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Incarnation: God getting down

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newSpin, the newsletter
December 10, 2015
Bill Lewellis

[The next issue of the newSpin newsletter will likely be Jan. 21, after the new year. I hope you miss it until then. :-)]

TopSpin  [• New item  •• Repeat]
• Incarnation: God getting down [Bill] Anglican reflection on our relationship with God begins with Christmas … with God getting down. From there, we move toward the cross and resurrection. In many faith groups, reflection about our relationship with God begins with Good Friday and Easter… with fallen humanity that needs to be saved. I’m not suggesting that one way of getting at the mystery of our relationship with God is better than the other. How would I know? But they are different. And one surely works better for me: to begin not with “Am I saved?” but with “Have I gotten down?” Do I know people in low places?
   The basic Christmas truth is that Jesus is God getting down  and that God continues to touch us through flesh and blood. God uses many media of self disclosure. God touches us through family, relatives, friends, people we don’t even know, even unlikely persons? It’s all part of Incarnation. What story might you tell to celebrate God’s Incarnation … about one way, perhaps, that the word became flesh in your life? How have you touched others?
   Christmas is about a special moment of God’s intervention in history. Christian theology calls it the coming – the already but not yet coming – of the kingdom of God. Through his life and ministry, Jesus pointed to the coming of the kingdom of God. He used subversive speech -- parables and stories that subverted the ordinary, familiar, taken-for-granted world in which we live, while pointing to a strange, surprising world, a world turned upside down. And we know what happened to him.
   I recall years ago when I first heard the phrase altruistic donation. A new way to think about the coming of the kingdom. Altruistic donation. I knew what each word meant, but the phrase in its specialized context was new to me. It has to do with organ donors. Of the more than 100,000 living kidney donors in the U.S., less than one half of one percent were altruistic donors in the sense of people who gave their organs to strangers.
   One would think there might be more. Actually, there are. Many more people make the altruistic offer. Few altruistic donors, however, are accepted. Only about 5%, one of every 20 who make the offer. Most are rejected because altruistic donors must pass rigorous physical and mental health testing. That makes sense. But I do long for a world where altruistic donation of any sort would be the norm, where the presumption would not have to be that altruistic donors have mental health issues.
   That’s my take on the coming of the kingdom, a time when our world will be filled with altruistic donors, joining God to do what we can do to bring about right relationships. God has already gotten down to make the relationship between God and us right. Now, we need continually to get down to make relationships among ourselves right.
   In Episode #32 of The West Wing, a person on the president's staff, having undergone a traumatic event, is required to see a doctor of the American Trauma Victims Association. The session goes on all day and well into the night. The diagnosis is PTSD. Josh is worried that this will cause him to be let go from the president's staff. When Josh heads back to his office, he passes Leo, chief-of-staff and recovering alcoholic, who is sitting in the lobby. "How'd it go?" Leo asks. After some banter, Josh tells Leo what he has been trying to hide – fear about losing his job. Then Leo tells him a story.
   "This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out."A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on."Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"
   After that, Leo tells Josh not to worry about his job. "As long as I got a job, you got a job."
  
Now that’s a Christmas story. The mystery and the scandal of incarnation. The Word was made flesh. God getting down. “Are you stupid, God? Now we’re both down here.” That’s the Christmas story, not so much a story about Jesus as it is a story of God. God is in the hole with us.
   That’s what we discover at the manger.
That’s where Christianity begins, with God becoming one of us. Theologians call it the Incarnation. Not the birthday of Jesus – we don’t know when Jesus was born – but the Incarnation. That’s the mystery we contemplate with joy and wonder at the manger. 

• The shocking truth about Muslims in America
[CNN] In many ways, they're a lot like other everyday Americans. Read on.


• Hysteria about refugees, but blindness on guns[Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes Sunday Review, Dec. 5] For three weeks American politicians have been fulminating about the peril posed by Syrian refugees, even though in the last dozen years no refugee in America has killed a single person in a terror attack. In the same three weeks as this hysteria about refugees, guns have claimed 2,000 lives in America. The terror attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs were the most dramatic, but there’s an unrelenting average of 92 gun deaths every day in America, including suicides, murders and accidents. So if politicians want to tackle a threat, how about developing a serious policy to reduce gun deaths — yes, including counterterrorism measures, but not simply making scapegoats of the world’s most vulnerable people. Read on.

