About the newSpin newsletter ... Written at least weekly (often twice a week) by Bill Lewellis, the newsletter appears as a post within the newSpin blog, but newsletter and blog are not identical. The newsletter currently goes to some 1,000 email addresses. Comments may be addressed to Bill. The views expressed, seemingly implied, or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop or the Archdeacon as an official communication.
Celebrate the season of Easter with the Episcopal Church by joining an online Bible study group ... The Episcopal Church invites online visitors into a Bible study by posting comments and thoughts on each week’s Sunday readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The complete weekly readings are posted along with study questions and reader comments here.
Now will you read the fine print? ... If your dog won't play with you, automatic doors won't open for you, or you are missing your reflection in the mirror, it could be that either you sold your soul to your best friend for five bucks or you did not read the fine print on that software you just downloaded. Read more from Andrew Gerns here.
Entering into the reality of Easter ...[A reflection on the Easter Season, by Bishop Paul] Mary's grief and wrong assumptions were not answered by an argument, but by a relationship, by that voice that knew her. You can't argue about whether or not Easter is true any more than you can argue about whether or not you can swim – you have to get into the water. Except for the extraordinarily small number of people who have overwhelming mystical experiences, the only way most of us find out if the risen Christ is not only alive but present and available is to try to live with him every day for fifty days, to participate in his life through prayer, acts of love, and participation in the life of his body the Church. Watch and listen for signs of a new reality; practice assuming that death does not rule. And listen for Jesus’ voice. At the Easter celebration we debate nothing – we do invite people into community as we go to meet him." [Bishop Paul's column from the April issue of Diocesan Life. Read more here.]
Diocesan Training for Ministry ... Saturday, April 24, Wilkes-Barre. Schedule and workshop descriptions here. Registration deadline is today, April 19. Register online here. "Vestry 101," the morning workshop taught by Bishop Paul, is essential for new wardens and new members of the vestry. It is also recommended strongly for people new to the Episcopal Church. Participants will look at canons, models, strategies, and resources to assist the elected leaders of parishes.
Dive In: A
Day Exploring Baptism ... Saturday, May 8. St. Luke's
Scranton. What does it mean to be baptized and to live a baptized
can you nurture your life in Christ? How can your congregation live
more deeply into baptismal ministry? This day of Christian Formation
will offer resources for parents, Christian educators, clergy, and
anyone seeking a deeper life in Christ. More
Forward Life Planning Workshop ... May 22, St. Luke's Scranton, with Charles Cesaretti, Diana Marshall and Charlie Barebo. More info here.
Echoes of the resurrection on the farm ... Over at Roger Ebert's blog, you can read the simple account of an animal lover, Tom Dark, and his dying horse Clay. Having done all the things that Episcopalians tend to do from the middle of Holy Week through to Sunday, we bet you'll find redemption and delight in it. [H/T to Torey Lightcap, posting at Episcopal Cafe.]
Ian T. Douglas ordained and consecrated Bishop of Connecticut. Read the ENS story here.
Business professionals need smartphones as much as sex ... Smartphones and intimate relations ranked equally as the one thing that business professionals cannot live without according to the results of a new survey. As mobile connectivity has become more ubiquitous, it has come to seem more crucial to our very existence. That trend has brought the smartphone into a dead heat with sex as the one thing that business professionals can't live without – 40% said sex, 40% said smartphones, and the other 20%...? More here. [H/T to our IT coordinator and DioLife editor Kat Lehman who forwarded this with a brief comment: "Oh, my..."]Finding information ... The Diobeth website and newSpin blog work hand in hand. If you can't find the info you seek at the website, please search at the newSpin blog.
The Episcopal Church ... Website ... NewsLine ... News & Notices ... InfoLine ... Episcopal Life Online ... FastFacts ... Calendar ... I am Episcopalian ... Weekly Bulletin Inserts ... On Twitter ... On Facebook ... and on YouTube.
What's happening?... Calendar of diocesan events. updated April 7. If you would like an event posted, please email Kat Lehman; she will put it on the next version, posted monthly. Also, weekly, we post What's Happening...on Facebook.
