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Lenten reading suggestions

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Bill Lewellis is retired ... Let all good women and men know that I retired from Bishop Paul's staff at the end of 2009. What I continue to do with the newSpin newsletter, on the Bakery and on the newSpin blog (and a bit elsewhere, here and there, when needed) I do as a volunteer (1) as a token contribution for all the fun I have had over 24 years, and (2) because I enjoy doing what I continue to do. When folks have asked what I hope to do in my retirement, I have said: Well, some of the same ... and, gradually perhaps, a bit more of what I may hear from the Spirit of God. Please do not think I need or want any celebratory fuss. Bishop Paul, Bishop Jack and the staff made some fuss a few days before Christmas. I found that to be both welcome and enough. I have several times since then declined with gratitude to cooperate with anything more. My relationship with those with whom I have worked and with people all around this wonderful diocese –– you who are my friends –– is reward enough.

Diocesan Training for Ministry Day will take place on Saturday, April 24, at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Online registration: February 20 to April 19. Twelve workshops. Download the brochure here.

Lenten Resources ..are available at our diocesan website. Centering on the theme “Things done and left undone,” Lenten prayers, video reflections and penitential meditations have also been assembled by the program staff of The Episcopal Church for use throughout the 40 day Lenten season. Designed for personal reflections as well as community services, the Lenten resources are available on a web special Resources page. [H/T to Anne Kitch]

Women of Nativity annual retreat will ... March 19-21. More here.

The Saints went marching in at the Super Bowl with Episcopalian Quarterback Drew Brees guiding them on. [H/T to Jim Naughton, reporting at Episcopal Cafe]

Beth Haynes retires from Christ Church Stroudsburg ... Pocono Record story and photo here.

Gressle, Shannon and Leonard Hall scholarships ... Applications for the 2010-2011 school year are due by May 15. The Leonard Hall Scholarship is designed for diocesan youth active in youth ministries. The Gressle Scholarship is for sons of clergy canonically resident in the diocese. The Shannon Fund Scholarship is for daughters of clergy resident in Pennsylvania. Priority is given to clergy families in the Diocese of Bethlehem. More here.

Haiti ... • Check the Haiti page of The Episcopal Church for news, updates, resources, videos and important information. • Episcopal Relief & Development has info on Haiti as well as ways to donate here. Episcopal Relief & Development has disbursed emergency funding to the Diocese of Haiti to help meet critical needs such as food, water and shelter for those affected. Donations can be made to Episcopal Relief & Development online or by calling 800-334-7626 ext 5129. ERD has a four star rating on Charity Navigator and meets all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau. Some 92% to 96% of each dollar given to ERD goes directly to the program be it for disaster relief or for development. 

Recital at Trinity Easton will support Haiti relief, Feb. 19 ... Utilizing the newly restored and almost complete organ at Trinity Church, Easton, Director of Music Dale Grandfield invites you to come to an organ recital to experience the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, and Modern eras at 7:30 on Friday evening, February 19, 7:30 p.m. The program includes J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in g minor, BWV 535, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Organ Sonata in f minor, Op 65, No 1, and O. Messiaen’s L’Ascencion, among others. Donations will support Haiti relief. A small reception will follow. Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 234 Spring Garden Street in Easton, between Second and Third Streets. Call 610-253-0792 or visit for more information.

Bonaventure Reading Group meets Forsyte Saga will take ... At Trinity Bethlehem, 6:00 - 7:30, Ten Wednesdays, begnning Feb. 10. More here.

If you're family income is $250,000, you're rich. Get over it. ... To a surprising degree, feeling rich or poor is a state of mind. There are people who pull down $3 million a year who are miserable and feel strapped for cash and people who make $30,000 a year who believe they have everything they need. But income data can surely tell us something. And they tell us that $250,000 puts you in pretty fancy company, especially after the collective pratfall the economy took in 2008. The Census Bureau last summer reported that real median household income was $50,303 in 2008, down 3.6 percent from 2007. It's likely that figure fell further in 2009. So a household that's making $250,000 today is making about five times the median. In fact, only 2.476 million U.S. households, the top 2.1 percent, had income greater than $250,000 in 2008. (About 20 percent of households make more than $100,000.) Read more at Newsweek.

Idaho Baptists charged with kidnapping 33 Haitian children ... The New Life group is now finding out what living in an impoverished and earthquake-ravaged country is like. Perhaps now they will begin to understand what it means to live alongside the poor, as opposed to swooping into a disaster for a quick “feel good Christian moment” designed to make them feel better about themselves. More here.

In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's February newsletter is available here.

Care for Returning Veterans ... [From Anne Kitch] Each parish should have received in the past month an excellent resource "Care for Returning Veterans" from  the Rt. Rev. George E. Packard, Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries. This DVD contains Power Point presentations, videos, resources and PDFs which can be used for adult study, parish ministry to military families, and forums to raise awareness of the issues veterans and their families face. As Bishop Packard states, "Returning veterans -- particularly from the Reserves and Guard -- often come home to in adequate understanding and support." Even if your congregation is not directly affected, the materials contained in this resource offer an excellent teaching opportunity. The presentations do not focus on a "discussion of wars or politics, but how to care for those who have born the brunt of conflicts." Reviewing this material is well worth your time.

Have Faith in Love ... [NYTimes op-ed by Eric Lax] Every bit of Christian teaching can be summed up in three words: God is love. That is the simple truth that teaches tolerance of same-sex union. Read it here.

