newSpin, the newsletter
March 9, 2017
[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 firstname.lastname@example.org]
Spring ahead one hour to DST on Sunday, March 12.
TopSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• DioBeth General News, March 2 … Here. •Anglican and Lutheran leaders Issue Ash Wednesday Message, •Welcoming Refugees Webinar on March 8, •Responding to Famine in South Sudan, •Bishop Search Committee Appointed, •Episcopal Youth Event Registration Now Open, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •Episcopal Veterans Fellowship Offers Resources, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• DioBeth Leadership News, Feb. 16 … Here. •Bishop Search Committee Appointed, •Violence Escalates in Kajo-Keji •2017 Parish Officials and Convention Delegate Forms, •SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society Summer Camp, •Contextual Outreach Course for Lay Leaders, •Call for Shrove Tuesday Suppers, •Lenten Resources, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •2017 UTO Grant Applications Now Available, •2016 Parochial Reports, •Clergy Housing Resolution, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• Eric's Shorts: Segment on his work with the Diocese of San Joaquin … [Eric Snyder, March 8, Eric's Shorts] I was assigned to work with the Diocese of San Joaquin when I was on the staff at 815. I worked particularly with several parishes In developing programs for the aging. Remember that this was the time of the grape boycott in support of the farm worker's union. None of us at 815 were popular because of our support for the farm workers. I was able, I believe, to establish a positive relationship with Bishop Rivera. I am convinced that he never would have led his Diocese out of the Church.
When our work at 815 was terminated by the Executive Council the only one to take note of my departure was Bishop Rivera. He wrote a gracious letter in which he said that though we never agreed on anything when I visited I was always willing to listen. He added that he was always grateful for that. I am grateful for the healing that is evident in the diocese in the valley. Their recent election of the bishop by a unanimous vote is particularly gratifying. The Church can be a place of strength in the the midst of the problems that continue challenge those living in the central valley in California. We pray that the Church can be a source of strength for all of us. Read on
• Episcopalians differ on Church’s activism and mixing faith and politics… [ENS, David Paulsen, March 9] Can protest be a righteous expression of one’s faith? On the Christian journey, is there a risk in engaging too deeply with the secular realm? How do we know when it is it appropriate to speak out in the name of Jesus? Diverse congregations across the United States are wrestling with these questions. Read on.
• Episcopalians, Anglicans have been involved in political actions for decades … [ENS, Mary Frances Schjonberg, March 9] Over the years, Episcopalians and Anglicans have lived out the Gospel’s call in many ways. They have taken that call to the streets and into the halls of government, some achieving worldwide notoriety while others might be unknown to large parts of the Church. Here are just a few examples. Read on.
•• This foster father takes in only terminally ill children – He's the only one … [Los Angeles Times] The children were going to die. Mohamed Bzeek knew that. But in his more than two decades as a foster father, he took them in anyway — the sickest of the sick in Los Angeles County’s sprawling foster care system. He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms.
Now, Bzeek spends long days and sleepless nights caring for a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect. She’s blind and deaf. She has daily seizures. Her arms and legs are paralyzed. Bzeek, a quiet, devout Libyan-born Muslim who lives in Azusa, just wants her to know she’s not alone in this life.
Bzeek is the only foster parent in the county known to take in terminally ill children. Read on.
Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics [•New item ••Repeat]
• Welcome refugees, churches say in a public challenge to Trump … [NYTimes, Laurie Goodstein, March 2] The fight against President Trump’s executive orders to turn away refugees, deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the Mexican border is about to escalate in many American churches. A broad network of 37 Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations will announce on Friday a campaign to mobilize its congregants — some 30 million Americans in all — to lobby the president and members of Congress to rescind the executive orders. In a declaration hammered out over the last month, church leaders call the orders “unjust and immoral” and say they run counter to “the values we as people of faith hold dear: to welcome the stranger and assist those most in need.” “It is imperative that we speak out against the notion that refugees are a threat to our safety,” the declaration adds. “They are not.” Read on.
• Cardinal Cupich advises priests on immigration raids … [NCR, Peter Feuerherd, March 1] If immigration authorities without a warrant knock on the door of Chicago churches, rectories or Catholic schools, don't let them in. That is the message in a Feb. 28 letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich to his priests offering counsel on how to respond to the recent Trump administration crackdown on undocumented immigrants. "We need to stand together and clearly make it known that the Archdiocese of Chicago supports the dignity of all persons without regard to immigration status," Cupich wrote. Until there is comprehensive immigration reform passed by Congress, he urged the priests to "stand in solidarity with those who live in the shadows." Read on.
