A list and a prayer
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The newSpin Newsletter, May 28, 2012
By Bill Lewellis

Published Monday, occasionally also on Thursday 

Enjoy the start of summer but take time to recall the sacrifices of those who have been killed in service to our nation. Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day. Observe a minute of silence to pay tribute to men and women who've died in military service.  Find Memorial Day prayers here. Visit USA.gov's Memorial Day page to learn about the origins of this federal holiday. Also see A List and a Prayer, posted by Bishop Paul.


• Faces of Poverty: A War Veteran ... [Odyssey Networks] After serving in Iraq, a young father returns to Reading, Pennsylvania and battles unemployment as he and his wife fight to get a leg up in a tough economy. Very well done video here.

• John Courtney Murray helped to replace the RC onetime self-serving church-state theology ... [Bill] As RC bishops advance a "religious freedom" argument to oppose the "imposition" of health insurance policies that cover contraception, I think of the pre-Vatican II position of the RC Church that advocated state-sponsored religion in countries where Catholics were in the majority (by numbers or power) –– an "error has no rights" theology –– while advocating secular pluralism or religious liberty in countries where Catholics were in the minority. Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray made crucial contributions to the Second Vatican Council, specifically to its declaration on religious liberty, Dignitas Humanae, which opposed this doublespeak. Thank God for Murray. It was no less the conservative Cardinal Spellman of New York who called Murray to Rome to be his peritus (expert) at the Council. Prominent American conservatives rallied around approval of the document. The vote to approve was 2,308 to 70. One of the most theologically reactionary websites I've read, Super Flumina Babylonis, refers now to the "the collective folly of 2,308 bishops gathered in the Vatican in 1965." An article on that website concludes: "The Church’s episcopacy erred in submitting themselves to the masonic agenda at the Second Vatican Council. Until the Pope exposes the falsity of the reasonings of John Courtney Murray on which the bishops relied, the ghost of that theologian manqué will continue to haunt the Catholic Church, and the rest of civilisation." Murray would be proud.

• The Politics of Religion ... [NYTimes editorial] Thirteen Roman Catholic dioceses and some Catholic-related groups scattered lawsuits across a dozen federal courts last week claiming that President Obama was violating their religious freedom by including contraceptives in basic health care coverage for female employees. It was a dramatic stunt, full of indignation but built on air. More here.

• A Time for Prophets ... When any person first has the apprehension that God is real everything changes. Bishop Paul Marshall's sermon at the ordination of Mary Lou Divis and Charles Warwick. Read it here. Warwick of Swoyersville is a volunteer firefighter and employee of PennDot, in the winter; plowing highways, summer; road construction crew  Currently he is also deacon-in-charge at St Mark's Episcopal Church, New Milford. He has been called to serve there as priest-in-charge. Divis of Tunkhannock is a Behavioral Specialist at Children's Service Center in Wilkes-Barre and serves as deacon-in charge to St Peter's Episcopal Church, Tunkhannock, where she will now serve as priest in charge.

• Faith is golden – Beliefs are overrated ... [Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call] Faith is golden. Beliefs are overrated, as are works. When one reduces religion to either beliefs or good works, both are overrated. Reductionism (think "nothing but") usually destroys anything it attempts to explain, as in: religion is nothing but belief or religion is nothing but morality. Morality itself has for many been reduced to nothing but sexual morality. It is so much more, embracing personal, business and community relationships. And faith is so much more than belief, as in "I set my heart on" God rather than purely intellectual acts of belief. Beliefs and good works are overrated especially when we think of them as prerequisites to being befriended by God. More at The Morning Call and the newSpin blog.

• What priests want you to know ... [Dirty Sexy Ministry] 1. Your minister has a personal life.  2. Sundays are long days for us.  3. Clergy have to flip switches in ways that are not good.  4. We miss the parishioners we bury.  5. We are not particularly good at disappointment.  6. Life happens at the church every day of the week.  7. Many clergy only get one day off a week.  8. Church life is often feast or famine.  9. We don't remember what you tell us on Sunday. 10. We make mistakes. Read expansions here. [h/t Canon Andrew Gerns]

• Jubilate for Pentecost 2 to the last Sunday after Pentecost ... Hymnody for Pentecost 2 to the last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King Sunday (June 10 to November 25, 2012), published by the Diocese of Bethlehem for our diocesan community and for free distribution to the world, may be downloaded as an Acrobat file. Jubilate is a service of our Liturgy and Music Commission, specifically Canon Cliff Carr who has been doing this for more than 30 years. If you want to get it delivered directly to your inbox, sign-up to receive it under our "Get Connected" link at our DioBeth website.

