Listening, Prayer and Discernment
A Taste of EfM

newSpin 140710

The newSpin newsletter
July 10, 2014
Bill Lewellis

Published weekly, usually by Tuesday

[The newSpin newsletter will not be published next week.]

TopSpin
• Listening, Prayer and Discernment ... [News release from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem] Two Episcopal Moment consultants, the Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Johnson, Jr., D.Min, and the Rev. Dr. Robert K. Myers, PhD, both priests based in the Chicago area, will facilitate a series of listening opportunities, to be held across the diocese beginning in fall, at which everyone will be invited to discuss the challenges facing the Episcopal Church in northeastern Pennsylvania, how the diocese has responded to these challenges, and where the Holy Spirit might be leading this diocesan community. The goal is for everyone who wishes to participate in this process to have a chance to be heard. Read on.

• Company's coming – you're invited too ... [John Major] From July 28-31, Trinity West Pittston and St. Clement & St. Peter’s Episcopal Churches will host a volunteer mission crew from Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Central Florida. The missioners will be working at St. George’s Regional Disaster Recovery & Outreach Center in Nanticoke and on the porch of a West Pittston home affected by the 2011 floods, and they are eager to meet and work with their Episcopal sisters and brothers from NEPA.  Adult and youth group volunteers welcome. Lunch and other refreshments will be provided, so please RSVP if you will be attending.  For more information/RSVPs, email jmajordiobetherd@hotmail.com or call 570-654-3261. Read on.

• Democracy, the church and 'the long process of liberation'
... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] The following is from a ChurchTimes interview of PB Katharine Jefferts Schori. "There is a long history of disagreement in the Episcopal Church. At heart, it's about how people read scripture. Some people argue for the primacy of scripture, and won't accept that there are other sources of authority.
It's a very old conflict, and we have always been forming minor splinter groups. We will always find something else to disagree about."
   She puts conflict into a grand narrative of increasing inclusivity. "The Episcopal Church has a widening understanding of what it is to be a human, an expanding anthropology, if you will. In the 1700s, a full member of the Church was a white man of majority who owned land; then we considered whether those who did not own land could be members. Next we wondered whether slaves could be members; then we questioned the whole issue of slavery. After that, we began to ask whether women could be full members. Then, here in the Episcopal Church, we've looked at the standing of children, baptised but not confirmed. Then gay and lesbian people, then disabled people. . . There will be other groups coming. I don't know who they will be yet. It's a long process of liberation." Read on.

Today, the 221st General Assembly of the nearly two million member Presbyterian Church (USA) made history as it affirmed the marriages of same-sex couples. The Assembly voted by more than 70% to update the language about marriage from a “man and a woman” to “two persons” in the PC(USA) constitution. It will only become church law, if approved by a majority of 172 presbyteries. Then all couples can turn to their home churches to ask to be married.

“The Church affirmed all its faithful members today. This vote is an answer to many prayers for the Church to recognize love between committed same-sex couples,” said Alex McNeill, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians. “We will keep praying that the majority of our 172 presbyteries will confirm that all loving couples can turn to their churches when they are ready to be married.”

In another historic move, commissioners approved an Authoritative Interpretation which permits ministers to marry same-sex couples while the constitutional amendment works its way through the presbyteries. With the landslide of states affirming marriage equality, ministers no longer will be required to turn their own congregants away for fear of being put on trial.

- See more at: http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2014/06/19/history-made-presbyterian-church-usa-approves-sex-marriage/#sthash.WvnN9CUS.dpuf

• Even after Hobby Lobby, fear prevails among the religious right ... [The Daily Beast, Bishop Gene Robinson] There is nothing intimidating about the building, other than its sheer size and the many millions of dollars it took to build it. In fact, it is one of the most welcoming places I’ve ever been. This conservative, evangelical megachurch, just outside San Diego, is a hive of activity on a Sunday morning. Upon entering, I’m drawn into the sophisticated café that makes Starbucks look like a 10-year-old’s sidewalk lemonade stand. I get my latte and am assured that I am welcome to take it with me to my seat in the church. I find a seat, which is plush and comfortable, and sure enough, there’s a cup holder for my coffee ... Soon, the mood turns dark.  In between the uplifting songs, the message is: they’re coming to get us ... Fear is a terrible thing. It does awful things to the people who feel it. Yet, it’s an effective way to bind people together and to make them feel that if they don’t band together, they will be overtaken by hostile forces. And fear is a difficult thing to counter, especially when their leaders are reinforcing that fear at every turn. The cynical side of me suspects that these leaders know exactly what they are doing, but I admit that it is indeed possible that these leaders believe exactly what they are teaching. Read on.

• ABC prepared to drive through legislation to allow women bishops[The Guardian, Andrew Brown, Episcopal Café] The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is preparing to drive through legislation to allow women bishops even if it is rejected by the church's governing body, the General Synod. The synod is poised to vote again on the vexed plan next week but senior sources have told the Guardian that should the move be blocked again, there are now options being considered to force the change on the church. Read on.

