Four sermons by Bishop Paul (AAM, July 2012)
Sermon by Bill Lewellis at Bishop Paul's retirement

newSpin 131210

newSpin, the newsletter
December 12, 2013
 
Bill Lewellis
Published weekly, usually by Tuesday
 

TopSpin
• Nelson Mandela ... [Episcopal Café] dead at 95. Tutu on Mandela. [Religion News Daily] Friday, Dec. 6, was one of those days in journalism when reporters, faced with the death of a humanitarian giant like Nelson Mandela, face the toughest of questions: Where do we begin? The anti-apartheid hero died on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 95; an initial roundup of reactions is here; the comprehensive NYT obit here. His anti-apartheid ally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called him “a colossus of unimpeachable moral character and integrity.” NCR has a good wrap-up of Mandela’s appreciation of the church. Nelson Mandela’s funeral is today (Tues. Dec. 10). and World leaders came together to pay homage. Stateside, the Washington National Cathedral will hold a memorial service for Mandela on Wednesday (Dec. 11). [The Economist] The Power to Pardon.

• Celebration for Bishop Paul ... [Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow] Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Bishop Paul will enter retirement on January 1, 2014, and we are grateful to him for his leadership and pastoral care to the Diocese. On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 15, 2013, we give thanks to God for his Episcopacy at a Festal Eucharist to be held at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre at 3 pm and at a reception following it. The reception will be at the Westmoreland Club beginning at 5 pm. The Westmoreland Club is two doors to the right as you exit the Pro-Cathedral. We are inviting members of the Diocese to attend both of these events. The Clergy of the Diocese are asked to vest and to process at this service. The liturgical color is Purple. I would be grateful if the clergy in each parish would send to me an approximate number of those in your parish who plan to attend. The Diocesan Community will present the Bishop and Diana with a gift in appreciation for their ministry among us. We know that many of you will want to share generously in these gifts. Please send your gifts to me at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Checks should be made payable to the Diocese of Bethlehem and marked accordingly. You may also contribute on-line at diobeth.org. (Click on "Make a Gift" at the bottom of the page.) I look forward to your presence on December 15 and thank you in advance for your generosity and for your gifts. We give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received through their ministrations. Please hold both Bishop Paul and Diana in your prayers as they begin a new life, and also pray for the Diocese of Bethlehem as we celebrate their ministry amongst us.

• Call 211 for help finding community services
... [Kathy Lauer-Williams, The Morning Call] A new system to help those in need get information and referrals for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more has recently been launched in the Lehigh Valley, the Help for Families panel says.Call 211 is funded by the United Way and provides free, confidential information for people in Lehigh, Northampton and Berks counties. The program, which is nationwide, was started in 2012 and launched locally this fall. The program uses the easy-to-remember number so people can call to access services including housing, clothing, rental assistance, legal aid and even reading tutors.
By calling 211, you get a trained counselor at a call center in Lancaster and with your zip code they can connect you with services in your area. The call center is open 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; in January it will be open 24 hours. Read on.

• Nativity Cathedral's Emergency Shelter ... opened Thursday, Dec. 6. Would you like to volunteer. Info here.

• Cathedral celebrates 50 years of 'Messiah' ... [The Morning Call] When Bethlehem's Cathedral Church of the Nativity celebrates 50 years of presenting Handel's joyous oratorio "Messiah" with its performance on Saturday Dec. 14, it will be both upholding tradition and trying something new. The Cathedral Church has been performing the work longer than any other group in the Lehigh Valley. In fact, for years after its first performance in 1964, it was the only group in the area regularly singing it. Over the years, other choral groups started presenting the work — a testament to its popularity, but also creating something of a competition for audiences as well as singers. Yet the Cathedral Church's production is a survivor, employing whatever changes were necessary in the size of its chorus or the nature of its orchestral accompaniment to last for so long, and hopefully, much longer. Read on. Morning Call story and pics.