• How Catholic leaders are defying governors who are trying to block refugees[WaPo, Leslie Caimi, Dec. 8] The Catholic Church is pledging assistance to Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States, thwarting attempts by governors to prevent an influx of refugees from the war-torn nation. On Monday night, the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis facilitated the arrival of a Syrian refugee family to the city, openly challenging Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s call to halt the arrival of refugees from Syria.

   In the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris on Nov. 13, Pence joined 31 governors, primarily Republican, in objecting to the federal government’s program to resettle refugees from Syria in the United States, citing fears that there are gaps in the screening process for potential security risks. Pence was among those state leaders who directed state agencies to suspend disbursing funds for services to refugees originating from Syria. But Catholic leaders across the United States cried foul on plans to close the door on refugees from Syria, loudly reminding their respective communities of the humanitarian need. Read on.

•• New Policy of The Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania & The Diocese of Bethlehem on Marriage and Blessing Liturgies of The Episcopal Church [Bishop Sean] Here and Here.

Where Religion, Culture and Politics Intersect  [• New item  •• Repeat]

DioBeth  [• New item  •• Repeat] 
•• In Remembrance of Mark Dyer … A YouTube video of the diocesan convention banquet program, Oct. 2. Produced and edited by Jeffrey Kemmerer.

•• Canon Andrew Gerns among five nominees for bishop of Northern Indiana … The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Nov. 15 announced a slate of five nominees to stand for the election as the eighth bishop of the diocese. Read on.
 
•  St. Brigid’s  Nazareth … at 310 Madison, will host a Holiday Gift Shoppe on Saturday, December 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Items for sale will include new and gently used goods, used books, crafts, baked goods, hot dogs, chili, soup, and much more.  Also, a raffle off various gift baskets.

• Prince of Peace
… 420 Main St, Dallas. invites you to an evening of beautiful Christmas choral music on Saturday, December 19 beginning at 7:00 PM. A group of very talented musicians from the area will be performing a variety of Christmas music under the direction of Jennifer Hunter.  Performers include Jessica Martin, Juliana Pillets, Jennifer Hunter, Gianna Evans, Alice Hudak, Jeff Algatt, and Matt Kelly. Narration by Don & MaryAnn Hopkins. Light refreshments will follow the concert. There is no charge for this event, however a free will offering will be collected to benefit Prince of Peace Church. More information on this and other events at the parish website www.princeofpeacedallaspa.org or contact the church office 570.675.1723.

•• The Diocese of Bethlehem's State of the Diocese report for 2014 … prepared for the Standing Committee according to the Constitution of the Diocese of Bethlehem, is now online. The report, prepared by Canon Bob Wilkins, a former treasurer of the diocese and a past president of the Incorporated Trustees, details the membership, attendance, finances, stewardship and clergy deployment of congregations in the diocese. Read the report.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 19Here

• DioBeth General News, Dec. 3Here.

•• Look online … for the Diocese of Bethlehem Facebook Page, Facebook Group (Bethlehem Episcopalians) and Twitter feed.

•• Bethlehem Episcopalians … is a Facebook group for conversations about mission, spirituality, Christian formation, and more that has replaced the old Bakery email list. Bethlehem Episcopalians is an open group. Anyone can join and items that you post can be shared by group members on their own Facebook pages. This offers each of us the opportunity to reach a larger audience with news and conversations about what God is doing in our diocese." Join the Facebook group. Includes 352 members.

• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin
[Bill] Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter.

