The newSpin newsletter
July 22, 2014
Published weekly, usually by Tuesday
• Global warming: an issue of theological morality ... [Religion News Roundup] Worried about global warming, a growing number of churches and other faith groups are divesting from fossil fuel companies. Efforts are underway to move the climate change debate from its hot-button political and scientific moorings to one based on theological morality.
• Time to send Lady Liberty back to France? ... [Daily Beast, Bishop Gene Robinson] That long-and-much-beloved iconic statue, standing in New York Harbor, greeting immigrants by the tens of thousands, is inscribed with Emma Lazarus’ poem: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Our beloved Lady Liberty has been a beacon of hope for millions of people seeking a better life. The first human being to come through Ellis Island was an unaccompanied minor. Her name was Annie Moore, and a statue of her (and her two younger brothers) now stands on that tiny piece of hope in New York Harbor, along with one of her in Ireland, from whence she came. Thousands of unaccompanied minors followed her through Ellis Island. Read on.
• Children have been coming to America alone since Ellis Island ... [Episcopal Café] Mother Jones offers some historical perspective on the issue of unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the U.S.
• Root causes of the migration crisis ... [Episcopal Café] Following pastoral letters from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings, some churches in Episcopal dioceses along the border with Mexico have been working to meet local needs of migrant people. However, in the media, there are many conflicting reports and stories about reasons for the migrant crisis. At Vox, Dylan Matthews features an in-depth interview with Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Read on.
• Reflection on children at the border ... [Episcopal Café] Susan Goff, suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, recently returned from a trip to Guatemala. While there, the news of the children migration crisis in the States became apparent. She posted a reflection about her experiences there on the diocesan webpage. Read on.
• How to help kids who cross the border ... [Episcopal Café] Here.
• 'Cleansing' Mosul of Christians ... [RNS Roundup] Islamic militants in the nation formerly known as Iraq continue to “cleanse” Mosul and the surrounding areas of Christians who have been there since the early days of Christianity, and before Islam. Ancient monasteries are reportedly being converted into mosques.
• ABC Justin Welby writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops in the CofE ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns, ENS] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners about the General Synod’s decision to allow women to become bishops, emphasizing that churches “need each other.” Read on.
• Eight things the church needs to say ... [RNS, Tom Ehrich] I think these eight things are what we ache to say. They are why we walked in the door of a church in the first place. They are why we stay, despite abundant reasons for leaving. Read on.
• A subprime bubble for used cars ... [NYTimes] Rodney Durham stopped working in 1991, declared bankruptcy and lives on Social Security. Nonetheless, Wells Fargo lent him $15,197 to buy a used Mitsubishi sedan. His application said he made $35,000 as a technician at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton NY. But he says he told the dealer he hadn't worked there for more than three decades. Now, after months of Wells Fargo pressing him over missed payments, the bank has repossessed his car. This is the face of the new subprime boom. Read on.
• Thousands missing out on free summer meal program ... [Morning Call] More than 40,000 children across the Lehigh Valley are eligible for free lunches over the summer as part of a federal program designed to combat hunger. Less than 10 percent of those children are taking advantage of it. Read on.
• From religious to spiritual – and back again ... [America, Francis X. Clooney, SJ] What does all this mean for those of us who are still religious, who try to be better spiritually by being more honestly religious? First, we need to keep criticizing the religions to which we belong, because we must remain mindful of the appalling behavior of some religious people, vicious in their not-thinking and their stifling of living spirituality; we need to admit that people who leave the Church are not always missing the mark. Second, we need to venture ourselves onto spiritual paths, including some of those the Church has tended to neglect or actually to try to suppress; we dare not play it so safe as to exemplify "religious but not spiritual" (RBNS). Third, we need to learn from those have set out on their own spiritual paths, rather than just writing them off as naïve or selfish. The Nones and SBNR can teach us how to be better Jews and Catholics and Hindus. If we listen to them with a certain openness (that they would do well to exemplify in return) then their insights can filter back into our lives too, reviving us and helping us to be better, religiously. Even those who convert to other religions may do us a favor, if we listen to them and see how mixing “ours” with “theirs,” is to the improvement of “ours” yet again. Read on.