• Requests for New Hope Grants will be accepted until July 2 ... [Daniel Gunn] The New Hope Grants Committee is ready to receive and consider requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign. The total amount we are able to grant for the 2012-13 calendar year is $70,000. This is the last year of major grants. 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 2 July 2012. More here.

• Vocare ... Here.

• Bishops Day for Kids ... [Anne Kitch] June 30 in Scranton. July 28 in Bethlehem. More.

• High School Mission Trip ... Here.

• Diocesan Events for 2012 ... Here.

• Diocesan Life, May/June ... Stories on St. Alban's, Sinking Springs, Family Promise at All Saints, birthday bags for the Nazareth Food Bank, our New Hope campaign update from Charlie Barebo, Vocare, Bishop's Day for Kids, the Whitehall Food Pantry, What is a deputy? (for General Convention) and more. 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. You are welcome to subscribe to any or all of these. "Bakery" is our diocesan interactive list.

• West Pittston: Is there a plumber in the house? ... [Father John Major and Janine Ungvarsky] Experts say it's not a matter of if we'll see a flood scene again, but when we'll see it. With that in mind, a site is being prepared to store supplies and donations to be used for future disasters throughout our region. We have a site available, but the water has been shut off for some time and we are in need of someone to check out the pipes before we create a flood of our own when the water is turned on. If you aren't a plumber but have other construction or landscaping-related skills and you would be interested in helping with this preparedness project or with our ongoing efforts to help our West Pittston neighbors who are still rebuilding from the last flood, we can use your help, too. Email Father John Major at Trinity West Pittston. Though it has been well over eight months since the flood, a number of our neighbors continue to struggle to get their homes and lives back in order. More here.

• West Pittston ... Trinity's FLOODCare efforts continue. “Look, those nice people from Trinity Episcopal are back again!” Here.

• Note to parishes ... Send news summaries and links to Bill.

• Diocesan Life, May/June ... Stories on St. Alban's, Sinking Springs, Family Promise at All Saints, birthday bags for the Nazareth Food Bank, our New Hope campaign update from Charlie Barebo, Vocare, Bishop's Day for Kids, the Whitehall Food Pantry, What is a deputy? (for General Convention) and more. Here.

Weekly eNewsletters from parishes
Allentown, Grace Church, May 24.
Bethlehem, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, May 25.
Bethlehem, Trinity Church, May 25.
Easton, Trinity Church, May 25.
Trexlertown, St. Anne's Church here, click on "Weekly Calendar."
There may be others. If so, please send me a link.

Monthly Newsletters from parishes ... Most parishes publish a monthly newsletter that is mailed to parishioners. Many, if not most, of those are available at the parish websites.

• Calendar of Events ...  Here 

General Convention 2012 in July 
• Understanding General Convention
... [Diocese of Texas] Watch or download a video about General Convention online here or download a comic-book-style booklet here.

• Communication, Structure, How resolutions move through General Convention, What's a deputy, General Convention 101 ...  All at the Diobeth GC Deputies blog.

• The Blue Book ... information and resolutions for GC2012 is available for downloading. Here.

• Cliff notes on The Blue Book ... [Episcopal Café] Two deputies have offered "cliffs notes" style commentaries and reflections on the content and resolutions. Liza Anderson, Lay Deputy to General Convention for Connecticut and Scott Gunn, clergy deputy for Rhode Island. Here.

• Liturgical scholar, teacher Leonel Mitchell dies
... [Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Leonel Mitchell, whose words echo at every Baptism held in an Episcopal church, died May 23 after a short illness. Mitchell, 81, drafted the Thanksgiving over the Water prayer for the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, restoring what one commentator called “allusions” to “the primary biblical archetypes” that previous version of the prayer book had eliminated. Mitchell was influential in many ways over the 1979 version of the prayer book, and its introduction to the church. Mitchell’s liturgical influence extended after the prayer book revision years, as seminarians, theologians and others read and studied his many books, essays and other writings, especially his 1985 book "Praying Shapes Believing: A Theological Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer."
More here.

• LA Bishop Bruno says his leukemia is in remission ... [Episcopal News Service] Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles has announced that his doctors have declared his acute monocytic leukemia is in full remission, and that they hope for a complete recovery.

• If we can forgive, we will always have hope ... [The Telegraph, UK] Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth, tipped to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, draws his inspiration from the rebirth of Coventry Cathedral. Here.

• Episcopal News Weekly bulletin inserts ... Download inserts here.

• Episcopal Church new Website ... ENS blog ... Episcopal Church on Facebook ... Episcopal Church on YouTube ... Anglican Communion website ... Anglican Communion News Service. ... Anglican Communion News Service on Facebook.

