Late Vocation: A Personal Reflection
I've been haunted by screens

newSpin 150430

newSpin, the newsletter
April 30, 2015
Bill Lewellis

• Indicates new item.  
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• The massive earthquake in NepalAs I type, more than 5,000 people have died in a massive earthquake which hit Nepal on Saturday (April 25) and more than 8,000 have been injured. By the time you read this, that number of those dead and injured may have increased by thousands. Vast tent cities have sprung up in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, for those displaced or afraid to return to their homes because Nepal and surrounding aras have continued to experience aftershocks.. International aid is arriving where some 1.4 million are short of food. Such measures will likely be insufficient to battle their water, food and electricity needs, or stem any disease outbreaks that may result from current living conditions, which have seen thousands digging through rubble by day, and sleeping outdoors by night. Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China regarding urgent needs and assessment efforts. Read on.

• When Baltimore burned[Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes] Conservatives have sometimes been too quick to excuse police violence. And liberals have sometimes been too quick to excuse rioter violence. It’s outrageous when officers use excessive force against young, unarmed African-American men, who are 21 times as likely to be shot dead by the police as young white men. It’s also outrageous when rioters loot shops or attack officers. So bravo to Toya Graham, the Baltimore mom captured on video grabbing her teenage son from the streets and frog-marching him home. The boy wilted: It must be humiliating to be a “badass” rioter one moment and then to be savagely scolded in front of your peers and sent to your room. “That’s my only son, and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” Graham later told CBS News. It was of course Gray’s death, after an injury at the hands of the police, that set off the rioting. On social media, there were plenty of people making excuses for rioters — a common refrain was “nothing else works to get attention.” But to their great credit, African-American leaders provided firm moral guidance and emphasized that street violence was unconscionable. President Obama set just the right tone. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” Obama said. “When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities.” Read on.

• #BlackLivesMatter and prayers for Baltimore[Episcopal Café] Here.

• Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore rip apart CNN and Fox News Baltimore unrest coverage [Daily Dot] Here.

• Supreme Court hears arguments in historic gay-marriage case[WaPo] The Supreme Court’s historic consideration Tuesday (April 28) of whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples nationwide to marry seemed to come down to a familiar arbiter: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. That’s normally a safe haven for gay rights activists — Kennedy has written each of the court’s major victories advancing their movement. But the question after the hearing seemed to be whether forcing reluctant states to allow same-sex unions was a logical extension of the court’s rulings or too much, too fast.Kennedy seemed to be working it out. Read on.

• The new form of racism[Alan Jennings, The Morning Call, Your View, April 29] Watching cops shoot black men running for their lives, then allegedly dropping a Taser at the feet of the dead body — it seems like a modern-day lynching. We've gotten better at screwing people of color out of the liberty and justice for all that we fool ourselves believing we really care about. We know all the tricks: We use zoning rules to require minimum lot sizes, the only real purpose of which is to exclude; we pay for and govern our so-called public schools in ways that can only be characterized as educational apartheid; we cut funding year after year for programs that can make a difference and then say, "See? Government doesn't work." And we deny we are racist. We get indignant when people of color point out, over and over, the many ways we clearly are. Imagine: You get mistreated, left out, shot in the back and you're not allowed to point out that you're being mistreated, left out, shot in the back …
   They know enough to know it is a bad thing to be racist. But they don't know enough to realize how racist they are. In fact, my friend, Ed DeGrace, says denying there is racism is the new form of racism. Read on.

• The underground inferno that created a ghost town[, Anthony Taille and Dan Buczynski] Fifty years ago, this prosperous Pennsylvania coal town  was ripped apart by a devastating subterranean mine fire. Today, the flames still burn in Centralia, the ghost of a ghost town. In Columbia County, Centralia is less than two miles north of Ashland in Schuylkill County. Almost nothing is left of this former community of 1,400. A few buildings remain, most of them old row houses deprived of their neighbors, needing brick retainers to help them stand up without adjoining structures. The total population here was six people in 2014. Everyone else left after a long-lasting mine fire rendered the place uninhabitable, resulting in a government-mandated evacuation. Read on.

• 25 years of the Hubble telescope in 25 stunning photos[PBS] Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart. “Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says. “It has also shown us exquisite beauty in the universe, in everything from galaxies to glowing nebulae to planetary atmospheres in our own solar system.” Read on.

