newSpin, the newsletter
October 8, 2013
Published weekly, usually by Tuesday
• Diocesan Convention 2013 ... (1) Address from the chair, by Canon Andrew Gerns. (2) Address/Sermon by Bishop Anthony Pogo of Kajo Keji.
• Jonathan Walton, professor of moral theology at Harvard ... will deliver the Priscilla Payne Hurd lecture at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity on Saturday, October 26. He will preach at the 5:00 p.m. Eucharist and lecture at 6:00. Here. For more info, Download Hurd Lecture - The Rev Dr J Walton.
• A 'Francis' imprint on U.S. bishops may take time ... [NCR] Arguably, nothing a pope does is more decisive in shaping Catholic culture than appointing bishops, and that's especially true for one who wants change. Francis has sketched a beguiling vision of a more merciful and compassionate church, one less invested in the culture wars, but pulling it off will require finding bishops to match. As critical as that task is, it may be a while yet before Francis truly puts his imprint on the Catholic bishops of the United States. The pope has laid out his notion of church leadership several times, most notably in a June 21 speech to his nuncios, or ambassadors, who play a lead role in recommending new bishops. Francis told them to seek "pastors who are close to their people, fathers and brothers, who are meek, patient and merciful." He also said that he doesn't want prelates with the "psychology of a prince." Read on.
• ELCA installs new presiding bishop ... [ELCA News Service] The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton becomes the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's fourth presiding bishop and the first woman to lead the 4 million-member church. Read on.
• Grieving Well with Andrew Gerns ... [ChurchNext] 'We are wired to grieve because we were built to love.' So begins this excellent course in healthy grieving taught by a seasoned hospital chaplain and gifted teacher, Canon Andrew Gerns. The online course, $10 to register, can be very helpful for those experiencing grief and those caring for the bereaved. More info here.
• Hans Kung, Roman Catholicism's best known rebel theologian ... [Reuters] is considering capping a life of challenges to the Vatican with a final act of dissent – assisted suicide. Now 85 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, he writes in the final volume of his memoirs that people have a right to "surrender" their lives to God voluntarily if illness, pain or dementia make further living unbearable. Read on.
• Saving humanity and the earth ... Bill Moyers interviews Wendell Berry, "a man of the land and one of America’s most influential writers, whose prolific career includes more than forty books of poetry, novels, short stories and essays," on the program Moyers and Company
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• Holy Women, Holy Men ... Download Holy Women, Holy Men as a .pdf file.
• Speaking to the Soul ... An Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.
• Diocesan Convention ... See above, under TopSpin.
• Five students and a teacher in Kajo Keji ... [Archdeacon Stringfellow] This morning [Oct. 3] I learned that five students and a teacher at the Alusi Primary School in the Diocese of Kajo-Keji were struck dead by lightning on Monday [Sept. 30]. Two others are in the hospital. I commend them, their families, and others who mourn to your prayers.
• Happening #22 ... Nov. 8-10 at Kirby House. Registration is open.
• DioBeth on Facebook ... Don't miss the Diobeth Facebook page.
• Poverty in Reading ... [Reading Eagle] Reading's poverty rate worsened in 2012, making it the second most impoverished city in the country behind Detroit. The percent of city residents in poverty increased from 40.1 to 40.5, according to statistics released today [Sept. 18] by the U.S. Census Bureau. That's less than the 41.3 percent of Reading residents who were in povrty in 2010 when Reading had a highr percentage of residents in poverty than any other U.S. city with 65,000 of more people. Read on.
• One in three kids in Scranton lives in poverty ... [Times-Tribune, Scranton] New U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday showed deepening poverty across Northeast Pennsylvania, particularly among children. In Scranton, more than one of every three children - a whopping 33.5 percent - lived in poverty in 2012. Throughout the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area, the rate was one in four among kids and one in six across the entire population. "I'm not surprised other than I thought the numbers would be higher overall," said Monsignor Kelly, executive director of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton. That he was wrong didn't make him feel any better about the figures or the misery they represent. "I don't know how our families are surviving," he said. "There is little or no help." Read on.
• Diobeth Episcopal Relief and Development ... [John Major] A shield in the midst of life's storms. September 30. October 7.
• DioLight ... Vol. 1, Issue 15: "Increase our Faith" by Canon Gerns. "Spirituality of Children, Spirituality of All" by Canon Kitch. Here.• Keep up with Diocese of Bethlehem news, info ... on our Website and on the newSpin blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Google+, on Flickr, on YouTube, on Vimeo, and on LinkedIn,
• Diocesan level events ... Here.
