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December 2017

newSpin 171214

newSpin, the newsletter
December 14
, 2017 – Bill Lewellis

• Puerto Rico's hurricane death toll is much higher than the government has reported[NYT, Dec. 8] It may be over 1,000, not 62. Officially, just 62 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the island with nearly 150-mile-an-hour winds, cutting off power to 3.4 million Puerto Ricans. But The Times found that in the 42 days after the storm made landfall, 1,052 more people than usual died across the island. The analysis compared the number of deaths for each day in 2017 with the average of the number of deaths for the same days in 2015 and 2016. Read on.

• Nativity Cathedral hosting family of six from Puerto Rico[Dean Tony Pompa] The Cathedral community is responding to the crisis in Puerto Rico following the devastation of recent hurricane by providing short term housing to a family of 6. This family has endured much over the last year and now their home in Puerto Rico has met with complete devastation. Three adults and three children have been given refuge in an apartment on Cathedral grounds. One of the children is in need of medical treatment that cannot be provided in Puerto Rico. We are working closely with the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley who are providing a great deal of support. One member of this family is a social worker looking for employment. Read on.

• Influx of people from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico straining Lehigh Valley agencies[TMC] Community groups are feeling the strain of helping people flee hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, and are pleading for cash donations to aid families settling in the Lehigh Valley. Nonprofit leaders said their agencies have received an abundance of clothes and food. But now the urgent need is affordable housing and transportation costs. “We’re feeling that we’re not able to help enough,” said Mary Colon, interim executive director of the Hispanic Center in south Bethlehem. “We just want to do more for our folks.”
The call for help was made at a press conference Tuesday held by officials from the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, nonprofits involved in helping the victims of Hurricane Maria and community leaders. The Hispanic Center and Casa Guadalupe in Allentown have already helped more than 60 families each from Puerto Rico.
Many leaving Puerto Rico have come to the Lehigh Valley because they have family here. The most recent U.S. Census figures showed about 64,000 people of Puerto Rican heritage live in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Unlike Texas and New York, Pennsylvania has not been designated a host state for Hurricane Maria survivors by the federal government, a designation that would bring federal money. That means nonprofits and community groups must use their own small budgets to help victims.
Alan Jennings, executive director of the CACLV, said efforts to help Puerto Ricans coming to the Valley are putting a strain on nonprofits. Among the problems is charities don’t have enough staff to meet the demand. “These are nonprofits that struggle in the best of times,” he said. “Now we’ve got arguably the worst of times.” CACLV will collect monetary donations and disperse them among the groups. Donations can be made on CACLV’s website. Read on.

• The Silence Breakers[Person of the Year 2017, TIME Magazine]
Taylor Swift says she was made to feel bad about the consequences that her harasser faced. After she complained about a Denver radio DJ named David Mueller, who reached under her skirt and grabbed her rear end, Mueller was fired. He sued Swift for millions in damages. She countersued for a symbolic $1 and then testified about the incident in August. Mueller's lawyer asked her, on the witness stand, whether she felt bad that she'd gotten him fired. "I'm not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault," she told the lawyer. "I'm being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine." (Mueller said he would appeal.)
   In an interview with TIME, Swift says that moment on the stand fueled her indignation. "I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances," she says, "imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance." Like the five women gathered at that echoing soundstage in San Francisco, and like all of the dozens, then hundreds, then millions of women who came forward with their own stories of harassment, she was done feeling intimidated. Actors and writers and journalists and dishwashers and fruit pickers alike: they'd had enough. What had manifested as shame exploded into outrage. Fear became fury.
   This was the great unleashing that turned the #MeToo hashtag into a rallying cry. The phrase was first used more than a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke as part of her work building solidarity among young survivors of harassment and assault. A friend of the actor Alyssa Milano sent her a screenshot of the phrase, and Milano, almost on a whim, tweeted it out on Oct. 15. "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote, and then went to sleep. She woke up the next day to find that more than 30,000 people had used #MeToo. Milano burst into tears. Read on.

Default must be to trust the victim[NCR Editorial Staff, Dec. 12] In our legal system, we presume an accused person to be innocent until someone can prove otherwise. In the case of sexual assault, violence or harassment, that means the burden is on victims to prove their trustworthiness. Often, in those cases, we are asked to choose sides based on the stories of the only two people involved — the accuser and the accused. In the post-Weinstein milieu we are now experiencing, one is a woman and the other a man who holds some level of power. In a different conversation, the victims have been children and the powerful accused have been priests … Women, children, anyone who has been abused or who has felt some sexual pressure by a person in power must be shown the respect of our trust. They must feel confident that if they tell their stories, people will listen. Moreover, they must be able to draw from that sense of public trust in finding the strength to push back when faced with an ugly situation. Read on.

•  Boston. Racism. Image. Reality [Boston Globe, Spotlight]
The median net worth of non-immigrant African-American households in the Boston area is just $8, the lowest in a five-city study of wealth disparities. It’s hard to ignore the dramatic contrast to the $247,500 net worth for white households in the Boston area. That borders on insane and absurd. The disparity in Boston just transcends everything, said William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at Duke University who was one of the lead investigators of that study, which involved the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It’s just staggering. And when it comes to income alone, the imbalance looks like this: For every one black household earning more than $75,000 in the metro region, there are about 21 white ones. Read on. Read on.

