Bishop's School, Spring 2010
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Redeem the gift card, Bishop Paul's Christmas sermon ... Last Christmas a loved one gave me a very nice gift card ... to Dairy Queen. I was grateful for their kindness but I determined to pass the card on to someone better able to metabolize an Oreo Cookie Blizzard. But also aware of my ability to lose things, I immediately put the card in a safe place until I could give it away. When I came upon it this Tuesday morning, I was startled that it was still around, having benefited or harmed no one. Besides realizing that I had stumbled across a sermon illustration, I began to wonder if there were other gift card scofflaws out there and so hit the internet. I learned that twenty-seven percent of people who receive gift cards lose them, accidentally throw them away, or just never get around to using them. In dollars, last year that casualness amounted to $8 billion out of about $65 billion worth of gift cards sold. Read Bishop Paul's Christmas sermon here.

Bishop Paul ordained Brian Alexander Pavlac, Christine Sutton and Michelle Denise White to the Sacred Order of Deacons on December 21 at the Pro-Cathedral of St. Stephen in Wilkes-Barre. Kat took some wonderful photos that are available here. Kat took many good photos. View them here.

Bishop's School, 2010 ... Courses for the spring session of Bishop's School: (1) Planning and Leading Liturgy - taught by The Reverend Raymond Harbort; (2) Pastoral Care - taught by The Reverend Canon Andrew Gerns. More info here.

Why would lay people want theological education anyway? ... More here.

Recent reflections by Archdeacon Stringfellow ... • Bridging Ideas and Things, a reflection on John's prologue ... • Friends in low places, A Christmas reflection ... • We don't help people, we help them help themselves ... • Jesus' birth exalts the poor ... • Sudan –– U.S. Policy and New Hope ... • The Religious Sports Fan: the boundaries blur, the boundaries clarify ... • A prophet with a new message, but he's not the Savior ...  • Revelation gives hope ...

Support for military families and personnel ... Find it here.

The Reluctant Organist ... October to January columns here.

Are you a closet Christian? ... [From Canon Andrew Gerns] One assumption among members of our Evangelism Commission is that Christians will never reach full maturity in their faith, and never begin to experience the fullness of being a follower of Jesus, until they find a way to articulate their faith. Ada Calhoun writes in her blog on about her journey to becoming Christian, and her journey to being able to admit that she is Christian. "I am a closet Christian," she says. "At least, I was until now. Because in my circle, nothing is more embarrassing than being religious." Read the rest of her story her at "Share the Bread," the blog of the Evangelism Commission.

Be very careful about faux notices that you have received a Hallmark Card ... A legitimate Hallmark email notification will come from the sender's email address, not and will not include any attachments. More info here.

The Wisdom of Tenderness, Krista Tippett's conversation with Jean Vanier ... This Canadian philosopher and Catholic social innovator founded L'Arche, a community centered around people with mental disabilities that has now become a global movement. To many, he is simply one of the wise men in our world today — an icon of lived compassion. Find more here.

Edward Schillebeeckx, Belgian-born Dutch Dominican theologian, died Dec. 23 at the age of 95 in Nijmegen, where he lived and taught for more than five decades. He began teaching theology at the Catholic University of Louvain in 1943. He wrote well into his nineties. He contended in his 1980 book Ministry: Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ that the church had gone awry by connecting the faithful’s right to Eucharist to some “magical power” of the hierarchy to ordain, thereby disconnecting it from the community of Christians. He noted that the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century had declared any ordination of a priest or deacon illegal, as well as null and void, unless the person being ordained had been chosen by a particular community to be its leader. In the same book, he argued for the ordination of women and against priestly celibacy. Especially influential during the Second Vatican Council, he drafted interventions for Dutch bishops. He was a tireless advocate of a more pastoral, personal theology, one that would also take into consideration the experiences of people rather than base conclusions exclusively on abstract, intellectual concepts. His first major book, Christ, the Sacrament of the Encounter with God, published in English in 1963, represented a serious attempt to apply this thinking to sacramental theology. It sharply challenged the more mechanistic approach to the sacraments as mere dispensers of grace and stressed them instead as interactive meetings with Jesus; the book became a near best seller, especially in the U.S. His name was misspelled almost as frequently as it was invoked by RC seminarians writing about his notion of sacramentality during the 1960s and 70s. He was celebrated for rethinking the sacraments in non-scholastic, personalist categories, searching for the presence of Christ in and through the signs of the sacramental ceremonies. Read much more here.

New L.A. Episcopal bishop's historic journey ...The Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce still remembers the moment 23 years ago when she fell in love with the Episcopal Church. Raised as a devout Roman Catholic, Bruce happened to visit an Episcopal parish in New Mexico, where the mother of a friend was officiating. Bruce was moved by the joy inside the sanctuary and delighted by the sight of the female priest, something prohibited by the Catholic Church. She found unexpected similarities between the two approaches, including the Eucharist. "There was something about being in an Episcopal church that felt like I had come home," she said. Two decades later, Bruce would make history by becoming the first woman elected suffragan, or assistant bishop, in the 114-year history of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Read more in the LATimes.

A few words about what Episcopalians actually believe ... The opponents of women's ordination and the blessing of same-sex relationships have portrayed the Episcopal Church as unduly experimental. In the column excerpted here, the Rev. Leo Joseph argues that is not not the case, leaning on an essay by Bishop Pierre Whalon. [H/T to Jim Naughton reporting at Episcopal Cafe.]

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, 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. 30: Lay Eucharistic Visitors Training will take place at St. Brigid's Nazareth, 9:00 to noon. More info below. ••• 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

Training for Lay Eucharistic Visitors ... A training session for Lay Eucharistic Visitors will be held at St. Brigid's Nazareth on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9:00 until noon. Led by the Rev. Edward K. Erb, member of Diocesan Commissions on Ministry and Liturgy & Music, the training seeks to prepare parishioners to take the sacrament to shut-ins, those in hospital and nursing facilities. Training is required for licensing by the bishop for this ministry. Cost for the training is $15.00 which includes materials and hand-out resources. To register, contact Father Erb at or call (570) 253-2760.  Deadline for registration is Jan. 15th.

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 Scholarships are available for members of parishes in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Contact Diana Marshall:

ABC Rowan Williams is scheduled to deliver the Schmemann lecture at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary on January 30. He will speak on Theology and the Contemplative Calling: The Image of Humanity in the Philokalia. The lecture is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. It will be podcast by Ancient Faith Radio. The seminary is located at 575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY. More info here. [H/T to Bruce Baker]

Kay Gill's bequest of $10,000 to 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 Tuesday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. [From Jim Gill]

Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families … Serge Kropov, 21 (of Hawley, Pa); Albert D. Ware, 27; Omar G. Roebuck, 23; David H. Gutierrez, 35; Jason M. Johnston, 24 ... 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.

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Bill Lewellis, Communication Minister/Editor (1986), Canon Theologian (1998)
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Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Jim Gill

Bill: Thanks for including the info about Kay's memorial lectures at GTS. The date is now Tuesday, March 9th, 7:30 pm. Jim

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