The newSpin newsletter, April 4, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
On the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination ... [Washington Post Op-Ed] Hampton Sides, the author of "Hellhound on His Trail," a narrative history of King's assassination, argues on the anniversary of King's assassination that we do a disservice to both to his legacy and to ourselves by remembering him as a saint and not a man. King was a human being like the rest of us: "flawed, vulnerable, uncertain about the future, subject to appetites and buffeted by the extraordinary stresses of his position," he says, noting that King took up drinking, smoking, and more than one mistress. That's not to take anything away from his drive for civil rights, but Sides reminds us how our hagiography reflects poorly on ourselves: "By calling our heroes superhuman we also let ourselves off the hook: Why do the hard work of bettering the world if that’s something only saints do? What made King's eloquence so ferocious and his courage so stirring was that, like the Memphis garbage workers he came to represent, he was a man." More here. [H/T The Atlantic Wire]
• The Daily Office ... with the assistance of the Mission St. Clare.
• Acquire a peaceful spirit ... Bishop Paul wrote on Bakery at the beginning of Lent: “I am going to work on acquiring something this year. Well, starting to acquire it.” A few months ago, he saw a bookmark that describes our life's work so well. “It sets a goal,” he said, “that explains why we call it ‘lifelong Christian formation.’ It has spiritual, psychological, and social implications. It has haunted me ever since the day I saw it. It is simply this word from a slavic Orthodox monk of the 19th century, Seraphim of Sarov: Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved."
• 20 + 1 + 1 = Renewal ... Challenge yourself to pray for 20 minutes daily, to worship for one hour weekly, and to serve others for one day a month. Find Mother Laura Howell's blog here.
• Renewal Assembly video ... see below, under "Diocese."
• Diocesan Life ... April. Here. Read online or download as a pdf.
• The Archdeacon's Predictions... [Howard Stringfellow is newSpin's acclaimed sportSwriter] Who will be the League and World Series champs? Updated after opening day at Yankee Stadium. Here.
• DioBeth ... On Twitter.
• April 14, Chrism Mass ... Blessing of Oils and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows, Cathedral Bethlehem, 11:00 a.m. See below, under "Diocese."
• April 21-23, to take part in the Easter Triduum ... At your church.
• May 14, to hear Bishop Michael Curry ... At St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. See below, under "Diocese."
• June 11, to Renewal Assembly II ... At many locations. See below, under "Diocese of Bethlehem."
• That you can join our diocesan interactive list. It's called "Bakery." If you participate, you may be addressed as a "crouton." After all, Bethlehem means "House of Bread." At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side.
• On Bakery, you will find conversations such as this one that was initiated recently by Epiphany Clarks Summit rector Craig Sweeney. Once joined, you may read, initiate or comment on conversations.
• If you don't see your parish news or events ... If you think news or events regarding your parish merit sharing with the diocesan community and you have not seen mention of these in the newSpin newsletter, that may be because no one has sent the info to Bill. Of course, you may also post your info directly on Bakery. I may then post it on the newSpin blog and reference it here as well.
• For our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families. More here. Also 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.
• Celebration of New Ministry ... You are invited to the Celebration of New Ministry of Holy Cross Church, Wilkes-Barre, with their new rector, Father Timothy Alleman. April 12 at 7:00 p.m. Clergy, Purple Stoles. Father Alleman serves also as staff chaplain at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
• Model Opportunity ... [Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barre] Prince of Peace Church’s fashion show raises funds and brings together families for fun. More here. Additional photos here.
• Chrism Mass ... Blessing of Oils and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows, Cathedral Bethlehem, Thursday, April 14, 11:00 a.m. Special Full Communion Partner Guests: Bishop Samuel Zeiser of the Northeast PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; The Rev. David Bennett, President of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church. All Clergy are expected to attend this event (white stoles). Laity are most welcome and most cordially invited. Modest gifts for the parishes bringing the largest percentage of their ASA and for the lay people who have traveled the farthest. Lunch is provided. Please let Ely know by Monday April 11 how many we should expect from your parish.
• Blogging in our diocesan community ... (1) DioBeth newSpin, Bill Lewellis, (2) Andrew Plus, Canon Andrew Gerns, (3) About and Around St. Stephen's, Father Daniel Gunn, (4) 20+1+1=Renewal, Mother Laura Howell, (5) Sermons and Such, Nativity Cathedral, (6) Share the Bread, Diocesan Evangelism Commission, (7) TrinEast, Trinity Easton, (8) Reflections on Mind, Body and Spirit, Jane Williams. Who else is blogging? Tell Bill.
• Grace Kingston seeks full-time Minister of Music ... Here.
