Bishop's Beach Party with Youth on January 21st
Calendar of Events updated January 10, 2012

newSpin 120109

The newSpin newsletter, Jan. 9, 2012
By Bill Lewellis
Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday

Unus Christianus, nullus Christianus (One Christian is no Christian) – Tertullian, 4th c.

• 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 Honesdale offers 'Warmth in the Night' ... [Wayne Independent] If you are down and out — as so many seem to be lately — Grace Episcopal Church wants to help. Now in its second year, the parish is offering ‘Warmth in the Night’ to those in need in the community. Though the church does open its doors and offer a warm place to sleep during this (normally) cold season, Father Edward Erb says that is just the tip of iceberg. 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. More here.

• The bishop, the shock jock and the surprise of God's love ... [Episcopal Café] Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth is a remarkable presence in his conversation with a Cleveland "shock jock" about the saying "God loves you. No exceptions." More here, including the podcast.

PB interviewed on LCMS radio ... where "polite" seems skewed. Read comment by Andrew Gerns at Episcopal Café.

• 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.


• Eddie Lopez was ordained a priest last week by Bishop Jack at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre.

• Grace Honesdale offers 'Warmth in the Night' ... [Wayne Independent] See above, under TopSpin.

• 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.

• 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. :-)

• 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 ... See above, under TopSpin.

• Renewal Assembly 4 ... See above, under TopSpin.

• 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.

• Diocesan Life, December/January ... available here.

• Calendar of Diocesan Events ... Updated Dec. 2. Here.

• Weekly Parish eNewsletters ... 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, Jan. 6, here. Grace Allentown, Jan. 5, here. Trinity Easton, Jan. 6, 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.

• DioBeth Website ... newSpin Blog ... Re:Create blog for youth and young adults ... Twitter.DioBeth ... Twitter.Kat Lehman ... Facebook.DioBeth ... Flickr, search under dio_beth 

• 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.

• South Sudan
is one of the world's poorest regions. It gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and has hardly any roads, railways, schools or clinics following two decades of conflict, which have left it awash with weapons.

• A Time to Tune Out ... [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.'" More here. [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]

• Humble people are more helpful ... [Time Magazine] If a stranger asked for your help, how likely are you to jump in, regardless of how busy you are or how much your Good Samaritan act will interrupt your day? Turns out that if you're a humble person, you're more likely to help, Time magazine's Healthland reports. In the latest research on helping behavior, scientists found that humility is a major factor in determining whether you go out of your way to come to the aid of others, regardless of time and social pressures. More here. [h/t/ Leadership Education at Duke Divinity] Also, at Science and Religion Today, how can you find how humble someone is?

• Does your mind get in the way of your motivation? ... [Harvard Business Review] "We've all experienced our mind sabotaging our aspirations. ... Here's the key: if you want to follow through on something, stop thinking. Shut down the conversation that goes on in your head before it starts. Don't take the bait. Stop arguing with yourself. Make a very specific decision about something you want to do and don't question it. ... Then, when your mind starts to argue with you — and I guarantee it will — ignore it. You're smarter than your mind. You can see right through it. More here.

• God's call won't get you touchdowns, or votes ... This by RealClearReligion columnist Jeffrey Weiss is not about touchdowns. That's for another time during the NFL playoffs. Here, Weiss tries to figure out what happened to Michele Bachmann's call from God to run for president, and all those other dropped connections.

• The bishop, the shock jock and the surprise of God's love
... [Episcopal Café] Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth is a remarkable presence in his conversation with a Cleveland "shock jock" about the saying "God loves you. No exceptions." More here, including the podcast.

PB interviewed on LCMS radio ... where "polite" seems skewed. Read comment by Andrew Gerns at Episcopal Café.

• Single and loving it ... [Episcopal Café] Being single throughout adulthood is more and more common and less stigmatized but many people--as well as workplaces and the church--don't get that it is possible to be single and never want to get married or have children. The 2010 U.S. Census found that nearly half of all American adults — 100 million — are now single, the highest rate in recent history, and 61 percent of them have never married. More here.

