newSpin, the newsletter
April 6, 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]
TopSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• DioBeth General News, March 30 … Here. •Kitch Becomes Canon to the Ordinary on April 1, •Evangelism Conference with Bishop Nicholas Knisely, •Christophany Youth Retreat, •Chrism Mass on April 3, •Interfaith Gathering and Dinner on April 29, •Integrity Bethlehem Chapter Reorganizing, •SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society Summer Camp, •The Spiritual Dimensions of Addiction and Recovery, •eFormation Conference, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •News of the Diocese, •People of Bethlehem, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 16 … Here. •Evangelism Conference with Bishop Nicholas Knisley, •Chrism Mass on April 3, •Episcopal Church Asset Map: Update Your Information, •Integrity Bethlehem Chapter Reorganizing, •2017 Parish Officials and Convention Delegate Forms, •SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society Summer Camp, •Unholy Trinity Gun Violence Conference April 20 - 22, •People of Bethlehem, •News of the Diocese, •Upcoming Diocesan Events
• Los Angeles Times series of editorials on President Trump … 1. Our Dishonest President, 2. Why Trump Lies, 3. Trump's Authoritarian Vision, 4. Trump's War on Journalism, 5. Conspiracy Theorist in Chief, 6. To come on Friday, April 6. Read here.
• When Martin Luther King Came Out Against Vietnam … [NYTimes] His blistering speech at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, was years in the making. Read on. Also, The New Yorker.
Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics [•New item ••Repeat]
• A sanctuary politics: being the church in the time of Trumps … [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Stanley Hauerwas & Jonathan Tran, March 30] On how we can prepare for the next four years by understanding how Christian mistakes got us here and how Christians can do better. Read on.
• Why is climate change a moral issue? … [James Martin, America, March 29] President Trump has signed measures rolling back significant parts of President Obama’s moves to protect the environment. Among other things, President Trump wants to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s policies to fight global warming. These may seem like political questions, but they are also moral ones. Pope Francis made that clear in his encyclical “Laudato Si’” in 2015. There he called for a conversion in the way we think about what the pope calls “our common home.” Read on.
• Vatican and U.S. church leaders urge Trump to reconsider environmental rollback … [America] Catholic leaders from the United States and Rome are calling on the Trump administration to reconsider rollbacks of Obama-era environmental protections, warning that time may be running out to protect the planet from damage caused by pollution and carbon emissions. Read on.
• Being Church in the Trump years … [Brian McLaren] How should the church prepare to lead in these times. Part 1. Part 2.
SpiritSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• God has taken our side, and promises never to leave it. That's grace. That's gospel … [Tony Robinson] Welcome to the human race where the name of the game isn't perfection but progress, the progress we can make when we know ourselves to be loved, and forgiven, and recipients of the unexpected grace of an amazing God. The Christian thing, the gospel, isn't about all the stuff we have to do to get on God's good side. It is about this: in Jesus Christ, God has taken our side, and promises never to leave it. That's grace. That's gospel. Read on.
• Grief … is love coming up against its oldest challenge. And, after all these mortal years, love knows how to handle it. [I heard this recently on a "Moth" story podcast.]
• Making a difference for one – an old inspirational illustration … [Loren Eiseley] “While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one." I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”
• Everybody has to be trouble to somebody … [A bit of wisdom from "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison] In reply to someone saying he didn't say anything about being sick because he didn't want to be trouble to anybody.
• After great pain, where is God? … [NYTimes, Peter Wehner March 25] Every life has a story, and every story is marked by pain, loss and sorrow. Sometimes we suffer; other times we have to watch people we love suffer. Each situation is difficult in its own way. I’m no theologian. My professional life has been focused on politics and the ideas that inform politics. Yet I’m also a Christian trying to wrestle honestly with the complexities and losses in life, within the context of my faith. And while it’s fine for Christians to say God will comfort people in their pain, if a child dies, if the cancer doesn’t go into remission, if the marriage breaks apart, how much good is that exactly?
During 1940 C. S. Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain.” Lewis’s answer to why an all-good and all-powerful God would allow his creatures to suffer pain was a bit too neat and tidy. Among other things, he wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Now flash forward two decades to the publication of “A Grief Observed,” which Lewis wrote after his wife’s death. God’s megaphone didn’t just rouse Lewis, it nearly shattered him. In writing about his bereavement, Lewis described what it was like to go to God “when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” He added: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’ ” Read on.
•• How to meditate … [NYTimes, David Gelles] Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Here, we offer basic tips to get started on a path toward greater equanimity, acceptance and joy. Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax. Read on.
• 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.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.