• Fox host Bill O'Reilly pretty sure Jesus would not favor food stamps ... [RawStory] No one knows what Jesus would do to feed today’s poor, hungry Americans — but Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is pretty sure the Christian savior wouldn’t be “down with” giving them food stamps because it’s “their fault.” After Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) recently said that Jesus “didn’t charge food stamps” in response to Republican efforts to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Pope Francis called income inequality immoral, O’Reilly tried to set the record straight with a segment about the “nanny state” on Tuesday. O'Reilly acknowledged that Christ would have fed the poor, but objected to the idea that he would have “hurt” richer Americans to help feed them. Read on.

• 12 Days of Christmas in Kajo Keji ... Here.

• For Roger Mahony, clergy abuse cases were a threat to agenda ... [LATimes Feature] A year after arriving in Los Angeles, the youngest archbishop in the U.S. Catholic Church had a schedule and an agenda befitting a presidential candidate. Roger Mahony raced around the city in a chauffeured sedan, exhorting labor leaders to support immigrant rights and rallying hundreds against a proposed prison in Boyle Heights. Where his predecessors had talked up praying the rosary, Mahony touted his positions on nuclear disarmament and Middle East peace, porn on cable TV and AIDS prevention. No issue seemed outside his purview: When an earthquake struck El Salvador, he cut a $100,000 check. When a 7-year-old went missing in South Pasadena, he wrote her Protestant parents a consoling letter.
   Reporters took notes and the influential took heed. The mayor, the governor, business executives and millionaires recognized a rising star and sought his company. Among the thousands of papers that crossed his desk in September 1986 was a handwritten letter. "During priests' retreat ... you provided us with an invitation to talk to you about a shadow that some of us might have," Father Michael Baker wrote. "I would like to take you up on that invitation." The note would come to define Mahony's legacy more than any public stance he took or powerful friend he made. In the child sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church, Mahony is a singular figure. Read on.
 

Gay teacher fired from Bucks County Catholic school for getting marriage license  ... [NY Daily News] Michael Griffin, 35, taught at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pa., for 12 years but was fired after obtaining a marriage license to marry his partner. Read on.

• The parable of the Kosher Deli ... [RNS, Mark Silk] A few days ago, Rick Warren used a bogus analogy to compare Obamacare’s contraception mandate to a law requiring Jewish deli owners to sell pork. Read on.

a couple of days ago, Rick Warren compared Obamacare’s contraception mandate to a law requiring Jewish deli owners to sell pork - See more at: http://marksilk.religionnews.com/2013/12/06/rick-warrens-bogus-jewish-deli-analogy/#sthash.ZZRT0CcG.dpuf

SoulSpin
• Expectant in Bethlehem
... Daily Advent meditations by Canon Anne Kitch. Get them at Anne's blog, Stumbling into the Sacred. To receive them by email, subscribe at the "Get Connected" box on the DioBeth website. Enter your name and email address, click on "submit" and select Expectant in Bethlehem.


• Blue Christmas ... [Anne Kitch] Many people struggle with the holidays, and for some, the Good News comes amidst loss and grief. I offer the following resources, posted by Christian Formation Specialist Sharon Pearson on her blog, Building Faith: A Blue Christmas service, Blue Christmas, Feeling blue during Christmas.

• Service of Solace ... [Kim Reinholz] In recognition that not everything is brightness and light for all of us during the season of Advent, and the Holiday season can be difficult especially for those who mourn, the Cathedral Church of the Nativity will be hosting a service of healing and Holy Eucharist at 6 pm on Wednesday December 18th. The Service is a Service of Solace and is building out of the relatively new practice of a “Longest Night” or a “Blue Christmas” evening of prayer and worship.If you’d like to participate all you need to do is show up. The service will be held in Sayre Chapel (the side chapel in the main sanctuary). If you’d like more information about the liturgy please contact The Reverend Kimberly Reinholz- Associate of Faith and Formation Ministry. Mother Kim can be reached via email at Kreinholz@nativitycathedral.org

• Advent Resources
... [Anne Kitch] One of my favorite Advent resources is now available as an App. "Slow Down. Quiet, It's Advent!" with artwork by Jay Sidebotham and simple meditations suitable for all ages, can be downloaded from iTunes. I just downloaded it and am enjoying it already. Other great Advent resources can be found on the Diocesan Website.

