newSpin, the newsletter
December 8, 2016
[A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion for the sake of many in this newSpin newsletter, please send the link or your text to email@example.com]
TopSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• DioBeth General News, Dec. 1 … Here. •Episcopal Church of the Mediator, Allentown: "We Support Refugees," •Diocese of Kajo Keji Bishop Nomination Confirmed, •Archbishop of Canterbury Meets With South Sudan Church Leaders, •Online Advent Resources
Applications Accepted for Climate Change and Creation Grants, •Congregational Renewal Grant Applications Now Available, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 17 … Here. •Bishop Sean Rowe: Reconciliation after Trump's election still allows for dissent, •Applications Accepted for Climate Change and Creation Grants, •Congregational Renewal Grant Applications Now Available, •2017 Lay License Request Forms Due December 3, •Barbara Cawthorne Crafton to Lead Quiet Day at St. Luke's Scranton, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• Homeless ministry in the Lehigh Valley … [T Scott Allen] The Bethlehem Area Homeless Hospitality ministry which will extend until the last night of March began on Dec. 1. It is a ministry of the congregations of the Lehigh Valley who open their doors every evening of the week to shelter those without a roof from the cold and snow. The Cathedral Church of the Nativity opened their doors to our homeless brothers and sisters. On Dec. 2, St. Andrew's took in homeless men. Many sites provide soup, a hot supper, companionship until bed time and a hot breakfast in the morning before they depart. It will involve thousands of hours of volunteer time and is a huge undertaking – all done by unpaid members of faith communities who see this work as honoring their baptismal vows to be the Body of Christ in the world.
• Reconciliation after Trump's election still allows for dissent … [Bishop Sean Rowe, Morning Call, Nov. 14] In the days after a presidential election, the news is full of public figures talking about reconciliation. Leaders of all kinds are pledging to put a divisive campaign behind them and work together for the common good. Church leaders like myself are particularly given to these sort of sentiments. They appeal to our pastoral instincts and allow us to imagine that we are what the prophet Isaiah called "repairers of the breach."
It is difficult to oppose reconciliation. Jesus said peacemakers were blessed, and as a Christian, I certainly want to be on his good side, but before we strike up a rousing chorus of "Kumbaya," I hope we will pause to make sure we understand that real reconciliation requires deep self-examination, an ability to acknowledge both when one has been wronged and when one has done wrong, and the willingness to behave and communicate in new ways. Reconciliation is not a synonym for the silencing of dissent. Read on.
• Unique program helps women escape streets, transform lives … [CNN] Top 10 CNN Hero for 2016 Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest, helps women escape prostitution, trafficking and drug use in Nashville, Tennessee, offering them shelter, therapy and work making bath and body products. Read on.
• The 'madness' of mercy: what's at the center of Francis's papacy? … [Commonweal, The Editors, Nov. 30] When Hannah Arendt reviewed Pope John XXIII’s journals just over fifty years ago, she shared a question posed to her by a Roman chambermaid not long after he had died. “Madam,” the woman said, “this pope was a real Christian. How could that be? And how could it happen that a true Christian would sit on St. Peter’s chair?” Arendt took the comments to underscore the tension between the radical simplicity of Jesus’ call to “follow me” and the demands of the institutional church. After all, as the future pope scribbled in his notebook when he was only eighteen years old, taking that call seriously put one at risk of being “treated as a madman.”
Pope Francis, who declared John XXIII a saint and whose own pontificate draws frequent comparisons with that earlier pope, surely understands the truth of that observation. Francis has been described in similarly unfavorable terms by his critics; some have even compared him to a real madman, president-elect Donald Trump. And even a few of his admirers, especially in the mainstream press, sometimes seem disturbed by his words and deeds, surprised by a pope who seems not only to believe but to act as though the meek really will inherit the earth. Depending on the newspaper or magazine one reads, Francis is either too reckless or too conservative, a possible heretic or a false hope. His off-the-cuff pronouncements reliably stir controversy; his openness to reform generates theological sparring and debate. Meanwhile, the usual swirl of Vatican gossip and intrigue continues apace.
In the midst of all this, one could be forgiven for not remembering that Francis himself has told us what is at the center of his papacy, the thread that holds it all together: mercy … the need for mercy never ends. Neither does God’s offer of it. That should be at the heart of our attempts to understand this pope—and the source of our hope in the difficult days that may lie ahead. Read on.