• Stories, Myths, and Values … is a new blog by Trinity Bethlehem parishioner Bruce Marold to discuss the intersection of theology and stories. Bruce says values are, were, and forever will be more powerful than facts. He invites visitors. By the end of May, he hopes to have it more comfortably furnished. Here.

• World Bank launches interfaith push to eliminate extreme poverty …[RNS] Observers say it’s the first time the World Bank has tapped the reach and resources of religious groups in combating extreme poverty — partly out of a realization that the work is too big for any one institution, and in hopes of limiting unnecessary duplication between the World Bank’s ideas and those of various religious groups. Read on.

• Have you been receiving four newsletters monthly?
   (1) The newSpin newsletter is published by Bill Lewellis on or near the first and third Thursdays. To receive it by email, please email Jo Trepagnier. Otherwise, find the newSpin newsletter at the newSpin blog.
   (2) The Leadership News is published on or near the second Thursday of each month, and consists primarily of information that clergy, lay leaders and church staff need to do their work. This isn't to say that all are not invited to sign up for it. Find the April issue here and the March issue here. To receive it monthly by email, sign up at the bottom of Leadership News, at "Join our Mailing List."

   (3) The newSpin newsletter is published by Bill Lewellis on or near the first and third Thursdays. To receive it by email, please email Jo Trepagnier. Otherwise, find the newSpin newsletter at the newSpin blog.
  (4) The Diocesan e-Newsletter is published on or near the fourth Thursday. Find the February, March and April issues, and sign up here to receive future issues by email as soon as they are published. Actually, you may sign up also at the bottom of the newsletter itself. The content of the monthly newsletter will be posted also on the DioBeth website and linked to on Facebook and in our Twitter stream.

• Supreme Court cases prelude to marriage debates at General Convention ... [ENS] Episcopalians who followed the April 28 U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married were no doubt looking ahead to the implications of the court’s eventual ruling for this summer’s General Convention. The Episcopal Church officially has advocated for equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both the civil and ecclesial arenas for years. However, it was not until 2012 that the General Convention voted to consider anew the church’s theology of marriage, and LGBT Episcopalians’ access to the sacramental rite. Thus, while the court’s ruling, expected to come before the current terms ends in late June or early July, may settle the issue of access to civil marriage and fulfill one of The Episcopal Church’s long-held public-policy stances, its decision could come as the convention is debating the church’s understanding of sacramental marriage and the accompanying canonical definition of marriage. The 78th meeting of the General Convention takes place June 25-July 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read on.

• Presiding Bishop restores David Bane to ordained ministryHere.

• Resources … way below.

• The Rev. Han van den Blink, Ph.D. … is priest-in-charge at St. Paul's Troy. More than 30 years after he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church, he was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1994 at the age of 59 and joined the Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary faculty where he taught ascetical and pastoral theology until he retired in 2006. He spent most of his professional life as a pastoral counselor and psychologist. He lives in Elmira, NY. He was invited to give the following address in 2003 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of Bovendonk, a Roman Catholic Seminary for late vocations in the Bisdom of Breda, the Netherlands. Much more than an essay on late vocations Han's address serves as a helpful meditation on the spiritual life. Read on.

•• Centering Prayer
[Contemplative Outreach] is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. Read on.

• The Exercises are ending, and panic has ensued
[Crux] As her Ignatian spirituality group comes to an end, Margery Egan wonders, where will we go now to talk about Jesus walking on water without people looking at us like we're deluded and deranged? Read on.

• Incapable of complexity?[Faith vs. Facts, T.M. Luhrmann, NYTimes Op-Ed, April 18] The following anecdote is included in Tracy Kidder’s book on the anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer. A woman who had taken her tuberculosis medication and been cured then told Dr. Farmer that she was going to get back at the person who had used sorcery to make her ill. “But if you believe that,” he cried, “why did you take your medicines?” In response to the great doctor she replied, in essence, “Honey, are you incapable of complexity?” Read on.

• Speaking to the Soul[Episcopal Café] Here.