• Spirit Resources ... way below.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Normalization of Insanity … [NCR, Sr. Joan Chittister, April 6] It's time to think through a very bizarre situation: Here we are in the one of the most modern, practiced, experienced democracies in the world - meaning that nothing could be more normal. But we're also here with a new president who is so out-of-sync with a political and professional world that is rational, sophisticated, cautious and careful that few can tell where the rational ends and the bizarre begins anymore. Read on.
• In the Garden … [Rebecca Randall, h/t Nativity Notes of Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem] I have a confession to make: on Ash Wednesday this year, I didn’t step foot inside a church. I tried, unsuccessfully, to avert my eyes whenever I saw the crosses emblazoned on passersby. “There’s a church a block and a half from our house,” my husband reminded me when I offered up the “I couldn’t find a way to get there” excuse. “I think I’m having a bit of a spiritual crisis,” I told a trusted friend. I spent some time pondering what was happening in my inner life. Lent is a reminder of death-my mother’s death, Jesus’ death, my own death. “Remember that dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Sometimes, it just feels too painful to bear. So a part of me wants and needs to be defiant. And sometimes, a part of me wants to wrap myself only in the comfort of denial. Easter cannot come soon enough. But I know that it doesn’t work that way. New life comes, I know, but I have to first walk through the landscape of death. Every year, I have to work through this in new and very personal ways. And anyway, I ultimately trust that God always has a way of finding me and bringing me back.
… Lately, my mother has been visiting my dreams. I wish I could say that she appears to me as some beaming, heavenly figure, offering words of consolation and wisdom. But she doesn’t. In the dreams, she and I are sometimes engaged in some kind of conflict, some kind of heated conversation. Similar to many people who have complicated relationships with family, my relationship with my mother wasn’t always an easy one, and she died before we had the chance to work everything out. These recent dreams are not always pleasant, but they are comforting, because they remind me that even as my mother died, our relationship remains a living one. Read on.
[Rebecca Randall, her husband and three children are members of Nativity Cathedral. "While I live and work in the greater NY area," she says, "my heart finds its home in Durham, PA, which is where my family and I spend most weekends." She works as a mental health therapist and pastoral counselor at a New York City agency.]
• Drawn into Sacramental Encounter … [A slightly edited version of a sermon I preached on Palm Sunday 2001 at Grace Allentown] When we come to hear God’s word and to do Eucharist, we do dangerous things with bread, wine, oil, water, the ash of Wednesday, the palm of Sunday, the touch of Thursday, the cross of Friday, the empty tomb of Easter. They draw us more deeply into the mystery of our own identity -- who we are in relationship with God. The divine imagination uses all the liturgical symbols as well as the accidental stuff that may happen to bring us to an ever deepening awareness of the dignity of the human person: created, loved, forgiven, transformed and re-created by God’s Holy Spirit. You never know what may happen when you allow yourself to be drawn into sacramental encounter with God. The place where we worship together is a dangerous place. Read on.
• A round-up of recent religion news … [The Revealer] Here.
DioBeth [• New item •• Repeat]
|• Canon to the Ordinary … The Rev. Canon Anne Kitch became canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Bethlehem on April 1. Kitch, who has served as canon for ministry formation and transitions in the diocese since 2014, will report directly to Rowe and assume the responsibilities previously held by the diocese's archdeacon, including overseeing diocesan operations, ministry and mission, congregational development and supervising Diocesan House staff. Read on.
•• Book benefits church refugee center … [Morning Call, March 20, Jennifer Sheehan] Susan Hulsman Bingham, a member of Church of the Mediator, Allentown, has written, illustrated and self-published a lighthearted little book, "Friendly At Home Fitness Manual," that features tips on how you can make the most of any household chore by adding moves that will give you a workout at the same time. And the book benefits more than your body. All proceeds from the book, which costs $10, benefits the Episcopal Church of the Mediator's Refugee Community Center. The church's center welcomes refugees with free community dinners, English as a Second Language classes, discussion groups, prayer and more. Read on.
•• Women's Weekend/Men & Women's Day Retreat … June 9-11. At Mariawald Renewal Center, Shillington. Sponsored by St. Gabriel's Douglassville. This is the first time we’re having a one-day session as part of our annual Women’s Retreat weekend, and able to open that to both women and men. We’re offering the retreat to the wider diocese thinking, and hoping, that some will want to attend to hear this well-known leader. Download brochure here.
•• 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 Bailey, email@example.com. Read on.
• DioBeth General News, March. 2 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, March 16 … Here.
DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites [• New item •• Repeat]
• Allentown: Mediator … Here. Refugee Community Center … Here.
• Allentown: Grace Montessori School … Here.
• Athens: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Nativity Cathedral … Here. Emergency Shelter … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity … Here. Trinity Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Douglassville: St. Gabriel … Here.
