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Still no room for the homeless in Bethlehem. This records a slightly edited conversation that took place on "Bethlehem of Pa," our diocesan internet list, between Tuesday, January 13, and Monday, January 19, mostly between Jan. 13-16. It resulted in several Episcopal churches in the Lehigh Valley opening their doors during the day and overnight to shelter people from the cold. David Howell of Trinity Bethlehem, a free lance writer, has agreed to write a story for Diocesan Life based on this lengthy source material and interviews he will arrange.
Worship is mission.
Bishop Paul's most recent books: (1) Messages in the Mall -- Looking at Life in 600 Words or Less (2008), (2) The Bishop Is Coming (Church Publishing, 2007), (3) One, Catholic and Apostolic: Samuel Seabury and the Early Episcopal Church (2004), (4) Same-Sex Unions: Stories and Rites (2004).
(1) Yesterday, January 22, Bishop Paul underwent open-heart surgery as part of the treatment for cardio-pulmonary issues he mentioned in an earlier note to clergy. The doctors and staff were pleased with his progress well into the evening. Diana and their daughter, Hilary, were with him throughout the day. The outlook for his recovery is good. He was communicative and smiling after awakening in recovery. It is anticipated that he will be up and walking today. Prayers of thanksgiving for the successful surgery and intercessions for his good recovery may be offered privately and in public liturgies. The firm request of Bishop Paul and Diana, however, is that he have no visitors. Our best wishes and remembrances may be sent to their home at 561 Pine Top Trail, Bethlehem, 18017. Assistant Bishop Jack Croneberger will be the Ecclesiastical Authority through February. Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow will continue to function as chief operating officer.
(2) Diocesan Council decided last night to move forward with the adoption of newly-revised Policies for Safeguarding God's Children, including the use of Safguarding Online throughout the Diocese, and to participate in Partners for Sacred Places.
(3) Deposed Bishop Duncan's funds frozen. [Read more here.]
Let us pray. O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning: We give you thanks for giving our brother Paul both relief from pain and hope of health renewed. Continue in him, we pray, the good work you have begun; that he, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order his life and conduct that he may always think and do those things that please you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p. 460) Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve your sick servant Paul, and give your power of healing to those who minister to his needs, that he may be strengthened in his weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p. 459)
Gaza 'full of blood and grief' says Anglican hospital director. [Read more here.]
Three retreats for women. (1) Tomorrow, Jan. 24, Women of St. Margaret's 3rd Annual Winter Retreat, Praying with the Desert Mothers: Finding Wisdom in the Wilderness of our Lives, led by The Rev. Anne E. Kitch. More info, email@example.com. (2) Feb. 27-Mar. 1, Daughters of the King Lenten Retreat, Journey of Prayer, led by The Rev. Joseph DeAcetis. More info: Joan DeAcetis 570-325-2204. (3) March 6-8, Women of Nativity 7th Annual Retreat, Travel Mercies: Here, there & everywhere, led by The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie. More info: Janet Kolepp, firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-954-9582.
Phillips Brooks. Though best known today as the author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem," former generations, accounted him the greatest American preacher of the 19th century. Born in Boston, 1835, educated at Harvard and VTS. After ten years f ministry at two churches in Philadelphia, he returned to Boston where he served as rector of Trinity Church, 1869-91, and was then elected Bishop of Massachusetts. He died two years later. "Whatever happens," he wrote, "always remember the mysterious richness of human nature and the nearness of God to each one of us." [Read more here and here.]
Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. [Abraham Joshua Heschel] An individual dies when he ceases to be surprised. I am surprised every morning that I see the sunshine again. When I see an act evil I'm not accommodated. I don't accommodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere; I'm still surprised. That's why I'm against it, why I can hope against it. We must learn how to be surprised. Not to adjust ourselves. I am the most maladjusted person in society. [Abraham Joshua Heschel] Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen. [BCP, Baptism, p. 308]
No doubt the best-known verse of the New Testament is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." We may not know the next verse so well. "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" [From "Learning from What Jesus Did Not Do" in Bishop Paul Marshall's book "Messages in the Mall: Looking at Life in 600 Words or Less"]
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Bill Lewellis, Communication Minister/Editor (1986), Canon Theologian (1998)
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Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]