The newSpin newsletter, August 18, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
It is not that God’s Church has a Mission, but that God’s Mission has a Church. – Beginning of sermon, Pent. 10, Propl 16, by Kirk Alan Kubicek ... Here.
• Tax credits for churches ... [Episcopal Café] A clarification. Some congregations and dioceses may be eligible for a special tax credit. The deadline had passed, but the IRS has extended it because they realized that churches were not aware that they were able to apply for this special tax break. See the video made by the Diocese of North Carolina.
• Rich get richer; the poor, not so much ... [Episcopal Café, via PBS Online] What should the church's role be when we hear that the rich are getting richer, a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer? More here.
• The Leadership Program for Musicians ... [Hillary Raining] A new initiative beginning in the Diocese this fall. The LPM is a national teaching ministry giving church musicians an increased sense of vocational awareness and the tools to help congregations sing well and participate actively in worship. If your congregation is looking for a tool for renewal, this will help. Registration is now open. Here.
• Grace Church and Grace House residents get to know each other ... [Beth Reed, Priest-in-Charge, Grace, Allentown] Sunday, August 14, was a joy at Fifth and Linden in downtown Allentown. We welcomed three of our six new neighbors from Grace House at coffee hour, and then our neighbors showed us their home. At least 20 parishioners took the opportunity to see the first floor of Grace House, with its common kitchen and living room, and two residents very graciously showed us their bedrooms. We took a solid next step in our relationship with our neighbors, and I look forward to how our relationships will develop. Grace House is a partnership of New Bethany Ministries, the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, and Grace Episcopal Church. Six previously chronically homeless men now live in a renovated building that formerly housed the Grace Church Sunday school and the parish’s AIDS Outreach ministry.
• Trinity Easton will host a 9/11 interfaith community Service of Remembrance and Hope ... [Canon Andrew Gerns] Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 2 p.m. Prayers, hymns, reflections and litanies will led by religious leaders from the Easton area representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions. Music will be provided by a Double Quartet of members of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus of New York City, a local chamber orchestra and members of the Easton Area High School Choir. Scheduled selections will include: Faure's "Requiem in d minor, Op 48" (Intoit and Kyrie; Sanctus; Pie Iesu; Agnus Dei and Lux Aeterna; In Paradisum.), Bach's "Cantata 106: Gottes Zeit ist dis Allerbeste Zeit" movement III a & b. The Service is open to the public and is being hosted and coordinated by the Music and Arts Ministry of Trinity Church, Easton. A free will offering will be taken. At 4 p.m., the City of Easton will hold a Tribute for Emergency Services Workers at Scott Park on Larry Holmes Drive, Easton. Fr. Gerns will give the invocation, and choristers from the Metropolitan Opera will also perform at that event. Trinity has taken the lead in bringing the community together with representatives of all the major religious traditions in the area--several flavors of Christian, both Synagogues and the Muslim Community of Easton. In addition to all that, we will have a first rate musical program bringing together Easton Area High School students, members of various faith communities as an orchestra, anchored by a double-quartet from New York's Metropolitan Opera.
• Fabric for Kajo Keji student uniforms ... [Laura I. Chegwidden] Diocesan ECW has a program to raise funds to purchase fabric for student uniforms used in Kajo Keji schools. These schools are in Romogi, Gadera, Liwolo, Sodogo and Dwani. The Bethlehem Tailor’s Training Center (BTTC) assembles the uniforms from the material purchased on the international market. Your donation of funds will help the students both male and female. Female students, in particular, develop self-esteem and a desire for studying; thus staying in school longer. Ongoing contributions are necessary to assure that current and new students have uniforms made by the BTTC. Cost of this material is $5 per meter with two meters required for each uniform. Please, consider donating $10 for one uniform or $5 for 1 meter of fabric. Checks payable to Diocesan ECW. Memo line: "Fabric for student uniforms/BTTC," Send checks to: Martha Fox, Diocesan ECW Treasurer, 4465 Farm Drive, Allentowb PA 18104.
• Pray for Graham Cliff ... [Bishop Paul, Aug. 12, Bakery] I have just spoken with Mary Jo Cliff, who tells me that Fr Graham is now fighting for his life at the U Penn hospital in Philadelphia. I ask your personal prayers, and direct that prayers be offered for him and his family at all services this weekend. Thank you." ... [Bishop Paul, Aug. 15, Bakery] Mary Jo thanks you all for your prayers. Graham has begun to more toward health. Please continue to support him."
• A benefit concert raising funds for the Trinity Bethlehem Soup Kitchen will be held Sunday, September 11 at 4:00 p.m. The Trinity Soup Kitchen feeds and provided social services for about 150 homeless, poor and/or mentally ill people Monday through Friday all year ‘round. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Trinity Soup Kitchen. Four acts that are local favorites in the folk and traditional music scene have donated their talents for the event. Lehigh Valley family favorite Dave Fry, Bethlehem singer-songwriter Dina Hall, Celtic band Piper’s Request and the region’s first family of traditional folk music, The Druckenmillers, will perform in Trinity’s sanctuary starting at 4:00 p.m. There will be a reception following the concert. Reserve your tickets ($25.00) by calling Trinity 610-867-4741 X 308, or contact Deacon Liz Miller firstname.lastname@example.org, or Marcie Lightwood, email@example.com
• Godly Play trainings in PA and DE ... [Anne Kitch] Enrichment, Aug. 27; Basics, Sept. 17; Core, Oct. 13. More here.
