Celtic Spirituality Initiative at Bethlehem Cathedral
An Update from the Audit Committee

newSpin 140729

The newSpin newsletter
July 29, 2014
Bill Lewellis

Published weekly, usually by Tuesday

• The ‘Philadelphia 11′ who shattered the stained-glass ceiling: 40 years later, where are they now?... [RNS] On July 29, 1974, in Philadelphia, 11 women broke rank and were ordained as the first female priests in the Episcopal Church. They became known as the “Philadelphia Eleven.” While there was no church law explicitly prohibiting the ordination of women, there also was no law allowing it. After the Philadelphia protest at the Church of the Advocate, the 11 women were deemed “irregularly” ordained, and Episcopal bishops warned the church not to recognize the women as priests. Two years later, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention — under pressure from the events in Philadelphia and elsewhere — affirmed and authorized the ordination of women to the priesthood. Today, the church is led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead a national branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Read on. And here's the video of the recent service at Church of the Advocate, including the Presiding Bishop's sermon. See also, Episcopal News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Huffington Post, and especially Philly.com.
• Nine things to know about Israel/Palestine ... [Episcopal Café] Vox answers 9 questions about the Israel-Palestine conflict that may help you know what is going on. [Addison Bross, as posted on Bakery] The information offered at the VOX website is seriously flawed. One of its most crucial failures is its distortion of events in the period (1947-48) immediately following the end of the British Mandate and the UN's actions to partition the area between Jews and Arabs. This is a crucial failure, given that many people believe that when the UN attempted to settle the issue of territories peacefully with their proposal for partition, "the Arabs refused to share the land of Palestine with the Jews, and so they invaded, only to be defeated." This account (which I have heard repeated publicly by a Rabbi) is a false and dangerously misleading explanation of how the trouble began. A better source for information about this conflict can be found here, on the website of Jewish Voice for Peace:

• A casualty counter for the Gaza conflict ... [WaPo Updated daily. Here.

• Re-imagine the Episcopal Church ... [Episcopal Café] The Task Force to Re-imagine the Episcopal Church (TREC) has released an invitation to attend a live webcast of a churchwide meeting on October 2 at 7:30 PM ET. The purpose of the meeting is “to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General Convention.” The meeting will be webcast live from Washington National Cathedral. Although the meeting will be open to the entire church, TREC encourages attendance from each diocese: a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35. Read on.

• Hope when the world's gone off the rails ... [Daily Beast, Bishop Gene Robinson] Is it just my imagination, or has the last 10 days been one of the most alarming times in the recent past? Doesn’t it seem like the train of humanity is coming off the rails? And what does faith have to offer in a time of violence, war and inhuman treatment of one another? Read on.

• Celtic Spirituality Initiative at Bethlehem Cathedral ... [Melinda Rizzo] Nativity’s dean Tony Pompan said his hope is for the monthly Thursday evenings, the fourth Thursday, 7:00 p.m., to become a touchstone for anyone interested in seeking a new way to approach spirituality and make a deeper connection with the sacred.  All are welcome to the Thursday evening Celtic spirituality offerings, regardless of their denomination, or faith affiliation. The sessions are informal, and invite participants to enter the Cathedral for meditation, silent prayer, personal reflection time, to light candles, privately ask for healing prayers, and simply enjoy brief theme appropriate meditative readings and poems spoken, all supported by quietly played Celtic Music by guest musicians, well known and versed in Celtic themed music. “We offer a variety of opportunities for sacred connections in about 40 minutes, and the sessions hold a peace-filled and paced economy of time; the Celtic music played by our gifted guest musicians throughout the majority of the evening invites transformation, it’s a recipe of sacred mystery."  Pompa explained. Read on.

• Marriage: two people 'in this thing together'
... [NCR]
Marriage is a cosmic crapshoot, Michael Leach writes at the National Catholic Reporter. You have to be lucky enough to marry the right person but then you must also be the right person. Marriage is about two people endeavoring to be the right person day in and day out. [h/t Duke Divinity Leadership Education]

• 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.

• Thoughts on outreach through music and art ... [Andrew Gerns] After a week as a member of the adult choir at the Royal School of Church Music King's College Course at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre. Read on.

• Why the Jesuits are on the frontlines of faith ... [CNN Belief Blog] What explains the Jesuits’ enduring appeal? Much of it has to do with their academic legacy. In the United States alone, there are 60 Jesuit high schools and 28 Jesuit colleges and universities. They are part of a network of secondary and post-secondary institutions that stretch from Los Angeles to Lagos to Tokyo. A good number of those schools are named after the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola. Read on.