•• Intellectual integrity in the age of Donald Trump – Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture … [Feb. 18] Bret Stephens, foreign-affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal, delivered the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The question of what Mr. Trump might yet do by political methods against the media matters a great deal less than what he is attempting to do by ideological and philosophical methods. Ideologically, the president is trying to depose so-called mainstream media in favor of the media he likes — Breitbart News and the rest. Another way of making this point is to say that he’s trying to substitute news for propaganda, information for boosterism. His objection to, say, the New York Times, isn’t that there’s a liberal bias in the paper that gets in the way of its objectivity, which I think would be a fair criticism. His objection is to objectivity itself. He’s perfectly happy for the media to be disgusting and corrupt — so long as it’s on his side. But again, that’s not all the president is doing. Read on. View video on YouTube.
• Being Church in the Trump years … [Brian McLaren] How should the church respond to the era of Donald Trump—cooperation and complicity or resistance and spiritual activism? Author and speaker Brian McClaren provides timely advice and counsel for pastors, congregational leaders, and the people who want to influence them about how they might prepare to lead in these times. Part 1. Part 2.
• When one president smears another … [NYTimes Editorial Board, March 5] As for those senior officials of this administration who have integrity: It is past time for them to begin asking themselves if they can continue lending their names and exposing their reputations to a president with so little regard for democratic institutions, and for the truth. Read on.
• Video resources on immigration and sanctuary issues … [Jim Naughton] If you are in the market for video resources regarding immigration and sanctuary issues, feel free to make use of the four we just posted for the Diocese of Washington. We went for a handmade, accessible feel so that we could get them done quickly.
One pair of videos (English and Spanish) discusses how to support those in danger of deportation.
The other pair (Spanish and English) is a Know Your Rights kind of thing.
The speaker is Laura Stump Kennedy, a member of the diocese who used to be a paralegal with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services.
• Eastern Europe's church leaders face growing criticism over refugees … [NCR, March 9] When church leaders from the Czech Republic and Slovakia met recently to discuss Europe's refugee crisis, their reluctance to help appeared to confirm a negative picture that's emerged over the past year. The Feb. 21 meeting at the Catholic seminary in Bratislava, Slovakia, took place as human rights groups criticized East European bishops for failing to defend refugee rights, and for urging that displaced Christians be given preference in resettlement programs. But it brought no sign of a shift in attitudes, and made clear that talk of open borders would continue to be resisted. "The current situation in the countries of Western Europe is a warning to us," said Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague, president of the Czech bishops' conference. "The whole history of humanity shows how uncontrolled migration causes violence and conflict, as well as economic and cultural collapse." Duka's Slovak counterpart concurred. Read on.
SpiritSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
•• This Lent, adopt the role of comforter as a spiritual discipline … [Gretchen E. Ziegenhals, Faith and Leadership, Feb. 21] Being “called to the side of another” is a difficult venture, but one that is a mandate from God, writes a managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity … Denmark’s citizens are some of the happiest people in the world. Last Christmas I noticed a large number of social media posts and articles about the Danish concept of hygge. Pronounced “HOO-guh,” the term means cozy or comfortable. Hygge is the way the Danish say they get through their long, dark, cold winters. Fires on the hearth are hygge, as are hot cocoa, porridge cafes (yes, they really exist), candlelight and fuzzy sheep’s-wool throws.
But for Christian leaders, it is not enough to practice hygge for our own sake. While we might profitably start any spiritual practice with candlelight and a hearty bowl of porridge, the season of Lent calls us to engage a spiritual practice that brings such comfort to others. I don’t mean simply sending a greeting card. The spiritual practice I’m urging this Lent centers on being a comforter. And being a comforter is not as warm and cozy as it sounds.
As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples to ascend to the Father, he promises in John 14:16-17 (link is external), “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth.” Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit, the one who will comfort the disciples when Jesus is gone. The Greek word parakletos, often translated as “advocate,” “counselor” or “comforter,” is literally “one called to the side of another.” Read on.
• The Pope on panhandling: give without worry … [NYTimes Editorial Board, March 3] New Yorkers, if not city dwellers everywhere, might acknowledge a debt to Pope Francis this week. He has offered a concrete, permanently useful prescription for dealing with panhandlers. It’s this: Give them the money, and don’t worry about it. Read on.
• Spirit Resources
... way below.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Bombs of Steve Bannon … [NYTimes Op-Ed, Timothy Egan, March 10] Like much of the world, I’ve been trying to understand Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist and guiding force behind the chaos of Donald Trump’s bizarre presidency — chaos by design. He has been called the most dangerous political operative in America, the second most powerful man in the world and the great manipulator. He reportedly compared himself to Vladimir Lenin, the murderous architect of the Soviet Union — not his politics, but his goal to blow up the state. In a rare interview last fall, Bannon mentioned some role models.