• Easton: Trinity … Here. ARK Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Lebanon: St. Luke … Here.
• Pottsville: Trinity … Here.
• Reading: Christ Church … Here. SPARK … Here.
• Trexlertown: St. Anne … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Stephen … Here.
• West Pittston: Trinity … Here.
[Bill] I hope to continue this until all websites are listed. If you would like me to highlight something on your website, please let me know. Thanks.]
Episcopal/Anglican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Funding cuts cause Episcopal Migration Ministries to reduce network size … [ENS, April 4] As a result of changing U.S. policy that lowers the number of refugees to be resettled in this country annually by more than half, Episcopal Migration Ministries will be reducing the size of its affiliate network by six sites in the next fiscal year. Currently, the Episcopal Migration Ministries network consists of 31 affiliate locations. Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government.
“We are disappointed that we need to take these steps, but the current situation leaves us no choice,” commented the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “We have reduced our national core staff by 22% due to funding cuts and we are now looking at a similar cut in our network of affiliate partners through which refugees are resettled. While difficult, the decision making process regarding these reductions has been carried out carefully and strategically, with the welfare of refugees at the forefront of our minds.” Read on.
• The priest who healed orphans with poetry … [WaPo, April 3, Joan Chrissos] Spencer Reece had gone to Honduras to learn Spanish after a crisis at work. An acclaimed poet who later became an Episcopal priest, Reece had been working as a chaplain at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut in 2009 when a teenage boy was rushed into the ER late at night. Stabbed 25 times, the boy died at 6 the following morning, another gang-war casualty. Reece had tried as best he could to comfort the mother, but she spoke only Spanish. Reece, a Midwesterner who in a previous incarnation sold wingtips and windowpane suits at Brooks Brothers, spoke only English.
Reece called Leo Frade, the Episcopal bishop of Miami. At the time, the Diocese of Southeast Florida, led by Frade, was sponsoring Reece at Yale Divinity School. How could he became fluent in Spanish, Reece asked Frade. “He immediately said, ‘I have just the place for you,’’’ recalled Reece, who prior to seminary had been an assistant manager at the Brooks Brothers in Palm Beach Gardens. Frade, who came to Miami in 2000 after serving 17 years as the Bishop of Honduras, filled him in on Our Little Roses, a home and school for abused and abandoned girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a city where children bathe in brown, fetid river water and scavenge for scraps at the city dump. Read on.
• Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Easter message … [ENS] “Go forth to be people of the Resurrection,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry said in his Easter 2017 message. “Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.” Read and/or View.
•Bishop awaits ruling after hearing into his conduct in attempting to sell Newport Beach church … [Los Angeles Times, March 30] Whether or not Episcopal Church leadership in Los Angeles sought a buyer for the St. James the Great church property in Newport Beach was a matter of dispute for lawyers arguing whether a bishop acted properly when he tried to sell the land to a developer. Thursday (March 30) was the third and final day of a disciplinary hearing where Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles faced allegations that he was deceptive and unbecoming of a clergyman when he tried to sell the church site at 3209 Via Lido, locked congregants out and then kept the gates closed even after the sale fell apart. 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]
• One nation under Fox: 18 hours with a network that shapes America … [NYTimes, March 25] Fox News is a singular force, crafting a searing narrative about what’s happening in the world for millions of viewers, including President Trump. “I know maybe the president is watching.” So said Brian Kilmeade, co-host of “Fox and Friends,” on Thursday morning’s show. It was no mere boast, since President Trump has publicly stated his affection for the show and for Fox News, the channel on which it airs. If Mr. Trump was indeed tuning in, he was far from alone. Fox News has been the most watched cable news network for 15 years, but depending on the hour, the news narrative it presents to its large and loyal conservative audience can sharply diverge from what consumers of other media outlets may be seeing.
We watched Fox News from 6 a.m. until midnight on Thursday (March 23) to see how its coverage varied from that of its rivals on a day when cable news was dominated by the health care debate in Congress, the terrorist attack in London and the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. Read on.
• Yuval Harari on Why Humans Won't Dominate Earth in 300 Years … [Vox, Ezra Klein, March 27] Given the current pace of technological development, it is possible we will destroy ourselves in some ecological or nuclear calamity. The more likely possibility is that we will use bioengineering and machine learning and artificial intelligence either to upgrade ourselves into a totally different kind of being or to create a totally different kind of being that will take over. Read on.
• Jimmy Breslin and the lost voice of the people … [The New Yorker, Jonathan Alter, March 20] "A lot of great obits have been done on Jimmy Breslin, including two memorable pieces by Dan Barry of the New York Times," writes Rod Nordland, the NYTimes International Correspondent at Large. "But I find myself wanting more, and I loved the way this short article focused on the scope of Mr. Breslin’s work and summed up its place in the journalistic lexicon. Were he alive now, the writer says, Mr. Breslin would be covering the human impact of President Trump’s budget cuts — and 'with a little more fun and a lot more rage.'" Read on.
