newSpin, the newsletter
October 15, 2015
TopSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• 2015 Convention of the Diocese of Bethlehem … Find reports on our convention at the Oct. 8 diocesan newsletter and at our diocesan website.
• Five reasons to pay attention to the young people in your newsroom (church?) … [Poynter/MediaWire] There will come a day, if it hasn’t come for you already, when you’re no longer the youngest person in your newsroom. It’s a strange day. And in the last few years, it has gotten a bit stranger. Read on. See how you might adapt this to your church.
• A successful church program can become a “caged bird” -- constrained by the structure of a single congregation … [Faith&Leadership] By starting a separate nonprofit, a congregation can let its programs fly, writes Joy Skjegstad. Enrollment in a 20-year-old church preschool program grows, but tuition no longer covers expenses. An afterschool program that once served 20 children now serves 200. A congregation wants to do development work in Haiti but needs support from other churches. It may be time to start a nonprofit if church programs such as these have become like caged birds -- the policies, structure and limited resources of the church prevent the programs from growing and thriving. The congregation just can’t provide the funding, volunteers, management expertise or even a facility that will sustain the program and move it forward. To really “fly,” the church may need to set up the program as its own nonprofit organization. In my work as a speaker, teacher and consultant in the nonprofit management and ministry development field, I’ve found that many churches with schools or preschools consider this model, and it is also commonly used for community development activities such as affordable housing, youth development, job training and health clinics. Read on.
• Clinical pastoral education program at Geisinger … [From Father Tim Alleman] Here.
• Why can't the church be more like AA? … [Crux, Kathleen Hirsch, Oct. 1] In AA, you come as you are … In AA, people come with their wounds and their deep life experiences on display … In AA, people's voices are heard. Read on.
• Insights into Religion … Find congregational resources and insights into religious practices. Here.
•• Geography of Poverty: A journey through forgotten America … [MSNBC] Poverty manifests itself in many ways — poor health care, substandard education, rugged housing, bad diet. But one of its often overlooked consequences is the harsh toll on the body exacted by the geopolitics of poverty, the lucrative energy industry and environmental hazards. As Trymaine Lee examines in this striking piece, the wheezing, coughing, burning eyes and early deaths in Louisiana’s so-called Cancer Alley are a direct result of the legacy of institutional, inescapable poverty that dates to the Antebellum South.This is SOUTHEAST, part two of MSNBC‘s four-part series, Geography of Poverty. INTRODUCTION. SOUTHWEST. NORTHEAST. NORTHWEST.
•• The shocking reach of U.S. child poverty … [CBS MoneyWatch] America's childhood poverty numbers aren't pretty, but they are even uglier than you might think. Take a snapshot of the U.S. today, and you'll find that 22 percent of all children live in families that are below the federal poverty level. But what happens when you look at how American children fare throughout their pre-adult lives? It's nearly twice as bad. Read on.
• GOP candidates count on religion to convince voters … [U.S. News & World Report] The issue of religion is emerging as a defining feature of the 2016 presidential campaign. Read on.
• Three Great American Religious Awakenings … [Marilynne Robinson, Commonweal, Oct. 12, 2015] Although the word “Christian” now is seen less as identifying an ethic, and more as identifying a demographic, history shows that instances of religious passion—hysteria, fainting fits, visions—called awakenings have led to stable, and thoughtful social change. But of these movements of change, only a select few have been considered "religious." …
It is an essential principle of American government and society that there should be a separation of church and state. As with all our essential principles, we argue endlessly about what this means. In eighteenth-century Britain and Europe there were laws that limited the civil rights of subjects who did not conform to the established church. So in America there was to be no established church, and there was to be no religious qualification for public office. State churches in Britain and Europe were subsidized by government. This was not to be true in America, though all the denominations have enjoyed the passive subsidy of tax exemption. In these respects the matter is straightforward enough. Still it is perhaps even truer of our society than of most that religion and public life are inextricably involved. Where most people are religious, where their values or at least their sense of identity are formed by Christian cultural influences, and where government is at least formally popular, it could hardly be otherwise.