SpiritSpin
• Read the Bible 101 [Episcopal Café] Here.


• Do people actually understand what is happening at the Eucharist? ... [Episcopal Café, Jim Naughton] I recently helped facilitated some focus groups in which some of the newer members of an Episcopal community said that they found the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist difficult to comprehend. They weren't saying that they didn't like it, just that they had a hard time understanding it. Read on. Don't miss the comments.

• Stanley Hauerwas reflects on end times ... [RNS, Jonathan Merritt] RNS: The “Left Behind” books series has sold more than 60 million copies. What do you think when you hear that so many have been influenced by that brand of eschatological thought? SH: My reaction to the “Left Behind” series is one of amusement and pathos. Pathos because so many people have misunderstood Christian eschatological convictions and turned them into speculative accounts of the so-called “rapture.” I take it to be a judgment against the church that that kind of speculation has gained a foothold. Read on.

RNS: The “Left Behind” books series has sold more than 60 million copies. What do you think when you hear that so many have been influenced by that brand of eschatological thought? 

SH: My reaction to the “Left Behind” series is one of amusement and pathos. Pathos because so many people have misunderstood Christian eschatological convictions and turned them into speculative accounts of the so-called “rapture.” I take it to be a judgment against the church that that kind of speculation has gained a foothold.

- See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/07/07/stanley-hauerwas-reflects-end-times-end-life/#sthash.ClyfFU6i.dpuf

• Resources
 ... Here.

NewSpin
• My American Family... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Joe Nocera] On the Fourth of July 1951, my parents were married. Not long ago, I asked my mother, who, at 87, is still going strong, why they chose that date. I thought there might have been some symbolism. She quickly disabused me. It was because that was the only time “the market” would be closed, and my father’s family could attend the wedding ... My mother [Irish] tells me that on the eve of her marriage to my father [Italian], one of her relatives pulled her aside and said, “They’re not like us, you know.” But my mother could already see that that wasn’t true in any way that truly mattered. As Italians and Irish began to intermarry, tribal instincts lessened to the point of disappearing. My last name is about the only Italian thing about me. The same is true for my siblings and cousins. We epitomize the melting pot. We never vote based on ethnicity alone. Read on.

DioBethSpin
• New Hope is the giving and receiving of gifts ... [New Hope in Pictures, Archdeacon Stringfellow, June 29] Here.


Diobeth Episcopal Relief and Development ...  [John Major] A shield...in the midst of life's storms. June 20. Severe weather damage – make your help count. Also see "Company's coming," above, under TopSpin.

• Resources
 ... Here.

ParishSpin
• Bill and Fran Warne ... [Times-Tribune] recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Read on.

• Glorious music at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre ... [Mark Laubach] Every year during the final full week of July, St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral and King’s College in Wilkes-Barre proudly host The King’s College Summer Choir Training Course, sponsored by The Royal School of Church Music in America (RSCMA). Once again, from Monday, July 21 through Sunday, July 27, a choir of over two hundred singers of all ages from throughout the United States will sing sacred music of unparalleled spirituality and beauty in the great Anglican choral tradition.  The participants will be taught, conducted, and accompanied by a large staff of gifted American church musicians.  Course liturgies will feature the daily offices of Choral Evensong and Compline and will culminate in a Choral Eucharist at 10:30 am and Choral Evensong at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 27.    
   The guest director for 2014 is the world-renowned concert organist, choral conductor, and composer David Briggs, whose first visit to the United States came in 1996 when he arrived here in Wilkes-Barre to serve as Music Director for the King’s College RSCMA Course.  David will also present an improvised organ accompaniment to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the 1921 classic silent movie starring John Barrymore, in St. Stephen’s nave at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, July 23.  Admission at the door will be $20 and $15 for students and seniors (65 and older). More here.

• Resources
 ... Here.

People from our diocese and parishes in the media

YouthSpin
• Follow Sophie Kitch-Peck ... as she recounts her adventures at the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) 2014 held at Villanova University in suburban Philadelphia. Here. [Episcopal Café] The Episcopal Youth Event has begun. With a backdrop of a quilt made by HIV positive women in Nigeria - youth have gathered from all over the Episcopal Church to worship, study, sing, and dance  Read on. And there's more here and here.