• Advent devotions from St. John Divine NYC
... Here.


• Digital Advent Calendar from SSJE ... Here.

• Free Advent/Christmas series with Barbara Crafton
... [Herb Gunn, CPG Education and Wellness] CREDO is launching a really nice Advent and Christmas series with Barbara Crafton, open to everyone. The series is a collection of short, daily audio reflections presented by Barbara from her book, "Let Every Heart Prepare: Meditations for Advent and Christmas." It will also be released as an iTunes podcast, and follows the book. On the six Sundays, Barbara's presentation is in video form--with the idea that church folks can plan a six-week Advent/Christmas series as an Adult Forum on Sundays. We also have a Series Facilitator's Guide, with sample exercises or discussion questions from which to choose. Take a look. See if this is something you would consider linking to. There is a sign-up page for the series here.

• Resources for Advent and Christmas from Faith & Leadership ... These sermons, essays and stories invite you into the wonder, challenge and messiness of first a season of waiting and then a season of light and joy. Read on.

• SoulSpin Resources
... Below, near the bottom.

DioBethSpin
• Jubilate for December 1 through March 2 ... [Kat Lehman] I've posted the newest Jubilate, hymnody for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany to the DioBeth website. This is graciously provided by Canon Cliff Carr and we are grateful for his work and selections. If you wish to receive this via email, please use our Get Connected box on the righthand side of our home page and sign-up for Jubilate. I send them quarterly (or when Cliff sends me a new file) in both Word and .pdf formats direct to your inbox. You can find the latest Jubilate here, under Diocesan Resources. You might want to bookmark this for later retrieval. The .pdf version is uploaded online and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it or some other .pdf reader software.

• Help that's helpful ... [John Major] We once again found ourselves overwhelmed with reports of devastation, destruction and loss as a huge storm system attacked a large swath of the United States. More than 60 reported tornadoes touched down in 10 Midwestern states and piles of rubble are all that remain of untold numbers of homes and businesses. We see this, our hearts break and we all want to do something to help. Please take a moment to read this article, "Help that's helpful," from a woman affected by the 2012 Oklahoma tornadoes.  It explains the best, most practical ways to help in the aftermath of a disaster.  Though our good-hearted inclination is to empty our closets and cupboards and send clothing, food and household goods, the author notes that sending such "stuff" isn't really as helpful as we might think. Our own experience in the floods of 2011 bear out this article's recommendation that contributions of cash and gift cards are far more helpful because they are easier to collect and distribute and allow those we desire to help to get what they need the most. Read on.

• New Bethany Ministries ... Newsletter.

• Communication opportunities in the Diocese of Bethlehem ... [Archdeacon Stringfellow] Parishes have until December 31 to take advantage of the web site offer of Post Communications. To learn more go to the Diocesan website and click on What's Happening, then Communication Resources, and then Diocesan Resources. The only thing a parish has to pay for is a domain name. This is a custom WordPress site, and all hosting, design, maintenance, and training is covered by contract with the Diocese.  Estimated savings to each parish is $750 for design and $120 for hosting. Here.  John Major sends along a sample electronic bulletin of weekly Trinity Chimes that has been sent for over a year on weekly basis to all parishioners and friends who give us e-mail. "This has been a gift to us from the diocese," John says

• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... [Canon Anne Kitch] Monthly newsletter of lifelong Christian formation resources. December here.

• DioBeth on Facebook ... Diobeth Facebook page.