For various reasons the bonds between politics and religion have begun to chafe in the past few decades, and not for the first time. Movements that present themselves as religiously motivated have now begunPo to regard the state as aggressively secular, and as enforcing secularism, precisely in maintaining institutional distance that was meant in the first instance to protect religious freedom: they have begun to regard the state with a hectic moral aversion, and at the same time to meddle in or to stymie public life by asserting a presence in governments national and local. The defense against these movements has often taken the form of a secularism that is contemptuous of religion—religion being for these purposes identical with the unbeautiful phenomenon that now so loudly claims the title for itself. This is a bad turn of events for church and for state, a separation of culture and ethos that truly amounts in certain quarters to deep mutual antagonism. It is a turn things have taken before, as a student of our history would be aware. Whether this fact is reassuring or alarming it is hard to know. In any case, we have been reminded again lately how true it is that a small flame can cause a great fire. And that, to complete the allusion, the tongue is a flame. Read on.
• President Obama & Marilynne Robinson: A conversation in Iowa … [WaPo, Tara Bahrampour, Oct. 13] A treat arrived this week for those with intersecting interests in faith, politics and literature: President Obama’s New York Review of Books interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. In what is less a straight-up interview than a conversation between fellow travelers, Obama prods Robinson on her recent essay on how fear colors conversations about faith. Christianity is “profoundly counter-intuitive,” Robinson told Obama. “It’s supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be a challenge.”
The two, both from the United Church of Christ tradition, discussed the evolution of American democracy and religion and agreed that the gentler messages of Christianity are increasingly drowned out by belligerent rhetoric. “How do you reconcile the idea of faith being really important to you … with the fact that, at least in our democracy and our civic discourse, it seems as if folks who take religion the most seriously sometimes are also those who are suspicious of those not like them?” Obama asked. Robinson questioned how seriously those Christians take their faith. “I mean, when people are turning in on themselves — and God knows, arming themselves and so on — against the imagined other, they’re not taking their Christianity seriously,” she said. Read on.
[New York Review of Books, Oct. 9] In the first of a two-part interview, the president discusses faith, democracy and small-town life with the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist, to whom he awarded the National Humanities medal in 2013. "I think that the basis of democracy is the willingness to assume well about other people," Robinson said. "How do you reconcile the idea that ... folks who take religion the most seriously sometimes are also those who are suspicious of those not like them?" the president asked in a wide-ranging conversation about faith and politics. Read on.
• The hypocrisy of 'helping' the poor … [NYTimes, Paul Theroux] This social justice article was suggested for newSpin by Liza Holzinger of St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem. An excerpt: Every so often, you hear grotesquely wealthy American chief executives announce in sanctimonious tones the intention to use their accumulated hundreds of millions, or billions, “to lift people out of poverty.” Sometimes they are referring to Africans, but sometimes they are referring to Americans. And here’s the funny thing about that: In most cases, they have made their fortunes by impoverishing whole American communities, having outsourced their manufacturing to China or India, Vietnam or Mexico … It seems obvious that executives of American companies should invest in the Deep South as they did in China. If this modest proposal seems an outrageous suggestion, to make products for Nike, Apple, Microsoft and others in the South, it is only because the American workers would have to be paid fairly. Perhaps some chief executives won’t end up multibillionaires as a result, but neither will they have to provide charity to lift Americans out of poverty." Read on.
• Catholic California governor: I considered the perspectives that ‘shortening of one’s life is sinful’ … [WaPo, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Oct. 5] California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, signed a law Monday legalizing physician-assisted suicide in California. Brown, who has had brushes with cancer, noted his personal struggle ahead of signing the law. “I have carefully read the thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights,” Brown wrote in a statement. “I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful.”
Brown said he spoke with people who supported the bill, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the family of Brittany Maynard, who made headlines last year when she announced her plan to die by physician-assisted death in Oregon. Brown also wrote that he spoke with a Catholic bishop. “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” he wrote. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.” Read on.