• Resources

... Here.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth
• Church jargon jettisoned for better communication ... [ENS, Pat McCaughan] The Rev. Scott Claassen of thads describes himself as “a Monday through Saturday follower of Jesus who worships on Sunday.” He believes it conveys a clearer understanding of what his faith means to him than “Episcopalian” or even “Christian”. “The main point is, it inverts our sense of discipleship from saying being a disciple means I go to church on Sunday,” Claassen, 35, told ENS recently. “Instead it says being a disciple means I practice this Jesus way throughout all of my life and I happen to get together with a bunch of other people on Sunday who do that, too.” Call it semantics, but Claassen isn’t alone. Read on

• The Fourth of July and the liturgical calendar ... [Episcopal Café/Daily Episcopalian, George Clifford] The well-known, rightly treasured expression that "all men are created equal" originally meant white, property-owning males are created equal. After much struggle, some of which continues even in the present, most Americans now interpret that phrase to mean that all people, regardless of socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, or creed are created equal. This new reading is so widely accepted that the historically ignorant often respond with surprised disbelief when informed of the phrase's original meaning. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

Rest in Peace

• Marcia Kapps ... [Dolores Smith] It is with much sadness that I tell you that Marcia Kapps, wife of the late Rev Charles Kapps, entered into eternal rest early this morning (Sat, July 5). Marcia was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known.  She impacted the lives of many with her wisdom and love. [Jen Ross]
Marcia was a vastly precious human being, with a splendid mind and heart. She reached into your mind with brilliant observations and meanings about a myriad of subjects...and presented them in a simple way so they'd form pictures in your mind and could subsequently fold right into line and add onto earlier learning. Her knowledge was vast and her willingness to share measureless. One of my friends has described her in the highest terms as being 'human'. I am more for having shared a path of this life with her. To her broad array of friends and her beloved family, she is irreplaceable. I see her smile. How much we will miss her...how enriched we were by her. How joyful we are that her pain has been replaced by the warmth of God's eternal light, as she is renewed and reunited with her beloved Charlie. May she rest in peace. [Nancy Packard] She struggled with her illness for such a long time. May she rest in peace.

• Dr. Carl C. Reynolds, 81 ... died July 6.
A long-standing member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn, Pennsylvania, he served the church for many years both as educator and advocate. His tireless dedication to church youth is an example to many today. A founding member of the Saint Matthew Society he established Epiphany's endowment fund. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thetimes-tribune/obituary.aspx?n=Carl-Reynolds&pid=171577902#sthash.5TRSNxdd.dpuf
A member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn, Pennsylvania, he served the church for many years both as educator and advocate. His tireless dedication to church youth is an example to many today. A founding member of the Saint Matthew Society he established Epiphany's endowment fund. Obituary here.

Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)

• Original artwork invited for 2014 Episcopal Church Christmas card .. The original artwork should express a local understanding of God’s incarnation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Read on.

• ERD responds to border crisis ... [Episcopal Café] Episcopal Relief & Development is assisting St. John's Episcopal Church in McAllen, Texas, as the congregation provides relief to hundreds of Central American migrants who crossed through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States. A sudden influx of people, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, has overwhelmed Border Patrol and created a humanitarian crisis in towns along the US-Mexico border. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

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

TaleSpin

Evangelical Lutheran Church
• Resources
 ... Here.

Moravian Church
• Resources ... Here.

United Methodist Church
• Resources
 ... Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Resources
 ... Here.

On Meet the Press earlier this month, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, claimed that the Catholic Church is not anti-gay. “We’re pro marriage, we’re pro traditional marriage, we’re not anti anybody. We’ve been out-marketed, we’ve been caricatured as being anti-gay,” he explained to the show’s host, David Gregory. Dolan’s right. The Catholic Church isn’t anti-gay, but evidence suggests its bishops certainly are. - See more at: http://michaeloloughlin.religionnews.com/2013/12/12/catholic-church-isnt-anti-gay-bishops/#sthash.AXXkoaJF.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
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

Roman Catholic
• Resources
 ... Here.

The Vatican
• The Vatican conceded a few weeks ago ... [AP] that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to "close our eyes to anything" when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church. Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn't expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October. But Pope Francis is well aware that the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today's secular world and he is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a "new language" that is welcoming and responds to their needs. Read on.

• Before God and his people, I express my sorrow ... for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. [Pope Francis, in a homily at a private Mass for victims of abuse by clergy members, July 8]  More here.

• Resources
 ... Here.

HealthSpin
• Resources
 ... Here


Media/Films/DVD/TV/Books/Music/Tech
• Spam ... can be annoying, but did you know it is also illegal? Some common scams use text message spam to lure you into revealing personal information in exchange for a “free gift” like a gift card or vacation package. Use these tips from the Consumer Action Handbook to protect yourself from text message spam and scammers trying to steal your identity.Curious to learn more about the Consumer Action Handbook?Find out what it is. Order or download your own free copy. Ask our expert editor your own consumer questions.

• Resources
... Here.

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As soon as the newSpin newsletter is completed, usually by Tuesday, it is uploaded to the newSpin 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, the Standing Committee 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. Comments are welcome at the newSpin blog. Click there in the right hand column on the title of the current newsletter. Then, make your comment below.

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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