• Diobeth Episcopal Relief and Development ...  [John Major] A shield in the midst of life's storms. November 18.

• DioLight ... Vol. 1, Issue 19: Celebrate and Give Thanks by Andrew Gerns; What is your hope by Andrew Reinholz; Upcoming Events, compiled by Adam Bond.  Here.

• Keep up with Diocese of Bethlehem news, info ... DioBeth website, newSpin blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, and LinkedIn,

• What's Happening? ... 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.

ParishSpin
• Back to the future ... [Alban, Peter Steinke] At a workshop I was leading, a woman stood up and said, "If 1950 were to return, my congregation would be ready." Succinctly, she summarized a nagging problem for many churches. The context in which congregations now find themselves is quite different from 1950. "How we do church," though, has been quite persistent. ... With steep changes happening in our society, congregations have to ask themselves whether they are responding to a world that no longer exists. Read on.

• Shifts you should know about 
... [Alban, Sarai Rice] What are some of the emerging trends that you see in congregations as they adapt to a changing environment?This is a question I’m asked frequently, either by curious participants at a workshop or by members of a struggling congregation who want to know if other congregations are struggling with the same thing. As a result, I’ve started compiling a list of what seem to me to be changes that are adding up to a significant re-imagining of what it means to be “church.” Read on.


• A pastoral paradox ... [Episcopal Café, Richard Helmer] In a more provocative moment, I recently posted on Facebook that when confronted with the word "pastoral" I am increasingly tempted to wonder -- if not ask out loud -- if "co-dependent" is what is often really meant. It seems that "pastoral" can be code for mere coddling bad behavior, or simply leaving things dangerously alone.Approaching eleven years in congregational leadership as a priest, I have heard "pastoral" used in a wide variety of ways by laity and clergy alike. Judging by the responses to my Facebook post, there is little agreement about what we mean by "pastoral." The word seems to hide or embrace a whole host of meanings. And it often too easily gives rise to a whole host of platitudes. Read on.

• Music from St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre
... Here[Mark Laubach] The St. Stephen’s Choir will present its annual Festival Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent, led by Canon Mark Laubach, Organist and Choirmaster, and guest conductor Dr. Rick Hoffenberg.  A free-will offering will be received in support of the choir’s August 2015 residency at Winchester Cathedral, England.  Those attending the service are also encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items and canned goods to help stock St. Stephen's Food Pantry for those in need in our community.  A reception will follow in the Auditorium.

• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.

Evangelism/Stewardship
• Gil Rendle's PowerPoint Presentations at the 2013 Lutheran Bishop's Conference ... [NEPA Lutheran Synod] on Conversations That Matter: Honest Talk about Discipleship and Change may be downloaded here: Presentation 1 (PowerPoint); Presentation 2 (PowerPoint); Presentation 3 (PowerPoint).

• Communication tips and tools ... [United Methodist Communiction] Here.


Rest in Peace
• Bishop Arthur Freeman, 86 ... [The Morning Call] In 1961, he was called to become Associate Professor of Biblical Theology, New Testament at Moravian Theological Seminary and was promoted to full professor in 1966. From 1974 to 1994, he was administrator of the Ecumenical Committee for Continuing Education housed at the Seminary. Dr. Freeman was ordained as a Bishop in 1990. Following his retirement, he continued to write and publish both texts and periodicals. 
Memorial Services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, December 14, 2013, in the Central Moravian Church, Main and Church Streets, Bethlehem. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/mcall/obituary.aspx?pid=168420699#sthash.4v6XxlDq.dpuf
Read on.

• 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.

Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• Pittsburgh clergy can exercise a "local option" on same-sex blessings ... Here.

• State of Racism ... [ENS] Coverage of the gathering’s opening session on Nov. 15 is here. An ENS series of video reflections from the conference are here. The Nov. 15 webcast, which included a keynote address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and two panel discussions, is available for on-demand viewing here. A discussion guide developed for the forum is available. Read on.