“Darkness is good,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Dick Cheney, Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” You certainly can’t accuse him of lacking ambition, but I think he cited that villainy all-star list to throw people off. In the same interview, he made another, more accurate comparison: “I am Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors.” Read on.
• Atul Gawande on Obamacare … [The New Yorker] An acute observer of the health system writes, "Now Republicans in Congress are facing the wrath of constituents who don’t want to lose those gains. Conservatives have had to back off from their plan to repeal Obamacare now and worry about replacement later. Instead, they must grapple with what they have tried to ignore: the complexities of our healthcare system, especially in the four vital areas of employer-sponsored coverage, Medicaid, the individual insurance market, and taxes." Read on.
DioBeth [• New item •• Repeat]
• Education for Ministry … [Cathy Bailey] Groups planned for Wednesday mornings at Nativity Cathedral; Wednesday evenings, St. Stephen's Whitehall. Some are trying to get groups started in Easton, Lebanon, Reading, Stroudsburg and Tunkhannock. Other areas may be available if there is enough interest. No prerequisites except an open mind and the ability to come to class regularly during the next year. We will begin our next EfM course year in September 2017. Questions, more info: Cathy Bilely, email@example.com. Read on.
• DioBeth General News, March. 2 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Feb. 16 … Here.
Episcopal/Anglican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Episcopal Divinity School trustees vote to pursue affiliation with Union Theological Seminary in New York … [ENS, Feb. 24]
Episcopal News Service: Episcopal Divinity School board votes to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary that would create an EDS entity to provide Episcopal theological education and other programs at Union's campus in New York. The two seminaries will begin negotiations immediately in the hope that both boards can vote on an agreement when they meet in May, before EDS’s final commencement at its Cambridge, Massachusetts campus.
EDS has adopted a generous severance plan for its faculty and staff, and all of its students are being “taught out” at other seminaries with EDS financial support to avoid additional costs for those students. Seven of the teach-out students are Episcopalians in an ordination process; they come from three dioceses. A number of the students included in the teach-out, which has been approved by the Association of Theological Schools, are international students, and EDS has retained an immigration lawyer to advise the students about maintaining their visas in the transition. The seminary’s investments are currently valued at approximately $53 million plus its campus. 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.
• Resources ... way below
In the Media [• New item •• Repeat]
Nothing for now.
TaleSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
•• The Obama Era … [NYTimes, Parts 1-6] A transformation of the delivery of health care may be an enduring legacy for the president, even as Republicans plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Read.
Rest in Peace [• New item •• Repeat]
• Elvira (Schildge) Maniatty, 77 … died March 6. Elfie to her friends and family was a volunteer at Good Shepherd Home, Allentown, for many years. She was a member of St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Trexlertown, where she was a prayer chain leader, choir member, and altar guild member. She was long standing member also of Church of the Mediator prayer group and volunteered helping children in their after-school program. Obituary.
• Thor Bahrman Sr, 90 … died March 4. He was a member of St. Andrew's Church, Allentown/Bethlehem. Obituary.
• Allyn Bengtson, 90 … died February 28. He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Reading and later a lay minister of Christ Episcopal Church. Obituary.
• Salvatore P. Falzone, 89 … died February 24. He was a member of Holy Cross Wilkes-Barre, serving as a vestryman and financial secretary. Obituary.
• Margaret Krick, 69 … died March 6. She was a member of St. Anne's Trexlertown and was active in the prayer group. Obituary.
• Dorothy Gunuskey, 96 … died March 3. A member of Grace Honesdale for over 70 years, she served as church treasurer, was a member of ECW and St. Catherine's Guild, serving for many years as treasurer. She also taught Sunday school and for over 20 years served as lector and chalice bearer. Obituary.
[Rectors, senior wardens or family members who would like the death of a parishioner noted here may point me to published obits, or simply send their own brief notice. Thanks.]
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item •• Repeat]
• Francis becomes 1st pope to visit an Anglican church in Rome … [AP, Feb. 27] Here.
• Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College offer free, online class on world religions to promote religious literacy … [HuffPost] The six religion professors who will teach the course anticipate up to 50,000 people will enroll. Read on.
• Reza Aslan tries to make a 'believer' of everyone – New six-part series on CNN … [RNS, Kimberly Winston] Maybe it was the moment the nearly naked, ash-smeared guru asked Reza Aslan, the religion scholar and best-selling author, to eat a piece of human brain. Or maybe it was when the same guru, camped on the banks of the Ganges River at the crematory city of Varanasi, India, smeared human ashes on Aslan's face and hair. Read on. More from CNN.