we learned about Francis.
• Poverty in Reading ... [Reading Eagle] Reading's poverty rate worsened in 2012, making it the second most impoverished city in the country behind Detroit. The percent of city residents in poverty increased from 40.1 to 40.5, accvordingj to statistics released today [Sept. 18] by the U.S. Census Bureau. That's less than the 41.3 percent of Reading residents who were in povrty in 2010 when Reading had a highr percentage of residents in poverty than any other U.S. city with 65,000 of more people. Read on.
• One in three kids in Scranton lives in poverty ... [Times-Tribune, Scranton] New U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday showed deepening poverty across Northeast Pennsylvania, particularly among children. In Scranton, more than one of every three children - a whopping 33.5 percent - lived in poverty in 2012. Throughout the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area, the rate was one in four among kids and one in six across the entire population. "I'm not surprised other than I thought the numbers would be higher overall," said Monsignor Kelly, executive director of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton. That he was wrong didn't make him feel any better about the figures or the misery they represent. "I don't know how our families are surviving," he said. "There is little or no help." Read on.
• The deadline for senior to apply for 2012 Property Tax/Rent Rebate has been extended ... [Senor Law Center] The deadline for eligible seniors to apply for 2012 Property Tax/Rent
Rebate program has been extended from June 30th to December 31st. The
Property Tax/Rent Rebate is a program where eligible Pennsylvanians
receive a rebate of some of their real estate taxes or rent. Read on.
• Principles of Good Practice for Equity and Justice in Episcopal Schools ... The National Association of Episcopal School recently posted the document. It is the latest entry in NAES' Principles of Good Practice series which also includes such topics as Episcopal identity, parish day school governance, leadership transitions, chapel and worship, and the study of religion. Find the news and the document.
• On Freedom ... [RNS] Religion News Service has introduced a new blog, On Freedom, written by Brian Pellot, which will explore religious liberty in the U.S. and around the world. 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.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.
• Celebration for Bishop Paul ... Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. More here.
• Celebration for Bishop Jack ... Friday, Oct. 4, at the Diocesan Convention banquet. More here.
• DioBeth on Facebook ... Don't miss the Diobeth Facebook page. Adam Bond has grown it so very well.
• Diobeth Episcopal Relief and Development ... [John Major] A shield in the midst of life's storms. Week of Sept. 23.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's monthly newsletter on lifelong Christian formation resources. September.
• Christmas at Sea ... [Canon Jane Teter] Now that September is here, it is time to pick up your knitting and/or crocheting. Why not knit up a hat, scarf, vest, or socks for Mariners on the high seas who cannot get home for the Holidays. Once again we will collect these items at our Convention on October 4 & 5. If you will be attending, bring the items with you or send them along with your delegates. Patterns may be found at www.seamenschurch.org. Go to "ways to give", then Christmas at Sea.
• Info re Diocesan Convention, Oct. 4-5 ... Above, under TopSpin.
• DioLight ... Vol. 1, Issue 14: Convention Ethos by Archdeacon Stringfellow and Convention Particulars by Canon Gerns. (Correction: The Pre-Convention Meeting at the Cathedral is on Oct. 1, not Oct. 3) Here.
• Diocesan level events ... Here.
• 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.
• Music from St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... Here.
• Christ Church Reading commits to healing ministry ... [Reading Eagle] There has been a rise in interest in spirituality across the nation. Responding to that, Christ Episcopal Church in the city has made a commitment to a healing ministry, a so-called one-on-one spiritual direction practice and an upcoming workshop that will tackle the journey toward forgiveness. "This is a very ecumenical movement and outreach to all people," said the Rev. John Francis, 57, of Christ Episcopal, 435 Court St., which boasts about 400 members and an average weekly Sunday attendance of 170.
He cited today's changing and more ethnically diverse human landscape as reasons for embracing a spiritual ministry, noting that many people come from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds as well as no particular faith background at all. In the case of Christ Episcopal, he said, about half of the congregation is longtime traditional English, but the other half represents a newer influx of people whose heritage stems from Latino, African and Caribbean countries. Read on.
• Reaching parishioners who are not online ... [Kat Lehman]
Parish churches struggle with how to reach members not online. This
month's United Methodist Communication newsletter has an article on creative ways to do this. [Bill]
Parish administrator Bob House, formerly at Grace Allentown, now at St.