• Always, Often, Never … God always forgives, man often forgives, nature never forgives. [Thomas Friedman, "Thank You for Being Late"]
Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics [•New item ••Repeat]
• The first president of our post-literate world… [Bloomberg, Joe Weisenthal, Nov. 29, h/t NYTimes columnist Jim Dwyer] Have we entered a postliterate world, without the discipline that writing imposes on thought? Joe Wiesenthal argues that we have, and it helps explain the rise of Donald Trump. “Platforms are fostering an emerging linguistic economy that places a high premium on ideas that are pithy, clear, memorable and repeatable (that is to say, viral). Complicated, nuanced thoughts that require context don’t play very well on most social platforms, but a resonant hashtag can have extraordinary influence.” Read on.
• A Thanksgiving Day prayer in a riven land …[NCR, Sister Joan Chittister, Nov. 23] It's Thanksgiving again. But for what? The measure of pain in the land since this year's presidential election is almost palpable to behold. We are riven, it seems. It's hard to know how to talk now — even to friends — as all of us, at one time, are grieving differently. And for different things. Read on.
• The disengaged plurality: 42% of eligible U.S. voters stayed home … [Quartz] We tend to talk about the United States presidential election in terms of halves. One half of the country voted for Donald Trump, the story goes, and the other half voted for Hillary Clinton. But that is not the case. There’s only one way to break the American electorate of 2016 into two discrete and (somewhat) even groups: those who voted, and those who didn’t. Of the 227 million eligible voters in the country, only about a quarter voted for Donald Trump, and a quarter for Hillary Clinton. A few voted for third-party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and the rest of the electorate just opted out of the whole thing. Read on.
SpiritSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar… [The Atlantic, Dec. 1] Every day until Sunday, December 25, this page will present one new image of our universe from NASA's Hubble telescope. Be sure to bookmark this calendar and come back every day until the 25th, or follow on Twitter (@TheAtlPhoto), Facebook, or Tumblr for daily updates. Read on and view.
• By the Book … [Tish Warren Harrison, Nov. 17] A couple of years ago, I took a friend who was not from my Anglican tradition to church with me. She did not particularly like it. One of her chief complaints was that we said "other people's prayers." She felt that reciting a prayer from the prayer book wasn't really praying. Praying involved a present invocation of our moment before God. This debate about whether prayer should be original and spontaneous or fixed and recited is not a new one.
But what if prayer is more than simply self-expression? What if prayer is a kind of craft or exercise that shapes us? What if God uses prayer to "act back on us," to form us? What if set liturgical prayers are an ancient tool that reframe our perspectives and desires so that we might learn to pray in ways that are beyond us?
For most of church history, Christians understood prayer not primarily as a means of authentic self-expression, but as a learned way of approaching God. The earliest prayer book of the church was the Psalms, which have been prayed, memorized, and sung in every language and time throughout the history of Judaism and Christianity. The repetition, memorization, and internalization of the Psalms produces a formidable historical memory, making faithfulness possible in each moment of the church, in times of abundance or times of sorrow. Read on.
• Art and Worship … [Bill] Among his many good qualities, the late Marius Bressoud of Trinity Bethlehem was an artist, an amazing painter. Back in 2001, I posted online the following quote from filmmaker Ingmar Bergman: "I think that art lost its significance to life at the moment when it separated itself from worship." Marius provided a variation: "I think that worship loses its significance to life when it separates itself from art." I like the Bressoud variation better than the Bergman quote... though each makes its point.
• On our hearts … [Bill] It's amazing what God can do with a broken heart, if we give God all the pieces. Monica and I once went to Moravian College to hear Gail Godwin, then one of her favorite authors. After Gail spoke about and read a selection from her book about the various meanings that have been given throughout the centuries to the concept of heart, Monica told her the following story.
A student of the scriptures asked her rabbi, “Why do you say God puts his words ON our hearts rather than IN our hearts?” The rabbi replied, “God puts his words on our hearts so that when our hearts break, God’s words will fall in.”
The author had a wonderful response. She recalled that her mother used to say, “The only good thing about a broken heart is that it makes room for more people.”