   The Leadership News and the General News are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. Find the most recent General News, December 3, here. Find the most recent Leadership News, November 19, here.
   The newSpin newsletter you are now reading is not an official publication – and will usually not duplicate news, info and features relating to our diocese and parishes found in the official newsletters. It is a relatively lengthy eclectic sampling of items related to religion – at times not, at times not so clearly – that the editor thinks readers might find to be of interest. It has been a kind of hobby of a onetime communication minister, the work of a volunteer who in retirement enjoys and dedicates time to do the research required. I always post the newSpin newsletter on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to Jo Trepagnier, jo@diobeth.org.

Episcopal/Anglican [• New item  •• Repeat] 
• Britain should stop acting as if it is a Christian country[The Telegraph, UK] Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, a major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society has concluded, provoking a furious backlash from ministers and the Church of England. A two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, calls for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianised. It says that the decline of churchgoing and the rise of Islam and other faiths mean a "new settlement" is needed for religion in the UK, giving more official influence to non-religious voices and those of non-Christian faiths. Read on.

• Historic Virginia church to remove images of Confederate flags [Richmond Times-Dispatch] The 'Cathedral of the Confederacy' has begun removing six plaques with various versions of the Confederate flag, the church’s coat of arms with the flag on kneelers at the high altar, and bookplates in some books in the church’s library. Read on.

• Resources … way below.

• SpiritSpin  [• New item  •• Repeat]
• A powerful poem on the meaning of Christmas … [Crux, Margery Eagan, Dec. 2] He is not known, certainly, for his religiosity. Yet contemporary critics have called Auden’s “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio,” one of the most powerful poems ever on the meaning of Christmas. These critics include some who do not even believe in Christmas, like New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik.
   Auden’s is a “Christmas that can glimpse redemption even in the trivialization of Christmas, in the frantic shopping, distracted gaiety and unsuccessful attempts … to love all of our relatives,” wrote Peter Steinfels in The New York Times. Auden’s “is a Christmas for grown-ups.”
   The poem focuses on the incarnation as an annual reminder of how God becoming Man redeemed from insignificance the monotonous sludge, pettiness, and brokenness of our lives, to paraphrase William F. French in the magazine, “The Christian Century.” God in our world, he said, imbued the mundane with the sacred. Read on.


• Daily Advent Meditations of Canon Anne KitchHere.

•• Just Pray … The Church of England's new website on prayer. Here.

• Saint Fred Rogers, the patron saint of neighborliness[Kottke] Jonathan Merritt writes in The Atlantic about Fred Rogers, ordained Presyterian minister and beloved childre's TV show host who used his faith and TV to help millions of children. Read on.

• Only because we don't[Maria Popova] The following is the poetic title of a 2003 paper by the physicist Brian Josephson about Einstein’s famous conversation with the Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore: “We Think That We Think Clearly, but That’s Only Because We Don’t Think Clearly.” [Excerpt from a review by Maria Popova of Lisa Randall's book, "Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs," in the NYTimes Sunday Book Review.]

• A good theory[Maria Popova] is an act of the informed imagination — it reaches toward the unknown while grounded in the firmest foundations of the known. [The opening sentence of a review by Maria Popova of Lisa Randall's book, "Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs," in the NYTimes Sunday Book Review.]


• Spirit Resources
 ... way below.

Columns, Sermons, Reflections and other Spin  [• New item  •• Repeat]
• End the gun epidemic in America[NYTimes Editorial Board] It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. Read on.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth  [• New item  •• Repeat]
• This provocative new approach to giving can help you save more lives with your money[WaPo, Colby Itkowitz]
When deciding where to contribute, most Americans are drawn to causes they connect with personally or that provoke an emotional response. They give to charities seeking cures for illnesses that have impacted loved ones. They’re drawn to stories of individuals in crisis. And they respond more frequently to needs in this country. But a growing social movement, Effective Altruism, challenges the notion that letting your heart direct your charitable giving is the best way to make a difference, or that giving in your own country is as virtuous as helping people abroad. Read on.

• Before Giving, Check Out Charities and Their Policies on Privacy [NYTimes, Ann Carrns] Social media and mobile apps offer easy new ways to give to nonprofits. But watchdog groups advise checking first to learn whether your information is likely to be sold or traded. Read on.

