The newSpin newsletter, Oct. 18, 2010
Spinning .. (1) Was the Pew Study on Religious Knowledge mostly silly? (2) Bishop Gene Robinson speaks to LGBT persons who feel they are in a dark place. "It gets better, I pomise." Three-minute video. At that same link, don't miss the contribution of the Fort Worth city council member to the "It Gets Better" project. (3) "The Old English word for caring -- caru -- means sorrow, grief, or anxiety. Although this is a surprising description of the word, it holds within it an aspect that is critical to the spiritual practice of caring. When we commit to the practice of caring, we become aware and attentive to the sorrow, grief, or anxiety that rises in us when we see others struggling and in need," writes author Renée Miller in a reflection on Caring Practice. H/T to CREDO. (4) More than half of the Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago have employed priests accused of sexually abusing children, according to a new study co-conducted by a church reform group. The archdiocese called the study "questionable." [RNS] (5) "My husband is an archaeologist, so the older I get, the more he likes me." — Agatha Christie in Aging With a Laugh and a Prayer [H/T to Spirituality and Practice] (6) The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. (7) "Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a true Catholic," insists the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano.
Bishop Paul's address to the 2010 Diocesan Convention ... This has been a year of deeper connections for the Episcopal Church. In our part of the country it is especially joyful news that the two provinces of the Moravian Church have now entered into full communion with us, and that gift will be celebrated nationally in January of 2011. Additionally, for the first time that I know of, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Scranton will be preaching at St. Luke's in Scranton. Beyond that, we are planning a joint Eucharistic celebration with the Methodists for next fall, and of course, our relationship with the Lutherans continues to develop. For the first time, I have been able to receive a Lutheran pastor as an Episcopal priest by a simple letter of transfer. These are the major indicators, but not the only ones, that Christian witness and service will in God's time regain united focus, that the world may see and know the power of the gospel. Canon Maria Tjeltveit is working on getting the leaders of the Lutheran, Moravian, Episcopal and Methodist communities to a meeting at the same time and place, so that we can begin to put some flesh on the structures of communion that have been erected. Read it all here.
Bishop Paul's sermon at the 2010 Diocesan Convention eucharist ... It would not be completely accurate to call them terrorists, but the two men crucified with Jesus were by no means shop-lifters or jay-walkers. The word we are used to translating as "thieves" means something like brigands, bandits, or perhaps insurgents, seriously violent people, desperados. Rome was publicly torturing them to death that Friday as a message to other potential career criminals: resistance to the state is useless. Read it all here.
Convention small groups highlight the work of the Spirit in the Diocese of Bethlehem ... When the Diocese of Bethlehem met in Convention in October, the lay and clergy delegates met in small groups to discuss the common ministry of each congregation in the diocese and how members might work and pray across parochial lines to forward the work of God in Northeast Pennsylvania. More here.
Congregational Renewal Bibliography ... The bibliography given to clergy to assist them with processing "From Risks to Opportunities" in their parishes may be downloaded here in either Word format or as a pdf file.
Emergency Shelter Coordinator sought ... [From Scott Allen, St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem] I received this notice from The Bethlehem Hospitality Network which houses the homeless during the cold winter months Dec.-March in parish halls and is an ecumenical response to homeless in the Lehigh Valley. 7+ congregations open their doors each week to house the homeless in the parish halls of their churches. Ecumenical in nature, the Network represents Episcopal, Moravian, Lutheran, UCC, Unitarian and Independant congregations. A coordinator is needed to help facilitate this effort. Through generous grants from the Bethlehem Area Moravians and The New Hope Campaign we have the funds to hire a part time coordinator for this sheltering season. Find the Ministry Description here.
We can prevent the next Darfur ... [Washington Post Op-Ed by George Clooney and John Prendergast] If you had had the opportunity three months ahead of time to prevent Darfur's genocide, what would you have done? The world faces such an opportunity today. On Jan. 9, just 84 days from now, the people of southern Sudan and of the disputed region of Abyei -- which straddles northern and southern Sudan -- will vote in referendums on self-determination. If held freely and fairly, these votes will result in an independent, oil-rich Southern Sudan. If not, the catastrophic war between the north and the south that ended in 2005, after 2.5 million deaths, could resume. More here. [H/T to Charlie Barebo]
Acolyte Festival, Christ Church Reading to the National Cathedral ... Story by David Feick, with two pics, here.