• Behaving like Jesus … [Bill] The late Bishop Mark Dyer told me some years ago about a group of evangelical students he took on a mission to Calcutta. They worked with Mother Teresa's sisters in the House for the Dying. Most of the people they brought to the shelter and cared for died the same day. The students articulated something that bothered them. They felt they were not bringing the dying people to faith in Jesus Christ.
Sister Luke, who was in charge of the House for the Dying, looked at one of the women seminarians. "Yesterday I watched you caring for a dying woman," she said. "You washed her, you fed her, you held her, you comforted her. When she died and faced Jesus, she told Jesus that she already knew him because she met someone who behaved just like Jesus."
• Nothing is more practical than finding God … [Attributed to Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991) Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1961-1984] that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.
• Centering Prayer … [From a 2005 essay by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton] Fr. Basil Pennington's book on centering prayer was the first one I read on this ancient practice that carries me into the still place beneath all the frantic running around I do every day, in my car and on the train and in my mind. He and Thomas Keating and Joan Chittister helped free me from the self-conscious dance of words that had gotten in my way for years when I was trying to pray. I didn't have to find the words. I didn't have to make them elegant. I didn't have to say what I thought God wanted to hear. I didn't have to say anything at all. There was a way to go beneath all that.
DioBeth [• New item •• Repeat]
•• Jubilate(A) … for Advent 2016 to Epiphany 2017. Here.
• Trinity Soup Kitchen … [Trinity Episcopal Church, Bethlehem] operates Monday through Friday, between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm. The average number served is 150 per day. We primarily serve the homeless, the temporarily unemployed, MH/MR clients, and those who are economically disadvantaged. Please note that our primary ministry is providing hospitality to our guests. As such, we unfortunately are unable to provide food pantry services. If you need assistance, please click here to access a list of food pantries in Northampton County, and here for a list of food pantries in Lehigh County.
Financial support for the Trinity Soup Kitchen comes from grants received from several foundations, contributions and gifts from local individuals, local churches, and proceeds from Bethlehem’s CROP Walk. Food items are supplied through donations and purchases from the USDA, Second Harvest Food Bank, local restaurant supply companies, and area grocery stores.
If you are interested in volunteering or contributing financially to this vital ministry, please contact the Rev. Elizabeth Miller, Soup Kitchen Coordinator (voice 610-867-4741 x302; email firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also visit us on Facebook to find out more about what we’re doing to meet the needs of the hungry in our neighborhood.
Episcopal/Anglican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on news from Standing Rock … [TEC, Dec. 5] After months of courageously and peacefully working to prevent the laying of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which posed potential danger to the water supply of the people of the Sioux Nation and transgressed their sacred burial grounds, the water protectors on Standing Rock have won a notable victory. Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced their decision to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction across the sacred land and water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and this long-awaited announcement is cause for joyful celebration and thanks …
On behalf of the Episcopal Church, I offer my gratitude to President Barack Obama and his Administration for championing the rights of the indigenous peoples of the United States. We applaud the decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny the pipeline permit under Lake Oahe. I personally offer thanks to all those who have worked to amplify the voices of the people at Standing Rock, calling our attention to historic wrongs and injustices, and urging us all to consider a new vision for how we might love God, love each other, and love the earth. Read on.
• Britain struggles with the uneasy legacy of the much more religious country it once was … [The Guardian, Editorial, Dec. 4] Something very strange is going on. The chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission feels he must tell employers it is OK to celebrate Christmas, and that this will not offend unbelievers. The prime minister announces in parliament that of course people should be able to speak freely about their religious convictions. A thinktank argues that there should be a duty of “reasonable accommodation” to religious belief. All these are symptoms of a deep unease and confusion about the role of Christianity in British life …
The Christian critique has something to offer the rest of the country. There is a long tradition of religious thought about the development of virtues and values. The Christian version derives ultimately from Socrates and Aristotle, but those philosophers thought virtue was entirely compatible with slavery and infanticide, so it has been quite heavily modified since then. The central insight is that both individuals and societies, or social groups, develop their values by living them. Moral questions cannot be answered entirely by reasoning: we discover what kind of creatures we are by living; we develop virtues, like vices, by practising them. A compassionate society is one that treats its members compassionately, not one that makes speeches about the need to do so. Read on.
•• Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Current inserts here. To view the archive of bulletin inserts dating back to 2006, please visit here.
• Resources … way below.
•• Evangelism resources … from the Episcopal Church. Here.