The home in New
Orleans on which our Diocesan Youth worked has been finished.
Fifty years of faithful service ... [From Grace Kingston] A celebration and "roast" for Joanne Herron who recently completed 50 years of faithful service in support of the music program at Grace Kingston will take place on Saturday, May 1, at 2:00 p.m. Joanne has had a profound, positive effect on how Grace has grown and become a vital part of our community. Her rich talent as organist/choirmaster and her majestic mezzo-soprano voice has inspired many over the years.
Five myths about the child rape scandal in the RC Church ... David Gibson, one of the best journalists on the Catholic beat wrote a perceptive
essay for The Washington Post's Outlook section yesterday
enumerating five myths about the child rape scandal in the church. These
include that Pope Benedict XVI is the primary culprit, that gay priests
are to blame and that journalists are biased against the church. The
article is pointed, yet evenhanded, and well worth a read. More here. [H/T to Jim Naughton, reporting at Episcopal Cafe]
The Other Catholic Church ... [By Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes] My Sunday column is about the other Catholic Church, the one I have learned to admire for its work among the poorest people around the globe. It has tended to be the bishops and cardinals who have gotten the church in trouble, while it’s the amazing priests, nuns and lay-workers who do extraordinary work at home and around the world. And as I note in the column, I’ve learned from meeting nuns in Africa, Asia and Latin America that the coolest and toughest people in the world are nuns. Their orphanages, hospitals and schools keep the world going. [Continue reading Kristof's blog post here. Read his column, A Church Mary Can Love, here.]
Reprisals against RC Sisters ... I mentioned in the April 15 newSpin that, because of their support for the recently passed health care bill, the Bishop of Greensburg (PA) prohibited a religious community from advertising upcoming vocation recruitment events in diocesan media. Read here. Subsequently, the Bishop of Rhode Island, for the same reason, has "demanded that the Catholic Health Association remove St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls." More here.
That job's already taken ... [By Episcopal chaplain Marshall Scott] In my first experience in hospital chaplaincy, back when I was still in seminary, I preached a sermon in the hospital chapel. I was young and stupid, and it showed in the sermon. The sermon was tense and anxious, and for at least one viewer in the hospital, it was offensive. As I processed this fact and this sermon with my Supervisor, I began to realize just how anxious I was. I began talking about all the things on my mind, all my concerns, all the things I thought I was responsible for. In the midst of this, my Supervisor said something that stopped me cold, and brought me to tears. “You seem to feel that you have to be responsible for all the cares of the world. You can’t. That job’s already taken.” [More here. H/T to Andrew Gerns]In Haiti: Strong faith amidst 'hard' realities ... [By Lauren Stanley, April 19, ENS] Every time I speak about Haiti, I am asked: "What is it like there?" The only word I know is "hard." The devastation from the Jan. 12 earthquake has not suddenly gone away. It has not been cleaned up, and the people are not yet better. There truly is no word in any language to adequately describe the scope and horror of this tragedy. Every time I am in Haiti, this linguistic challenge hits me in the gut again. It hits when I stand among the ruins and feel the rubble beneath my feet; when I travel about the country and see the buildings that still contain bodies; when I walk by the tent cities where tens – no, hundreds – of thousands of people still live without electricity or sanitation or water or sufficient food or protection; when I see children on the street who should be in school, and who were in school, until their schools came crashing down; when I am told of yet another friend who was killed. Read more here.
Why Serve: Discerning God's Call ... The Why Serve conference, Thursday June 3 to Sunday June 6 at the University of the South, Sewanee TN, for young adults 18-30, especually people of color, is a safe place to learn more about how your gifts might be used at various levels of the church, either as a lay or ordained minister. You will interact with many young people between the ages of 18-30 from different dioceses around the church, who are also seriously thinking about how God might be calling them in a different way. More info here.Nobody seems to care that the one of the next suffragan bishops of Los Angeles is a lesbian ... In 1974, when Mary Glasspool was 22 years old, she delivered to her father two unwelcome bits of news. First, she was gay. Second, she wanted to follow in his footsteps and become an Episcopalian priest. The Rev. Douglas M. Glasspool was not wholly pleased. He belonged to a conservative church Tradition—as he would have said, "capital T, please." He opposed women's ordination on theological principle and did not allow girls to be acolytes, or altar servers, in his church. Confronted with his daughter's revelations, he did what any loving father would do. He swallowed his objections the best he could. ... Even diehard conservatives concede that the battle over gay rights (if not gay marriage) is more or less over. Half of Americans have a close friend or a family member who is gay, according to a 2009 CNN poll. "A human face always makes harsh judgment more difficult," wrote Michael Gerson last month in The Washington Post. Read more in Newsweek.