• Resources
 ... way below

In the Media  [• New item  •• Repeat]
• At St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre: Annual service will again shed light on the plight of the homeless … [Bill O'Boyle, Times Leader, Dec. 8] Stefanie Wolownik, former director at REACH, will again coordinate the observance. She says the annual service is an opportunity to remember those who may have been forgotten — those who have become invisible, whose families may have given up on them due to their addiction or mental illness. “The homeless deserve the respect and dignity afforded all human beings,” she said. “And if they didn’t feel it during their life, maybe we can remember they existed and that their death matters.”

   The 10th Annual Homeless Persons Memorial Service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday [Dec. 14] at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes Barre.  It will be a short service, followed by a candlelight vigil/necrology and a light meal in the church’s Fellowship Hall. “I hope you can join us in remembering those who may have been forgotten,” Woloniak wrote to me. That simple sentence, that polite request, says so much more than she realizes — to remember those who may have been forgotten. The homeless who have passed have certainly been forgotten by most of the greater Wyoming Valley community. The reality is they were forgotten long before they passed away. And that is our biggest failure of all. Read on.

Rest in Peace   [• New item  •• Repeat]
• René Girard, 91 … was one of the leading thinkers of our era – a provocative sage who bypassed prevailing orthodoxies and "isms" to offer a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history and human destiny.The renowned Stanford French professor, one of the 40 immortels of the prestigious Académie Française, died at his Stanford home on Nov. 4 after a long illness. Fellow immortel and Stanford Professor Michel Serres once dubbed him "the new Darwin of the human sciences." The author who began as a literary theorist was fascinated by everything. History, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, religion, psychology and theology all figured in his oeuvre. International leaders read him, the French media quoted him. Girard influenced such writers as Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Czech writer Milan Kundera – yet he never had the fashionable (and often fleeting) cachet enjoyed by his peers among the structuralists, poststructuralists, deconstructionists and other camps. His concerns were not trendy, but they were always timeless. Read on.
   Also at Commonweal
where John Ranieri writes that Girard was a person of grace and humility who never claimed that his theory could explain everything. Almost without exception, students respond favorably to his work. In some cases, the encounter with Girard changes their lives—as it has changed mine. Also at RNS.

• Gloria (Ackerman) Bjorken, 86 … of West Lawn died on November 20. She was a member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Sinking Spring, where she actively headed up the Altar Guild for many years, and volunteered for many other church activities. Find obituary here.

She was a member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Sinking Spring, PA, where she actively headed up the Altar Guild for many years, and volunteered for many other church activities. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/readingeagle/obituary.aspx?n=gloria-bjorken-ackerman&pid=176641804&fhid=23072&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.UG4d1SCN.dpuf
Maryann E. Corona, 79

TaleSpin  [• New item  •• Repeat]
Where Justice Scalia got the idea [WaPo, Yanan Wang, Dec. 10] The Supreme Court Justice suggested that black students would fare better at "a less-advanced school — a slower-track school where they do well."  Read on.

•• Geography of Poverty: A journey through forgotten America[MSNBC] Poverty manifests itself in many ways — poor health care, substandard education, rugged housing, bad diet. But one of its often overlooked consequences is the harsh toll on the body exacted by the geopolitics of poverty, the lucrative energy industry and environmental hazards. As Trymaine Lee examines in this striking piece, the wheezing, coughing, burning eyes and early deaths in Louisiana’s so-called Cancer Alley are a direct result of the legacy of institutional, inescapable poverty that dates to the Antebellum South.This is SOUTHEAST, part two of MSNBC‘s four-part series, Geography of Poverty. INTRODUCTION. SOUTHWEST. NORTHEAST. NORTHWEST.

•• The shocking reach of U.S. child poverty[CBS MoneyWatch] America's childhood poverty numbers aren't pretty, but they are even uglier than you might think. Take a snapshot of the U.S. today, and you'll find that 22 percent of all children live in families that are below the federal poverty level. But what happens when you look at how American children fare throughout their pre-adult lives? It's nearly twice as bad. Read on.