• Presiding Bishop's Advent Message ... Here.

• Around the Episcopal Church ... Here

Employment Opportunities
• Grace Lutheran Church, Allentown ... is seeking a Director of Music/Organist. One service each Sunday and occasional weekly services, direct the adult choir and assist with other choirs; plan the music for all services in cooperation with the Pastor. If interested, please send resume to the attention of Winnie Hendricks, at Grace Lutheran Church, 729 St. John Street, Allentown, PA 18103, or email your resume to gracestj729@gmail.com.

• Organist (part time) at Cedar Cetronia ... Two choirs (adult, and youth), one Sunday service, 9:00 am., plus special services. Candidates must be able to work with youth and develop a youth chime choir. For more information, contact Pastor Gordon Camp.

• Episcopal Church position on Office of Government Relations ... Here.

• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.

TaleSpin
• Expert advice on how to research family history ... [NYTimes] Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.

• I'd still be in prison
... [Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013] "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."


• State of Racism ... [ENS] Coverage of the gathering’s opening session on Nov. 15 is here. An ENS series of video reflections from the conference are here. The Nov. 15 webcast, which included a keynote address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and two panel discussions, is available for on-demand viewing here. A discussion guide developed for the forum is available. Read on.

TailSpin
• Selfie Christmas cards ... [The Guardian UK, Giles Frazer]
Christmas cards used to be about mangers, kings and shepherds. Then they became about robins. Then about reindeer. Now they are about us. Read on.
he BBC’s head of religion and ethics said that modern audiences probably wouldn’t get the Bible jokes in Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” because Brits are basically illiterate when it comes to religion. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/10/28/driving-miss-saudi-rihannas-burqaswag-atheist-invasion-religious-freedom-recap-oct-21-28/#sthash.d7GdnnDk.dpuf

HeadSpin
• The bread line: It’s coming soon to a workplace near you ... [NYDaily News] Growing numbers of working people are turning to soup kitchens and food pantries, social service providers say, and their reliance is placing a greater strain on relief networks that were already overtaxed. “I wouldn’t be able to afford my rent if it wasn’t for this meal,” said Henry Harris Jr., 40, who works full-time as an institutional aid at a hospital and grabs a bite to eat every morning at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea. Holy Apostles does not ask the 1,200 patrons it serves every day to show identification, but kitchen managers say the working poor have added to its traffic. Read on.

Evangelical Lutheran
• NEPA Synod website ... Here
• ELCA website
... Here.  The new ELCA.org website will be launched on Monday morning, Nov. 18. The launch is the culmination of extensive planning and implementation, during which the ELCA gathered input from a wide range and number of colleagues, constituents and end users from across this church. The result of their collective work is now ready to be published online. Check it out!
• ELCA News Service
... Here
• ELCA's blogs
may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."

Moravian
• Death of Bishop Arthur Freeman ... See above, under Rest in Peace.
• Moravian Church in North America
  website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province website
• Moravian Theological Seminary website.

United Methodist
• 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.

Roman Catholic
• Bishops Sued Over Policies on Abortion at Hospitals ... [NYTimes] The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of a Michigan woman, is suing Catholic bishops, arguing that their anti-abortion guidelines to affiliated hospitals are leading to medical negligence. Read on.

Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/10/21/sacre-secularism-blasphemous-prayer-state-circumcisions-religious-freedom-recap-oct-14-21/#sthash.TsUkdjdR.dpuf
Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/10/21/sacre-secularism-blasphemous-prayer-state-circumcisions-religious-freedom-recap-oct-14-21/#sthash.TsUkdjdR.dpuf

• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
• Catholic News Service ... Here.  

The Vatican
• The Joy of the Gospel ... Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, with detailed table of contents. Here.

