The newSpin newsletter, Dec. 29, 2011
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
• GTS, +KJS on CBS ... [Episcopal Café and Episcopal Church] In case you missed it, here is the video of the service broadcast around the U.S. on CBS on Christmas Eve from General Theological Seminary with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaching and onetime rector of Grace Allentown Father Pat Malloy providing liturgical direction and serving as officiant. Find text of the sermon here.
• Episcopal Church's new website ... The communication department of the Episcopal Church has a right to sound its horn for the complete transformation and redesign of its website, launched yesterday, December 28. Efficient and user friendly, it's also fun. Read about it here. Try it here.
• Each service has its own flavor ... [Carol Horton, writing at Bakery] Each of the services of Christmas has its own flavor and emphasis, and I look forward to all of them. At four on Christmas Eve it is the children and their families, the angels and shepherds and the setting up of the creche, with all it's awe and wonder. At 10 pm, the awe and wonder are still there, but the emphasis is on the mystery and complexity of it all. We welcome college students and other adults, along with teenagers who, in their own minds, have 'outgrown' the children's service. And in the cold light of morning, as we read John's prologue, the story expands and connects to before creation and farther into the future than any of us normally contemplate. It is a progression -- a dance -- I enjoy each year, and find that I continue to receive much more than I give. No matter which day of the week, that I get to do this as a priest still fills me with awe and wonder.
• Clergy families figure out how to handle the Christmas crunch ... [Andrew Gerns, writing at Bakery] While I certainly come out of these days tired, I am grateful for the way Christmas unfolds in our Prayer Book and lectionary. As for Christmas on a Sunday, I found that both the attendance and the atmosphere very worshipful and joyous. My family figured out long ago how to handle the Christmas crunch...just as we do Thanksgiving. Dad doing liturgy is part and parcel of what makes our family holidays complete. Every iteration of when Christmas falls in a week is challenging...and I don't prefer a Sunday Christmas Eve either...but God always manages to show up.
• From the Queen ... [Bishop Paul, writing at Bakery] The clearest public Christmas message I've seen – and from a lay person. Bless her heart. Read it here.
• Bishop's School, Spring 2012 ... The courses for the spring session of Bishop's School are: (1) New Testament - taught by The Reverend Daniel Gunn - AM session. (2) Ethics and Moral Theology - taught by The Reverend John Heffner - PM session. At St. Stephen' Wilkes-Barre. Begins January 28. More here.
• newSpin terminology ... There is a newSpin blog and a newSpin newsletter.
• newSpin newsletter accessibiity ... (1) As a post on the newSpin blog where anyone can pull it down. (2) As a note that is pushed to members of Bakery. (3) As a note pushed to some 1,000 addresses on the newSpiin list on ChurchPost.
• Bishop's Day with Youth, grades 6 to 12 ... Join Bishop Paul for a beach party, a day of surf, sun, sand, music, food & fun on Jan. 21 from 4:00 to 9:00 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Register here. The cost for the event is $20 or $15 if you register before Jan. 6.
• Father Gerns' Illustrated, Simplified and Painless Bible Study ... This is not the Bible for dummies. But it is for people who feel dumb around the Bible. Next session: January 4 – February 15: Jesus’ Prayer Book (and ours): The Psalms. Wednesdays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m., in the Charney Room at Trinity Easton. Call the Trinity office for more info and/or to sign up: 610-253-0792. More here.
• Grateful in West Pittston ... [John Major, rector, Trinity West Pittston] In September as I walked and drove the streets of West Pittston, I was overwhelmed by the destruction and the enormity of the loss suffered when the Susquehanna River washed through homes and businesses just blocks away from Trinity. Today I am overwhelmed again, this time by the magnitude and generosity of your response to our neighbors affected by the flood. More here. [Janine Ungvarsky, Trinity West Pittston] As part of our ongoing efforts to help our neighbors as they work to recover from the September flooding, Trinity West Pittston recently held a Christmas Cheer distribution of new and used toys, clothing, and other items, including the gift cards so many generous parishes keep sending us to share it our neighbors. A number of West Pittston residents stopped by to select items that we hope will make their Christmas a little brighter. As has been the case each time we've reached out to our neighbors, we found ourselves touched by the stories they share with us. More here.