• Resources ... way below
In the Media [• New item •• Repeat]
• Room at the table … [Times Leader, Nov. 25] One by one by one they arrived at Tony Brooks’ door for Thanksgiving dinner. Three people responded to his invitation posted on Facebook to share a meal and company with him, his husband, Matthew, his parents, Emily and Tony, and dogs, Thacher and Remington. Read on.
TaleSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• Tom Brady, sociologist of religion … [The Atlantic, Nov. 30] A new documentary series, co-produced by Brady, Michael Strahan, and Gotham Chopra, is a surprisingly meditative look at the way sports give people a sense of meaning in life. Read on.
• Gluttony and the Seven Deadly Sins … [RNS, Kimberly Winston, Nov. 22] The Seven Deadly Sins make up the original Christian naughty list. Evagrius Ponticus, a desert father — a kind of Christian hermit — first identified eight deadly sins in the fourth century. He ranked them according to the seriousness of their threat to the spiritual life — gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness, anger, sloth, vainglory and pride.
Two hundred years later, Pope Gregory added envy to the list and cut sloth and vainglory (too much like pride, Gregory thought). He also re-ranked the sins — pride, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony and lust. The medieval church warned against these sins and countered them with seven “virtues” — faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance and prudence — that would fend the sins off. Read on.
• Finding America's Mother Teresa … [NYTimes, Nicholas Kristof, Dec. 3] Pine Bluff, Ark. — If this political season has you feeling down, meet Annette Dove. She’s a salve for our aches and wounds, for she represents the American grass roots’ best. Dove, 60, is a black woman who dropped out of high school when she became pregnant and who has endured racism and domestic abuse. Drawing on her own experience overcoming difficulties, she now runs a widely admired program for troubled children. Funding the program in part with her own savings — even going into personal bankruptcy to keep it going — she transforms lives.
Dove works seven days a week and struggles month to month to pay the bills with donations, foundation support and a state grant; when the money runs out, she prays. The poverty and disadvantage that Dove is fighting here in Pine Bluff, a poor, majority-black town of 50,000, are found all across America. But so, too, are people like Dove, battling for progress through churches, schools, Big Brother programs, advocacy efforts. These heroes get no headlines, no reward, no glory, and they regularly have their hearts broken, only to soldier on to help the next child. Read on.
• Imagine … [Bill] When I served on the bishop's staff of the relatively new RC Diocese of Allentown, early 1970s, we did not have our own diocesan newspaper. We relied on the newspaper of the neighboring Archdiocese of Philadelphia from which Allentown was created in 1961. Diocese of Allentown parishioners received the weekly Philadelphia paper. A few pages were given to our news. The idea was raised from time to time that I should start a newspaper, but I managed each time to perish the thought because I knew the bishop, with his dominant personality, would look over my shoulder and micromanage the paper.
When the editor of Philadelphia's paper decided to include in one issue a syndicated feature about the merits of reflecting on the words of John Lennon’s song, "Imagine," I got the job of telling the editor that the bishop was not happy about that – and “inviting” him to a meeting with the bishop and me. The editor was the late John Foley (1935-2011). I did my job, conveying the message to John who was a good and sincere and, ironically, a rather conservative priest.
But yes, God does have a sense of humor. The former editor was later named an archbishop, then a cardinal. He worked in Rome, heading up the Vatican’s communication office and serving as the Vatican's spokesman. He became known as "the voice of Christmas." Over 26 years, many heard him every Christmas on network television doing whispered commentary for American television that made the pope’s Christmas Eve Mass sound a bit like a golf match. The National Catholic Reporter reported that he had the reputation of being "the nicest guy in the Vatican." Read on.
• Dr. Gabriel Lewullis … [Bill] My father was the only one of his siblings to change the middle vowel of his surname, an evolution of the Lithuanian Levulis, from "u" to "e." That, obviously, has created occasional confusion. There is a Bill Lewullis and a Bill Lewellis online. Dr. Gabe Lewullis recently moved back to the Lehigh Valley to practice with Lehigh Valley Health Network in orthopedics. You may have seen a recent half-page ad in The Morning Call. Years ago, Gabe was a basketball star for Allentown Central Catholic and on the Princeton national championship team. He also served as the doctor for the Boston Celtics. Gabe's grandfather and my father were brothers.
