Thanks on the Threes
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Enya

091124.newSpin.interesting, perhaps useful, news and spin

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An Episcopal Church ad was featured in the Friday, November 20 edition of USA Today, receiving national exposure. The print ad in various sizes centering on "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" was designed also for local and regional use. Read the story here. See the ads here.

North Parish's Thanksgiving meal ... [From Dolores Evans] Holy Apostles in North Parish (Schuylkill County) will have its annual Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, a free dinner for anyone who would like to come. This has become a community event where most of the food is donated by other churches as well as companies and people throughout North Parish. Last year almost 300 dinners were delivered to homes between 11 and 1. Approximately 50 people chose to join together for the Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m. This has been a great outreach program in North Parish.

Thanksgiving meal at St. John's Palmerton ... Thursday, noon to 2:00.

Thanksgiving in hard times ... a column by Charles Rice, interim rector, Trinity Mount Pocono, published by the Pocono Record Stroudsburg.

Thanks on the Threes ... a column by Bill Lewellis.

A not-so-conservative, women-ordaining but gay unfriendly church ... "A group of Lutherans are so angry over the ELCA's decision to allow for the inclusion of partnered gay clergy into their ranks under certain limited conditions that they want to form their own denomination," reports Andrew Gerns at Episcopal Cafe. "But these breakaway Lutherans don't want to join up with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod nor the Wisconsin Synod, because they do not allow for the ordination of women and take the Bible too literally for their tastes. So this would be a not-so-conservative, women-ordaining but gay unfriendly church." Peter Pearson notes in a comment on Andrew's report: "In twenty years when all these folks (both Lutheran and "Anglican") are gone, their kids and grandkids won't care about this issue. This break away has a shelf life of about twenty years and then what? Imagine a group of folks who may have formed a church around segregation. How would that look today? Pretty sad and not at all Christian."

Evensong and healing the world ... Mark Guydish, writing in The Times Leader of Northeastern Pennsylvania, reflects on Evensong and the Presiding Bishop's clear message of mission.

The Presiding Bishop – An Appreciation and Reminder for Parish Leaders ... During her visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was attentive, appreciative, and evocative. She gave feedback. She was encouraging. She could, when necessary change. She maintained a non-anxious presence and she stayed connected. –– [The Bishop's column, accessible here, will appear in the December issue of Diocesan Life.]During her November 9-12 visit, Bishop Katharine preached at Evensongs and responded to questions at open forums in Bethlehem, Lebanon and Wilkes-Barre. She visited Grace Church and Grace Montessori School in Allentown; toured New Bethany Ministries and Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem; met with Moravians in Bethlehem; met with Project REACH coordinators and the youth of the diocese in Wilkes-Barre; and celebrated Eucharist with the clergy at Good Shepherd in Scranton. You can download photos of the visit here, here, here, and here. Andrew Gerns wrote a report for Episcopal Cafe on the Presiding Bishop's visit with the Moravians which you can find here. Mary Frances Schjonberg also wrote an article for Episcopal Life Online here on the Moravian-Episcopal dialogue. The Morning Call wrote an article on her visit to Bethlehem; find it here. The Lebanon Daily News wrote of her visit; find it here. The Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barre wrote several reports on the Presiding Bishop's visit to St. Stephen's, find them here and here. WNEP-TV also reported on her visit which you can find here. There was also an excellent opinion piece by Mark Guydish from the Times-Leader which you can read here.

In-Formation in Bethlehem ... If you missed the November issue of Anne's Kitch's In-Formation newsletter, take a look here. Resources for Advent, adult formation and much more. "As human beings, we are constantly being formed and shaped by all that surrounds us," Anne writes. "As people of God, our faith lives are always in formation. This eNewsletter offers resources for adult education, spiritual nurture, family faith and children’s ministries. Faith formation is a lifelong process; enjoy the journey!"

Bishop Paul will ordain three to the order of deacon on Monday, Dec. 21, 7:00 p.m., at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre (15 South Franklin Street): Brian Alexander Pavlac, Christine Marie Sutton, Michelle Denise White.

Ira Houck at Fort Hood Vigil ... Many of the quotes in this Episcopal Life Online article on the Fort Hood Vigil were from Chaplain Ira Houck, a priest of the Diocese of Bethlehem, onetime assistant at the Cathedral. There's also a USA Today story that includes seven photos of Chaplain Houck on the USA Today website. Click on "Chaplains on the front line" toward the bottom of the first screen.

Living in God's Time ... Can our calendars become a source of reorientation of who we really are and whose we really are? Instead of being a taskmaster, can they point us to living in rhythm with our True Master? Can our calendars in the 21st century teach us to live in God’s time and God’s story? Read more here.

What is God's Economy ... Read the current issue of Trinity News magazine (from Trinity Wall Street) here.

Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families … Ryan L. Zorn, 35; Joseph M. Lewis, 26; Brian M. Patton, 37; John J. Cleaver, 36; Daniel A. Frazier, 25; Nicholas J. Hand, 20; Briand T. Williams, 25 ... for the fallen heroes also of our coalition partners ... and for the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who have died, unnamed and unknown to us, and for those who mourn ... and for an end to this endless war. [Posted on the Bakery and the newSpin blog, usually on Tuesdays, with names found over seven days.]