• The 'last bus stop to eternity' ... [RNS Roundup] Welcome to the world of nursing home evangelism, where teams of lay evangelists target senior citizens for one last chance in this life for glory in the next ... The website of Revival Ministries International includes detailed instructions on how to search Google for nursing homes, determine the size of a visiting team based on the number of beds and tally the decisions garnered during the visits. 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.

• Adam Bond's talk at the out-of-the-box conference ... where some 30 gathered at St. Peter's in Hazleton, July 19, to discuss the challenges faced in parishes. "My tone might upset you, it might make you think, 'This is unhelpful,' 'This is cynical,' 'What do I DO with this?' Well, to be blunt, you’ll get used it, it is the tone of a generation that I have been asked to stand here and questionably represent. As the token bright-eyed, zealous young person, I might be expected to say something inspirational, moving, slightly naïve, cloyingly sentimental, but that gives you an unequivocal hope for the renewal and revitalization of the church going forward, that gives you the necessary hope that everything you’ve worked for will continue apace when you hand over the torch. I’m sorry to disappoint you. Although, I hope that you will indeed be hopeful at the end of this, but not because I’ve raised your expectations or reaffirmed your preconceptions. So much depends on our levels of expectation, don’t you think?" Read on.

• Pastors in poverty ... [Christian Century] Nine ways to help. Read on.

• Imagine this
... [RNS Roundup]
A study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science determined that kids raised in religious homes cannot tell the difference between real and fictional characters, whereas their secular counterparts can.

• Arizona inmate dies two hours after execution ...  [IAP] A condemned Arizona inmate gasped for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S. Read on. Reporter's account here.
• Edit wars on Wikipedia ... [RNS] and the eight religion pages people can't stop editing. Read on.

• New Hope is a new Girls' Dormitory ... [New Hope in Pictures, Archdeacon Stringfellow, July 13]
The thirty-third New Hope building in Kajo Keji, a girls
 dormitory, is almost ready for occupancy. Yes, 33. An amazing accomplishment. Read on.

• 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.

• They're here ... [John Major] We welcome our new friends from Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in central Florida to join us for our week-long mission event.  After spending two days or more on the road driving (and enduring a blown tire and a few other adventures along the way) the group arrived safely on Saturday. Read on. The first work day, here.

• 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, martin2411@yahoo.com. Photo here.

• Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia – and where else? ... [RNS, David Gibson] In 2012, the Knights of Columbus, a leading Catholic charitable organization, donated $1 million to the archdiocese as a down payment on the enormous costs of the visit. The money is key: Philadelphia has been hit hard by legal fees and settlements from the clergy sex abuse scandal, and declines in churchgoing and contributions have forced Chaput to make painful cutbacks to programs and to close parishes. It was unrealistic to expect the cash-strapped archdiocese to foot the bill for the trip. The real question now may be where else the pontiff will visit: New York? Washington? Maybe even the border with Mexico to make a statement on immigration? All three venues are possible, even likely. Read on.

• New director of music ministry at Cathedral ... Stephen Williams has accepted the position of Director of Music Ministry and Organist of the Cathedral. He will begin his new duties August 1.

• Resources
 ... Here.

People from our diocese and parishes in the media

• Resources
 ... Here.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth
• Resources
 ... Here.

Rest in Peace

Episcopal/Anglican (beyond DioBeth)
• The Presiding Bishop ... [Episcopal Café] writes in the Huffington Post about equality and the recent rulings against contraception coverage and other women's health issues. Here.

• 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.

• 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.

Employment Opportunities
• Tunkhannock seek Organist/musician ... [Lou Divis] We would like to expand our music to include ideas outside of the box. Please email cover letter and resume to:  stpetes@epix.net.

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

• Laundry Love: Building church from the inside ... [The Episcopal Church] A modern-day footwashing. Watch video.

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
• Minneapolis Star-Tribune joins 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. Also, with a recent editorial, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune called for the archbishop's resignation, saying he cannot be a force for reform in Twin Cities archdiocese.

• Resources
 ... Here.

The Vatican
• Resources
 ... Here.

• Resources
 ... Here

• EWTN to move into Crystal Cathedral ... [RNS Roundup] The Catholic media conglomerate EWTN announced that it is building its first West Coast television production facility in the Catholic Church building formerly known as Crystal Cathedral, home to Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power.”

• 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]





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