• The End and the Beginning
... [Addison Bross] Now that President Obama has made what has been called a "withdrawal" from Iraq, and NATO has endorsed a "withdrawal timetable" for Afghanistan (ABC news, 22 May), perhaps we should give some thought to just what's involved in "ending" any war. Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska can help us do that

• What would church have to be like? Have you ever asked anyone? ... [Episcopal Café] What would church have to be like for people to want to go more than stay in bed and read the paper, or go to their kid’s sports game, or work out, or have brunch with friends? Here.

• The Mormon Moment ... [RNS Press Release] From Washington, DC, to Hollywood to corporate board rooms across the country, Mormonism has made an unprecedented leap forward in American culture.  Acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield (The Faith of Barack Obama) has documented its rise and the implications for us all in the new book The Mormonizing of America (June 26th, 2012, Worthy Publishing, Hardcover, $22.99, 978-1-61795-078-0, 288 pp). In the book, Mansfield embarks on a journey to discover how this once-disregarded religion has become one of the most influential movements in US society today—achieving what Newsweek magazine has labeled our present “Mormon Moment.” Mormons in the United States now number in the millions and include some of the most prominent people in the world: Mitt Romney; Glenn Beck; the Marriott family; Stephen Covey; Stephenie Meyer, author of the best-selling Twilight vampire novels; David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue; and more than a dozen members of Congress. More.

• American Nuns: Guilty as Charged? ... [The Nation, Angela Bonavoglia] After giving an obligatory nod to the sisters’ good works in schools, hospitals and social service agencies, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith devoted the remainder of its Doctrinal Assement to attacking the sisters for failing to provide “allegiance of mind and heart to the Magisterium of the Bishops”; focusing on the “exercise of charity” instead of lambasting lesbians, gays, and women who use birth control or have an abortion; refusing to accept the ban on women’s ordination; allowing “dialogue” on contentious subjects; and tampering with the notion of God the “Father” while promulgating other “radical feminist” theological interpretations. The CDF’s solution: send in three men, an archbishop and two other bishops, to take control of Leadership Conference of Women Religious for five years. More here. [h/t Addison Bross] A comment on Bakery by Jane Williams: The attack on American nuns, the obscenity of the trial in Philadelphia going on right now, the re-translation of the Latin mass into an awkward English liturgy, the sexual abuse scandals across the US and world – makes me wonder if the RC Church realizes what a self-destructive path it is on. Is there anything else the Roman hierarchy can do to hasten its death? Oh, yes, that's right – try to laicize priests who have already left the church decades before and been welcomed by another Church.

• Becoming Episcopalian ... [Chicago Now] The National Catholic Reporter had a nice article breaking down the reasons why Catholics leave the church. About half because Protestants, and about half became unaffiliated. The article focused on the Protestant half, and in that, a portion became evangelical, and another portion joined some other mainline denomination. It's interesting seeing the statistics. It made me contemplate why I left.

• Ten things churches can learn from Apple Stores ... [Epscopal Café] Here.

• The sorry six-day history of Facebook: a glitch, a snitch and a tumble
... [The Atlantic] It wasn't bad enough for Facebook to see its stock cascade by 18% -- or seven points -- since its delayed and disappointing Friday IPO. No, the real story lurks behind the numbers: the disastrous performance of the overwhelmed stock exchange and new rumors that Facebook might have broken the law before its first minute as a public company by leaking exclusive news about its earnings to large banks, who then went ahead and told big investors to sell Facebook at the opening. More here.

• Cup or Chalice? The large implications of a small change ... [Commonweal] Six months after the imposition of the new English edition of the Roman Missal, the volume of dissatisfaction has moderated. People seem resigned to the wooden and literal translations (“people of good will,” “enter under my roof”), archaic vocabulary (“dewfall,” “consubstantial,” “oblation”), and inflated language of prayer (“holy and unblemished,” “graciously grant,” “paying their homage”). Such language, so different from the plainspoken words of Jesus in prayer and parable, is in contrast to the directive of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II: “In this restoration [of the liturgy], both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.” We have also become accustomed to hearing presiders stumble over the convoluted syntax of the prayers and watching them hurriedly turning pages as they wend their way through the labyrinthine new missals. Yet, there is one new expression that involves a significant translation error with serious implications for a proper understanding of the Last Supper as a Passover meal, along with implications for continued Jewish-Christian understanding. In the final analysis, it enshrines poor pastoral theology in the Sunday liturgy. More.  

• He doesn't want gays put to death, just wants the world to know they are sinners ... [HuffPost] Mississippi state GOP Rep. Andy Gipson clarified on Monday an earlier Facebook post, claiming that his citation of a Bible passage calling for gay men to be "put to death" in the wake of Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage rights was not in line with his true feelings on the matter. More.