• Education for Ministry[Cathy Bailey] Every baptized person is called to ministry. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program, offered as an education at-a-distance course by the School of Theology of the University of the South at Sewanee, provides Episcopalians and others with the education to carry out that ministry. Lay persons face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church's faith in a complex and confusing world. As the Church continues to emphasize the importance of lay ministry, many laypersons have come to feel that they need a theological education that supports their faith and also teaches them to express that faith in day-to-day events. EfM is one way for them to gain that knowledge. EfM offers a four-year course, covering the basic subjects of a theological education: Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, and Theological Choices (a study of theological trends and movements in the Church). Participants register for one year at a time. Students meet locally in seminar groups of six to twelve participants and a trained mentor, who meet weekly for two to three hours during a nine-month academic year. Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. In the seminars, members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them through discussion and guided reflection. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials. The current one-year fee per student is $350, which pays for EfM materials and an honorarium for the mentor.  EfM grants 18 Continuing Education Units (CEU) for each year of study. There are no examinations or papers. EfM does not grant college credits. For more about EfM visit its website at  Contact Cathy Bailey, Diocesan EfM Coordinator at for more information.

• Spirit Resources
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Columns, Sermons, Reflections and other Spin
•• Your sermon? … If you have a sermon you might like uploaded to the newSpin blog and linked to from the newSpin newsletter, point to it online.

• Starving for wisdom
[NYTimes, Nicholas Kristof] “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.” That epigram from E.O. Wilson captures the dilemma of our era. Yet the solution of some folks is to disdain wisdom. Read on.

Where Religion, Culture and Politics Might Intersect
• Pope Francis calls for equal pay for women[HuffPost] The wide gulf between wages for men and women is "pure scandal," Pope Francis said on Wednesday. "As Christians, we must become more demanding...[by] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal," he said. Read on.

•• Will the popularity of Pope Francis affect the 2016 election?
… [Crux] Some think the pope’s September address to Congress and the United Nations could set the stage for the real test of his impact in American culture: the 2016 presidential election. Miguel Diaz, a former ambassador to the Holy See and now a theology professor at Chicago’s Loyola University, said the pope’s emphasis on “servant leadership and the pedagogy of mercy” could convince Catholic bishops and politicians here to reassess their own approach to public life. “This understanding of leadership provides an invitation to our own local and national leaders to continue to build one nation out of a diversity of peoples,” he told Crux, “and to follow Pope Francis’ example of leading by protecting and defending the dignity and rights of the most vulnerable persons within our country.”

   Will bishops focus primarily on life and marriage issues as in elections past, or will they take a cue from Francis and spend more energy on other issues that also are part of their agenda, such as poverty, immigration, and international religious liberty? “The full impact of Francis’s influence will have to await 2016, since it is usually during presidential cycles that issues dear to Catholic bishops’ hearts, like contraception and abortion, get a national airing,” Tom Kington wrote at Politico last November. Read on.

• Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change, to Conservatives’ Alarm[NYTimes,
Coral Davenport and Laurie Goostein, April 27] Since his first homily in 2013, Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment. It has caused little controversy so far. But now, as Francis prepares to deliver what is likely to be a highly influential encyclical this summer on environmental degradation and the effects of human-caused climate change on the poor, he is alarming some conservatives in the United States who are loath to see the Catholic Church reposition itself as a mighty voice in a cause they do not believe in. Read on.

• The Pope joins the climate wars[NYTimes Editorial Board] Since his papacy began in March 2013, Pope Francis has amply demonstrated his readiness to take on tough social and political causes. Now, much to the dismay of some conservatives, he is confronting human-caused global warming. A high-level workshop in the Vatican this week on the moral dimensions of climate change is one of several major events planned by the Roman Catholic Church in anticipation of an encyclical on the environment the pope plans to issue this summer. Though only the broad outlines are known, the encyclical is already raising hopes among environmentalists and deep alarm among climate-skeptics. Read on.

•• The terminally ill's right to die: a debate[NCR, Maureen Fiedler] Catholic Fr. Thomas Petri, an instructor in moral theology and academic dean of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson, retired bishop of the episcopal diocese of New Hampshire and now at the Center for American Progress, debated the issue. They left no stone unturned in their pointed but civilized exchange. Read on to where you can listen.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth
•• Peter Singer on the ethics of philanthropy: his latest goal is to get people to give away one-third of their income [WSJournal, Alexandra Wolfe] Peter Singer would sooner donate a kidney than sponsor a concert hall. So when entertainment mogul David Geffen gave $100 million in early March for the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York—it will soon be renamed David Geffen Hall—Mr. Singer questioned why people thought he was doing so much good. Over Skype from his home in Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Singer says that he doesn’t understand “how anyone could think that giving to the renovation of a concert hall that could impact the lives of generally well-off people living in Manhattan and well-off tourists that come to New York could be the best thing that you could do with $100 million.” He notes, for example, that a donation of less than $100 could restore sight to someone who is blind. Mr. Geffen declined to comment.
   In his new book, The Most Good You Can Do, Mr. Singer argues that people should give a substantial percentage—ideally a third—of their income to charities. Mr. Singer himself has given away at least 10% of his income for 40 years; that number has gradually risen to between a quarter and a third of his income. He advocates focusing donations on the developing world. Once the world’s more basic needs have been met, he says, “then help people listen to concerts in beautiful concert halls.” It’s a controversial way to encourage philanthropy. Some critics find it uncharitable—and counterproductive—to wag a disapproving finger at any sort of charitable giving, or to rank one type above another. Supporting cultural institutions through private donations, they argue, improves the quality of life for an entire society. Read on