•'s mission is to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics ... [] "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels." Website here. "Don't get spun by Internet rumors," here.

• Church of England seeks user ratings for christenings and funerals ... [The Independent, UK] The Church of England is asking its followers to give feedback on funerals and christenings in a drive to make services more popular. The Archbishop's Council has commissioned independent researchers to delve into how the Church ministers to its faithful at the key moments of birth and death. The research is partially motivated by concerns over the gradual decline in people using churches for christenings, weddings and funerals now that secular alternatives are readily available. More here.

• God told Pat Robertson who the next president will be ... but he's not saying. Here.

• Not interested ... [RNS, Cathy Grossman, at WaPo] Hemant Mehta, who blogs as the Friendly Atheist, calls them the “apatheists,” while the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the new Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., calls them honest. “We live in a society today where it is acceptable now to say that they have no spiritual curiosity. At almost any other time in history, that would have been unacceptable,” Budde said. She finds this “very sad, because the whole purpose of faith is to be a source of guidance, strength and perspective in difficult times. To be human is to have a sense of purpose, an awareness that our life is an utterly unique expression of creation and we want to live it with meaning, grace and beauty.” More here. Also at Episcopal Café.

• School closings in the RC Archdiocese of Philadelphia ... [NCR] The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will close four high schools, and 44 elementary schools will either close or merge with other schools. ... Currently, 68,000 students are enrolled in archdiocese schools — the same number enrolled in 1911. In 1959-60, enrollment peaked at 271,088 students. The steep decline has been linked to declining population, lower birth rates, a 46 percent decrease in baptisms over the last 20 years, more educational options and higher tuition costs. More here.

• Perceptions of old ... [Reuters] How old is old? Depends on the age of the one you ask. Here.

• Cardinal apologizes ... [Chicago Tribune via Episcopal Café] Cardinal Francis George of Chicago apologized for comparing the gay pride parade to the Ku Klux Klan. "I am truly sorry for the hurt my remarks have caused," George said in an interview with the Tribune. "Particularly because we all have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. This has evidently wounded a good number of people. I have family members myself who are gay and lesbian, so it's part of our lives. So I'm sorry for the hurt." More here.

• 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
... [] Here.

• Getting on the Do Not Call list ... [Paul Carpener, The Morning Call] You can do it by telephone (888-382-1222 for the national registry and 888-777-3406 for the state one) but the online enrollment is even easier. Go to (national) or (state) and click to enroll or register. Fill in your name, home address and email address and enter the numbers you want on the Do Not Call list. That's it. More 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 December 28. Efficient and user friendly, it's also fun. Read about it here. Try it here.

• Anglican Communion News Service ... Weekly roundup. Dec. 31 to Jan. 6. Here.

• 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.

• Moravian Church in North America website.  Moravian Church Northern Province website.  Moravian Theological Seminary website.

Evangelical Lutheran 
• NEPA Synod E-News ... Jan. 6, here.  NEPA Synod website ... HereELCA website ... HereELCA News Service ... HereELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."

United Methodist 
• Behind the ratings ... [United Methodist Reporter] A recent survey by LifeWay, a Southern Baptist agency, had interesting data on how the United Methodist Church is viewed by Americans. Like the politicians, we need to ask ourselves what is behind the opinions uncovered by the poll takers. We need to avoid denial and ask ourselves how we can use these numbers to become more creative, to enhance our profile, and to reach more people to become disciples of Jesus Christ. More here.

• 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.

Roman Catholic
• RC Bishop resigns after disclosure ... [Catholic News Service and Los Angeles Times] Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala has resigned after disclosing to superiors that he was the father of two children. The Vatican announced the bishop's resignation Jan. 4 in a one-line statement that cited church law on resignation for illness or other serious reasons. More here and here. See also The bishop, his hidden relationship and his teenage children by Albert Cutié at WaPo.