Formation Conference at Kanuga ... June 13-18. More
info here. [H/T to Canon Anne Kitch]
Shining target on a hill? ... Is the National Cathedral a model of Church-State relations or a great big target that proponents of total separation of faith from civic life have not yet trained their sights on? Eugene Kontorovich says that the Supreme Court might look closely at the National Cathedral as it considers Church-State debates over public displays of creches, crosses and menorahs. He says the Cathedral stands as a positive sign of a different approach to the religious and civil elements of public life. More here. [H/T to Andrew Gerns, reporting at Episcopal Cafe]
A people fully alive
... [A column by Charles Rice, interim rector, Trinity Mount Pocono]
Saint Irenaeus of Lyon once said, "The glory of
God is the human person fully alive." At this
season when the Christian Church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus,
we could entertain the question: Are we, who assert the victory of life
over death, fully alive? Are we alive to God, to the world around us, to
our own individual possibilities? In one way of looking at the meaning
of Easter we could say that the question is not whether Jesus Christ has
risen from the dead; the question is, are we? What difference does it
actually make for our life today to affirm the Easter proclamation?
"Alleluia! Christ is risen!" What does it mean to answer: "The Lord is
risen indeed!"? Read
more in the Pocono Record.
The challenge of military chaplaincy ... What is the focus of military chaplaincy? ... What the focus of the military chaplains ministry? Are the beliefs and practices of the chaplains the main thing? Or ought the focus be on the spiritual and emotional needs of the soldier, sailor or marine? A new documentary focuses on the tensions, challenges and important work of US military chaplains. More here. [H/T to Andrew Gerns, reporting at Episcopal Cafe]
Does Reason Know What It Is
Missing? [By Stanley Fish, NYTimes] Secular reason is missing
something, and one noted philosopher now feels that something is
it all here.
Follow the money ... Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died a few years ago, was the founder of the RC religious community, the Legionnaires of Christ. He was a magnetic figure in recruiting young men to religious life in an era when vocations were plummeting. Behind that exalted façade, however, was a notorious pedophile and a man who fathered several children by different women. His life was arguably the darkest chapter in the clergy abuse crisis that continues to plague the church. He had exceptional influence in the Vatican. Money may have paved the way and kept him safe for decades. He may have been the greatest fundraiser of the modern Roman Catholic Church.
I have been following stories about the Legion of Christ since my ordination in the 1960s because, while a student in Rome, I had a friend who was a Legionnaire of Christ. He was Mexican and was being groomed, it seemed to me at the time, for a leadership position in an elite Mexican prep school where the student body consisted of children of the ruling and landed classes. We used to jokingly refer to his religious community as Millionaires of Christ. In 1966, a few years after his ordination, he was serving at a minor seminary in Ireland. When a letter I sent him was returned, I was told that Father Francisco Orozco Yépez was killed in an auto accident in Ireland. While googling him recently, however,I discovered that some sources said his death actually occurred under strange circumstances near Rapallo, Italy, when he was on his way from Ireland to Rome to testify way back then against the founder of the Legion of Christ.
Bakery ... The best place by far to post news or information about your parish is on the interactive list of the Diocese of Bethlehem (the House of Bread) called the Bakery. In order to post there, however, you have to be joined to the list. Join at the "Get Connected" page at the DioBeth website. Bakery includes some 200 addresses. If you post something about your parish on Bakery, however, I will most likely include it also on the twice-weekly newSpin newsletter which goes to some 1,000 addresses. And Kat may pick it up for use in Diocesan Life.
Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here.