• Majestic hits home run – Production of MLB uniforms, fanwear will stay at Palmer Township plant … [The Morning Call, Jon Harris, April 5] For a year, the 600 workers of Majestic in Palmer Township waited nervously on deck for the answer to one question from parent company VF Corp.: Will production of major league baseball uniforms continue at the plant? The employees got their answer at 9 a.m. Tuesday, when they were told sports merchandise company Fanatics had signed an agreement to buy Majestic in a grand slam of a deal that will keep production of MLB uniforms and fanwear at the facility well beyond the 2019 season.
… For Majestic, the largest remaining apparel manufacturer in the Lehigh Valley's shriveled garment industry, the company continues its involvement with MLB that began in 1982. That's when it pioneered the batting practice jersey, a baseball shirt worn only for pregame warmups. In August 2003, the company won a five-year contract, starting in 2005, as the exclusive supplier of uniforms, jackets, T-shirts, fleece and turtlenecks to all 30 big-league teams. At the time of the announcement, Majestic made official jerseys for 15 MLB teams, while Russell Corp. handled the remaining 15 clubs. Read on.
• Righteousness outside a Planned Parenthood office – more than 20 years ago … The post below, from Caroline Cavett's Facebook page, was especially poignantarchM for me. Just before I saw it, it was listening to Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel, “A Book of American Martyrs.” I had clicked off at the point where Dr. Gus Voorhees' wife was notified of the shooting death of her husband outside an abortion clinic in Ohio.
A Washington Post review says American Martyrs "probes all the wounds of our abortion debate," and is "the most relevant book of Oates’s half-century-long career, a story whose grasp is so wide and whose empathy is so boundless that it provides an ultrasound of the contemporary American soul." Read on.
Requiescant in pace [• New item •• Repeat]
• Jan Charney, 78 … died March 27. She was an active member of Trinity Easton, where she had served for many years as parish administrator. She was an active member of The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, serving on Diocesan Council. She served on the Women's Board at Easton Hospital and was also a Chaplain at the hospital. Sermon by Canon Cliff Carr at the April 2 family service here. Obituary here. A memorial and celebration of Jan's life, open to the community, will be held at Trinity Easton on Saturday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m.
• George W. Pike, 88 … died March 22. He was a member of St. Mary's Wind Gap where he served as senior and junior warden. Obituary.
• Constance Levering, 79 … died March 19. She was a lifelong member of St. Alban's Whitfield and its choir. Obituary.
• James Liero, 96 … died March 27. He was a member of St. Mary's Wind Gap where he served on the vestry. Obituary.
• George Cedric Watson, 79 … died April 2. He was a member of Trinity Easton. Obituary.
• Richard Bolles, 90 … died March 31. He wrote What Color Is Your Parachute? Bolles was a Harvard physics major, Episcopal priest and career counselor whose own twisting vocational path left him well prepared to write a guide to changing careers. “Parachute” was the most popular job-hunter’s manual of the 1970s and beyond. Read on.
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item •• Repeat]
• Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on clearing scriptural minefields and building interfaith friendships … [RNS, Yonat Shimron, March 28] Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made a name for himself as chief rabbi of Great Britain for nearly a quarter-century, a time of great tumult that included the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the influx of millions of Muslims into Europe and the ongoing pressures to absorb and assimilate newcomers into a mostly secular society. As chief rabbi from 1991 to 2013, he stressed an appreciation and respect of all faiths, with an emphasis on interfaith work that brings people together while allowing each faith its own particularity.
His two books, “The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations” and “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence,” were well-reviewed, and last year he was awarded the Templeton Prize. He recently visited Duke University to deliver two public lectures and meet with scholars, students and clergy. He also took the time to talk to RNS. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Read on.
•• The Story of Islam – A Primer … [Commonweal, David Pinault, March 20] Events of the past two decades have brought Islam onto the radar of the West with a centrality few could have imagined. The terror attacks by al- Qaeda and other groups; the calamitous invasion of Iraq; the rise of ISIS; the devastation of Syria and the refugee crisis; the caricature-of-the-prophet controversy; the conflicts over burqa and hijab and the role of women; the religious and cultural clashes embroiling Europe: we live with an ominous anticipation—fueled by anxiety and exploited by some politicians—of global religious strife. Our last president said “We are not at war with Islam,” while our current one insists that “Islam hates us.” Donald Trump’s former national-security adviser warned of “a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: radical Islam.” Can you blame Americans for being confused? Read on.