• Renewal Assembly 4 ... will focus on empowering leaders in our parishes and is designed to help vestry members in particular and those interested in leadership and taking an active role in parish vitality. Saturday, February 11, at seven locations around the diocese, 9 to 3. More here. Register here where you will also find more info.
• Grace Montessori School funding from City of Allentown may go down ... [Beth Reed, rector, Grace Allentown] Today's (Dec. 21) New York Times has an article about a federal program that directly benefits cities. The article focuses on Allentown. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program channels federal funds to cities; Allentown has used such funds to improve downtown buildings and services. The CDBG funding is being reduced again this year at the federal level, so Allentown will receive a smaller grant, and the city will have less money for such downtown projects. Our school, Grace Montessori, has applied for and received Community Development Block Grants for several years ($15,000 a year). We use the money to provide scholarships to Allentown children. This has been one way the church, through our school, contributes to the vitality of our downtown. If this source of funding goes down, so will our ability to fund scholarships.
• New Bethany Ministries: Working to lessen poverty's consequences ... [The Morning Call, Diane Elliott, executive director of New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem, Dec. 28] "We are the wealthiest country in the world. It is an outrage that so many of our people are hungry and homeless. Yet legislators continue to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by making cuts to Community Development Block Grants, a program initiated by the Nixon administration, as well as to county affordable housing trust funds — both of which help to fund programs like New Bethany Ministries. In some states, food security and job training programs have been cut. If these cuts continue, the number of poor will rise." More here. The Morning Call website includes a nice photo of Grace House, shelter for six homeless men, next to Grace Church Allentown. The caption states that Grace House was opened by New Bethany Ministires, but fails to say "in cooperation with Grace Church and the Lehigh County Conference of Churches."
• Epiphany 'Hoe Down' and Potluck Supper ... The first ever, at Nativity Cathedral. Jan. 6 at 6:30. More here.
• Let's be Franck ... In the Cathdral Classics series, Russell Jackson presents the 13th Birthday Celebration of Austin Organ, Opus 2776, Sunday, Jan. 15, 4:00 p.m. More here.
• Shape Note singing at St. Peter's Tunkhannock ... [Ed Erb, writing at Bakery] David Martin of St. Peter's Tunkhannock is very active in the Sacred Harp Society. What is that, you ask? One of the very important foundations of (early) American hymnody, sometimes called "Shape Note" singing. A Sacred Harp Sing is being held at the new St. Peter's Church off Route 6 in Tunkhannock on Sunday, January 8, at 3:00p.m. Associated particularly with the Appalachian mountains, Sacred Harp/Shape Note was developed as a means in the Singing School of teaching music to "the back-woods." Many of our beloved hymns come from the tradition of unaccompanied four-part singing which inspired many generations of early Americans from New England to Appalachia and the Southern states. Many hymn-books common to the 19th century Church followed suit: The Sacred Harp, Southern Harmony, Kentucky Harmony, Songs of Zion and many others sought to educate and inspire. A "sing" typically involves a square of tenors (with the melody), altos, sopranos and basses in sections facing each other. A signature element is the 4-shape notes, familiar elipse (or "lozenge"), a square, a triangle and a rectangle, each of which indicate a particular note of the scale. (In an 8-note octave, the four signs are repeated "do" through "fa," "sol" through "do" - think, "Do a Deer" and go from there.) If you are intrigued, we invite you to come and join us in this unique experience. Sunday, January 8th at 3:00 p.m. at the new St. Peter's Church in Tunkhannock. Contact David Martin for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Cathedral's annual women's retreat ... [Mariclair Partee] On Mar 9-11, Nativity will be hosting our annual women’s retreat at The Villa of Our Lady Retreat Center in Mt. Pocono, PA. Gather with other Episcopal women in “a space apart” to listen to and explore the wisdom of women voices in the Bible.Lled by Julia McCray-Goldsmith from the Diocese of California. Early bird special: sign up, with deposit of $100, by January 31. $185 for double occupancy; after Jan 31, $195. Single rooms available.