• The Exercises are ending, and panic has ensued
[Crux] As her Ignatian spirituality group comes to an end, Margery Egan wonders, where will we go now to talk about Jesus walking on water without people looking at us like we're deluded and deranged? See above, under SpiritSpin.

• Resources

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In the Media

Rest in Peace

• Memorial Service for Dolores Caskey[Laura Howell] will be held on Saturday, May 23 at 2:00 p.m. in Trinity Church, Bethlehem.  Calling hour at 1:00.  

• Mary ValentiRita Piovane's mother died on April 20. Her death was an answer to Mary’s prayer, an end to her suffering, and her entrance into God’s loving arms and eternal home, according to her son-in-law, Michael. The Mass of Christian Burial was held at her parish, St. Joseph the Worker in Orefield on Tuesday, April 28. May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Obituary here.

• Cardinal Francis George, 78 [RNS] was the intellectual lodestar for conservative U.S. Catholics, an icon of a conservatism suddenly out of favor. Read on. Also, below under TaleSpin, "The Man in the Red Dress," by Cathleen Falsani. And in Crux, by John Allen … During an era under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, when Catholicism was trying to swim against an increasingly secular tide in the Western world, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was the American prelate trusted by those two popes, almost above all others, to spearhead that project in the United States. He was known by some as "The American Ratzinger." Read on.

• Jayne Meadows, 95[NYTimes]
a glamorous redheaded actress who starred on Broadway, in the movies and on television, but who was probably best known for her 46-year role as Steve Allen’s wife, business partner and frequent co-star, died on Sunday at her home in Encino, Calif. She was born Jayne Meadows Cotter on Sept. 27, 1919, in Wuchang, China, where her father, Francis James Meadows Cotter, and her mother, the former Ida Miller Taylor, were Episcopal missionaries. The family moved back to the United States in 1927, and her father eventually became rector of Christ Church in Sharon, Conn. Read on. Obituary here. Also, Episcopal Café.

• The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions[WaPo, Terrence McCoy, April 17] The story of how Utah solved chronic homelessness begins in 2003, inside a cavernous Las Vegas banquet hall populated by droves of suits … Give homes to the homeless … This has been perhaps the nation’s most successful — and radical — program to end chronic homelessness. Now, more than a decade later, chronic homelessness in one of the nation’s most conservative states may soon end. And all of it is thanks to a program that at first seems stripped from the bleeding-heart manual. In 2005, Utah had nearly 1,932 chronically homeless. By 2014, that number had dropped 72 percent to 539. Today, explained Gordon Walker, the director of the state Housing and Community Development Division, the state is “approaching a functional zero.” Read on.
• 'What a horrible mother:' How a call from a 'good samaritan' derailed these mothers’ lives[Salon, Kim Brooks] These moms left their kids for a few minutes and got arrested. A scary look at our new moral vigilantism. Read on.

• The state of storytelling in the internet age
 … [ReadThisThing] Great stories are reaching more people than ever, and the web is giving the world a better platform to tell stories than ever. But news divisions are still shrinking, great publications are still failing, and journalists are telling our youth to avoid the profession. Read on.

• Pulitzer winners tie domestic abuse to Christianity[Baptist Press] The South Carolina newspaper that won this year's Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism has drawn criticism for linking the state's domestic violence problems with its residents' belief in the Bible's teaching about gender. Read on.

The man in the red dress: my unlikely friendship with Cardinal Francis George 
 … [Religion Dispatches, Cathleen Falsani] Cardinal George was more than the caricature of a curmudgeonly, conservative Catholic prelate, or an out-of-touch shepherd confounded by contemporary culture and the actual lives of his flock. Read on.