One of my sons is an MD/PhD resident in dermatology at Stanford. Another son made the witty comment that Stephen and Gabe should begin a dermatology/orthopedic practice called Lewellis and Lewullis. Read on.
• Resisting simplistic theology … [Bill] It was St. Peter's day off. Jesus was administering the entrance exam into heaven. He decided to ask each person coming through the pearly gates the same question, one he once asked Peter and the other disciples. The first person stepped up. "Who do you say I am?" Jesus asked. The person began to say, "The Bible says…" "That’s not what I asked," Jesus interrupted. "Who do you say I am?" He couldn't answer. So the trap door opened, and he fell through.
The next person stepped forward. Jesus asked the same question: "Who do you say I am?" That person began to say, "Well the Pope says…" Jesus interrupted again. "That’s not what I asked. Who do you say I am?" The person was at a loss for words. The trap door opened again.
Finally, an Episcopalian approached. “Who do you say I am?" Jesus asked. And the Episcopalian answered: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus smiled and opened the gate. The Episcopalian walked through, then turned back to Jesus and added: “On the other hand…” A good Episcopalian… confidently and decisively saying, “Yes and no.” ☺
An Episcopalian relies for his thinking about God on the unique Anglican tradition of consulting and balancing four interconnected sources: the testimony of scripture, tradition, reason and the experience of the people of God. (The three legged stool often mentioned in this regard includes "experience" within "reason" or "tradition." So we have the three legs of scripture, tradition and reason.) Some time after I had become an Episcopalian in 1982, someone gave me a rubber stamp that said, “The Episcopal Church USA: resisting simplistic theology since 1785.” I too have tried to resist
•• Maslow's hierarchy of needs is incomplete … [BigThink] Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has served as the foundation for understanding human motivation since it was first published in 1943 as part of "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. The hierarchy, visualized in pyramid form, is often given as an introduction to human psychology and still holds weight in population conversation about what humans need from life, and in what order they need it.
But Maslow's hierarchy as we commonly know it is incomplete, says Nichol Bradford. Later in his life, after the hierarchy had been published, Maslow began work on a final stage of human motivation. Self-actualization was not the pinnacle of individual human achievement, but rather self-transcendence. Not an elevation of the self, but a subverting of it. Read on.
Rest in Peace [• New item •• Repeat]
• Joseph DeAcetis, 89 … died on November 21. He served as a priest for the past 20 years in various churches throughout the Diocese of Bethlehem. He was a member of St. Mark's and St. John's Episcopal Church, Jim Thorpe. His funeral will be on December 10 at 11 a.m. at the parish. Obituary.
• Leonard Cohen, 82 … [NYTimes] the Canadian poet and novelist who abandoned a promising literary career to become one of the foremost songwriters of the contemporary era died on November 10. Read on here. Also, from Brain Pickings, "There is a crack in everything," here. And a profile from the editor of The New Yorker, here.
• Claire Hornung … Claire Hornung died Nov. 28. She was Director of Children and Youth at Trinity Bethlehem some years ago.
• Bernadette (Nicole) Humbert Backenstoss, 87 … died Nov. 24. She was a member of Christ Church Reading. Obituary.
• Ruth Gruber, 105 … [NYTimes, Nov. 17] fearless chronicler of the Jewish struggle, died Nov. 17. She was a photojournalist and author who documented Stalin’s gulags, life in Nazi Germany and the plight of Jewish refugees intercepted by the British on the infamous passage of the Exodus to Palestine in 1947. Read on.
• Gwen Ifill, 61 … a veteran newspaper and television journalist who served as moderator and managing editor of the Public Broadcasting Service’s talk show “Washington Week,” died Nov. 14 of cancer. She also co-anchored the “PBS NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff. Obituary. Also "The Life and Example of Gwen Ifill" by David Brooks. Here.
• Fidel Castro, 90 … died on Nov. 25. He brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, bedeviled 11 American presidents and briefly pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war. Read on.
• Florence Henderson, 82 … the actress known to millions as Carol Brady from TV’s “The Brady Bunch,” died Nov. 24. Read on.
