What Should we Do?
Bishop Paul's Christmas Message 2012

newSpin 121217

The newSpin Newsletter, December 17, 2012
By Bill Lewellis

Published weekly, on Monday

• On the massacre at Sandy Hook ... [Bishop Paul, Monday after Newtown] 
 The most obvious and yet most painful point in this discussion is that access to firearms is an American dilemma of long standing. ... America is unrealistic about mental health. ... The culture as a whole has been in a tail-spin since the 1950s. Read it all.

[Bishop Paul, Prayer Service] Here.

[Bishop Paul, On the shooting of children and adults in Connecticut] As I process this tragedy, primarily as a parent and grandparent, I experience shock, rage, grief, fear, and saddest of all, some familiarity. As our culture disintegrates, hardly a year goes by without at least one mass murder. At moments like this there are any number of causes that could claim air time, and each might have a valid point. Perhaps the advocates of those causes will be respectful enough to wait until Monday before they offer solutions or stir us to action. We need first to have our grief and our shock, and to pray for the dead, the hospitalized, and those facing unendurable grief.[President Obama] "Our first task, our first job: caring for our children. If we don't get that right we don't get anything right."President Barack Obama on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children and six adults were killed. Read on.

[President Obama, Washington Post] Our first task, our first job: caring for our children. If we don't get that right we don't get anything right. Read on
. Also the lede blog at the NYTimes.

[Preaching the Massacre] The Presiding Bishop and Canon Andrew Gerns. Here. And many more sermons at Episcopal Café.

[Barbara Crafton] Arise, Anger and Grief Together ... Many of my readers won't like this essay. It lacks my usual reconciling tone. It employs sarcasm.  This is because I am angry that our politicians have not had the fortitude to stand up to a ridiculously extremist gun lobby, and sarcasm is an easy weapon for me to wield. It is because I am tired of my country's insane admiration of violent death, enshrined in law and on display for the world to see in our popular music, our television, our games, our cinema -- everywhere.  And it is because I am unspeakably sad about the Newtown massacre, too sad to talk about it, trying not to imagine the terrified faces of children facing death without their parents to save or comfort them, not to see the desperate valor of their martyred teachers, fighting my imagining of those last seconds of these short lives -- trying to push these images away, and failing utterly. It is because I am too cowardly to face the terrible weakness of my grief, so I choose the power of my anger instead.  I know this.  I will try to do better. But I think I will do it the way Mother Jones did it: I will pray for the dead, and fight like Hell for the living. Read on.

[What should we do?] Sermon by Father Daniel Gunn, rector of St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre. Here.

[Religion Link] God and Gun Control: What is the Religious Response to Shootings ... Here.

[Resources for nurturing children through grief and tragedy] Here. Compiled by Canon Kitch.

[At Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, CNN] Young children sat and quietly played or colored next to their parents, unaware of the tragedy around them or that their friend Benjamin Wheeler, a 6-year-old who attended Trinity with his family, was not there. Pastor Kathleen Adams-Sheperd recounted to the church how she spent Friday at the fire station, waiting with the parents of elementary school children to find out if their child had made it out safely or was among those who did not. "Friday in some part has changed our lives forever," she said in her sermon as she stood in the middle of the congregation, eschewing the pulpit for proximity to her members. Speaking to a crowd still raw and still suffering, she told them of the sermon she had prepared and how it was long gone, asking them to be patient with her as she preached with no notes. Read on.

• What is Peace?
... [Aeon Magazine] It's harder to study peace than you might think. Read on.

• Ordination of women would correct an injustice ... [National Catholic Reporter, Editorial] Here.