• Icon workshop with Peter Pearson ... The Cathedral will hoar an icon workshop led by the Rev. Peter Pearson, May 3-6, from the evening of Thursday through Sunday. More info here.
• Diocesan Life, December/January ... available here.
• Calendar of Diocesan Events ... Updated Dec. 2. Here.
• Weekly Parish eNewsletters ... There are now five. I publish links to the weekly electronic newsletters of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Grace Allentown, Prince of Peace Dallas, Trinity Easton and St. Anne's Trexlertown because these seem to me to be attractive, newsy, helpful and user friendly. The Cathedral's newsletter is created with ChurchPost that, through a diocesan contract, is available free to all parishes. There may be other weekly electronic newsletters, besides these five, that might be looked at. Please let me know. Cathedral, Dec. 23, here. Grace Allentown, Dec. 22, here. Trinity Easton, Dec. 23, here. Prince of Peace Dallas, Dec. 23, here. St. Anne's Trexlertown, here, click on "Weekly Calendar."
• 2012 Mileage Rates ... [Bruce Reiner] Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (unchanged from the mid-year adjustment that became effective on July); 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (reduced by 0.5 cents per mile); and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts here.
• 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.
• Origins of America's favorite Christmas carols ... [Christian Science Monitor] Here.
• Christmas over? ... [The Morning Call, Daniel Patrick Sheehan, Dec. 28] On the 12 Days of Christmas, here.
• The year in questions ... [NTTimes, Dec. 29] A quiz to test your memory of the memes of 2011. Answers will appear in tomorrow's (Dec. 30) NYTimes and in the next newSpin newsletter.
• See how they love one another ... [WSJournal] Clergymen brawl with broomsticks. Here. [h/t Deacon Larry Holman]
• The Daily Office ... with the Mission St. Clare. Now available for iPhone and iPad.
• With The Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• 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.
• Praying the News is a blog by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Here.
• eCommuniqué ... The Christmas newsletter of the Episcopal Church Women. Here.
• Occupy Wall Street v. Trinity Wall Street ... Bishop Packard, all decked out in the paddy wagon, video here. Interview with Bishop George and Brook Packard, video here. Also see Episcopal News Service.
• Episcopal Church website ... Episcopal Church on Twitter ... Episcopal News Service ... ENS on Twitter ... NewsLine ... News & Notices ... Infoline ... Episcopal Church on Facebook ... Episcopal Church on YouTube ... Anglican Communion website ... Anglican Communion News Service. ... Anglican Communion News Service on Facebook.
• NEPA Synod E-News ... Dec. 22, 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. News Service Here. Communication Resources Start here. Communication newsletter (tips and tools) Here. Eastern PA Conference website Here. Facebook Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
• RC Bishops say non-discrimination rules regarding gay parents limit Catholic Church's freedom of religion ... [NYTimes, Laurie Goodstein, Dec. 28] Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children. The bishops have followed colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts who had jettisoned their adoption services rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws. For the nation’s Catholic bishops, the Illinois requirement is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals. ... Catholic Charities is one of the nation’s most extensive social service networks, serving more than 10 million poor adults and children of many faiths across the country. It is made up of local affiliates that answer to local bishops and dioceses, but much of its revenue comes from the government. Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion. Only 3 percent came from churches in the diocese (the rest came from in-kind contributions, investments, program fees and community donations). More here.
• Clergy, survivors sign plea for Milwaukee sex abuse victims to come forward ... [NCR, Tom Roberts] An alliance of priests, clergy sexual abuse survivors and advocates for abuse victims composed and signed a full-page ad that appeared Dec. 27 in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel encouraging "victim/survivors" to come forward before Feb. 1, the deadline for filing abuse claims against the Milwaukee archdiocese through an impending bankruptcy proceeding. The ad also calls upon other priests of the diocese to "join us and insist upon a full and public confession" by the archdiocese, including open publication of all abuse-related documents held by the archdiocese and the religious orders serving in the archdiocese. The signers also ask the archdiocese to provide "a full and explanatory list of all clerics and employees who have harmed children and minors." More here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here. Diocese of Scranton ... 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.