• Chick-fil-A and the politics of eating in Manhattan… [NYTimes, Ginia Bellafante, Oct. 9] The sandwich shop, founded by an evangelical Christian, draws activists from animal rights folks to gay rights advocates to defenders of evangelical faith. In recent days, the complicated politics of urban consumerism have been playing out most visibly, with the arrival of Chick-fil-A, a totem of red-state habits, in New York City. Created by a conservative Christian child of public housing, S. Truett Cathy, in Georgia, in the mid-20th century, Chick-fil-A has come under fire during the past few years over comments made by the founder’s son Dan Cathy, the company’s president, in opposition to same-sex marriage. Those remarks followed revelations that the company’s foundation had donated considerable sums of money to groups working to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Advocates began boycotting the chain and tried to stop new franchises from opening across the country …
The new Chick-fil-A franchise in Manhattan begins its salary scale at $11 an hour, for those with no restaurant experience. This exceeds by more than $2 the current minimum wage in New York State, scheduled to reach $15 an hour in several years, and surpasses starting salaries at Shake Shack, a much-admired employer in New York, by $1. Chick-fil-A is also noted for its charitable contributions — the Midtown branch has already given away 250 pounds of chicken to the New York Common Pantry — having contributed more than $68 million during the past three years to charities working to improve education and mitigate poverty. This is not to say that you should start eating at Chick-fil-A if your instincts tell you otherwise. But eating now demands an increasingly complicated mathematics that never ultimately satisfies. Read on.
DioBeth [• New item •• Repeat]
• The Rev. Nancy Meader Packard has been called as interim priest at St. Anne's, Trexlertown. She is the retired rector of St. Mary's Church in Reading and is associated with St. Alban's Church in Sinking Spring. Photo here.
The Rev. Canon Michael Piovane retired at the end of September after 17 years as rector of St. Anne's, Trexlertown. Prior to becoming rector, he was an associate priest at St. Anne's and director of alumni relations at Kutztown University. Piovane was elected to the Commission on Ministry at the recent Diocesan Convention. Photo here.
• The Scariest Stories: Witch Hunts … a free lecture open to the public, will be presented by The Rev. Brian Pavlac, Ph.D., at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, October 30, at 7 p.m. The illustrated talk will discuss when and why Christian authorities began to believe in and fear witches, and how they persecuted people accused as witches. This is a horror story that is based not on Halloween fantasy but on historical fact. The lecture will be followed by a brief penitential service. Fr. Pavlac is a professor of history at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, and is the author of the book, “Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials,” published by the University of Nebraska Press. For more information, call St. Stephen’s Church 570-825-6653.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Sept. 24 … Here.
• DioBeth e-Newsletter, Oct. 8 … Here.
•• 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 334 members.
• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin … [Bill] Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The Diocesan e-Newsletter, (4) The newSpin newsletter.
The Leadership News and the Diocesan e-Newsletter are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. Find the most recent Diocesan e-Newsletter, October 8, here. Find the most recent Leadership News, September 24, here.
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 parishes 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. I always post the newSpin newsletter on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to Jo Trepagnier, email@example.com.
Episcopal/Anglican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Weekly bulletin inserts … [ENS] October 18: United Nations Day; October 25: Installation of Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry. Find the inserts here.
• Investiture of the 27th Presiding Bishop
… The Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was elected and confirmed to be the next presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention on June 27. According to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, he becomes presiding bishop and primate on Nov 1. Bishop Curry is the first African-American to be elected presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry will be the 27th presiding bishop.
The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop will occur on Sunday, Nov 1 at 12 noon at Washington National Cathedral. The service will be live webcast, available here
. Application for tickets is now closed. Please let the communications office know if your church is planning to Live Stream the service on Sunday, Nov 1.
All are invited to join a Vigil Celebration and Eucharist, sponsored by the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) in honor of the 27th Presiding Bishop on Saturday, Oct 31 at 11 am at the Armory, 2001 E. Capital St. SE in Washington, DC. Ticket applications for this event are available here . Additional information is available http://www.ube.org/. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will sponsor a live webcast of the Vigil Celebration at www.episcopalchurch.org
•• House of Deputies newsletter … Here.
• Resources … way below.
SpiritSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• If you have a choice … between being right or being kind, just be kind.
• Why be Episcopalian? … [Episcopal Café, Lisa Fischbeck] The Episcopal Church is the American expression of the Anglican Church, a Church with a tradition of rich and thoughtful theology, spirituality and liturgy. At its best, Anglican theology is a theology that welcomes questions, that respects individual conscience, and that looks for truth in the comprehensive, rather than the particular. It is a theology that is nuanced and that thrives in the creative tension between seemingly competitive dualities. Anglican theology holds a particular appreciation of the Incarnation – God becoming a human being. This means that we believe that God comes to us where and how we are, that all of humanity has been lifted up, and therefore the dignity of every human being is to be respected. Anglican theology has a lot to contribute to conversations among Christians, between Christians and those of other faiths, and between the Church and the world.