• Elizabeth Geitz joins Milford church team ... Renowned author and speaker Elizabeth Geitz officially joined the clergy team as priest associate of the Good Shepherd and St John’s Episcopal Church, Milford on March 23, 2011. An Episcopal priest, retired of the Diocese of New Jersey, the Reverend Canon Elizabeth Geitz now lives in Shohola. Vice-Chair of the board of trustees of the General Theological Seminary in New York, and a spirituality faculty member of the Credo Institute, Canon Geitz is a recognized expert in women’s spirituality. More here.
• Milford Jewish-Christian community to share Passover Seder ... Here.
• Bowl Auction, April 10, at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... Here.
• Renewal Assembly I Video ... Watch it at YouTube, split into two parts, or all in one at Vimeo. The video, with Bishop Paul, Mother Laura Howell and Father John Francis, is 23:30.
• Renewal Assembly II ... Saturday, June 11 (9:00 to 1:00) at six, possibly nine, locations around the Diocese. With a new introductory video, featuring Bishop Paul and lay people.
• Calendar of Events ... Updated March 7. Download here.
• Lenten Quiet Day at Mediator Allentown ... Saturday, April 9. Focus on Contemplative Prayer (Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer). More here.
• Actor Frank Runyeon returns to the Cathedral ... Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m., to present his one-man play, Signs: The Gospel of John, staged with dramatic lighting and entertaining audience interaction. Its text is the first eleven chapters of the Gospel of John, translated into contemporary American speech. More here.
• North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry ... will keynote our 2011 Stewardship and Evangelism Workshop, Saturday, May 14 (9:00 to 3:00). The theme: Jesus loves a growing seed. Bishop Curry is a nationally recognized preacher known for his vivid and exciting spiritual messages packed with humor and thought-provoking ideas, encouraging listeners to think more fully about their spiritual lives and responsibilities as Christians. Participants will leave with something of value in their minds and hearts. Registration is open at www.diobeth.org (click on Register for Diocesan Events, at right) and will close April 30 or when 300 have registered. Cost per person, $10,00, includes breakfast sacks, beverages and lunch. Find more about Bishop Curry here and here.
• Notes from the Cathedral Church of the Nativity ... Here.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Bulletin inserts for April 10, Lent5: Fifth Sunday in Lent: Update on response to earthquake and tsunami in Japan. For Palm Sunday: History of Palm Sunday and Earth Day resources. Download inserts here.
• DioBeth Website and newSpin Blog
• Public news and info lists ... At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.
• The NYTimes allows monthly 20-article limit for readers who do not pay online fee ... The good news, as I understand it, is that readers of the newSpin newsletter or blog will not be affected by this. Here is how the NYTimes puts it: "Readers who come to articles on NYTimes.com through links from e-mail newsletters, search engines, blogs or social media will still be able to read those articles even if they have reached their monthly 20-article limit." Additionally, I have been included among heavy users who will be given a free online subscription (otherwise $15 a month) until the end of the year. I suppose they consider me a good ad for the paper.
• Boosting sales ... Thanks to a boost from a censure by the U.S. Catholic bishops' doctrinal committee, Quest for the living God by Sister Elizabeth Johnson shot to the top of Amazon's best selling "general theology" book list.
• Doctors without pagers ... This NYTimes story focuses on a three-generation physician family's evolving practice from endless hours of small town practice in Catasauqua and Honesdale to salaried positions and predictable hours in the emergency rooms of Lehigh Valley Hospital and Elmira NY that allow for family time, a change that is transforming the way patients get care. Read it here.
• Japan and Haiti ... Info from Episcopal Relief and Development.
• An epidemic of rape for Haiti's displaced ... [NYTimes Editorial] Life after Haiti's earthquake has been especially difficult and dangerous for displaced women and girls. In addition to the ongoing crises of homelessness and cholera, a chronic emergency of sexual violence prevails in the settlements where hundreds of thousands still live, well over a year after the disaster. Groups of Haitian women have been struggling to defend themselves, banding together to prevent assaults and now taking their case to a wider world. ... While the world’s attention has turned elsewhere, Haiti’s misery remains. The U.N. reported in March that contributions to its ongoing emergency appeal are lagging and funds are running out for even such basics as clean-water delivery and sewage removal. This month’s meeting of Haiti’s recovery commission and the selection of a new president may begin to put the recovery back on track. Women and girls in Haiti’s camps must not be forced to live in constant fear. More here.
• File it under ironic ... Two senior priests have left the breakaway Anglo-Catholic diocese of Fort Worth for the Anglican Ordinariate. More here.