World AIDS Day ... Night Prayers for Hope and Healing at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8:00 p.m. Episcopal Life Weekly bulletin inserts for Nov. 29 carry Presiding Bishop's message for World AIDS Day. "December 1 each year is World AIDS Day, an occasion both to remember the 25 million beloved children of God who have lost their lives to the pandemic over the past three decades, and to rededicate ourselves to building a future without AIDS," writes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. She reminds Episcopalians of the need for action and advocacy so that the worldwide AIDS pandemic continues to be a priority for the Church and for the United States.

Become a baker in the House of Bread ... If you are interested in more news, issues, ideas, opinion and conversation related to our diocesan community, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, you might consider becoming a baker in the House of Bread's new Bakery. Go to the "Get Connected" box on the right side of our diocesan website. Fill in your name and email address, and click on "My Groups." In the next window that comes up, check Bakery. Bakery, of course, is a play on Bethlehem meaning "House of Bread" in Hebrew. Subscribed to Bakery, you will receive several notes daily (perhaps two, perhaps ten when the oven is hot) and you will be able to enter the conversation by posting your own notes to the group, i.e., to the other bakers. News is fresh in the Bakery long before you see it in print in Diocesan Life. If you choose to do so, thank you for becoming a baker in the House of Bread.

Listening Hearts ... [From Dolores Evans] Everywhere around us there are people who need to make important decisions in their lives. Some may want to discern a call to the ministry, others may be concerned about a job change, while others may have concerns about personal relationships. Listening Hearts is a program that can help individuals and/or groups discover what God is calling them to do. Through our relationships with others, God reaches out to us. [Read more here.]

Fight the flu with facts  ... See the comprehensive flu.gov website.

12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... Our World Mission Committee is again sponsoring the 12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji. Here's a bulletin insert. Your support was so critical last year. Instead of giving Aunt Mildred a sweater she doesn't want, why not give a gift in her honor to those really in need? Items range in price from $5 to $250. Deadline is December 15. Call Jo Trepagnier, 610-434-0155, if you have any questions. Similar info appears on the back cover of the November issue of Diocesan Life.

Rowan tweaks Benedict ... [ Andrew Gerns reporting at Episcopal Cafe] Reuters and the New York Times read the speech that the Most Rev. Rowan Williams gave at the Vatican last week as both a defense of the Anglican Communion and a mild rebuke of the Roman Catholic approach to ecumenism. The Times of London thinks that the Archbishop could do a little more tweaking. Bishop Alan Wilson says that Williams speech signals another kind of unity, not a juridical unity and not a homogenized church but something deeper. [More here]

Yes, Virginia, there is a future for Anglican/Catholic ties ... [John Allen, writing at his National Catholic Reporter blog, Nov. 23] Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, held a brief tête-à-tête in Rome on Saturday, amid the latest in a seemingly endless series of crises in relations between the Catholic church and the Anglican Communion. This time, the issue was the Vatican’s decision to create special structures for traditionalist Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. In the main, both Benedict and Williams reaffirmed their commitment to good ties, even if Williams did gently chide the pontiff for what Williams saw as a failure to consult Anglican leaders more thoroughly in advance of the recent move. (In an address at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University, Williams also defended the ordination of women and suggested that differences over such matters “may not be as fundamentally church-dividing as our Roman Catholic friends generally assume.”) This weekend’s encounter provides an opportunity to step back and contemplate the state of things between Anglicans and Catholics. To be sure, Catholicism isn’t General Motors or Microsoft – but if it were, a bean-counter in Rome might put down his eyeshade to ask: Why do we bother? Read more.

The Episcopal Church pushes back ... in an op-ed piece, an ad and a letter to the editor. More here.

40 Berks youngsters get a taste of homelessness ... Read the Reading Eagle story here and the Pottstown Mercury story here.

The Advent Conspiracy ... Mediator Allentown (1620 Turner Street) will host a four-part series during the Adult Forum hour (9:00 a.m. on Sundays) called The Advent Conspiracy. How did Christmas become about spending money, traffic jams and stress? Learn to refocus preparation for Christmas in four ways: Worship Fully (11/29), Spend Less (12/6), Give More (12/13), Love All (12/20).

Applications for UTO Grants for 2010 are due in the Bishop's office by December 31, 2009. If you need an application, please contact Jane Teter asap.

Small is Beautiful ... by Wendy McCormick ... Statisticians tell us that while the majority of church members in the U.S. attend a large church, the majority of congregations are small. Many of these congregations provide an anchoring presence in the rural or small town communities they call home, and some offer services and programs to benefit the community at large and not just "their own." Most small congregations enjoy much higher percentages of their members in worship and ministry than do their larger counterparts, and many make generous contributions to mission in the community and the wider world, especially in proportion to their size. [Read more here. H/T to Anne Kitch]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ... January 18-25. Find resources here.

21 Ways to Pray ... Some ways for everyone.

The Atlantic magazine takes on the "prosperity gospel"

Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here.

Bill Lewellis, Communication Minister/Editor (1986), Canon Theologian (1998)
Diocese of Bethlehem, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015
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Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]

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