• Pope meets with bishops in a circle
... [NCR]
Pope Francis told a group of Dutch bishops last week that the Vatican must continue reforms undertaken by the Catholic church in the 1960s and ‘70s, according to one of the participants in the meeting. Bishop Jan Hendricks, who attended the meeting Monday, later recounted that the pope said implementation of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council is only half complete. ... Speaking at a small church dedicated to the Dutch community in Rome, Hendriks said Francis’ style represented “a different way” of having an ad limina visit compared with his predecessors. The pontiff and the Dutch bishops, Hendriks said, sat in a circle together. Read on.

• Things are different under Francis ... [NCR, Editorial] In Francis, we see a great deal of discontinuity with Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II. And it is about time. How can Francis' Nov. 24 apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," be seen as anything but a clarion call for discontinuity? ... No pope is perfect; no community of Christians ever, anywhere, is a complete expression of the fullness of God. As persistent as our reach might be toward divinity, we are the human expression of God. It is, for better or worse, ours, in turn, to make God known to the world. Whatever magnificence of thought and action John Paul and Benedict brought to the modern papacy, it was also obvious that serious flaws and deep corruption had taken over significant areas of the church and its governing apparatus. The assembled cardinals recognized the need for deep change. They voted for it."I dream of a 'missionary option,' " Francis writes in "The Joy of Gospel," "that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the church's customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today's world, rather than for her self-preservation."

• Vatican website
... Here
• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here
• Vatican News/Info Portal
... Here.

HealthSpin
• Minimize holiday stress ... [Orthopedic Associates of Allentown] Here. [h/t Diana Marshall]

• Positive parenting won't make up for insulting, yelling ... [Reuters Health] Young adults who had been criticized, insulted or threatened by a parent growing up were more likely to be anxious or depressed, in a new study. Even when the same or another parent expressed plenty of affection, researchers found the apparent harmful effects of having a verbally aggressive mother or father persisted. "There's a fair amount of data out there that says that parental verbal aggression toward a kid is very damaging," Byron R. Egeland said. "In many instances, people find it to be as damaging as actual physical abuse," he told Reuters Health. Read on. [h/t Diana Marshall]

• Larger roles for chaplains on patient medical teams ... [WSJournal] Hospital chaplains have long been a source of comfort and succor for patients facing daunting illness. Chaplains are seeking bigger roles in hospitals and in some cases joining the medical-care team, as new research shows positive spiritual guidance and discussion can help improve a patient's medical outcome. Read on.

• Flu shots, 'tis the season ... Flu.gov is the official government website where you can enter your zip code to find out where you can get a flu shot, get advice for who is most at risk, and learn how you can help care for loved ones who get the flu. Flu shots at pharmacies and supermarkets are not free, but Medicare and 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 yours does not cover vaccines, help is available. Free flu-shot clinics are or will be available in many areas. To find where you can get free flu shots, search on your browser for "free flu" plus your county. Even though it’s been a few years since the H1N1 pandemic flu was national news, it is another strand of the flu to always be mindful of. The 2013-2014 flu shots cover this strain of the flu, plus others. Learn more about this year’s flu season and shots from the CDC.

• Cold or Flu? ... The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers tips on the differences between a cold and flu, how you can prevent both, what to do if you’re already sick, and advice on over the counter medicines. You can get it all online or even order a hard copy publication sent to your house.

• 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.

Media/Films/DVD/TV/Books/Music/Tech
• The faith and loss of Joan Didion ... [RNS]
Dec. 5 was the 79th anniversary of Joan Didion’s entrance into this mortal coil, and I will use the excuse to wear giant sunglasses and write interminable sentences all day long. Didion’s career has changed the landscape of American nonfiction writing. Read on.