Stephen's Whitehall, has for years been producing a Sunday bulletin in
line with "Reinvent the church bulletin," the first item in the UM
• Trinity Soup Kitchen ... at Trinity Episcopal Church (44 E. Market St., Bethlehem) offers hospitality, a hot meal, counseling, human service agency referrals and incidental material needs every weekday to some 150 persons who may be unemployed, mentally ill, disabled and poor. For 32 years. Often, it is the only place where they get a smile and warm greeting, which is as important to them as the food. Trinity can use your financial help. More here.
• Mountain Top, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Kite Festival ... Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 to 4. More here.
• Allentown Band returns to Trinity Easton ... On Sunday, October 27, 3:00 p.m., the Allentown Band will return to Trinity featuring Lauren Curnow, mezzo soprano and Jeffrey Curnow, Associate Principal Trumpet with Philadelphia Orchestra. Both grew up at Trinity Church. Their father is also a member of Trinity and is plays trumpet for the Allentown Band. Music of Wagner, Bizet, Dvorak, Gould, Gershwin, Sousa and more! Parking is available behind the church in the lot, in the bank lot next door to the Church parking lot. There is also metered street parking. Tickets- Seniors and Students- $12.00; General Admission in Advance- $15.00 up until the day before the concert (there will be a "Will Call" table); and $20.00 at the door. For information call Peg Gerns at 610-253-0792 Ext. 212. Tickets are also available online.
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.
• Three marketing lessons from Jesus ... [Mark MacDonald] Churches need to become known for something. Something that offers a positive solution to an audience in desperate need. Something that is simple and easy to remember. Not many things; but one thing. That's good promotion. And preparing the strategy to accomplish all of this is ultimately called marketing. In John 4, Jesus used excellent marketing skills, and here are three lessons we need to emulate. Read on. [h/t Kat Lehman]
• Stewardship is in the Air ... [Charlie Barebo, TENS] Autumn brings the promise of a new program year in the church, and what many view as “Stewardship Season.” So why the wailing and gnashing of teeth when “Stewardship Season” rolls around? Why the anxiety and complaints of the church talking about money? Rev. Clif Christopher, keynote speaker at this year’s TENS conference, believes it is because people do not want light shone on their sin. They don’t want to talk about their guilt when it comes to money: how their relationship with money overshadows their relationship with Jesus. Read on.
Rest in peace
• 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)
• First female bishop in the United Kingdom and Ireland ... [ACNS] The Rev. Pat Storey, 53, a married mother of two, will serve as the bishop of Meath and Kildare, in the Church of Ireland. More here.
• As denominations decline, numbers of unpaid ministers rise ... [RNS] Though small evangelical congregations have long relied on unpaid pastors, mainline churches haven’t. They’ve generally paid full-time or nearly full-time salaries, said Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist of religion. That’s changing, however, as churches face declining numbers and look to new ministry models to make ends meet. Thumma sees more mainliners cutting back to halftime or one-quarter-time packages for clergy, who increasingly work second jobs. The unpaid cleric model is gaining traction among Episcopalians. In the mid-1990s, for example, the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming had few if any unpaid clergy serving its 49 congregations. Now, 20 priests in Wyoming – more than one-third – are unpaid. Within a few years, the number of unpaid clergy is expected to reach 35, according to Lori Modesitt, ministry developer for the Wyoming diocese. All those unpaid clergy are fully ordained. Read on.
• So, who are we? ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] Last July an announcement came out that I did not pay attention to; and, as announced, the Episcopal Church is re-branding itself. You see, the corporate name of the Episcopal Church is the "Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society" or DFMS. Back in the 19th Century when Missions and Missionaries were hot stuff, someone realized that we, all of us baptized, are missionaries...not just the people we sent to faraway places. Nice idea. Kinda cool, in fact. Trouble is that over time DFMS more and more tended to refer to people at HQ (aka "815') and less and less about the rest of us who are mere Episcopalians. Someone has decided to fix that by re-branding DFMS to "The Missionary Society." Maybe to get that old 19th Century mojo back and updated for the 21st Century. To me, though, it rings hollow.
So, who are we? For me, we are the ancient and ever new gathering of God's people who daily follow Jesus under the power of the Holy Spirit. The ekklesia. We are a community grounded in hope and, for all our institutional trappings, we are pretty experimental. When I hear "The Missionary Society," besides a whole host of other images I don't want, all I can envision are folks who work in offices, run meetings, and plan programs in some far away place. That may be accurate, but...so? I know that DFMS is printed on the checks. I guess I am just wondering what problem it is that we are trying to solve. If we have to re-brand, I suggest this: instead of DFMS or "The Missionary Society," how about simply "The Episcopal Church?" That at least aligns with the sign out front. More here.