• Four to be ordained to diaconate ... On Friday, the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, at 7:00 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem: John Davis (of Good Shepherd, Scranton); Foster Mays (of St. Gabriel's, Douglassville); Andrew Reinholz (of Grace, Allentown) and Kimberly Rowles Reinholz (of Christ Church, Reading).
• Use email, phone may not work ... [Bishop Paul] Ely will be out of the office for a while. All matters needing the bishop's input, especially requests for appointments, should come directly to my email address. I advise against using the phone, as our system is antiquated at best. The Ven Howard Stringfellow may be reached directly at archdeacon@diobeth.org. Please use your directory for the email addresses of other staff members who have program responsibility in the area for which you are concerned. If you do not receive a timely reply then try the phone. Ultimately, all of us have our private phones listed in the directory. I am sorry for this inconvenience. +Paul
• Room at the Inn: Emergency Shelter at Bethlehem churches ... The emergency shelter for the homeless in Bethlehem churches has started up for another winter. We need volunteers to sign in guests, prepare and serve dinner, stay overnight (two people required), and launder the linens. If you have any questions or would like to sign up, please contact Jeremy Joiner at Avalonjj@ptd.net, 484-515-8380 or Rodney Conn at rcconn@rcn.com, 610-865-0727. You can also sign up immediately using the Sign-Up Genius site. Go to www.SignUpGenius.com. Click on "Find a Sign Up" and enter the email address AvalonJJ@ptd.net. Click on the Emergency Shelter link and choose which date and activity you wish to help with.
 • 12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [Charlie Barebo] The New Hope campaign has been a great success and has given new hope to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Kajo Keji.Very shortly, we will be running around buying Christmas presents for our loved ones. As we do so, let us consider gifts to the children of Kajo Keji. Even a small donation will make a remarkable difference to these wonderful children. You can read the full description and download a .pdf form to fill out to sponsor the schools and purchase books, desks or tuition on our web site here.
• 30 Years for Kajo Keji ... Canon Andrew Gerns will celebrate 30 years of priestly ministry on December 18. He hopes people will join him in helping provide desks and books to our New Hope schools in Kajo Keji. For more information, please see this note.
• Double the impact of your gift to ERD ... [John Major] Donors making end-of-year gifts to Episcopal Relief & Development will be able to double the impact of their contributions, thanks to a group of very generous supporters who have pledged $300,000 in matching funds toward the 2012 Matching Gift Challenge. Between November 1 and December 31, gifts of any size – online, via mail or by phone – will be matched dollar-for-dollar as long as matching funds are available.
• Free new or redesigned websites for parishes ... [Kat Lehman] If you want to take advantage of the diocesan offer to have your web site redesigned onto a WordPress CMS platform or to have a web site created for you at no cost to you, you need sign up with Post Companies by Dec. 31. This offer is only good until then and we will cover the cost of hosting through December 1, 2013. No time like the present to give your parish a wonderful present of a new web site (especially as it won't cost you a dime for the design or hosting for the first year). Check it out 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.

• Allentown/Bethlehem Christmas Cookie and Baked Goods Sale ... [St. Andrew's] Saturday, December 22, 10 to 2; Sunday, December 23, – 9 to noon. Phone: 610-865-3603. Website: www.standrewsbethlehem.org. Cross baking off your holiday to-do list. Leave the baking of your favorite Christmas sweets to us! Purchase kiffles, Italian cookies, chocolate babka, chocolate covered cherries, Moravian Sugar Cake, pumpkin pie, etc. Proceeds benefit the church’s ministries to the hungry and the homeless. The church is the home of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Food Pantry and is one of the host sites for the Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering Program during the winter months.
• Jermyn ... [St. James-St. George, Joyce Covaleski] All Aboard for the Polar Express!  The Men’s Club, in conjunction with the Youth Group, will be hosting a holiday party for all ages on Saturday, December 22, at St. James-St. George Church, 398 Washington Avenue in Jermyn. Doors open at 5:30; there will be fun activities from 6 till 7, and then we will show “The Polar Express” complete with popcorn! The event is free to all, refreshments will be served. Kids may wear their PJ’s and bring a pillow and blanket for comfort! Please visit our website at ssjandg.weebly.com for more information or for directions.
• Note to parishes ... Post news summaries and links on Bakery or send them to Bill. 
• Calendar of Events
...  Here and Here.

Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)   
• CofE to vote again on women bishops in July ... [Episcopal Café] Here.
• Episcopal Church 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 Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and Thomas Merton ... [Episcopal Café] Jesuit James Martin credits four people for his vocation to the religious ife in speaking about Thomas Merton on this video. [Comment by Bill] I have my own story about Thomas Merton. Having visited a seminary in Kentucky, in my capacity as liaison of the Bishop of Allentown to seminarians, I took a slight detour to Gethsemane, the monastery of Thomas Merton, for an hour's reflection on his life at his special place. Upon leaving, on my way up the Interstate to another seminary near Columbus, Ohio, I noticed ominous black clouds churning in my rear view mirror. I learned later on the TV as I hunkered down in the basement lounge of a sturdy looking hotel in Columbus, that I passed the exit for Xenia about a half hour before a tornado devastated the town on April 3, 1974.
• Odyssey/CBS Christmas produced in Reading ... [Odyssey Networks] Like so many of America’s once bustling industrial centers, Reading, PA, has been on a downward spiral for decades. The city has lost factories, jobs and population. The latest economic recession amplified its burdens. Something that Reading has never lost, however, is hope—hope and an abiding belief in the power of community. One Christmas Story: People Rich in Spirit , a new production from Odyssey Networks, takes viewers to the heart of this small American city for a celebration that reflects the true meaning of the holiday season—hope and caring. CBS will air the one-hour program, without commercials, starting at 11:35 PM on Christmas Eve. Read on.
• More money than God: How the thirst for wealth and power is costing Trinity Church its soul ... [The Village Voice]
The question of what went wrong at Trinity—or whether anything had gone wrong at all—burst into the public awareness last winter, after a flurry of public resignations alerted the media to the turmoil inside the church's leadership. Press accounts at the time dwelled on the discontent among the vestry but didn't shed much light on the political maneuvering that provoked the crisis. A review of internal Trinity communications from that time, as well as interviews with five former vestry members—who spoke to the Voice on condition of anonymity—tells the story of how polite disagreements over the church's direction ultimately escalated to a political knife fight, one that drew in everyone from rank-and-file parishioners to the Episcopal bishop himself. Read on.
• Being called – the occasion, the meaning, the mystery ... [Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call] "Relax," my laptop screen advises. "You are in the loving presence of God. How and when have you experienced being called by God? What have you left behind? What have you discovered or gained?" Meditative time. As a teen, I struggled with "being called." Something mysterious was going on, in and beyond the land of the free. ... Some of us may not experience the joy of mining the depths of the meaning. Some of us may receive periodic insights, renewed zeal and other consolations – including that the wisdom and rhythm of Christianity is the law of the cross, allowing God to draw greater good from whatever evil comes our way. The most powerful meanings are often those we don't recognize until we look back, reflecting in completely different contexts on the occasions of the calls. Then, having waited for the unfolding of meaning, we may experience God opening to us new life and new possibility. Read it all at the newSpin blog or on the website of The Morning Call. 

• Bishop Gene Robinson on The Daily Show ...  [Episcopal Café] Watch here.

• Climate change or biblical end times? ... [Episcopal Café] Six in 10 Americans, including a number of Christians, believe that climate change is actually impacting the weather, according to a new survey. But many, many others are of the opinion that severe weather is a sign that we're smack in the middle of biblical end times. Read on.

Evangelical Lutheran 
• Head of Luther Seminary in St Paul resigns ... [Star Tribune] The president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul has resigned amid rising maintenance costs and declining enrollment. Considered the country's largest Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) seminary, the school wants to "take a fresh look going forward" after losing nearly $4 million last school year, Luther's board chairman Jim Lindus said Tuesday. The seminary announced Monday that Richard Bliese stepped down from the job he's held since 2005. Officials plan to name an interim president by January and launch a national search for a successor. Enrollment is down from 822 nearly five years ago to 764 students this year. Read on.