• A Taste of EfM ... [Cathy Bailey] In all aspects of our lives, there are bewildering choices to be made and none more than in the area of spirituality. We need practical tools that can help form us as Christians and enable us become more effective in our lives, which will also make us better able to reach others with the Good News. Education for Ministry (EfM) is one very effective tool for formation and growth - actually, a whole toolkit. A program developed and overseen by the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, EfM uses a multi-pronged approach to help us "grow up in every way into Christ." Sewanee provides study materials and trained leadership. No background is necessary; this course is open to all adults. Read on. [Libby House, Cathedral Church of the Nativity] I have seen the posting regarding EFM, and I want to add my voice to the chorus of praise from those who have had the privilege of experiencing EFM over the years. I am scheduled to begin the fourth and last year of the EFM courses this year, and I can tell you that, for me, the experience has been life-changing. I have gained a deeper insight into Christianity as well as Judaism and all the many religions and philosophies that have impacted it and which it has influenced so as to be even more in awe of its wisdom, beauty, and truth. It has also made me keenly aware of the treasure we have in the Episcopal Church and in our tradition of Anglicanism. The sharing of insights and reflections in the communities with which I have studied has been invaluable to me in my own spiritual journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have known the wonderful people, all seeking to prepare themselves for their own ministries, whom I have met. I strongly recommend giving it a try.
• The Hospitality Center: 'I don't know what we'd do without them' ... [Episcopal Café, Jim Naughton] In three brief years, The Hospitality Center, founded by Deacon Kevin Stewart and the people of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Racine, Wisconsin has become the largest feeding program in the city. Listening to some of the stories in this video makes the Baptismal Covenant come alive.
• In all the the thousand small uncaring ways ... [Stephen Vincent Benét, who was born in Bethlehem PA] "Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways."
• Why the religious right's moment may be ending ... [Salon] From Pope Francis to a generation with new priorities, the finest Christian traditions are being reinvigorated. 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.
• William White... [In a Godward Direction, Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG] William White served as the Episcopal Church’s first Presiding Bishop. His Memoirs of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1836 second edition) is available free on-line in ebook format). It provides a fascinating glimpse into the formative years of the church, from his unique perspective.
• Faith-based fanatics ... [NYTimes Op-Ed, Timothy Egan] It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert. Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a religious cause. Hitler’s genocide, Stalin’s bloody purges and Pol Pot’s mass murders certainly make the case that state-sanctioned killings do not need the invocation of a higher power to succeed. But this year, the ancient struggle of My God versus Your God is at the root of dozens of atrocities, giving pause to the optimists among us (myself included) who believe that while the arc of enlightenment is long, it still bends toward the better. Read on.
• "Every individual is an exception to the rule." Carl Jung [h/t Jenifer Lee Gamber]
• New Hope is New Hope ... [New Hope in Pictures, Archdeacon Stringfellow, July 13] St. Bartholomew's Orphanage in Kajo Keji. Here.
• Bishop's School ... Fall, 2014.
• In-Formation in Bethlehem and Faith Formation News ... [Anne Kitch] You may be interested in subscribing to In-Formation in Bethlehem, a monthly eNewsletter. It contains articles for reflection, highlights books and new resources, and advertises opportunities for learning in the areas of Christian education, congregational development, and spiritual formation for adults, children, and youth. You can subscribe here. Also, Faith Formation News is a publication of the Diocese of Bethlehem highlighting Christian education and formation events and opportunties. Subscribe.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-654-3261. Read on.
• Resources ... Here.
• Need a tables dolly? ... St. Peter's Tunkhannock is offering a tables dolly free to any parish that can pick it up. Email David Martin, email@example.com. Photo here.
• Church Outside the Box ... [Richard Evans] About 30 of us gathered at St. Peter's in Hazleton yesterday (July 19) to discuss the challenges we face in our parishes Read on.
• Art Camp at Trinity Bethlehem ... [Laura Howell] July 28- August 1. Mosaic Madness. Students will explore mosaic artwork and learn about traditional and contemporary mosaic technique. Using clay, glass, stone and found objects we will create original mosaic works of art. Gluing and grouting may be messy, dress for the occasion. Day 1 includes a field trip to the Bethlehem Education Center by Northeast Middle School. The remainder of the week will be working on projects. 9-12. Monday to Friday. Bring a snack. Led by Jaime Bloss, local elementary art teacher and parent. Cost is $125 and includes all materials. Best for ages 6-10. Class limited to 10 children. To register or for questions, send email to Ellyn Siftar, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 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
• 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.
• Put your money where your values are ... [Scientiic American] We may be living in a material world but being a material girl is definitely not the path to happiness. Examine your own materialism and take steps to change it. Here. [h/t Leadership Educstion at Duke Divinity]
• Resources ... Here.