• Around the Episcopal Church ... Here
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• The joy of being found ... [A sermon by Andrew Gerns for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, 19c] NASA says that of over 22,000 inventory items on the International Space Station, 638 of them (just under 3%) are missing. Things like screwdrivers, small parts, M&Ms, you name it. It seems that in micro-gravity, no matter how much Velcro you use, how much duct-tape, and how many pockets you have, things have this way of escaping. Read on.
• Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd is star of new documentary ... [Christian Science Monitor] Filmmaker Andrew Thomas has created a documentary which chronicles the life of Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest who was one of the first to come out as gay and who has become well-known for his views that the church is too separated from the everyday lives of Americans. Read on.
• Why I dropped church and joined The Church ... [Episcopal Café] Here.
• Donations pour in for homeless man who turned in cash ... [USA Today] A homeless man in Boston finds a backpack containing more than $42,000 in cash and traveler’s checks, so he flags down a police car and turns the pack in. Impressed people have raised more than $45,000 to help find Glen James an apartment and a job. Read on.
• Nice try ... [Twitter] Tweeting on responses to his sermon yesterday on the tricky passage about the dishonest manager, Episcopal priest Timothy Schenck said his favorite response came from a woman who greeted him afterwards and simply said, "Nice try!" Something more in depth here from another priest's blog about the parable and about how he prepares his sermons.
• Should nonprofits act more like businesses? ... [HuffPost/TED Weekends] Here.
• Communication 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.
• Scranton diocese priest accused of sex with minor moved often ... [Times-Tribune, Scranton] A priest charged with having sex with a 15-year-old boy was reassigned 15 times by the Diocese of Scranton over a 25-year ministry that grew out of a career counseling troubled youths. Read on.
• Europe's most radical nun ... [BBC] Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Episcopal health group recognized for Afordable Care Act advocacy ... [Episcopal News Service] Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act – and many people have a lot to say – it seems fairly likely that enrollment in the program will open as scheduled Oct. 1 and two Episcopal Church-related organizations, National Episcopal Health Ministries and the Episcopal Public Policy Network, are working together to help people understand the complicated law. Read on.
• The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) ... Various resources on the Affordable Care Act put together in one location by National Episcopal Health Ministries. Here. [h/t Diana Marshall] Sign up for the NEHM newsletter here.
• Get the shot, not the flu ... It's time to get your flu shot. Got mine a few weeks ago. Medicare covers the cost. Most health insurance plans cover the cost. Check with your insurance provider. Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services, like the flu vaccine, at no cost to you. If you do not have insurance or if it does not cover vaccines, help is available. Watch for free flu shot clinics scheduled in your area. In the Lehigh Valley drive-through free clinics have been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 at Dorney Park and Sunday, Nov. 10, at Coca-Cola Park (where the Iron Pigs play), both days from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There's a lot of info available at Flu.gov.
• The new Health Insurance Marketplace ... [USA.gov] Visit USA.gov's Health Insurance page to learn about the new Health Insurance Marketplace and other types of health coverage. Starting October 1, 2013, you can fill out an application for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You'll be able to compare your options side-by-side and enroll in a plan that fits your budget and meets your needs. Coverage takes effect as early as January 1, 2014.
Richard Evans, a member of St. Martin's Mountaintop and Diocesan Council, suggests that check out this program aimed at religious communities to help uninsured folks become aware that enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will start on October 1. Download a pdf file of the info.
• Beware of Obamacare scammers ... They're on the move. Here, Here, Here, Here.
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here.
• WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Three Free Apps for getting qualified medical advice... [Techlicious] Urgent Care, HealthTap and First Aid. Info and links.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... September.
• Plethora of Congregational Resources ... The "Using Resources" series of publications by the Center for Congregations is designed to help congregations make the most effective use of capital funds, consultants, architects, contractors, books, congregation management software, and more.
• Church locators ... Here.
• Insights into Religion ... 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 ... Here.
Additional sources for news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Religious Freedom Recap ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world, Sept. 9-16. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.
(1) The Episcopal Church website, news service, news service blog,
(2) Episcopal Café
(3) AngicansOnline website and news centre.
(4) The Living Church
(5) The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary
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Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
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Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]