HealthCare.gov is a web site where you can learn about the new healthcare law, find insurance options, learn about disease prevention and so much more. The “Understand the New Law” section includes a timeline of when new provisions become effective, how the law applies to specific classifications of people, etc. If you would like a “tour” of the site, join the webinar which will be offered again on Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET. You must register in advance. Register here. I find the site fairly user-friendly—maybe you’ll just enjoy checking it out on your own. The section that compares insurance plans is rather amazing. [Diana Marshall]
ECF Vital Practices ... offers vestry members and other people of faith, resources and tools to respond to the changing needs of the Church. Building upon the spiritually grounded, practical Vestry Papers articles that have inspired and informed vestry members since 1995, Vital Practices uses the Internet to both expand its offering and its audience. Vital Practices explores new ways of supporting congregations by building online communities of Episcopalians who share their stories, experiences, and best practices, who learn from one another, and who discover support to help sustain their leadership and their ministries. It includes articles by experts and peers, blogs for sharing ideas about faith and leadership, stories about real life lessons of change and leadership, tools for stewardship, communications, and opportunities for you to share your stories and examples. It launched at noon today (Oct. 18). Visit www.ecfvp.org and sign up.
Calendar of Events ... [Kat Lehman] Here is the latest calendar of events in and around the diocese. If you want your event posted, please email Kat Lehman who will gladly add your event to the list. This calendar is updated monthly. The format is in Word .doc if you want to cut and paste into your own calendars. Download 101001calendarofevents.doc
News/Info/Commentary from The Diocese of Bethlehem ... •The newSpin blog •The Diobeth website. Enter your name and email address in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You will find quite a few public news and info lists there. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of them. "Bakery" is the diocesan interactive list. •Twitter
Council on Foreign Relations hosts Sudanese ecumenical delegation ... [Episcopal News Service] Raising awareness of the volatile situation in Sudan and encouraging high-level advocacy and support ahead of the Jan. 9 referendum on independence were the focus of a panel discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations at its New York mid-town headquarters. Moderated by Linda Watt, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church and a CFR member, the Oct. 14 panel was comprised of ecumenical religious leaders from Sudan, including Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. More here.
Much more than one touchdown run ... Down 35-0 with 10 seconds left in a recent home game against rival Lake Stevens High, Snohomish High School football Coach Mark Perry decided it was time to call for The Ike Special -- a running play that sends Ike Ditzenberger up the middle. But with Ike's subsequent 51-yard touchdown run, The Ike Special took on a life of its own. A video of the run, posted on YouTube went viral, getting more than a million views. As Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelly explains, Ike's story is about much more than one football play. More here. [H/T to Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]
How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth ... [Huffington Post, Bishop Gene Robinson] It's time for "tolerant" religious people to acknowledge the straight line between the official anti-gay theologies of their denominations and the deaths of young people around the country. More here.
Chilean Archbishop dumped from top Anglican panel ... [RNS] Chile's top Anglican bishop has become collateral damage in the border wars between the Episcopal Church and conservatives overseas. Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile has been removed from an international commission that considers questions of faith and governance in the Anglican Communion, a network of 44 regional churches around the world. ... Zavala was ousted because his archbishop, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, refused to answer questions about his supervision of conservatives in four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and dozens of parishes, Kearon said in a statement. Read more.
TV’s favorite family dumps religion ... [Religion Dispatches] Modern Family, which won the Emmy award for best television comedy after its first season, just turned on religion. But what was really interesting about this episode, called “Earthquake,” was the way it did it, demonstrating not just a cultural ease with secularization, but also a nod to the very American turn to nature religion. More here.
ENS Weekly bulletin inserts ... For October 17: The House of Bishops wrote a pastoral letter on immigration issued at the end of its September meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Full text in bulletin insert. Download inserts here.
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About the newSpin newsletter ... Composed at least weekly (usually twice a week) by Bill Lewellis, the newSpin newsletter appears as a post within the newSpin blog, but newsletter and blog are not identical. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor, but the views expressed, 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. Comments may be addressed to Bill.