Vivaldi - Gloria - 1 - Gloria in excelsis Deo - King's College Choir
Friends in low places ... A Christmas reflection by Archdeacon Stringfellow

091221 newSpin

Bishop Paul will ordain Brian Alexander Pavlac, Christine Sutton and Micelle Denise White to the Sacred Order of Deacons this evening (Monday) 7:00 p.m. at the Pro-Cathedral of St. Stephen, Wilkes-Barre.

Maria Tjeltveit named Canon for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. More here.

Bill will be offline, believe it or not, from Monday morning, right after posting this, to Wednesday evening. Kat will be installing a few major updates and doing maintenance on my laptop which, because it is the only computer I use, has been attached to my hip and has delivered great service over long and hard use. Being offline for a few consecutive days will be a new and difficult experience. :-) :-(  If you need to be in touch, for any reason, please call my cell, 610-216-2726. I may, in fact, need counseling. Thanks.

Getting ready for Christmas visitors ... Repeat after me: "Merry Christmas. We're glad to see you." More at Share the Bread, the Evangelism Commission blog.

Christmas music ... (1) Rutter, Magnificat, Cambridge Singers ... (2) Bach, Magnificat in D Major ... (3) Once in Royal David's City, Kings College Choir, 1983 ... (4) Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Vivaldi, Kings College Choir ...

Luzerne County commissioners took down a creche and menorrah from the courthouse lawn in Wilkes-Barre "to forgo a legal fight because of a local budget crisis and other pressing matters," according to an AP report. [Follow-up Times-Leader story here and here.] There's something to love about this reported quote from an unnamed official: “I don’t believe we are singling out any one religion. There is the menorah. There is the Nativity scene for the Christians and for the non-believers there is also nothing there.”

From Bishop Paul, Bishop Jack and the staff ... "Where the Word becomes flesh, New Hope enlivens us." Download Christmas greetings 091208

God is not the answer; God is the question ... "The Christmas story may be expressed in biblical forms that are not very good history and which some may find difficult to take literally, but Christmas music can sweep past the puzzles of words to celebrate a new human life, weak, vulnerable and humble, which is glorified precisely for that. You will know the saying attributed to Thomas Aquinas that God is not the answer, he is the question. As long as your church, and all other churches, go on asking the question, they will never die." [From an insightful "Christmas letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury" by Diarmaid MacCulloch in the Observer (UK), Sunday, Dec. 20. H/T to Torey Lightcap reporting at Episcopal Cafe.]

Recent essays by Archdeacon Stringfellow ... (1) We don't help people –– we help them help themselves ... (2) Jesus' birth exalts the poor ... (3) Sudan –– U.S. Policy and New Hope ... (4) The Religious Sports Fan: the boundaries blur, the boundaries clarify ... (5) A prophet with a new message, but he's not the Savior ...  (6) Revelation gives hope ...

Char Molrine has put 30,000 miles on her Honda during 2009, visiting her children, other relatives and friends. Char lives in Salisbury, NC, where she is active at her parish, including ministry on the vestry and volunteer work in the community. Char's husband, Ron, founding rector of St. Anne's Trexlertown, died June 5, 2008. "This is my second year without Ron," she writes, "and I am working hard to not grieve about 'if only he were here...' but to give thanks for our long and very happy life together." Char keeps tabs on us by way of this newSpin newsletter.

Debra and Emma-Li Kissinger consider themselves "full Hoosiers." Onetime member of Bishop Paul's diocesan staff, Debra is now canon for transition ministries and leadership development" in the Diocese of Indianapolis. Emma-Li has become a skilled musician and is doing excellent work in sixth grade and in extra-curricular activities.