At its best, Anglican spirituality calls forth a lifetime of conversion and transformation, what former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold described as being “transformed and conformed into the way of Christ.” Anglican Spirituality holds a wealth of pre-existing resources for prayer and formation: the Eucharistic Rites to remind us of the Story again and again, the daily office with its many canticles to inform our conscience, the liturgical calendar and the rhythm of the church year to transform time. This comes as a comfort and relief to those who have not had a one-time, life-changing conversation experience. And it helps to give value to the many and varied transformative events of our lives. It also means we have more transformation ahead. Read on.
• Do Americans secretly pine for religion … [The Week, Damon Linker, Oct. 14] For much of the 20th century, sociologists and other scholars assumed that modernity leads invariably to secularism. A generation ago, this consensus began to be shaken by the persistence of religiosity in the United States. Might there actually be two or more forms of modern life — the secular European model and an American variation that remains much more accommodating to and encouraging of faith? But within the past few years, polling data showing rapidly declining religious belief and practice in the United States has led some to wonder whether secularism might be the modern fate after all, with American disenchantment merely taking place somewhat more slowly than one finds on the other side of the Atlantic.
But what does "secularism" even mean in this context? Are Americans on a path leading to the strident atheism of Richard Dawkins? Or might they, instead, be charting some third way between historic Judeo-Christianity and dogmatic godlessness by embracing new forms of non-theistic spirituality? And if so, is it possible that Americans who think of themselves as "spiritual but not religious" or "moralistic therapeutic deists" might eventually find themselves drawn back to more traditional forms of monotheistic faith? Or will their new styles of piety remain meaningfully distinct from those traditions? Read on.
• Spirit Resources ... way below.
• Are we prepared to be surprised by the Spirit… [NCR Editorial Staff, Oct. 4] The earliest recorded church synod convened in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. Moved by the Spirit, Paul surprised that gathering by calling for the full inclusion of Gentiles into the Christian community. Peter came to his defense, and church history was changed. What better place than the Synod of Bishops on the family to be surprised by a Paul calling for full gender equality in the church. Would today's Peter come to his defense? Are the synod fathers prepared for that surprise? We have reached a place in church history with strong parallels to that time. The church can wait no longer to embrace gender equality in the church. Read on.
• The Myth, the Monk, the Man … [Luke Timothy Johnson, Commonweal, Sept. 2] When The Seven Storey Mountain was published in 1949 and became an instant classic, Thomas Merton was only thirty-four years old and had been a Trappist monk for just seven years. The book made him the most famous monk in the world, and he would remain both agent and symbol of the rapidly changing face of Catholicism in the twentieth century until his untimely death at the age of fifty-three. On the centenary of his birth, it is appropriate to celebrate the remarkable role he played and the influence he exerted in what was, by any measure, a short life, and to appreciate the complex psychological pressures and spiritual ambitions that made Merton’s life at once painful and creative. I know that others whose lives were touched by Merton will understand if this short essay is as much personal as it is analytic. One of Merton’s gifts as a writer was the ability to insinuate himself into the lives of people he had never met, and remain, even decades after his death, inexplicably a significant and deeply personal presence. That was certainly true for me. Read on.
• Implications of how the term "mortal sin" is used … [Donald Cozzens, Commonweal] Donald Cozzens asks if the focus on act-centered sin is the best way to approach morality? He writes, "Labeling human moral acts and omissions that miss the mark as mortal sin always ups the ante—and threatens the credibility of the church’s teaching authority itself. The church’s readiness to call certain behaviors or admissions mortal sins grew out of a pastoral concern to motivate the faithful to do what was thought essential or at least important for the salvation of their souls."
As an earnest young Catholic boy thinking seriously about the priesthood, Cozzens writes, I was surprised to find myself wishing I were Protestant. I told no one of my secret dallying with apostasy, which, I feared, might have been a mortal sin. My adolescent Catholic world of the 1950s was simple: avoid committing a mortal sin at all costs. And my world was loaded with land mines that my high-school religion teachers assured me were mortal sins. Step on one and be instantly separated from the state of grace and plunged into the horror of being separated from God. And worse, should I die without confessing a mortal sin to a priest, I would be condemned to hell for eternity.
