The newSpin newsletter, May 19, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Mondays and Thursdays
• Renewal Assembly II ... (9:00 to 1:30) at eight locations across the Diocese. More here. Register here. Registration will close on June 1. A new 18-minute video will feature Bishop Paul in conversation with three lay people: Lucy Kitch-Peck on the Gifts of the Spirit in her life; Liza Holzinger of St. Andrew's Allentown on a Congregation detecting the gifts and opportunities the Spirit gives parishes; Warren Shotto of Good Shepherd Scranton on how parish leadership detects the gifts in individuals and calls them forth.
• Canon Mark Laubach's 25th ... On Sunday, May 22. Below, under "Diocese."
• Social Ministries now accepting grant requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign ... Below, under "Diocese."
• Weed and Seed needs your help ... Below, under "Diocese."
• Another doomsday prediction ... [Bill] Many have given evangelist Harold Camping of Family Radio far more rent space in their heads than he deserves for his prediction that the world will end on May 21. His is the latest of some 220 predictions that, obviously, have been wrong. But we are in the Information Age and Camping has gotten much more visibility than probably the other 219: on radio (mostly his own network), TV (not so much on the stations I watch, but probably more on Friday and Saturday), newspapers (enough, probably more on Friday and Saturday) Internet (a lot), and on other venues. According to a report from the New York Daily News, one of Camping's followers has spent his retirement savings of $140,000 for an ad campaign: signs on subway cars and bus shelters around NYC. I don't suppose Camping will reimburse him on May 22. More at Episcopal Cafe, posted by Andrew Gerns. Also Bill Lewellis' Morning Call column to be published on doomsday. Would you rather have lunch with Harold Camping or Christopher Hitchens?
• The fight over Billy Graham's legacy ... [Newsweek, Lisa Miller] With the great evangelist in his twilight, his children jostle over his image and the family name.
• What Stephen Hawking doesn't understand about heaven ... [N.T. Wright, Washington Post] It’s depressing to see Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant minds in his field, trying to speak as an expert on things he sadly seems to know rather less about than many averagely intelligent Christians. Of course there are people who think of ‘heaven’ as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful. No doubt that’s a problem as old as the human race. But in the Bible ‘heaven’ isn’t ‘the place where people go when they die.’ In the Bible heaven is God’s space while earth (or, if you like, ‘the cosmos’ or ‘creation’) is our space. And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock. For the ancient Jews, the place where this happened was the temple; for the Christians, the place where this happened was Jesus himself, and then, astonishingly, the persons of Christians because they, too, were ‘temples’ of God’s own spirit. More here.
• Two weeks without working for Latino people ... "I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible." [Musician Carlos Santana, protesting Georgia's immigration law while accepting Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Change award before the "Civil Rights Game" in Atlanta. (Source: USA Today)]
• Speaking with the Virgin Mary ... [CNN] House Speaker John Boehner teared up while delivering Catholic University's commencement address, and said a phone call from his high-school old football coach was "pretty darn close" to speaking with the Virgin Mary. [H/T RNS]
• Calendar of Events ... Updated May 2. Download here.
• Deathers ... Those who doubt that Obama bin Laden is dead.
• Enchantment Marketing ... Guy Kawasaki, Apple's former chief evangelist. Here.
• Three things I learned while my plane crashed ... Here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem related photos and photos and photos ... Here.
• Renewal Assembly I video ... with Bishop Paul, Mother Laura Howell and Father John Francis, at YouTube, split into two parts, or all in one at Vimeo. Length of video is 23:30.
• The Diocese of Bethlehem on Twitter ... http://twitter.com/#!/Diobeth
• The Diocese of Bethlehem on Facebook ... https://www.facebook.com/DioceseOfBethlehem
• Kat Lehman on Twitter ... http://twitter.com/#!/KatLehman
• Episcopal News Service on Twitter ... http://twitter.com/#!/episcopal_news
• June 11, to Renewal Assembly II ... At many locations. See above, under "TopSpin."
• July 9, to Called to be Heroes ... Bishop's Day for Kids , grades 1-5, at Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton. Children in grades 1-5 are invited to spend the day with Bishop Paul, 9:30 to 2:30, and meet some no-so-well-known heroes in the Bible. Discover your own super powers, and enjoy being together. Storytelling, games, Eucharist and more.
• The Daily Office ... with the Mission St. Clare.
• 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.
• Pray for our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families. Here.
• Angel Eyes ... Thinking ahead to Sunday's sermon, by Bishop Paul. Here.
• Social Ministries now accepting grant requests ... The Social Ministries Committee is now ready to receive and consider requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign. The total amount we are able to grant for the 2011-12 calendar year is $100,000. Therefore, we are inviting Letters of Intent from parishes and Episcopal related organizations within the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. The Deadline for Letters of Intent is 15 July 2011. More here.
• Canon Mark Laubach's 25th ... St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Canon Mark Laubach’s service to the church following a choral Evensong at 5:00 pm Sunday, May 22, in the church, at 35 South Franklin Street. More here.
• Weed and Seed needs your help ... [Bob House, parish administrator, Grace Allentown] State and federal budget cuts have eliminated the funding of the Weed and Seed Program. This might be penny wise but it is pound foolish. The job counselor program alone, which we have sponsored since 2006, has brought in over 7 million dollars during that period to the local economy at a cost of only $35,000 per year. The entire W & S budget for all 17 locations in PA is only $435,000. The current state budget seems to be designed to destroy the safety net supporting poor people in our state. Here's how can you help.