Plan Ahead ... Jan 18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ... Resources here. ••• Jan. 23: St. Paul's Montrose will celebrate the new ministry of the congregation with Father Paul Walker as their rector on January 23 at 4:00 p.m. ••• Jan. 23: Lay Worship Leaders Training, formerly Lay Readers, will take place Jan. 23 at Trinity Mount Pocono. More info here. ••• Jan 29/30: Bishop's Bakery and Coffee House for Youth ... Friday, Jan. 29 (6:00pm) - Saturday, Jan. 30 (9:00am) at Good Shepherd Scranton. Online registration is now open. More info here. ••• Feb. 6: Grace Kingston will celebrate the new ministry of the congregation with Father John Hartman as their rector on February 6 at 4:00 p.m. ••• Feb. 27: Dive In: A Day Exploring Christian Baptism will be held Saturday, February 27, at Good Shepherd Scranton. This day of Christian Formation will offer resources for parents, Christian educators, clergy, and anyone seeking a deeper life in Christ. Online registration and more information is available here and here. ••• March 25: Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, Bethlehem, 11:00 a.m. ••• April 16-18: Christophany, more TK ••• April 24: Diocesan Training for MInistry will be held on Saturday, April 24 at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Details will be available here when online registration opens on February 20. ••• April 30-Mary 2: Creating a Culture of Peace at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. ••• July 10: Bishop's Day with Kids at Good Shepherd Scranton

Parish Nurse training is set to begin on April 17, 2010 in North Central PA, utilizing the IPNRC endorsed curriculum.  Participants will receive 47 contact hours upon completion. Seven Saturdays (9:00 to 4:30, Office of Upper Susquehanna Synod, Lewisburg):  April 17, May 8, June 5, September 11, October 9, November 6, and December 4. Cost: $350. To receive a brochure/application:  Contact Debbie Best at (570)320-0520 or bestd@diakon.org. Scholarships are available for members of parishes in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Contact Diana Marshall: d.marsh@rcn.com

Expectant in Bethlehem ... Find a recent Advent reflection by Canon Anne Kitch here. Anne's reflections are both entertaining and useful.

Restrictions on Religion around the world ... Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a 72-page report titled Global Restriction on Religion. It finds that 64 nations have high or very high restrictions on religion, affecting nearly 70% of the world's population. The report tracks both official government policies and hostile acts from private individuals, organizations and social groups. Actions by local officials were considered restrictions even if they were contrary to national policy, as long as national officials did not contravene them. The study finds that 75 countries limit proselytization, and 117 require religious groups to register with the government. Christianity Today also reports on the Pew findings.[H/T to Bishop Paul]

The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker ... On a September afternoon, about 60 prominent Christians assembled in the library of the Metropolitan Club on the east side of Central Park. It was a gathering of unusual diversity and power. Many in attendance were conservative evangelicals like the born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson, who helped initiate the meeting. Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was there as well. And so were more than half a dozen of this country’s most influential Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.
At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. Dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses , George convened the meeting with a note of thanks and a reminder of its purpose. Alarmed at the liberal takeover of Washington and an apparent leadership vacuum among the Christian right, the group had come together to warn the country’s secular powers that the culture wars had not ended. As a starting point, George had drafted a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage. Full story from the NYTime Magazine here.

Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families … Anthony C. Campbell Jr., 35 ... 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. [Emailed usually on Tuesdays, with names found over seven days. Archived on the newSpin blog.]

Spiritually literate films ... Find many here.

Diocesan Life.December ... download it here. Diocesan Life will not publish a January issue.

The Diocese of Bethlehem ... DioBethWebsite ... newSpin Blog ... DiobethKids ...  Share the Bread ... Bakery (Get Connected) ... Audio ... Photos ... On Twitter ... On Facebook ... On YouTube ...

The Episcopal Church ... Website ... NewsLine ... News & Notices ... EpiScope ... InfoLine ... Episcopal Life Online ... FastFacts ... I am Episcopalian ... Weekly Bulletin Inserts ... On Twitter ... On Facebook ... and on YouTube.

Become a baker in the House of Bread ... Interested in more news, issues, ideas, opinion and conversation related to our diocesan community, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion? Become 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, check Bakery, 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.

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
Website, Blog, Email (c)610-216-2726, (w)610-691-5655x229, (h)610-820-7673
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]

Comments

The Rev. James L. Gill

Bill: I am so pleased that Kay's bequest oof $10.000to the Center for Christian Spirituality at General Seminary(where she received her Ma in Spiritual Direction) is now up to $17,000. The first Kay Butler Gill Lecturer in Spirituality will be Janet Ruffing (of Fordham, soon to move to Yale Divinity School faculty). The lecture to the seminary community will be in April 2010.
Jim

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