• Register for Diocesan Convention ... Here.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... 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.
• Book by DioBeth authors remains among Church Publishing best sellers ... Your Faith Your Life: An Invitation to the Episcopal Church, by Jenifer Gamber with Bill Lewellis, published in 2009 by Morehouse/Church Publishing remains among Church Publishing's best sellers, surpassed only by the BCP, hymnals and The Episcopal Handbook. It's available in paperback and on Kindle. "Not every useful book is heartfelt and not every heartfelt book is useful," wrote Barbara Crafton, "but Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis's new book is both." More here.
• Intrepid young activists push condoms at World Youth Day ... [Religion News Service, David Gibson, Aug. 16] Sending a small band of young people to talk about condoms at World Youth Day, the triennial Catholic jamboree that opened in Madrid on Tuesday (Aug. 16), sounds like penance, if not a kind of martyrdom. The six-day event is expected to draw close to 1 million young pilgrims, as well as thousands of priests, nuns and brothers, some 800 bishops and cardinals, and Pope Benedict XVI himself, who will lead a huge outdoor Mass on Sunday. Those are daunting numbers compared with 30 young activists who are taking their “Condoms4Life” campaign to the streets of the Spanish capital this week. Authorities in Madrid weeks ago barred bus ads and billboards for the effort. More here.
• Stolen Rembrandt sketch turns up at church office in Encino CA ... [Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Michael Cooper was as surprised as anyone, including local authorities, when a stolen Rembrandt drawing turned up in his Encino, California, church office two days after it went missing from a ritzy Marina del Rey hotel. More here.
• Florida megachurch pastor found dead in NY hotel room ... [CNN Belief Blog] An inconclusive autopsy left unanswered questions Monday in the death of Florida megachurch founder (and father of four) Zachery Tims, 42, whose death in a New York hotel room shocked members of his congregation. More here.
• The Daily Office ... with the Mission St. Clare.
• With The Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
•• For Father Graham Cliff ... See above, under DioBeth.
• For our young men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families. Check the newSpin blog for an update. Better still, at the "Get Connected" box on the right side of our diocesan website, fill in your name and email address, and click on "My Groups." In the next window, check "Pray for." Then, you will receive the weekly update by email.
• Favorite thinkers of liberal Christians ... [Douglas Todd] The respected United Church of Canada magazine, The Observer, surveyed a bunch of their clergy across the country and came up with the top 25 spiritual thinkers they'd recommend to the denomination's roughly 500,000 members. Top five: Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, John Douglas Hall, C.S. Lewis, Karen Armstrong More here.
• Religion and the Cult of Tolerance ... [William McGurn, WSJournal Op-Ed, Aug. 16] Earlier this summer, the chief rabbi for Great Britain warned about a new intolerance being imposed in the name of tolerance. "I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organizations is an erosion of religious liberty," Lord Sacks told a House of Commons committee in June. "We are beginning to move back to where we came in in the 17th century—a whole lot of people on the Mayflower leaving to find religious freedom elsewhere." Though not as pronounced on this side of the Atlantic, we can see the same trend that so worries Lord Sacks. Here too the imposition comes in the guise of nondiscrimination laws and codes. Here too the result is the same: Faith organizations are told whom they must employ and what they must assent to, or face being shoved off the public square. More here. [h/t Deacon Larry Holman]
• Vatican II themes: The church is ecumenical ... [Richard McBrien, NCR] Every year in January we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And every year we seem to be not an inch closer to outright reunion -- at least on the official level. At the unofficial level, however, Christians are worshipping and receiving Communion in one another's liturgies. And many Catholics, especially younger Catholics, do not even think along denominational lines when referring, for example, to weddings and funerals. That is because the Second Vatican Council understood the church as ecumenical, that is, embracing "the whole wide world" of Christians. The Body of Christ consists not only of Catholics, but also Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans (in the United States they are known as Episcopalians), Protestants, and Oriental Christians alike. In the years, decades, and centuries preceding the council, the common assumption of Catholics and the official teaching of the Catholic church was that the Catholic church is "the one, true church of Christ." All other churches and ecclesial communities were regarded as "false churches," completely outside the Body of Christ and beyond the pale of salvation. Read more here.
• The Christianist Takeover ... [Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast] It now appears to be complete ... Examine the candidacies of the two front-runners for the GOP. ... This is what this party now is: a religious movement clothed in anti-government radicalism. It has nothing to do with the conservative temperament, conservative political thought or conservative ideas. It is hostile to most existing institutions, especially government, contemptuous of the courts, and seized of an ideology as rigid as any far-left liberalism, as utopian as any wide-eyed socialist, as fanatical as anything the left spawned in the 1960s. And it has hijacked an entire political party; and recently held to ransom an entire country. More here.