• A few cracks in my crystal ball ... [WaPo, Dana Milbank, Dec. 27] ... While speaking on television, Dana Milbank predicted Rick Perry would perform well in debates, Newt Gingrich's campaign was finished, and Michele Bachmann was a "formidable" candidate. "The luxury of being a prognosticator is never having to say you were wrong ... This year, though, I decided to hold myself to account by going through every transcript of my TV appearances, and several recordings, to score my forecasts. It is not an exercise I'd recommend for pundits with fragile self-esteem." Milbank says the exercise taught him that it's easier to make accurate predictions about broader trends than to react to a single news event. (He also adds that he predicted many things correctly, and tended to be more accurate in his newspaper column than on television.) He still believes, for instance, that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination because the party has so often settled on the conventional front-runner after sorting through all its other options. "Probably the most useful bit of TV commentary I did in 2011 was to remind viewers how little I know." [h/t The Atlantic Wire]
• The Sydney Awards ... [NYTimes, David Brooks] Part I, Dec. 20, For anyone looking to reflect well and expand horizons, here’s the first installment of the best essays of 2011. Part II, Dec. 22, Another batch of stellar essays. December 22, 2011
• 2011: The year in pictures ... [NYtimes Sunday Review] Here.
• Messiah ... [Trinity Wall Street] Conductor: Julian Wachner. With the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra. Video here.
• The Daily Office from MissionStClare. Now available for iPhone and iPad.
• 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.
Jan 5: Ordination of Eddie Lopez to priesthood
St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre, 7:00 p.m. Reception to follow.
Jan. 21: Bishop's Day with Youth
Grades 6-12. Nativity Bethlehem. Register here.
Feb. 11: Renewal Assembly 4, seven locations, 9 to 3. Register here.
Feb. 19: Celebration of New Ministry, Christ Church Stroudsburg
The Rev. Doug Moyer as rector, 4:00 p.m.
March 24: Diocesan Training Day, St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre 9:00 to 3:00.
March 29: Chrism Mass, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem 11:00 a.m.
April 13: Ordination, Nativity Cathedral Bethlehem, 7:00 p.m.
April 20-22: Christophany Retreat, grades 6-12, at Pocono Plateau Retreat, Cresco.
May 16: Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting, Kirby House 9:00 to 2:30.
May 20: St. Matthew's Society Gathering, Lehigh Country Club, Allentown 3:00 p.m.
June 1-3: Vocare Retreat for Young Adults, Kirkridge Retreat Center.
June 16: Renewal Assembly 5, various locations.
June 30: Bishop's Day with Kids
July 5-12: 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Indianapolis.
July 28: Bishop's Day with Kids
Summer: Senior High Mission Trip. Dates and destination TBA.
Sept. 20: New Hope 5th Anniversary
Sept. 25: Pre-Convention Meeting, St. Albans, Sinking Spring 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 27: Pre-Convention Meeting, Church of the Epiphany, Clarks Summit 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 2: Pre-Convention Meeting, Nativity, Bethlehem 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 5-6: Diocesan Convention.
Nov. 11: Joint Eucharist with United Methodists
Asbury UMC, Allentown, 4:00 P.M. Bishop Paul to preach.
Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... here.
(1) The Lead, Episcopal Café
(2) Episcopal News Service
(3) Daily Episcopalian, Episcopal Café
(5) AnglicansOnline News Centre.
You are reading the newSpin newsletter. The newSpin blog, which includes the newsletter and other items, is available here. When the newsletter is completed on Mondays and occasionally, more often than not, on Thursdays as well, it is published immediately to the blog and on Bakery and on a ChurchPost list of some 1,000 addresses. Many recipients forward it to many more. Bakery and the blog are interactive. The ChurchPost list is not. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. 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. If you're wondering why you haven't seen something related to your parish or agency here, it's probably because no one has sent relevant info. Regarding items about your parish or agency as well as feedback on any other items ... send email 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]