• 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.
• Music from St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... Here.
• Allentown Band comes to Trinity Easton ... The Allentown Band Comes to Trinity Episcopal Church, 234 Spring Garden Street, Easton, 3:00 pm, Sunday, October 27: featuring Lauren Curnow, mezzo soprano and Jeffrey Curnow, Associate Principal Trumpet with Philadelphia Orchestra. Music of Wagner, Bizet, Dvorak, Gould, Gershwin, Sousa and more! Parking is available behind the church in the lot, in the bank lot next door to the Church parking lot. There is also metered street parking. Tickets- Seniors and Students- $12.00; General Admission in Advance- $15.00 up until the day before the concert (there will be a “Will Call” table); and $20.00 at the door. For information call Peg Gerns at 610-253-0792 Ext. 212
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.
• Why most churches have fewer than 200 members ... [Episcopal Café] Here.
Rest in peace
• Sydney Lanier, 90 .. died Sept. 23 in Santa Barbara CA. He first tried to revive his dwindling congregation on the fringe of Manhattan’s Theater District by summoning actors to the pulpit to read stirring passages from the Bible and great literature. Then, in 1963, he dispensed with the pulpit — the altar and pews, too — to try something really dramatic. Mr. Lanier gutted the sanctuary of his church, St. Clement’s Episcopal, a brick Victorian Gothic edifice built in the 19th century, to make a home for the American Place Theater, an experimental stage company that he and two partners founded to showcase serious-minded new playwrights and actors. Among the young artists who emerged in its productions in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s were Sam Shepard, Terrence McNally, Steve Tesich, David Mamet, Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Barkin, Eric Bogosian and Sam Waterston. Read on at NYTimes. Also here.
• Our young men and women who died recently in Afghanistan and for their families ... Here ... Pray also for the fallen heroes also of our coalition partners, and for the citizens of Afghanistan who have died, unnamed and unknown to us, and for those who mourn ... and for the end to this endless war.
• Around the Episcopal Church ... Here
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• Eugene Peterson interview ... [Episcopal Café and RNS] Jonathan Merritt interviews Eugene Peterson at Religion News Service. Peterson is the author of The Message, a translation of the Bible in modern language. Here are his comments on the difference between being an academic and being a pastor: I’d tell them that pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. And I think I would try to disabuse them of any romantic ideas of what it is. As a pastor, you’ve got to be willing to take people as they are. And live with them where they are. And not impose your will on them. Because God has different ways of being with people, and you don’t always know what they are. Read on.
• The Friendship Bank: How and why even the most giving friend expects payback ... [WSJournal] People who usually make an effort to help others, without regard to whether they will get something in return, are considered to have high "communal orientation." New research from the University of Toronto, published this month in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, suggests they are happier than people with low communal orientation. Even so, people with strong communal orientation aren't completely selfless. They do expect their friends will be there if they need them. The risk they run is they won't receive support, or they will even be exploited, by friends or loved ones with low communal orientation. So what can you do if you tend to give a lot in a friendship and don't always get what you need in return? Start by rechanneling some of your giving. Volunteer for charity or help someone less fortunate. You'll enjoy the benefits of providing help and will be free of the expectation that you will receive something in return. When making a new friend, pay attention early on to the other person's communal orientation. Does he ask about you and actually pay attention to your answer? Is she willing to do something you suggest doing, or work around your schedule? Not everyone is capable of giving at the same level. But if you are aware of who you are dealing with, you will be less likely to have expectations that won't be met. More here.
• Making over clergy fashion ... [NYTimes] Stephen Fendler, president of CM Almy, shows off a rack of samples from his brand-new women’s collection, pointing out a piece he’s particularly proud of: a black blouse in a stretchy jersey knit. ... “We want to represent the authority of a church, but we also want to look and feel like women,” said the Rev. Anisa Cottrell Willis, a priest in the Episcopal Diocese in Lexington, Ky. Mrs. Cottrell Willis advised CM Almy during the design process. “Most women don’t like the way they look in the boxy, men’s button-down shirts.” She said. “The job is dominated by men, but that doesn’t mean we have to look like them.” Read on.
• Churches take a stand on pews, replacing them with chairs ... [WSJournal] Pews have been part of the religious landscape for centuries, but now a growing number of churches are opting for chairs, sometimes chairs equipped with kneelers. Read on.
• Would you believe? ... [The Atlantic] Some Americans support The Affordable Care Act, but not Obamacare. Read on.