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

• Ministry with Our Elders (Senior Adults) ... [Moravian Continuing Ed] A course for clergy, parish nurses, secretaries of congregations, pastoral care visitors, and other caregivers. Luther Crest (800 Hausman Road, Allentown) will host a Moravian Theological Seminary course on Mondays, January 21 through February 25, 2013, 1:30-4:30 p.m. This six-week course is designed for clergy and laity who want to become more effective in ministry with the senior adults with whom they serve. Participants will have an opportunity to improve their skills of communication with older adults, as well as gain an understanding of the life issues that confront them. The course will cover the following topics: grief, dynamics and issues of dementia and aging, caring for the caregiver, life review, spirituality and faith, visitation and communication skills, effects of aging on family systems, and community resources. Cost for this 1.8 CEU course is $60 (payable to Moravian Theological Seminary, 1220 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018-6650); early bird registration is $50 (by January 7, 2013). For more information, please contact Luther Crest's Chaplain Dianne Kareha (610-391-8210) or go to http://moravianseminary.edu/continuing-ed.html. 
• Moravian Church in North America website.  Moravian Church Northern Province website.  Moravian Theological Seminary website.

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 
• There never was a person who, once they knew him, didn't love him ... [National Catholic Reporter] One of the celebrated "Jadot bishops," meaning progressive American prelates appointed under Pope Paul VI during the 1970s, Walter Sullivan led the Richmond, Va., diocese for almost 30 years, and from that perch became one of the country's premier "peace bishops," denouncing armed conflict from Vietnam and the Cold War all the way up to Iraq. "He just could not reconcile war and Christianity," said Phyllis Theroux, a Virginia-based author whose biography of Sullivan, The Good Bishop, is scheduled to appear from Orbis Books in May. Sullivan died on Tuesday, Dec. 11. "He once said that as far as I'm concerned, you can take the whole 'just war' tradition and stick it in a drawer and lock it up," she said, adding that Sullivan believed the idea of a just war had been "abused" by both clergy and politicians." ... His love of people just radiated through everything he did," said Carol Negrus, who got to know Sullivan from his work with local nonprofits. "There never was a person who, once they knew him, didn't love him." Read on.
• One-finger tweeting
... [Religion News Daily, Dec. 12] Pope Benedict XVI tweeted today. Kinda sorta. He pushed a button. People clapped. A very white glove affair. Twitter even sent its "pontiff recruitment chief" to Rome.

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.

• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus
... Here.
• WebMD
... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov
... For the people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.

Calendar of Events/Diocese of Bethlehem ... Here and Here.

Calendar of Events/The Episcopal Church ... Here.

• Speaking Faithfully ... [Episcopal Café] A new book, Speaking Faithfully: Communication as Evangelism in a Noisy World by Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson of Canticle Communications. An attempt to persuade the church to bring the techniques and insights of mass communications to bear on the challenge of evangelism. The acknowledgements include those who have worked with the Episcopal Café since it's inception including Bishop Nick Knisely and Canon Andrew Gerns. More at Religion News Service.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... November  and December issues of Canon Kitch's newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources.
• Forward Movement ... News and Notes, November.
• Holy Women, Holy Men
... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• Congregational Resource Guide ... Here.

• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here. 
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.

• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
The Chalice, a publication of DioBeth's Lifelong Christian Formation Committee created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.

Additional sources for news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter
... here.
• Episcopal/Anglican

 (1) The Episcopal Church
 (2) Episcopal News Service
 (3) Episcopal Café
 (4) AngicansOnline.
 (5) AnglicansOnline News Centre. 
Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary 


You are reading the newSpin newsletter. The newSpin blog, which includes the newsletter and other items, is available here, where you may comment on anything posted here. When the newsletter is completed on Mondays and occasionally on Thursdays, 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. If you think something about your parish or agency merits inclusion, 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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