BackSpin: Do you remember? [• New item  •• Repeat]

Employment Opportunities [• New item  •• Repeat]
• Episcopal Positions beyond DioBeth ... Here.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not [• New item  •• Repeat]
• Catholics shouldn't try to convert Jews, new Vatican document says … [RNS, Dec. 10] The Vatican has said that Catholics should witness to their faith but not undertake organized efforts to convert Jews, a significant step forward in the once tense relations between the two faiths. The document released on Thursday (Dec. 10) by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews also pushed for greater efforts to fight anti-Semitism. In its most explicit commentary on evangelization regarding Jews, the document said Catholics should take a different approach to Judaism than to other religions. Read on.

• Resources
… way below.

Evangelical Lutheran Church [• New item  •• Repeat]
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 [• New item  •• Repeat]
Moravian Church in North America  website.  
Moravian Church Northern Province website
Moravian Theological Seminary website.

United Methodist Church [• New item  •• Repeat]
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website  Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA [• New item  •• Repeat]
Website ... Here.

News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic [• New item  •• Repeat]
• What does the church expect?[Crux, Margery Eagan] The Archdiocese of Boston is polling Catholics in eastern Massachusetts to find out what we think of the Church and its leaders and to help them better serve us, The Boston Globe reported Sunday. Alas, they have not called me. But I will tell them anyway. Only about 16 percent of us attend weekly Mass, down from 70 percent in 1970. Many of us still hanging in are long in the tooth, as the saying goes. The situation is dire. Read on.

• #OpenTheseDoors: A movement to turn New York's closed churches into shelters [Religion Dispatches, Kaya Oakes, Dec. 9] When the archdiocese of New York announced in 2014 that it would begin closing parishes and merging them with neighboring churches, much of the media coverage was focused on the emotional impact. Generations of New Yorkers had worshipped in some of these parishes, and knowing that community ties would soon fray and sever was a painful experience. Cardinal Dolan argued that the decision was “about the future” and “about strength and renewal,” but parishioners felt angry and betrayed. The archdiocese, after all, is the largest landowner in New York: what would be done with these properties? Answers were not forthcoming.

   When news trickled out that the archdiocese had spent $175 million dollars to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral in advance of Pope Francis’ visit to New York, anger tuned to bitterness. And with Cardinal Dolan’s history of having shifted diocesan funds around during the sex abuse scandals when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, many were skeptical about the reason for these parish closures, and frustrated by the lack of transparency. The numbers of Catholics who attend weekly Mass may be shrinking, but some of those parishes were financially solvent. Dolan, according to canon lawyer Sister Kate Kuenstler, exacerbated the secrecy and “created chaos in the process, and confusion.” But the closures and mergers finally arrived. And when they did, a group of Catholics and people involved in housing rights began to wonder if, rather than being razed and converted to condos, as most closed churches have been in densely populated urban areas, these churches might serve another purpose. As of 2015, there are approximately 60,000 homeless people in New York, including close to 25,000 homeless children. As with most other cities, available shelter to meet these needs is inadequate. Karen Gargamelli, who works as a foreclosure prevention attorney in New York, is one of the activists behind the Open These Doors campaign, which hopes to convince Dolan that the closed parishes should be repurposed into housing for poor and low-to-moderate income New Yorkers. Read on.

• Diocese of Allentown
... Here.

• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

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


The Vatican [• New item  •• Repeat]
If climate talks stall, pope may gently intervene[AP]  If international climate talks in France really stall, don't be surprised if there might be an ever-so-slight intervention by Pope Francis. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace who helped draft the pope's June encyclical on global warming, said the pontiff has "deep trust" that negotiators in Paris will get the job done. But just in case they don't, the pope might possibly send a gentle message, he said … If the pope did intervene with a gentle statement if negotiations bog down, it would "show the gravity of the situation and highlight what's at stake," said Jennifer Morgan, global climate program director for the World Resources Institute. Joe Ware, a protestant spokesman for Christian Aid, welcomed the remark, saying such action "would just give that final nudge to the negotiations." 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.
A readers’ guide to “Laudato Si”[NCR, Thomas Reese, June 26] Chapter-by-chapter guidance with study questions to help in reading Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change. Intended for book clubs, classes and small discussion groups. Read on.