• My son died in my arms from a heroin overdose. Here’s what the War on Drugs missed … [WaPo, Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good] Heroin use and overdoses are skyrocketing. Deaths have tripled since 2010, a fact that can often be dismissed until there’s a face to this reality. Read on.

BackSpin – Do you remember?
• Bishop Walton Empey [Diocesan Life, December 1994] will be with us for three months in early 1995 while Bishop Mark teaches at General Theological Seminary.

• Bishop Mark Dyer [Diocesan Life, January 1995] stunned delegates at Diocesan Convention, December 1994, when he read a letter indicating he would submit his resignation as bishop of Bethlehem with the intention of accepting a call from Virginia Theological Seminary to become professor of theology and director of spiritual formation, effective January 1996.

• Jubilee Diocese [Diocesan Life, January 1995] The National Jubilee Committee awarded the Diocese of Bethlehem the unique designation of "Jubilee Diocese." Bethlehem became the first diocese to receive this unique designation to recognize efforts on the part of the diocesan community to encourage and support local congregations in their ministry to serve poor and marginalized people.  A grant of $25,000 accompanied the designation. "We are forming a partnership with this diocese," said Ntsiki Kabane-Langford, Jubilee Officer of the Episcopal Church. "We are hopeful that this partnership will provide a dynamic model for the whole church."

"So many people [Diocesan Life, January 1995] want to wrap everything up before they die," wrote Marius Bressoud in the first of five monthly columns on Spirituality and Aging. "It seems to me that a more desirable objective is to be always in the midst of a project, one that keeps me awake in the middle of the night to ponder how I might say something more accurately, render a painting more effectively, manage a personal relationship more sensitively."

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

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Three important church trends in the next ten years[Christianity Today] (1)The Hemorrhaging of Mainline Protestantism. (2)Continued Growth of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement. (3)Networks will Explode in Number and Influence. Read on.

• On Ascension Thursday, May 14 … [Maria Tjeltveit] the Christian Communities Gathering of Northeastern PA will gather for a service of Prayer for Christian Unity at the First Presbyterian Church at 97 S Franklin St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. The prayer service will be at 12 noon. Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton will be the homilist. We hope that you will be able to join us for our first Ascension Day (according to the Gregorian or Western Calendar) gathering to pray for Christian unity. Our organization was organized in 1999. Current representatives  are from various Church traditions: Assembly of God, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Orthodox, Byzantine and  Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Polish National Catholic and Roman Catholic. We welcome new members as official or unofficial representatives from the different Churches. Please feel free to contact for further information

• Inside the world's largest free kitchen[] A young man in a hot-pink turban raises his hands humbly as he sits crossed-legged on the floor. Into his raised hands falls a hot roti that he plops into the metallic tray in front of him. Next to him is an elderly woman wearing a saffron sari. She raises her hands next and is offered the same. On either side of them are hundreds of others, all seated cross-legged, and all with the same metallic tray.Everyone eats the same food being dished out by the volunteers: dal, vegetables, and a thick South Asian rice pudding called kheer. It is lunchtime at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, and of the nearly 100,000 people who eat here on an average day, not a single one of them will pay for the food they consume … Nearly 500 years ago, a Sikh guru living in the Indian subcontinent introduced a revolutionary idea when it comes to the consumption of food. The idea was simple enough: a place should exist where everyone, regardless of religion or social status, could sit on the ground together as equals and eat the same food. The philosophy behind this free meal was a radical departure from the prevailing norms, where caste hierarchies decided what you ate and with whom you ate it. Read on..

• Resources
… way below.

Evangelical Lutheran Church
NEPA Synod website ... Here
ELCA website ... Here.
ELCA News Service ... Here
ELCA's blogs may be found here. See especially "Web and Multimedia Development."
Spirit Spinning ... for those who hunger and thirst for a deeper connection with God ... Here.

Moravian Church
Moravian Church in North America  website.  
Moravian Church Northern Province website
Moravian Theological Seminary website.

United Methodist Church
• United Methodist Church raises millions in small donations to fight malaria[HuffPost]The United Methodist Church gave $9.6 million on Wednesday to the Global Fund, a health-focused nonprofit based in Geneva, to help the group fight malaria. It was the single largest contribution to the fund by a faith organization, and was made possible largely through grassroots efforts by congregants.Local fundraising efforts, ranging from lemonade stands to car washes to 5K runs, provided the bulk of the sum, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told The Huffington Post, with the average contribution amounting to just $ 87.31. Read on.