• REACH's end leaves homeless with few options ... [Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barre] Drop-in center at St. Stephen’s closing down for lack of funding. Barring “a miracle” or an organization stepping in to take over homeless services of The REACH Program, folks can expect to see increasing numbers of homeless people hanging around Public Square and other areas in the city after July 1. REACH Inc., a “grass-roots ministry of last resort for the less fortunate,” will be forced to close the doors of its drop-in center located in the basement of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on South Franklin Street because of a lack of funding, according to a news release that board members issued Monday ... In addition to providing breakfasts, showers and information, referral and case management services, REACH’s drop-in center gave the homeless a safe place to get off the streets and take a breather during the day, said Executive Director Stefanie Wolownik. Wolownik said she has seen sources of funding dry up over her 10 years with REACH, from about $40,000 annually to “zeroing-out” for this coming fiscal year. “But because of the governor’s cuts, we have to cut that (homeless services) program. More here.
• Renewal Assembly II, Saturday June 11 ... See above, under "TopSpin."
• Jubilate ... Hymnody for Pentecost to Christ the King Sunday (June 12, 2011 to November 30, 2011), published by the Diocese of Bethlehem for our diocesan community and for free distribution to the world, may be downloaded here.
• Melinda Merchant RIP ... [From Father Bill McGinty] Mrs. Melinda Merchant, wife to Karl and mother to Christine and Julia, died 17, May 2011 after a three year struggle with cancer. A lifelong Episcopalian and member of Good Shepherd and St John the Evangelist Milford, Melinda will be remembered by all involved with Diocesan Youth, Christophany and Happening in the nineties. Her suffering over, she rests in the arms of her resurrected Christ. Prayers please for the family, 126 Santos drive, Milford. 18337. Thank You.
• The Good Shepherd and 'Functioning Up' ... Archdeacon Stringfellow sermon, Easter 4A, at Good Shepherd Scranton. Here.
• The Deadline of Mortality –– Not Today ... This column by Bill Lewellis will be published in The Morning Call on Saturday. Would you rather have lunch with Harold Camping or Christopher Hitchens?
• Book drive to benefit children whose families come to the Grace Food Pantry ... Grace Church Allentown’s Grace Montessori School is holding a book drive to benefit children whose families come to the Grace Food Pantry, located at the church, for supplemental groceries. May 16 to 20. We invite you to ask your child, grandchild, godchild, niece, nephew, or neighbor to look around the house for a gently used children’s book that he or she has outgrown and which they would like to donate to a child in need in the Allentown community. The food pantry serves about 200 families (including 350 children) per month. The school’s goal is to be able to give each one of those children a book to take home. Please ask a child you know to pick out a book they would like to share with another child. Such a simple gesture can make a big difference and put a smile on a child’s face. More here.
• Festive Evensong at Mediator ... [Jo Trepagnier] The Church of the Mediator invites you to our festive Easter Evensong on Sunday May 22 at 4:00p.m.
• Creating a Culture of Peace Training, May 19-22 ...The Peace Commission is conducting another Creating a Culture of Peace Training at Christ, Reading, May 19-22. Register online by Mary 13. Cost is $45. Scholarships are available. More info: Here ... or Barb Gessner, 570-460-9335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts here. May 22, Fifth Sunday of Easter: Affordable Website Designs Available for Congregations, Dioceses, and Provinces.
• 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.
• American Scripture: How David Barton won the Chrstian Right ... [The Atlantic] David Barton wants you to know that America is a Christian nation. He has been making that point for two decades in speeches, books, pamphlets, and videos, in which he claims to unearth the forgotten history of the nation's founding. He has, in the process, amassed a large and loyal following. But it is the praise lately showered upon him by presidential aspirants Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann that has brought him into the public eye. In the last week, he has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and on the Daily Show. The week before, Mother Jones and Religion Dispatches took their shots, and People for the American Way updated its indictment. Barton's errors, exaggerations, and elisions have been exhaustively cataloged; no credible historian defends his work or his conclusions. And yet millions continue to find his message compelling. Why do they trust him? More here.
• Born Like This ... Patrick Malloy, former rector of Grace Allentown, now Associate Professor of Liturgics at General Theological Seminary NYC, was recently featured in a video aimed at young people who are gay and lesbian and in danger of harming themselves. Nationwide concern about bullying and the incidence of suicide among GLBTQ teens has resulted in the well-publicized It Get's Better Project. With similar goals, a group of NYU students founded the website, Born Like This and approached Malloy about recording a message that would speak of a loving God to young people who may be desperate for help in building a positive self-image. Click here to view his first video for the group.
• SCLM provides online resource archive ... [Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) has created an archive of materials it has collected and generated in its effort to accomplish the mandate given to it by General Convention concerning the blessing of same-gender unions. More here.
• Episcopal Church Website and News Service. Follow the Episcopal News Service on Twitter.
• The Lutheran Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania ... The ne
• 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 ... May 13. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter by email here.
• May 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. • Facebook ... Here. • Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
• On the causes and context of the abuse scandal ... U.S. Catholic bishops released a 350-page study on the "causes and context" of the abuse scandal by researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The verdict seems to be: blame the '60s. Victims' groups dismiss the conclusions, saying the blame lies with the church hierarchy. Researchers say their numbers and methodology are sound. Mark Silk has doubts about the celibacy findings in the report. [H/T RNS] Also here and here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here. • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website ... Here. • Catholic News Service ... Here. • Diocese of Allentown website ... Here. • Diocese of Scranton website ... 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
(6) 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.