• The battle among Roman Catholic bishops ... [WaPo, May 23, E.J. Dionne, Jr.] There is a healthy struggle brewing among the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. A previously silent group, upset over conservative colleagues defining the church’s public posture and eagerly picking fights with President Obama, has had enough. More.

• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Kitch's newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources. May.
• Holy Women, Holy Men
... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... May 1.
Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary 

• Is conflict a good thing? ... [Alban Weekly, Dan Hotchkiss]
 "Conflict is not bad" has been a consistent teaching of the Alban Institute and many others in the conflict field for years. It’s a natural, inevitable consequence of having more than one idea in the room at the same time. The goal of conflict management is not to eliminate conflict, but to increase tolerance for it, so the congregation can stay in relationship as people hold and exchange diverse ideas. We don’t need to resolve conflict, we need to manage it. But what if that’s wrong? Or what if—as so often happens with important truths—there is an anti-truth, an equal but opposite idea that is also true? More here.

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

Evangelical Lutheran 
NEPA Synod website ... HereELCA website ... HereELCA News Service ... HereELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."

United Methodist 
• 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
• Vatican whodunit: The butler ... [NYTimes, Rachel Donadio]
A mysterious source named Maria. A room furnished with a single chair where sensitive Vatican documents are turned over to an investigative journalist at regular meetings. The arrest of the pope’s butler. Perhaps the greatest breach in centuries in the wall of secrecy that surrounds the Vatican. An on-again-off-again scandal that the Italian press has called VatiLeaks burst into the open on Friday with the arrest by Vatican gendarmes of a man, identified in news reports as Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s butler, who the Vatican said was in possession of confidential documents and was suspected of leaking private letters, some of which were addressed to Pope Benedict XVI. The arrest follows by a day the ouster of the president of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, amid conflicts over how to bring the secretive institution in line with international transparency standards and days after the publication of a sensational book, “Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI,” in which the journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, aided by “Maria,” discloses a huge cache of private Vatican correspondence, many revealing clashes over the management at the Vatican bank and allegations of corruption and cronyism. The letters, which have made their way into the Italian news media in recent months, draw a portrait of an ancient institution in chaotic disarray behind its high, stately walls, where various factions vie for power, influence and financial control in the twilight years of Benedict’s papacy. “Of course there are problems, big problems,” said Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican expert for the Italian daily La Stampa and its Web site, Vatican Insider. “What is happening now shows that there’s a crisis.” More here.

• The landmark Philadelphia abuse trial ... Now nine weeks. The prosecution has rested. Find daily reports and complete Phila Inquirer coverage. The Morning Call has also been publishing daily coverage. [AP] Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died just weeks before his longtime aide went on trial in the alleged cover-up of sexual assaults by priests within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Yet Bevilacqua is very much the ghost inside courtroom 304 at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center. Rarely an hour goes by that his name is not invoked.

• 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.

• Parish Nurse Training
... [Diana Marshall] In Hamburg, Berks County.  June 15-17 and June 22-24. Here. Scholarship funds are available for members of DioBeth parishes.

• Thinking about death: the secret to a long and good life ... [The Atlantic] Woody Allen once said, "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." Sometimes awareness of mortality can be a little scary, or make life seem a bit bleak. But a new study finds that when we're reminded of our mortality, we may actually be better to ourselves and kinder to others.

• Radical life extension is already here, but we're doing it wrong ... [The Atlantic] So far as we know, the last hundred years have been the most radical period of life extension in all of human history. At the turn of the twentieth century, life expectancy for Americans was just over 49 years; by 2010, that number had risen to 78.5 years, mostly on account of improved sanitation and basic medicine. But life extension doesn't always increase our well-being, especially when all that's being extended is decrepitude. There's a reason that Ponce de Leon went searching for the fountain of youth---if it were the fountain of prolonged dementia and arthritis he may not have bothered. Here.

• Medline Plus ... Here.

• WebMD ... Here.

Amour, a wrenching love story, sins at Cannes ... [NYTimes] Heavy rain dampened the final day of the 65th Cannes Film Festival, but it mattered not at all when the Palme d’Or was awarded to Amour. Brilliantly directed with an atypically tender touch by the Austrian director Michael Haneke, this story about an octogenarian husband and wife facing their mortality — beautifully played by the French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva — had left audiences stunned with its artistry and depth of feeling. More here.

• Top Ten Memorial Day songs ... [The Nation, Peter Rothberg] I’ve always thought that the best way to honor the fallen is to make every effort to prevent needless deaths in the future.. That means avoiding unnecessary wars and engaging in combat only as a true last resort. In this vein, here are my Top Ten Memorial Day Songs.

Calendar of Events/DioBeth ... Here.

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 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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