The newSpin newsletter, Jan. 2, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday
• Bethlehem churches need volunteers to help shelter homeless ... [Express-Times,Jan 2] The Rev. Scott Allen was told it wouldn’t work. He and other Bethlehem-area religious leaders just couldn’t open their churches to the homeless in the winter without strict rules and structure. But on Friday, Allen’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church once again hosted a group of homeless men for the fourth winter running. “It has worked, and it has helped people who may have been dead by now,” Allen said. The program started during a cold spell in January 2009. A group of Bethlehem church leaders were concerned about the welfare of the city’s homeless as temperatures weren’t climbing out of the teens for several days. St. Andrew’s and Cathedral Church of the Nativity first offered to open their doors and soon they had lined up a total of seven churches to house the homeless every night of the week during the winter. The group has grown to a dozen churches, with men and women housed at separate churches most nights. Many churches have participated all four years and for the few that have dropped out, a replacement is usually found quickly, Allen said. More here.
• When you read about the Vatican's new Ordinariate for Anglicans ... you might want to keep in mind that most of those joining the new structure are Anglicans who aren’t part of the Episcopal Church but member of offshoot Anglican groups. Here are recent articles from the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and the NatCathReporter.
• Eleven most important religion and politics findings of 2011 ... [WaPo, OnFaith, Robert P. Jones] Here.
• Eleven ways religion changed in 2011 [WaPo Photos] 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.
• Flinging the doors open wide ... [Newark Star Ledger via Episcopal Café] This is the kind of story you'd want written about you and your church. It appeared in the Newark Star Ledger. Of course, you need to have a ministry that justifies the story. Under the leadership of the Rev. Sandy A. Wilson for nearly seven years, the Episcopl Church of St. Andrew & Holy Communion in South Orage has evolved into one of the most diverse, socially conscious and creative religious communities in New Jersey. More here.
• In renewing the Episcopal Church, what exactly is up for grabs? ... [Episcopal Café] Many comments after this exchange. Here.
• The Episcopal Church in 2012 ... [Episcopal Café] Jim Naughton offers "some of what may lie ahead for the Episcopal Church in 2012." Many comments. Here.
• Send mission stories to ENS ... Don't hesitate to send well-written stories about your parish or regional missions to Episcopal News Service. Here are ENS submission guidelines. Send me a copy for the newSpin blog. :-)
• Bethlehem churches need volunteers to help shelter homeless ... [Express-Times,Jan 2] See above, under TopSpin
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Free national advertising available for jobs, calls, events ... The Episcopal News Service website now includes Featured Jobs and Calls, a jobs area as well as a bulletin board where churches can post jobs and calls for free. A similar area and board, Featured Events, is also available. Job board here. Event board here.
• 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.
• 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] Here.
• 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. 30, here. Grace Allentown, Dec. 22, here. Trinity Easton, Dec. 30, here. Prince of Peace Dallas, Dec. 23, here. St. Anne's Trexlertown, here, click on "Weekly Calendar."
• 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.
• On Blackberries and burnout ... [Roger Cohen, NYTimes] In Germany, Volkswagon has decided to turn off its e-mail server to employees' Blackberries after their shift ends and until it begins the next day. "It's a start in encouraging employees to switch off, curb the twitchy reflex to check e-mail every couple of minutes, and take a look out at things — like family and the big wide world — without the distraction of a blinking red light," Cohen writes. Worker burnout has become an issue in Germany and elsewhere, and Cohen notes that being connected can increase productivity but also hinder it by causing anxiety and exhaustion. He connects this to the peace he and his kids felt taking a break from connectedness in his father's isolated home over the holidays. "To each his own, but I know this: Nobody will ever lie on his or her deathbed and say: 'I should have kept my device on longer.'" [h/t The Atlantic Wire]
• The Joy of Quiet ... [NYTimes, Pico Iyer, Sunday Review] The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight. ... Writer friends of mine pay good money to get the Freedom software that enables them to disable (for up to eight hours) the very Internet connections that seemed so emancipating not long ago. Even Intel (of all companies) experimented in 2007 with conferring four uninterrupted hours of quiet time every Tuesday morning on 300 engineers and managers. (The average office worker today, researchers have found, enjoys no more than three minutes at a time at his or her desk without interruption.) During this period the workers were not allowed to use the phone or send e-mail, but simply had the chance to clear their heads and to hear themselves think. A majority of Intel’s trial group recommended that the policy be extended to others. ... “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone. ... We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines. ... The information revolution came without an instruction manual. More here. [h/t Jenifer Gamber]
• Cardinal's comparison is nonsensical ... [Nat'l Cath Reporter, Editorial] Whether Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George went into a Dec. 21 television interview intending to compare the gay community with the Ku Klux Klan or impulsively gave voice to something that popped into his mind at the moment, it is clear that he welcomed any opportunity to pick a fight. His incendiary comment, spur of the moment or not, betrays a larger context that, in the cardinal’s universe, is no secret. And that context is that anti-Catholic hordes — gays, materialists, certainly The New York Times, politicians who won’t hew their views and strategies to the Catholic line, and other societal forces — lurk around every corner and are largely responsible for all the church’s troubles. Serious issues — of conscience and principle, of clashes between the state’s obligations and church teachings — do indeed exist and are fair game for religious leaders to address. But a cardinal who assesses a conflict between the time and route of a Gay Pride Parade and a Catholic Mass with the line, “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” diminishes any standing the church might still have in the public arena. The important issues get buried beneath the understandable outrage such comments invite. His words were not only embarrassingly imprudent, they are nonsensical as historical comparison. More here.
• See how they love one another ... [WSJournal] Clergymen brawl with broomsticks. Here. [h/t Deacon Larry Holman]
• Selling the mansion ... [Philly.com] Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is planning to sell the mansion that has been home to the city's top Catholic official for 76 years. It is one of the largest private homes in the city.
• 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.
• Take the Be Healthy Your Way Challenge ... [HealthFinder.gov] 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. 29, 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.
• 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.
• Padre Alberto on preaching the Latino gospel in the US ... [CNN via Episcopal Café] Here.
• The most spiritually literate films of 2011 ... [Spirituality and Practice] 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 Episcopal Church
(2) Episcopal News Service
(3) 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]