News Service

Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website  Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
Website ... Here.
News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Catholics around the world can't afford 'luxury issues'[Crux, John Allen] — Luxury issues are the arguments that only affluent cultures and churches can afford to have. Read on.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• Largest class of permanent deacons[Morning Call, Dan Sheehan, April 21] This year's class of permanent deacons, 47 men, is the largest of any RC diocese in the U.S. Read on. [Bill] In the Episcopal Church, they are called vocational deacons, or simply deacons. The Roman Catholic Church calls them permanent deacons, as opposed to transitional deacons, i.e., those who are ordained deacons on their way to ordination as priests.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here

The Vatican
• Pope Francis removes Bishop Finn[Commonweal, Grant Gallicho, April 21] In a one-sentence bulletin, the Vatican announced that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, who was convicted of failing to report child abuse in 2012, has resigned. Pope Francis accepted Finn's resignation "in conformity with canon 401, paragraph 2"--the statute that covers bishops who cannot fulfill their duties because of poor health or "other grave reasons." News of the resignation follows months of speculation, which had intensified over the past week, that Pope Francis was poised to remove Finn. In September 2014, the National Catholic Reporter revealed that a Canadian bishop had been sent by the Holy See to Kansas City to investigate Finn. Just last November, Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston, president of the pope's new commission on child protection, told 60 Minutes that the Holy See had to "address urgently" the case of Robert Finn. Less than six months later, Pope Francis has done just that. What might it mean. Read on. Also in Crux, by John Allen … In what is likely to be hailed as major step toward accountability for Catholic bishops who mishandle sexual abuse allegations, the Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn. Read on. And, from RNS … Five lessons from the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn. Pope Francis send a powerful message to the Catholic Church. Read on.

Francis: Priests should never refuse baptism to one who asks
… [NCR]  In words that may be interpreted to rebut Catholic priests who refuse to baptize children of same-sex couples, Pope Francis has said that priests should not refuse baptism to anyone who asks for the sacrament. Speaking in a homily Sunday (April 26) for the ordination of 19 new priests for the diocese of Rome, Francis told the new ministers: "With baptism, you unite the new faithful to the People of God. It is never necessary to refuse baptism to someone who asks for it!" The pontiff also in the homily personally pleaded that all priests be merciful when hearing confessions."In the confessional, you will be there to forgive, not to condemn!" Read on.

• Will Pope Francis break the church?[The Atlantic, Ross Douthat]
The new pope's choices stir high hopes among liberal Catholics and intense uncertainty among conservatives. Deep divisions may lie ahead. Read on.

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

The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium] ... Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, with detailed table of contents. Here.

Health and Wellness
The making of Dr. Oz: How an award-winning doctor turned away from science and embraced fame[Vox, Julia Belluz. April 16] Parts of Dr. Oz's message have come under fire recently from the federal government and the scientific community for deviating too far from established medical fact. This scrutiny, however, hasn't cooled the ardor of fans. … After covering Oz for several years, I'm fascinated by him. How did a gifted, award-winning cardiothoracic surgeon with credentials from three Ivy League schools become a TV star who promotes belly-fat busters and anti-aging tricks? I'm also intrigued by the hold he has on his fans. Why do so many people place their trust — and their health — in the hands of a TV personality? What does his popularity say about Americans' attitudes toward science? …
A group of professors, scientists and doctors, led by Stanford University's Henry Miller, is asking Columbia to reconsider Oz's faculty appointment. "Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both," they wrote in a recent letter to Lee Goldman, Columbia's dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine. "Members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz's presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable." The medical community's reluctance to hold Oz accountable is part of a problem that's bigger than the man himself. Read on.

• The real reason hackers want your medical records[Kernel] “You may be personally offended that someone would know that much about your health history, the conversations you’ve had with your physician about your sex life, or that you can’t sleep at night,” Velasquez said. “But thieves can’t really monetize that unless you’re a very attractive target and there’s something they could blackmail. The data that’s valuable to them are the personal identifiers” – names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and insurance information. That info can be used to obtain credit cards or loans, commit tax fraud, or send fake bills to insurance providers. Read on.

• Resources … below

• Resources … below.