The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion
• First Wednesday live concert from St. John's Lafayette Square in DC ... The next live concert is on Wednesday, April 6 and begins at 12:10 pm Eastern. The 35-minute concert will be Ivor Davies’ “Prayers from the Ark” and other works, featuring the soloists from the St. John’s Choir. The live webcast will be available here, on the home page of the Episcopal Church’s website, and on the Episcopal Church Facebook page. The concert will also be available on-demand following the live performance.
• Third video in healthy congregation series features Chicago parish ... [Episcopal News Service] St. Paul & the Redeemer in Chicago, Illinois, has transformed itself from a church once described as "conflicted" to a vibrant worshiping and social community with a diverse membership, music spanning the globe and the ages, and including a strong presence and participation of children in the liturgy and music, according to a press release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. More here.
• Priest at vandalized New Haven church wants 'mercy' for the perpetrator ... [New Haven Register] Alex Dyer preached a day after the break-in in the historic Wooster Square church. “Unfortunately there are millions and millions of people … who call themselves Christians, disciples, who worship a God that is out for vengeance. … But that’s not the God that I worship. That’s not what God is about.” More here.
• Nominees for bishop of Washington ... The Rev. Ron Abrams, The Rev. Dr. Mariann Edgar Budde, The Very Rev. Sam Candler, The Rev. Jane Soyster Gould and The Rev. Canon John Harmon. Check them out here. [H/T Episcopal Café]
• The National ECW e-Communiqué ... Find it here.
• Episcopal Church Website and News Service
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• Muhlenberg College's diversity ... [Associated Press] One of the hottest college campuses in the U.S. for Jewish students is also one of the unlikeliest: a small Lutheran school in Allentown erected around a soaring stone chapel with a cross on top. In what is being called a testament to word of mouth in the Jewish community, approximately 34 percent of Muhlenberg College's 2,200 students are Jewish. And the biggest gains have come in the past five years or so. Perhaps equally noteworthy is how Muhlenberg has responded: offering a kosher menu at the student union, creating a partnership with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and expanding its Hillel House, a social hub for Jews. "What makes us stand out is that we actually enjoy our diversity," said Randy Helm, the college's president, an Episcopalian. More here.
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
• NEPA Synod website ... Here.
• Synod E-News ... April 1. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter by email here.
The United Methodist Church
• March Communication newsletter ... Here. • UMC website ... Here. • UMC News Service ... Here. UMC Communication ... The United Methodist Church has long been a leader in providing useful resources for church communicators. Start here. Eastern PA Conference of the UMC website ... Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
The Roman Catholic Church
• What happened to zero tolerance? ... [NYTimes Editorial] Here.
• A propetic, transforming priest ... [National Catholic Reporter] Omaha, Nebraska –– Fr. Jack McCaslin can't remember how many times he's been arrested. "About 40, I think? But I’ve only spent 30 days in jail. My fellow crooks call me ‘Teflon Jack!’ ” The archdiocesan priest slowly puts his glasses back on and lowers his head. Another moment later the excitement disappears. He raises his eyes and with his voice now a whisper says, “But this time, I don’t know if I’m going to slip through.” Over five decades, McCaslin has been at the center of acts of civil disobedience. More here.
• Without conversation ... The decision by the U.S. bishops’ to condemn a popular theology book by St Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson as not in accord with “authentic Catholic teaching” came without conversation and “paint[s] an incorrect picture of the fundamental line of thought the book develops,” Johnson said. More here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here. • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website ... Here. Catholic News Serice ... Here. • Diocese of Allentown website ... Here. • Diocese of Scranton website ... Here.
Would you believe?
• A Quaker Day school charges $32,370 in tuition. More here.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem
(1) The DioBeth newSpin blog
(2) The DioBeth website
(4) Twitter.Kat Lehman
(5) Public news and info lists: At the Diobeth website, enter your name and email in the "Get Connected" box on the right hand side. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.
(2) News & Notices
(4) Episcopal News Service
(5) Episcopal Church website
(9) The Lead, Episcopal Cafe
(10) Daily Episcopalian, Episcopal Cafe
(12) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
(13) Anglican Communion website.
(14) Anglican Communion News Service.
• Find earlier issues of the newSpin newsletter here and recent ones in the left column here.
Send info about newSpin to friends you think may be interested ... newSpin is an electronic newsletter that includes news, information and commentary related to the Diocese of Bethlehem, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the world of religion ... with some spin, of course, from the editor. Edited by retired communication minister Bill Lewellis and ordinarily published twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday, it is currently received by some 1,200 people, many of whom forward it to many others. To have it emailed directly to you, subscribe at the "Get Connected" box on the right column of www.diobeth.org. Select newSpin under the groups. You may find samples of the newSpin newsletter on the left column of the newSpin blog, www.diobeth.typepad.com.
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.