• Michael "Jim" Delligatti … died Nov. 28. He owned 48 McDonald's franchise restaurants and created the Big Mac sandwich in 1967 at one of his McDonald’s franchise restaurants in Uniontown, near Pittsburgh. Read on.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., daughter of the late Arthur and Marie Rippert Harman, she was a member of St. James and St. George Episcopal Church, Jermyn. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thetimes-tribune/obituary.aspx?n=lorraine-j-kenny&pid=181391765&fhid=30655&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.MLwAYyTs.dpuf
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25 … [Maria Tjeltveit] 2017's theme is "Reconciliation--the Love of Christ Compels Us." Here's a link to resources from the World Conference of Churches and the Graymoor Institute. Read on.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
• Spirit Spinning ... for those who hunger and thirst for a deeper connection with God ... Here.
• Moravian Church in North America website.
• Moravian Church Northern Province website.
• Moravian Theological Seminary website.
United Methodist Church
• News Service Here.
• Communication Resources ... Start here.
• Eastern PA Conference website Here.
• Facebook Here.
• Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
Presbyterian Church USA
• Website ... Here.
• News & Announcements ... Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Cardinal Cupich shoulders Chicago's Catholic future … [NCR, Josua McElwee] This is a lengthy and insightful story about Chicago's new archbishop as a leader willing to take risks as his archdiocese contends simultaneously with falling numbers and greater diversity. Read on.
• Vatican reiterates that gay men should not be priests … [Crux, Dec. 7] In a new document on the priesthood, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has reiterated that men with “deeply rooted homosexual tendencies” shouldn’t be admitted into Catholic seminaries and, therefore, shouldn’t become Catholic priests. That position was initially stated by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2005. The new document, however, is hardly restricted to the question of gay priests. It deals with much more, from the value of indigenous and immigrant vocations to the importance of inoculating future priests against infection by “clericalism.” Read on.Health and Wellness [• New item •• Repeat]
• Breathe, Exhale, Repeat … [NYTimes, Lesley Alderman, Nov. 9] Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times. Congratulations. You’ve just calmed your nervous system. Controlled breathing, like what you just practiced, has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment. Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. Read on.
• 2016-2017 influenza season … [USA.gov] With flu activity increasing and family and friends planning gatherings for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you have not gotten vaccinated yet. While seasonal flu activity varies, flu activity usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease. Even if you have already gotten sick with the flu this season, it is still a good idea to get a vaccine. Flu vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends only flu shots (not the nasal spray vaccine). Find more information on the flu by visiting CDC.gov. Find a place near you to get a flu vaccine with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
• Resources … below
Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech [• New item •• Repeat]
• Thriller goes inside the Vatican … [NYTmes, Review by Vanessa Friedman] Conclave, by Robert Harris, is a tightly woven tale about power machinations at the top of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope, a reformist figure with echoes of the current Pope Francis in his antipathy for pomp and circumstance, has just died, and more than 100 cardinals from around the world are gathering to elect his successor. Read on.
• The Passion of Martin Scorsese … [NYTimes, Paul Elie, Nov. 21] In his new film, “Silence,” Scorsese returns to a subject that has animated his entire life’s work and that also sparked his career’s greatest controversy: the nature of faith. Read on.
• Scorsese meets Francis … [RNS via Reuters, Philip Pullella, Nov. 30] Pope Francis on Wednesday (Nov. 30) met Martin Scorsese after a special screening in Rome of the Oscar-winning director’s new film “Silence,” about Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan. For the-74-year-old Scorsese, who spent a year in a “minor seminary,” a high school for boys considering the priesthood, the meeting came almost thirty years after his film “The Last Temptation of Christ” outraged many conservative Christians. Read on. Also here.
Websites, Podcasts and Blogs [•New item •• Repeat]
• Choose from all Ahead of the Trend columns … Ahead of the Trend brings the latest news in religion research. David Briggs, former national writer for The Associated Press, who holds a master's degree from Yale Divinity School, is consistently among the Top 10 secular religion writers and reporters in North America. The ARDA democratizes access to the best data on religion. Read on.
•• The Episcopal Café … Here. •• AnglicansOnline … Here. •• Diocese of Bethlehem … Here. •• The Episcopal Church … Here.
• Beware of IRS impersonations and tax scams … If you get a call from the “IRS” threatening you with lawsuits or jail unless you pay up immediately … Guess what? It’s a scam. IRS impersonation and tax scams by phone, email, postal mail and text are ongoing. Criminals use more and more creative ploys to trick taxpayers and tax preparers. Don’t be a victim. Read on.