• A forced adoption, a lifetime quest and a longing that never waned ... [NYTimes] Philomena Lee is 80 now, and she has made peace with many things. Yet her voice still catches when she describes her last glimpse of her firstborn child as he was being taken away to be adopted by an American family. Ms. Lee desperately wanted to keep the boy, Anthony, who was then 3 years old. But it was 1955. Locked in a Roman Catholic home for unwed mothers on the grounds of a country convent in Roscrea, Ireland, she had signed her rights away at the nuns’ insistence. She never even got a chance to say goodbye. Read on. [NYTimes Review] In “Philomena,” Judi Dench’s portrayal of a stubborn, kindhearted Irish Catholic trying to discover what became of the toddler she was forced to give up as a teenager is so quietly moving that it feels lit from within. A major theme of this film from Stephen Frears is forgiveness. Ms. Dench’s Philomena Lee glows with the radiance of someone serene in her faith despite inhumane treatment by the church. That she makes you believe her character has the capacity to forgive provides the movie with a solid moral center. Read on. Another review here, Lessons Worthy of the Gospel.

Today is the 79th anniversary of Joan Didion’s entrance into this mortal coil, and I will use the excuse to wear giant sunglasses and write interminable sentences all day long. Didion’s career has changed the landscape of American nonfiction writing, - See more at: http://lauraturner.religionnews.com/2013/12/05/faith-loss-joan-didion/#sthash.P7921Hgy.dpuf• A forced adoption, a lifetime quest and a longing that never waned ... [NYTimes] Philomena Lee is 80 now, and she has made peace with many things. Yet her voice still catches when she describes her last glimpse of her firstborn child as he was being taken away to be adopted by an American family. Ms. Lee desperately wanted to keep the boy, Anthony, who was then 3 years old. But it was 1955. Locked in a Roman Catholic home for unwed mothers on the grounds of a country convent in Roscrea, Ireland, she had signed her rights away at the nuns’ insistence. She never even got a chance to say goodbye. Read on. [NYTimes Review] In “Philomena,” Judi Dench’s portrayal of a stubborn, kindhearted Irish Catholic trying to discover what became of the toddler she was forced to give up as a teenager is so quietly moving that it feels lit from within. A major theme of this film from Stephen Frears is forgiveness. Ms. Dench’s Philomena Lee glows with the radiance of someone serene in her faith despite inhumane treatment by the church. That she makes you believe her character has the capacity to forgive provides the movie with a solid moral center. Read on. Another review here, Lessons Worthy of the Gospel.• The Gospel according to William Stringfellow
 ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] The writing of Episcopal lay theologian and activist William Stringfellow is featured in a new collection published this week as the latest installment in Orbis Books' Modern Spiritual Masters Series, William Stringfellow: Essential Writings. More here. Also at National Catholic Reporter.

• Father to a Nation and to a Family ... [NYTimes] "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," based on Nelson Mandela's memoir, presents him as an inspiring leader with complexities. Read on.

• Hollywood rediscovers the Bible ... [NYTimes] Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering the Bible as source material for upcoming mainstream films. Read on.

Resources
• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... December.

• 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.

Religious Freedom Recap, our weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. - See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/09/16/burkini-compromise-pope-hearts-atheists-dozen-muslim-march-religious-freedom-recap-sept-9-sept-16/#sthash.nA6J6Y1Y.dpuf

Additional sources for news/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Religious Freedom Blog ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.
• Episcopal/Anglican
 (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.

SoulSpin Resources
• 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 Sou
l ... An Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.

• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.

Bible&Worship Resources
• Lectionary ... A collection of Lectionary resources for the Episcopal Church, updated Sunday night. Here.
• Lectionary Page ... A liturgical calendar for upcoming weeks, with links to readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), as adapted for use in Episcopal worship. Here.
• Revised Common Lectionary ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Enriching our Worship and Same-Sex Blessings ... Free download here.

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Comments are welcome at the newSpin blog. Click there on the title of the current newsletter. Comment below. As soon as the newsletter is completed, usually by Tuesday, it is uploaded to the blog and posted on Bakery and on a ChurchPost list of some 1,200 addresses. Many recipients often forward it to others. 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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