• Is Rick Perry as Christian as he thinks he is? ... [The Atlantic, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend] The Texas governor is running an openly religious campaign, but does he overlook the parts of the Bible that do not support his political beliefs? More here.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... August 16. Here.
• Youth Ministry site ... Launched by Leader Resources. Here.
• DocuTicker collects abstracts from 'grey literature': PDF reports published by government agencies, think tanks, NGOs, research institutes and other public interest groups. Here.
• Forward Movement seeks managing editor ... [Scott Gunn, new exec. dir. at Forward Movement] We are searching for a Managing Editor at Forward Movement. We have some fantastic applicants, but I want to make sure that we have not missed anyone. Our search is moving right along, so now is the time to apply or to ask questions if you or someone you know is interested. Here's the posted job description. I began just about a month ago as Executive Director at Forward Movement. We have some exciting days ahead. While we'll continue our venerable Forward Day by Day (circulation ~300,000) and many of our current offerings, we will also go in new directions. Our aim is to create new kinds of content, for new readers, delivered in new ways. If you or anyone you know is interested, contact me soon (within the next few days). You can apply by sending a resume directly to me. Feel free to email or call if you have questions. My phone is 513-721-6659 x 311. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. On a related note, if you have suggestions, questions, or comments on Forward Movement and its work, I am always glad to hear from folks. You'll be hearing plenty from us in the next few months.
• Episcopal News Service on Twitter.
• Anglican Communion News Service ... on Facebook. Weekly review, Aug. 6-12.
• Fall Continuing Education offerings at Moravian Theological Seminary ... Here.
• Crossroads Lay Courses at Moravian Theological Seminary ... Here.
• Moravian Church in North America website
• Moravian Church Northern Province website
• Moravian Theological Seminary website
• A lesbian pastor's journey ... [Episcopal Café] The Rev. Barbara Lundblad, a Lutheran minister, discusses the hardships and breakthroughs she has experienced during her career. 3'45" video here.
• NEPA Synod website ... Here.
• ELCA website ... Here.
• ELCA News Service ... Here.
• ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
• 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.
• Communication newsletter ... Communication tips and tools. Here.
• Eastern PA Conference of the UMC website ... Here.
• Facebook ... Here.
• Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog ... Here.
• Vatican publishes internal files on alleged abuser; rare move comes amid Ireland criticism ... [Washington Post] The Vatican, reeling from unprecedented criticism over its handling of sexual abuse cases in Ireland, took a pre-emptive strike Wednesday and published some internal files about a priest accused of molesting youngsters in Ireland and the U.S. The files published on the website of Vatican Radio represent a small, selective part of the documentation the Holy See must turn over to U.S. lawyers representing a man who says he was abused by the late Rev. Andrew Ronan. The man, known in court papers as John V. Doe, is seeking to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse. ... The Vatican’s decision to publish some of the discovery documentation on its website marked an unusual attempt at some transparency, particularly given the sensitivity surrounding internal personnel files of accused priests. Victims groups have long denounced the secrecy with which the Vatican handles abuse cases and demanded the files of known abusers be released. But it comes amid unprecedented criticism of the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases in Ireland, and as it still seeks to recover from the fallout over the abuse scandal that erupted last year. Thousands of people in Europe and elsewhere reported they were raped and molested by priests as children while bishops covered up the crimes and the Vatican turned a blind eye. More here.
• Dublin Archdiocese on bring of financial collapse ... [Catholic News Service] The Dublin Archdiocese is on the brink of financial collapse because of payouts to victims of clergy sexual abuse, according to an internal report. More here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Vatican website ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
• The Daily Office from MissionStClare.
• The Lectionary Page ... Here. This is a new URL. Update your bookmarks or favorites.
• The Lectionary ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Revised Common Lectionary ... Vanderbilt.
• Sept. 11 ... 9/11 Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation , 5pm, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Bishop Paul will preach.
• Sept. 11 ... Trinity Easton will host a 9/11 interfaith community Service of Remembrance and Hope. See above, under DioBethSpin.
• Sept. 11 ... Benefit Concert for Trinity Bethlehem Soup Kitchen. See above, under DioBethSpin.
• Oct. 7-8 ... Diocesan Convention , Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
• Oct. 22 ... J2A Training , 8:30 - 3:00, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
• Nov. 12 ... Renewal Assembly III, Various locations across the diocese
• 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
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... 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.
Composed at least weekly (usually on Monday and occasionally on Thursday) by Bill Lewellis, the newSpin newsletter appears as a post within the newSpin blog. Newsletter and blog are not identical. This notice that a new newsletter has been published currently goes to some 1,200 email addresses on a separate list. Many recipients forward it to many more. 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.
Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998)
Blog , Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]