2015 was a big year for the little pronoun they and its slide into use as a singular pronoun.
First, in December, the Washington Post admitted the singular they into its style guide, saying it is fine for Post writers to use they as a singular pronoun for transgender people and to avoid awkward sentences. Then last week, hundreds of linguists at the American Dialect Society annual meeting voted for the singular they as the 2015 word of the year.- See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/singular-they-has-its-day?utm_source=GG2016-01-19&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=grammargirl#sthash.CPam2pyD.dpuf
The strange word … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items in newSpin are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Which items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It 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, the Standing Committee or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).
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]
• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin … Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. The Leadership News and the General News are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. The newSpin newsletter you are now reading is not an official publication – and will usually not duplicate news, info and features relating to our diocese and parish as found in the official newsletters. It is a relatively lengthy eclectic sampling of items related to religion – at times not, at times not so clearly – that the editor thinks readers might find to be of interest. It has been a kind of hobby of a onetime communication minister, the work of a volunteer who in retirement enjoys and dedicates time to do the research required. The newSpin newsletter is always posted on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to email@example.com
• Look online … for the Diocese of Bethlehem Facebook Page, Facebook Group (Bethlehem Episcopalians) and Twitter feed.
• Bethlehem Episcopalians … is a Facebook group for conversations about mission, spirituality, Christian formation, and more that has replaced the old Bakery email list. Bethlehem Episcopalians is an open group. Anyone can join and items that you post can be shared by group members on their own Facebook pages. This offers each of us the opportunity to reach a larger audience with news and conversations about what God is doing in our diocese." Join the Facebook group. Includes 390 members.
• DioBeth website
• Stumbling into the Sacred ... [Reflections on seeing God in the everyday by Canon Anne E. Kitch]
• newSpin blog ... including the newSpin weekly by Bill Lewellis.
• Facebook Page … Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
• Facebook Group … Bethlehem Episcopalians
• Twitter …
Center for Congregations ... 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.
• Congregational Consulting ... More information on how to contact the consultants can be found here and at http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/ .
• Church locators ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... 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.
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.
• TREC [TaskForce for Reimagining the Episcopal Church] … website.
• TREC … Video Q&A with TREC panel at Oct. 2, 2014 TREC Churchwide Meeting at the Washington National Cathedral
• The Episcopal Church website, news service, news service blog,
• Episcopal Café
• AngicansOnline website and news centre.
• The Living Church
• The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• The Daily Scan: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to add subscribers for news releases, notices, statements, or Daily Scan.
• Free weekly bulletin inserts provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Find the inserts here.
• Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Episcopal Church Event Calendar ... Here
Franklin Graham had a revelation. On Friday, Graham said it has “dawned” on him on how to “fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.”
His solution: stop doing business with LGBT-friendly companies.- See more at: http://elielcruz.religionnews.com/2015/06/07/franklin-graham-calls-on-christians-to-blacklist-lgbt-friendly-companies/?email=blewellis%40diobeth.org#sthash.WI32aUeD.dpuf
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• Daily Prayer ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• 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.
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• EpiscopalShare ... Here.
• The Lectionary ... A collection of Lectionary resources for the Episcopal Church, updated Sunday night. Here.
• Lectionary Page ... A liturgical calendar for upcoming weeks, with links to readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), as adapted for use in Episcopal worship. Here.
• Revised Common Lectionary ... Here.
• The Liturgical Calendar ... BCP, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, HWHM ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Celebrating the Eucharist, by Patrick Malloy. Google Book
• Enriching our Worship, 1 to 5 ... Free download here.
• The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant: Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships [Extracted from Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing] Here.
• Collection of worship resources at Diobeth.org ... Including Diocesan Cycles of Prayer for weekly worship, Holy Women Holy Men, and The Text This Week. Here.
Health and Wellness
• 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.
• Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
• Center for Disease Control - Healthy Living
•Church Health Reader
• Eastern Pennsylvania Faith Community Nurses
• Episcopal Mental Illness Network
• Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH
• National Episcopal Health Ministries
• NEHM Wellness Resource Page
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Daily Religion Headlines ... here.
• Religious Freedom Blog ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• BBC News Online ... here.
• BBC Religion & Ethics ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• Religion Research Hub ... ARDA, Association of Religion Data Archives, an especially useful site.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... 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.
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.