• Married priests raise provocative questions for the Catholic Church, whose shortage of clergymen is worsening by the day. ... The church’s general position on priestly celibacy, that it is ideal but not necessary, is weakened if some married priests seem pretty close to ideal. And as the priest shortage worsens, celibacy will be debated again. At least 25,000 Americans have left the priesthood since 1970. Many of them expected the church to lift the celibacy rule, but when they realized the rule was staying, they left and got married. Twenty-five thousand former priests — in a country with fewer than 40,000 priests today. More at NYTimes. [h/t Andrew Gerns] Also at Episcopal Café.

• O'Malley says it's not over ... [NCR, John Allen] You won't find it on any liturgical calendar, but Friday January 6 marked a monumental milestone for the Catholic church in the United States. It was exactly a decade ago that the first Boston Globe article appeared on a serial predator and former priest named John Geoghan, triggering what we now know as the "sexual abuse crisis." More here.

• Diocese of Allentown ... HereDiocese 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.

• Seven questions every church should ask ... [Anglican Journal via Episcopal Café] Gary Nicolosi, rector at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ontario, suggests seven questions that every church should ask itself. More here.

• Joan of Arc: Enduring Power ... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Kathryn Harrison] Why is her story of enduring interest more than a half a millennium after her birth? ... The self-proclaimed agent of God’s will, she wasn’t immortalized so much as she entered the collective imagination as a living myth. Centuries after death, she has been embraced by Christians, feminists, French nationalists, Mexican revolutionaries and even hairdressers. (Her crude cut inspired thce bob flappers wore as a symbol of independence from patriarchal strictures.) Her voices have been diagnosed retroactively as symptoms of schizophrenia, epilepsy, even tuberculosis. It seems Joan of Arc will never be laid to rest. Is this because stories we understand are stories we forget? Joan frustrates efforts to reduce her to mortal proportions. What can explain what her voices told her, whether directing her movements in battle or scripting answers to her inquisitors. And what about her reputed clairvoyance, accounts that her touch raised a child from the dead, her ability to direct the wind to fill her stalled boats’ sails? We don’t need narratives that rationalize human experience so much as those that enlarge it with the breath of mystery. For as long as we look to heroes for inspiration, to leaders whose vision lifts them above our limited perspective, who cherish their values above their earthly lives, the story of Joan of Arc will remain one we remember, and celebrate. More here.

• The point of the long and winding sentence ... [Pico Iyer, LATimes] I'm using longer and longer sentences as a small protest against — and attempt to rescue any readers I might have from — the bombardment of the moment ,,, to protest the speed of information bites people are subjected to each day. More here.

• Catholic and Episcopalian ... [ENS, Dan Webster] Here.

• Acts of Faith ... This 2005, 669-page novel by Phillip Caputo may be of interest especially to those reading here who have been on mission trips to Africa. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the audio version, and am hooked. The setting is contemporary (2005) Sudan. If you listen to the audio version, it's helpful to be able to refer to a cast of characters. The hardcopy has one. I found a .pdf file by Googling. Find NYTimes reviews here and 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. 

Be there 
Jan. 15:
In the Cathedral Classics series, Russell Jackson presents Let's be Franck,
the 13th Birthday Celebration of Austin Organ, Opus 2776, 4:00 p.m. More here.

Jan. 21: Bishop's Day with Youth
Grades 6-12. Nativity Bethlehem. Register here.

Jan. 28: Bishop's School begins. More 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 2: An Evening with C.S.Lewis at Trinity Easton. Here.

March 9-11: Nativity Cathedral's 10th annual retreat for Episcopal women, here.

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 3-6: Icon Workshop with Peter Pearson at Cathedral.  More info here.

May 16: Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting, Kirby House 9:00 to 2:30.
Program:  Prefer Nothing to Christ: Benedictine Wisdom for the Christian Life.

The Rev. Laura Thomas Howell

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.

• The Diocese of Bethlehem on Twitter and Facebook ...!/Diobeth ...
• Kat Lehman on Twitter ...!/KatLehman

Additional sources of news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... here.
• Episcopal/Anglican

 (1) The Episcopal Church
 (2) Episcopal News Service
 (3) Episcopal Café
 (4) AngicansOnline.
 (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]




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