C of E committee to recommend women bishops on par with men ... The Church of England, according to Ruth Gledhill writing in the Times, plans to move ahead with women as bishops with equal authority to male bishops: there will be no alternative hierarchical structure of oversight. More here.

St. Andrew's Allentown Pancake Supper ... St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1900 Pennsylvania Ave., (south of Catasauqua Rd. on the border of Bethlehem and Allentown) is serving the traditional Shrove Tuesday (February 16) Pancake Supper from 5 to 7 p.m. –– $6 for adults and $3 for children. Proceeds benefit the church’s mission and ministry. St. Andrew’s houses the Pennsylvania Avenue Interfaith Food Pantry and is part of the Bethlehem shelter program for the homeless. Reservations: 610 865-3603 or More info at

When church is closed ... The Diocese of Maryland posted these suggestions as to what to do when worship is canceled because of bad weather. [H/T to Andrew Gerns, reporting at Episcopal Cafe]

Video highlights from the 2010 Trinity Institute conference, Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace, are accessible here.

The "God beat" takes a beating ... Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe, Eric Gorski at the A.P., and Peter Steinfels at The NY Times have been moved off their religion beats in the past month. More here.

Where is God in Disasters: Adult and youth lesson plans on Haiti ... Leader Resources has produced two fabulous resources. These would make great Lenten studies. You can find a description and download sample pages here for the adult version and here for the youth version. Linda Grenz of Leader Resources writes, "When disasters occur, many people wonder why did God allow this to happen and some even wonder if God caused it to happen. Others are confident that God doesn’t cause earthquakes, but they don’t know what to say to those people who blame God or they don’t know how to respond to other questions. This guide provides a way for Christians to talk with each other, understand different perspectives and begin to formulate faithful answers that make sense to each individual. There are four basic sessions + two extras that are focused on the crucifixion (where was God in that "disaster"?). [H/T to Canon Anne Kitch]

Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families … David J. Thompson, 39; Marc P. Decoteau, 19; Michael L. Freeman Jr., 21; Rusty H. Christian, 24; Daniel Whitten, 28; Zachary G. Lovejoy, 20; David J. Hartman, 27; Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller, 35; Mark A. Stets, 39; Dillon B. Foxx, 22 ... 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.

Health Ministry ... A new Group has been added to Diocesan list of Groups which can be found in the right hand column of the DioBeth website where you will find a "Get Connected" box. Simply insert your name and e-mail address. This will take you to a list of available groups. There, check “Health Ministry” (and any other groups of interest). The Health Ministry group will share information, insights, concerns, success stories, etc.  Please recruit your Health Ministries contacts to join us as well. You will be able to send notes to "Health Ministry" by addressing them to  or by simply hitting reply to any message you receive from the group. Please keep in mind, however, that "reply" defaults to the entire list, not to the person who sent the note.  If you want to respond to an individual, you must remove the Health Ministry address and insert that individual’s address. Questions or problems signing up: [Diana Marshall is our diocesan liaison to National Episcopal Health Ministries and the Diocese of Bethlehem Health Ministries Committee Chair.]

Facts about the Episcopal Church and ACNA ... Talking points.

For daily news, information and commentary, visit Episcopal Life Online , Episcopal Cafe and the Diocese of Bethlehem's newSpin blog. I recently gave Canon Andrew Gerns access to the newSpin blog, with permission to post at will as a guest author. It will soon become, I suspect, a much more lively venue for information and commentary. Follow the newSpin blog also on Twitter.

Plan Ahead ... Feb. 17: Ash Wednesday ••• Feb. 19: Organ Recital at Trinity Easton, 7:30 p.m. More info here. ••• Feb. 27: Dive In: A Day Exploring Christian Baptism will be held 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. More info here.

••• March 14: ERD Sunday, Fourth Sunday of Lent, And "the dreaded change to Daylight Saving Time when we lose an hour of sleep," writes Barbara Caum of Trinity Athens. Don't be late for Sunday Eucharist which will begin an hour earlier than our body clocks expect. ••• March 25: Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, Bethlehem, 11:00 a.m.

••• April 4: Easter ••• April 9-11: Province III Youth Delight Event, More info here. ••• April 16-18: Christophany, Watson Homestead, Painted Post, New York. Registration will open February 12 online at More info here. ••• April 24: Diocesan Training for MInistry at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. More here. Online registration opens on February 20.

••• April 30-May 2: Creating a Culture of Peace at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem.

••• June 12 Diocesan Stewardship Workshop: Share, Save, Spend at St. Stephen's, Whitehall. Geared for families –– parents, kids 9 and up, and even grandparents.  Details TBA.

••• July 10: Bishop's Day with Kids at Good Shepherd Scranton.

[If you have a brief announcement about an event you'd like listed in PlanAhead, send it to Bill. Please keep it brief.]

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Bill Lewellis, Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833, (h)610-820-7673
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Jim Gill

Bill: Can't remember whether or not I shared with you the news that the first Kay Butler Gill Lecture in Christian Spirituality will take place on Tuesday, March 9th at GTS, 8pm "Love Mysticism:Relic or Contemporary Reality" given by Janet Ruffing, RSM, Professor of the Practice of
Spirituality and Ministerial Leadership at Yale Divinity School. Doubt anyone from Bethlehem can attend (daughter Laura and I are coming down from Maine for it). Some friends of Kay may be interested in knowing about it?
Best, Jim

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