• What social media teaches me about the church? ... [United Methodist Reporter, Ken Carter, Bishop of the Florida Conference of the UMC] Cultural critics expend a great deal of time and energy criticizing or blaming a God they do not believe exists. The intellectual irony of this, upon reflection, is actually very interesting. Read on.
• When seminary messes with your simple faith ... [Episcopal Café] The Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD., Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and an Episcopal Priest, writes on a common experience for both those who go to seminary and those who do other extensive studies of the Bible (like EfM: Education for Ministry). Read on. An insightful comment on this post: You might lose your simple faith, but you might lose your simple terror, too.
• Why are Christians so un-Christian? ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Café] Amanda Marcotte sees how conservatives both claim Christ and vilify the poor in contradiction to the teachings and example of Jesus and wonders why this is so? Read on.
• Communication tips and tools ... Here.
• UMC website Here.
• News Service Here.
• Communication Resources ... Start here.
• Eastern PA Conference website Here. Facebook Here. Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here. • Office worker accused ... [Times-Tribune, Scranton] A longtime employee of the Diocese of Scranton is charged with stealing more than $340,000 from a fund that was meant for the poor. She was an office worker in charge of charitable donations for Roman Catholic missions that help the poor but used those donations as her personal bank account. More here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Pope Francis stirs debate yet again ... [WaPo] in interview with atheist italian journalist. He cranked up his charm offensive on the world outside the Vatican on Tuesday, saying in the second widely shared media interview in two weeks that each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and calling efforts to convert people to Christianity “solemn nonsense.” The Vatican’s head seemed intent on distancing himself from its power, saying church leaders “have often been narcissists” and “clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.” Read on.
• Vatican website ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
• The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) ... The simplest explanation of Obamacare, ever ... [Upworthy and Kaiser Family] Video here. • Various resources on the Affordable Care Act put together in one location by National Episcopal Health Ministries. Here. [h/t Diana Marshall] Sign up for the NEHM newsletter here. • The new Health Insurance Marketplace ... [USA.gov] Visit USA.gov's Health Insurance page to learn about the new Health Insurance Marketplace and other types of health coverage. Starting October 1, 2013, you can fill out an application for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You'll be able to compare your options side-by-side and enroll in a plan that fits your budget and meets your needs. Coverage takes effect as early as January 1, 2014. Richard Evans, a member of St. Martin's Mountaintop and Diocesan Council, suggests that check out the following program aimed at religious communities to help uninsured folks become aware that enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will start on October 1. Download a pdf file of the info. • Beware of Obamacare scammers ... They're on the move. Here, Here, Here, Here.
• Get the shot, not the flu ... It's time to get your flu shot. Got mine a few weeks ago. Medicare covers the cost. Most health insurance plans cover the cost. Check with your insurance provider. Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services, like the flu vaccine, at no cost to you. If you do not have insurance or if it does not cover vaccines, help is available. Watch for free flu shot clinics scheduled in your area. In the Lehigh Valley drive-through free clinics have been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 at Dorney Park and Sunday, Nov. 10, at Coca-Cola Park (where the Iron Pigs play), both days from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There's a lot of info available at Flu.gov.
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here.
• WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Three Free Apps for getting qualified medical advice... [Techlicious] Urgent Care, HealthTap and First Aid. Info and links.
• Theological aspects of 'Breaking Bad' ... [Episcopal Café] I love AMC's "Breaking Bad," I am distraught that this amazing series will end on Sunday [Sept. 29], though I gotta say, I am completely wrung out by the intensity of it all. I don't remember when a TV show has explored more thoroughly the complicated and all encompassing nature of a man's descent into evil. Read on.
• Gravity ... [RNS] Jeffrey Weiss reviews “Gravity” and finds that the film is not about religion. It’s about an astronaut in deep space trouble played by Sandra Bullock. But Weiss also finds “moments where spiritual and philosophical themes take center stage.”
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... September.
• Many Congregational Resources ... The "Using Resources" series of publications by the Center for Congregations is designed to help congregations make the most effective use of capital funds, consultants, architects, contractors, books, congregation management software, and more.
• Church locators ... Here.
• Insights into Religion ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• The Chalice, a publication created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution ... Here.
Additional sources for news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Religious Freedom Recap ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world, Sept. 9-16. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.
(1) The Episcopal Church website, news service, news service blog,
(2) Episcopal Café
(3) AngicansOnline website and news centre.
(4) The Living Church
(5) The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• Daily Office ... Lectionary Page ... Lectionary ... Oremus Bible Browser ... Revised Common Lectionary
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Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]