Health and Wellness [• New item  •• Repeat]
•• Have you gotten your flu shot?

• Resources
… below


Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech [• New item  •• Repeat]
Spotlight shows importance of investigative reporting[NCR, Bill Tammeus] As newspapers struggle to stay alive, what media outlets will be left to give citizens the information they need to hold their governments, their civic organizations and their faith communities accountable? … Just within the world of religion, well-trained journalists are needed to tell the countless stories of both good and evil (and the broad expanse between them) that adherents of various faith traditions need to know about -- from the continuing priest abuse scandal to violent extremists justifying their actions by citing Islam to prosperity gospel preachers bilking the masses while flying around in $65 million dollar private jets. Read on.

•• Over 45,000 free ebooks
[Stumble Upon] Gutenberg.org.

VariaSpin [• New item  •• Repeat]
• Great leaders know they're not perfect
[Harvard Business Review] Fearing exposure as a fraud, many leaders overcompensate with extreme attempts at flawlessness. There are three common, but mistaken, beliefs they share: (1) I have to be perfect. (2) I have to be 100% fair. (3) I have to be accessible 24/7. Read on.

• How to make small talk less painful … [Fast Company Leadership] Here.


******************
The strange word … Years ago, when I decided to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin, I had a few thoughts in mind. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items in newSpin are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Which items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, according to how we have experienced and danced with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. 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 Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

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]


Resources

DioBeth
• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin … Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The Diocesan e-Newsletter, (4) The newSpin newsletter. The Leadership News and the Diocesan e-Newsletter are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. The newSpin newsletter you are now reading is not an official publication – and will usually not duplicate news, info and features relating to our diocese and parish as found in the official newsletters. It is a relatively lengthy eclectic sampling of items related to religion – at times not, at times not so clearly – that the editor thinks readers might find to be of interest. It has been a kind of hobby of a onetime communication minister, the work of a volunteer who in retirement enjoys and dedicates time to do the research required. The newSpin newsletter is always posted on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to Jo Trepagnier, jo@diobeth.org.

• Look online … for the Diocese of Bethlehem Facebook Page, Facebook Group (Bethlehem Episcopalians) and Twitter feed.

• Bethlehem Episcopalians … is a Facebook group for conversations about mission, spirituality, Christian formation, and more that has replaced the old Bakery email list. Bethlehem Episcopalians is an open group. Anyone can join and items that you post can be shared by group members on their own Facebook pages. This offers each of us the opportunity to reach a larger audience with news and conversations about what God is doing in our diocese." Join the Facebook group.

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.
Facebook Page  … Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Facebook Group … Bethlehem Episcopalians
Twitter
Flickr
YouTube
Vimeo
LinkedIn

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 http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/ .
• 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.

Episcopal/Anglican
• TREC [TaskForce for Reimagining the Episcopal Church] … website.
• TREC … 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 publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org 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

Franklin Graham had a revelation. On Friday, Graham said it has “dawned” on him on how to “fight the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community.”

His solution: stop doing business with LGBT-friendly companies.

- See more at: http://elielcruz.religionnews.com/2015/06/07/franklin-graham-calls-on-christians-to-blacklist-lgbt-friendly-companies/?email=blewellis%40diobeth.org#sthash.WI32aUeD.dpuf

SpiritSpin
• 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 Soul ... 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.

• EpiscopalShare ... Here.

Bible&Worship
• 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 Diobeth.org ... 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.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Three Free Apps for getting qualified medical advice... [Techlicious] Urgent Care, HealthTap and First Aid. Info and links.
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

News/info/commentary
• 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.

Media/Film/TV/Books/Podcasts/Music/Tech
• 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.

Varia
• 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: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/09/16/burkini-compromise-pope-hearts-atheists-dozen-muslim-march-religious-freedom-recap-sept-9-sept-16/#sthash.nA6J6Y1Y.dpuf

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