While I was seriously thinking about the priesthood, I was at the same time seriously thinking about girls. But just thinking about girls could be trouble. For that could lead to impure thoughts. And these desires, if for an instant deliberate and with full consent of my will, would make me guilty of mortal sin. To my consternation, I learned that everything sexual outside of marriage—not only actions, but even thoughts and desires—was mortally sinful. Moreover, even “going steady,” that is, exclusive dating, was itself mortally sinful because it was a near occasion of mortal sin. Talk about adolescent angst! Read "Sins, Mortal & Otherwise" here.
• Embracing our Limits: The lessons of Laudato Si … [Rowan Williams, Commonweal, Sept. 26] Perhaps the first thing that needs to be said about Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment is that it is an entirely natural development not only of the theology of Evangelii gaudium but also—as the extensive citations show—of the theology of Pope Benedict, especially as found in Caritas in veritate. Both the pope’s critics and his supporters have often missed the point: Benedict’s Christian humanism, his consistent theology of the dignity of the human person, his concern for a culture in which there is no longer a viable understanding of any given order independent of human will—all this is reiterated with force and clarity by Pope Francis. This encyclical is emphatically not charting a new course in papal theology, and those who speak as if this were the case have not been reading either pope with attention. What is uncomfortable for some is that a number of points clearly but briefly made by the previous pontiff have been drawn out in unmistakable terms. The fact that we live in a culture tone-deaf to any sense of natural law is here starkly illustrated by the persistent tendency of modern human agents to act as though the naked fact of personal desire for unlimited acquisition were the only “given” in the universe, so that ordinary calculations of prudence must be ignored. Measureless acquisition, consumption, or economic growth in a finite environment is a literally nonsensical idea; yet the imperative of growth remains unassailable, as though we did not really inhabit a material world. Read on.
Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth [• New item •• Repeat]
• Resources ... way below
In the Media [• New item •• Repeat]
Rest in Peace [• New item •• Repeat]
• Ruth Owen Pook, 92 … died October 8. She and her late husband, Peter, were longtime members of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Her signature mural adorns the walls of the Children's Chapel there. See obituary here.
• Sister Adrian Barrett, 86 … [Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader] servant of the poor throughout the Scranton area, died on Oct. 12. Please see below, under "Roman Catholic."
• Paul R. Doelp, 81 … of Reading, died October 5, while on vacation in Southport Island, Maine. Husband of Ruth A. (Wendel) Doelp for 58 years, he was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, Reading. See obituary here.
TaleSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
• Tale of the tape … "We attribute our success, as I say often, to stubbornness and stupidity” — An exec. at a company that’s making money selling cassette tapes to people who just won’t accept that it’s 2015.
• Meet the Nobel-nominated priest who rescues African refugees from Mediterranean … [RNS] The Rev. Mussie Zerai, a 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest from tiny Eritrea, has moved to help migrants trapped in the North African deserts and rickety wooden boats drifting across the sea. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to the National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia. Read on.
• First edition KJB … [The Telegraph UK] A vicar clearing out a cupboard at his church found a forgotten first edition King James Bible dating back to 1611. Read on. Also at Religion News Service.
• Miracle in Chicago … [NYTimes, Oct. 13] Cubs advance to National League Championship Series. It's only been about 100 years since the last time. Read on.
Employment Opportunities [• New item •• Repeat]
• Episcopal Positions beyond DioBeth ... Here.
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item •• Repeat]
• What would Jesus tip? … [RNS] Ohio church tips Domino's driver $1,046 for $5.99 pizza. The recorded interaction, posted online, was part of a monthly missionary series on "Random Acts of Kindness." Read on.
• Oprah's 'Belief' series: a seven-day exploration of faith … See below, under "Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech."
• Resources … way below.
Evangelical Lutheran Church [• New item •• Repeat]
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 [• New item •• Repeat]
Moravian Church in North America website.
Moravian Church Northern Province website.
Moravian Theological Seminary website.
United Methodist Church [• New item •• Repeat]
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
Presbyterian Church USA [• New item •• Repeat]
Website ... Here.
News & Announcements ... Here.
Roman Catholic [• New item •• Repeat]
• No kids for divorced or single people … [WaPo, Oct. 10] Thirty orphanages run by the group founded by Mother Teresa have decided to shutter their adoption services in India rather than comply with a new government system that makes it easier for single and divorced people to adopt children. Read on.