Rest in Peace
• Douglas Caldwell, 72 ... [The Morning Call] senior pastor at Central Moravian Church for nearly 25 years, retired since 2009, died unexpectedly July 17, during a bike ride near his home in Hanover Township, Northampton County.
• Marvin Harding, 88 ... pastor of the Evangelial Lutheran Church in America, died on Friday, July 18. Following his ordination in 1953, Pastor Harding served as pastor of Jordan, Orefield. In 1960 he became pastor of Schwarzwald, Jacksonwald, where he served until his retirement in 1991. In retirement he served as interim pastor of Trinity, Gouglersville, pastoral assistant at Grace, Shillington, and Dean to the Retired. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 23, at Schwarzwald Lutheran Church, 250 Church Lane Road, Reading PA 19606. Condolences may be sent to Pastor Harding's wife, Dorace, at 1200 Cambridge Ave., Apt. #110, Wyomissing PA 19610-2723. Obituary.
Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• House of Deputies newsletter ... Summer 2014.
• Province3 ... Website.
• ABC's protest move ... [Religion News Roundup] Days after the Church of England voted to allow women to become bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby decided to quit an exclusive gentlemen’s club in London, which opposed admitting female members earlier this year. Read on.
• No longer in the detail ... [The Independent, UK] All mention of the devil has been taken out of Christening services by the Church of England in a bid to appeal to more people. In the current wording, parents vow to “reject the devil and all rebellion against God”, “renounce the deceit and corruption of evil” and “repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour”. But the alternative text agreed by the General Synod only asks them to “turn away from sin” and “reject evil”. Read on.
• Resources ... Here.
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.
• Communion on the moon ... [Episcopal Café] Sunday (July 20) marked the forty-fifth anniversary of the first time humanity set foot on the lunar surface. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped off the spaceship and onto the moon, and thus stepped into history. What is not as widely known, however, is that it is also the forty-fifth anniversary of the first communion service to occur on the moon. Read on.
• Laundry Love: Building church from the inside ... [The Episcopal Church] A modern-day footwashing. Watch video.
• How a bishop moved Lincoln, and saved 265 Dakota Indians ... [LATimes Op-Ed, Gustav Niebuhr] Bishop Henry B. Whipple, a native of upstate New York, was an unlikely advocate for Native Americans. A missionary priest in Chicago until he was elected Minnesota's first Episcopal bishop in 1859, he didn't even know a Native American until he was 37 years old. In Minnesota, however, Whipple not only met Indians he respected, he also saw firsthand how the federal Office of Indian Affairs conducted itself, and he soon concluded that the agency was corrupt and that its agents were mostly political hacks who cared little about those they were supposed to serve. He also came to regard the traders licensed to do business with Indians as a problem: greedy, dealing illegally in liquor and abusive of Indian women. And, as with so many other social reformers through history, Whipple regarded the situation not only as an injustice but as an offense to religious principles that demanded action. Read on.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
• Resources ... Here.
• Douglas Caldwell, 72 ... senior pastor at Central Moravian Church for nearly 25 years, retired since 2009, died unexpectedly July 17. See above, under "Rest in Peace."
• Resources ... Here.
United Methodist Church
• A Texas United Methodist minister set himself on fire and died to ‘inspire’ justice. He said he felt that after a lifetime of fighting for social justice, he needed to do more.
• Resources ... Here.
Presbyterian Church USA
• Resources ... Here.
• No lay preaching for you! ... [RNS Roundup] That’s the word from the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, Salvatore Matano, one of the more conservative members of the U.S. hierarchy, who Pope Francis named to replace longtime Bishop Matthew Clark, one of the most — and last — liberal prelates.Lay folks had been preaching at Mass since the 1970s, though it is in fact against canon law. Time for the law to change? [Bill] Matt Clark was one of my Rome classmates.]
• Calls mount for resignation of Minnesota archbishop ... [NYTimes, Laurie Goodstein] Just two years ago, the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis was making headlines as a leader in the battle against same-sex marriage. But for the last year and a half, the archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, has been battling to hold onto his post in the face of a series of scandals, which further deepened recently with the filing of an explosive affidavit by the former chancellor of the archdiocese. Read on.
• Holding Church Shepherds Accountable ... [NYTimes Editorial] When Pope Francis met earlier this month with victims of rape and sexual abuse by priests, he vowed to hold bishops accountable for covering up the scandal instead of confronting it. A good place to start is with the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, where calls are mounting for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, a warrior against same-sex marriage who, it turns out, is facing accusations that he indulged in improper sexual conduct in the past with priests, seminarians and other men. Read on.
• Resources ... Here.
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]