•• If you are interested in listening to podcasts[Bill] The following podcasts may be found with the Stitcher app. I enjoy all of them. Not in any particular order. 1. TED Radio Hour; 2. Slate's Political Gabfest; 3. The Moth Podcast; 4.This American Life; 5. Radiolab from WNYC; 6. Hourly News Summary from NPR; 7. APM: A Prairie Home Companion; 8. Fresh Air; 9. Science Friday; 10. PBS News Hour; 11. The Pulse, WHYY; 12. OnBeing with Krista Tippett; 13. 60 Minutes, CBS; 14. The Ethicists; 15. Popping Collars. More to come. If you have a favorite podcast, please tell Bill, who will tell the world.

• 60 Minutes airs disturbing footage[Poynter] On Sunday, April 19, the storied newsmagazine decided to broadcast graphic footage for "A Crime Against Humanity," its report on the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria. The video showed "more than three minutes of video captured by cell phones of adults and children suffering seizures, vomiting and gasping for air," Poynter's Al Tompkins writes. (Poynter) | "As it aired, viewers by and large agreed that it was disturbing, but also necessary." (CNN) | Here's the report. (CBS News)

• Emily Nussbaum on Wolf Hall[Episcopal Café] Here.

• Resources … below.

Trapped Into Selling Magazines Door-to-Door[The Atlantic, Darlena Cunha, April 20] Traveling crews have been exploiting young workers and scamming customers for decades—and neither law enforcement nor Congress has been able to do anything about it. Read on.

• General enewsletter, near end of month, March
• Special enewsletter, mid month, March
DioBeth website

Stumbling into the Sacred ... [Reflections on seeing God in the everyday by Canon Anne E. Kitch]
newSpin blog ... including the newSpin weekly by Bill Lewellis.

Center for Congregations ... 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.
Congregational Consulting ...  More information on how to contact the consultants can be found here and at .
• Church locators
... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... 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.
Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.

• TREC [TaskForce for Reimagining the Episcopal Church]website.
Video Q&A with TREC panel at Oct. 2, 2014 TREC Churchwide Meeting at the Washington National Cathedral
• The Episcopal Church
website, news service, news service blog,

Episcopal Café
• AngicansOnline website and news centre.
The Living Church
• The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• The Daily Scan: Contact to add subscribers for news releases, notices, statements, or Daily Scan.
• Free weekly bulletin inserts provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Find the inserts here.
• Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Episcopal Church Event Calendar ... Here

Ecumenical/Interfaith Relations
• Ecumenical Relations …
DioBeth Resources
… Ecumenism/Interfaith

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP
... Here.

• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office
... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.

• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• Daily Prayer ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• 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.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.

• Evangelism ... at, Projects and Activities, Resources.
• Stewardship ... at, Reflections, Financial Campaigns, Small group studies, Stewardship education, Resources.
• EpiscopalShare ... Here.

• The 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.
• The Liturgical Calendar ... BCP, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, HWHM ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Celebrating the Eucharist, by Patrick Malloy. Google Book
• Enriching our Worship, 1 to 5 ... Free download here.
The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant: Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships [Extracted from Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing] Here.
• Collection of worship resources at
... Including Diocesan Cycles of Prayer for weekly worship, Holy Women Holy Men, and The Text This Week. Here.

Health and Wellness
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here
• WebMD ... Here.
• ... 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.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Center for Disease Control - Healthy Living
Church Health Reader

Eastern Pennsylvania Faith Community Nurses
Episcopal Mental Illness Network
Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH

National Episcopal Health Ministries
NEHM Wellness Resource Page 
Let's Move

• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Daily Religion Headlines ... 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.
• BBC News Online ... here.
• BBC Religion & Ethics ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• Religion Research Hub ... ARDA, Association of Religion Data Archives, an especially useful site.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.

• Spirituality & Film
... Here.

• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Books for Spiritual Journeys
... Here.

• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg
  ... Here. 
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox
... Here. 
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks
... Here and Here.
• Google Books
... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here. 
• The Online Books Page
... from UPenn. Here.

• More free eBooks  and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.

• Insights into Religion
... Here.

• The Alban Institute ... Here.

Religious Freedom Recap, our weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. - See more at:

The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on Bakery and on other diocesan lists of some 2,000 addresses. Many recipients forward it to others. It 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. Comments are welcome on Bakery (if you are subscribed to that interactive list) and at the newSpin blog. At the newSpin blog, click 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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