• Communion crackdown … [RNS, David Gibson, Oct. 13] Even as Pope Francis and Catholic leaders from around the world debate ways to make the Catholic Church more inclusive, Newark Archbishop John Myers has given his priests strict guidelines on refusing Communion to Catholics who, for example, support gay marriage or whose own marriage is not valid in the eyes of the church. In the two-page memo, Myers also orders parishes and Catholic institutions not to host people or organizations that disagree with church teachings. Read on.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• 'Servant of the poor' of Scranton … [Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader] Sister Adrian Barrett, known for her charity work throughout the region, has died at age 86. “She believed in taking care of the poorest of the poor from before their birth,” said Barrett’s cousin and former Scranton mayor James McNulty. A nun with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Barrett died Monday morning (Oct. 12) at Our Lady of Peace retirement home in Scranton, McNulty said. Barrett worked her entire life to improve the quality of life for the impoverished through her activities as both a community servant and political activist, her cousin said. In 1986 she founded the Friends of the Poor, a nonprofit, volunteer-run charitable organization which works to provide those living in poverty with food, clothing and other basic needs. Read on.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
The Vatican [• New item •• Repeat]
• Vatican official fired after coming out … [WaPo, Sarah Kaplan, Oct. 5] On Oct. 3, as hundreds of bishops convened in Rome for a major church assembly on family issues, former Vatican priest Krzysztof Charamsa headed a mile across town to a different gathering: the founding meeting of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, a group of 13 organizations advocating for inclusion of gays in the church.Charamsa had lost his job just before, when he was fired from his position in the Vatican’s doctrine office after announcing that he was gay and introducing reporters to his boyfriend.“I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity,” he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview published Saturday. “I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.” Read on.
• Vatican website ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
• The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium] ... Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, with detailed table of contents. Here.
• A readers’ guide to “Laudato Si” … [NCR, Thomas Reese, June 26] Chapter-by-chapter guidance with study questions to help in reading Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change. Intended for book clubs, classes and small discussion groups. Read on.
Health and Wellness [• New item •• Repeat]
• Flu Vaccine: Ready and Better … [The Morning Call] The CDC recommends most people over 6 months of age be vaccinated by October. In addition to the traditional shot or nasal spray, the vaccine can also be administered through a jet injector, which uses a high-pressure, narrow stream of fluid to penetrate the skin instead of a hypodermic needle.Two main types of vaccine are available: the trivalent, engineered to protect against three kinds of flu, and the quadrivalent, which includes protection against a fourth. Rhodes recommends the trivalent, which is available in a high-dose form, for seniors. Though the trivalent covers a narrower spectrum of the virus, its high-dose form, which contains four times as much antigen, has been shown to be far more effective in older patients than the quadrivalent, he said.Generally, the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective. It produces side effects in some people, although usually they are mild and temporary. Whatever immunity it provides lasts at least four to six months. Read on.
• Compared to Men, Women Bear Six Times More of the Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease … [Pacific Standard] We’ve been slow to mobilize against the growing Alzheimer’s epidemic. Perhaps that’s because women are shouldering most of the burden. Women make up two-thirds of the 5.1 million people currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. But that figure doesn’t fully capture the disease’s disproportionate impact on women, according a new analysis of the economic costs of the disease. Thanks to the fact that women are more likely to develop the disease themselves and to take care of a loved one who has been diagnosed with it, the researchers estimate that, per capita, women bear six times more of the cost of care for Alzheimer’s than men do over the course of their lifetimes. Read on.
• Resources … below
Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech [• New item •• Repeat]
• Over 45,000 free ebooks … [Stumble Upon] Gutenberg.org.
• Oprah's 'Belief' series: seven days of exploration of faith … [RNS, Adelle Banks] There are 34 stories of faith — and no faith — told in the series as Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other traditions travel on personal paths of self-discovery, overcoming hate, grief and loss and celebrating love and friendship. The seven-part series premieres Sunday (Oct. 18) at 8 p.m. Eastern on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and continues for six consecutive nights. Read on.
VariaSpin [• New item •• Repeat]
The strange word … Years ago, when I decided to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin, I had a few thoughts in mind. 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, according to how we have experienced and danced 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 … [Bill] Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The Diocesan e-Newsletter, (4) The newSpin newsletter.
The Leadership News and the Diocesan e-Newsletter are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. Find the most recent Diocesan e-Newsletter, September 10, here. Find the most recent Leadership News, September 24, here.
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 parishagoes 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. I always post the newSpin newsletter on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to Jo Trepagnier, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 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.
• 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 email@example.com 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.