• First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem property belongs to national denomination
[MC, Sarah M. Wojcik, Dec 12] A Northampton County judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the congregants of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem who’ve remained loyal to the national denomination in a court case over who keeps the sprawling church property on Center Street. In a 42-page ruling, President Judge Stephen Baratta declared that the 31.5-acre property was held in trust for the national denomination, Presbyterian Church USA, and was not the property of the church members to do with what they pleased.
Opposing the national body was a majority of the congregation that had joined with a more conservative branch of the church which, among other things, opposes gay marriage and gay ordination. Read on.

• Study ranks RC dioceses' online financial transparency [NCR, Peter Feuerherd, Dec. 7] Separated by a continent, the dioceses of Sacramento, California, and Camden, New Jersey, are also divided by degrees of financial transparency. Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time. That is a takeaway from a study on financial transparency undertaken recently by Voice of the Faithful, a church watchdog group. The study surveyed dioceses and archdioceses across the country, rating them from most transparent to most opaque. The study was based on how much financial information is accessible on diocesan websites. Read on. Also here.

• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 30Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22Here
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• The Republican war on children[NYT, Paul Krugman, Dec 7] Let me ask you a question; take your time in answering it. Would you be willing to take health care away from a thousand children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir? Read on.

• Fight the tax plan and the coming budget cuts
[NCR Editorial Staff, Dec. 8] What is truly wrong with this plan, however, is that is just the first step of a two-step process that will accelerate the decades-long conservative agenda to shrink government and reduce social investments that aid all Americans.
Numerous analyses have shown the Republican messaging on this tax plan to be a lie. The plan does not favor the middle class. We have yet to see a final reconciliation bill, but what we have seen in the Senate and House versions are tax cuts that flow overwhelmingly to the richest households and to profitable corporations. The Senate bill would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance and severely undermine confidence in the health care market.
Numerous studies, even those done by government offices, say these plans will add a trillion dollars and probably more to the deficit. These studies, too, refute Republican claims that giving more money to the wealthy and large corporations will stimulate economic growth and generate enough revenues to offset the cuts. Read on.

• Questions[Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe] Sometimes attaining the deepest familiarity with a question is our best substitute for actually having the answer.”

• No word …One degree of separation. During a conversation yesterday with a friend of the mother of a young woman who was shot and killed recently, I mentioned that while a young child who has lost her parents is called an orphan, a wife who loses her husband is referred to as a widow, and a husband who loses his wife is a widower … there is no word for a parent who loses her child. "It's too terrible to name," she said. "It's not meant to happen."

• Finding and losing[Thomas Merton] Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

• Lost in translation?[NYT, Dec. 8] It has been a question of theological debate and liturgical interpretation for years, and now Pope Francis has joined the discussion: Does the Lord’s Prayer, Christendom’s resonant petition to the Almighty, need an update? Read on.

• The truth about the war on Christmas[Mic video] A Jesuit priest explains the truth about the "War on Christmas" — and it's really not what you think. Here.

• 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.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below

Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spi


• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the People
Linked here from Trinity Bethlehem are Jubilate, a resource for hymn selection, and weekly Prayers of the People which may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in Word (.doc) and .pdf formats.

• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 30 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22 … Here

• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.

DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
Under "More Resources" way below.

• Presiding Bishop Curry's Christmas Message 2017 Video and Transcript.

• House of Bishops, Alaska meeting … Three videos. Here.

Your Faith, Your Life  … [Church Publishing, Revised Edition of the 2009 book by Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis, Nov. 2017] The everything-you-need to know adult guide to the Episcopal Church that is easy to read but with substance for newcomers, adult formation groups, and lifelong Episcopalians who desire to know more about their church. The language of worship, theology, church structure, sacraments, and discipleship offers a framework to explore the meaning and practice of being an Episcopalian and follower of Jesus. Not just a book of information, but a book for transformation. Read on.
   "Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis have completed a generous update of the 2009 instant classic Your Faith, Your Life, presenting orthodoxy for the 21st century. It's not rewriting orthodoxy to include 21st century ideals, its showing that orthodoxy always included these ideals. New textbooks on physics aren't created because the immutable laws of physics have changed. New discoveries illuminate what was already there: quarks, gluons, earth-like planets. These don't change our view of Newton's laws of gravity, or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Likewise, Gamber and Lewellis have brought the "new" discoveries of the gospel of inclusion, the Jesus Movement, and the modern Church to a new guidebook of Episcopal identity. Your Faith, Your Life will be the new must have for Confirmation classes, adult education, college ministry, and other formation needs. It offers a simple guide through what it means to be an Episcopal disciple in the 21st century." ––Bill Campbell, Executive Director of Forma 

• The Good Book Club[ENS]  Resources now available. Here.

• The Toolkit of the Public Affairs Office … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."
• Sermons that work, Weekly bulletin inserts and more … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Charity Navigator…maintains lists of charities and offers advice on how to pick a charity. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is highly rated, above American Red Cross. Read on.

• An ethical guide to responsible giving[The Conversation] Before you reach for that checkbook or give to a charity online, pause to think about what makes a cause good in the first place. Read on.

Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
• Additional Resources

... way below


In the Media

• Tom Roberts
[NCR, Dec. 8]
Tom Roberts, who has served the mission and readers of NCR for nearly 24 years, is retiring. The official record will note that Roberts joined NCR in January 1994 serving as managing editor, editor and editor at large. The simplicity of those words do not convey the true meaning of what Roberts has done for this news organization and for those of us who have had the privilege, honor and pleasure to have worked with him. Read on.
   [Bill] During my early years on the staff of the bishop of Allentown, as press liaison and communication minister, Tom was a young reporter at the old Bethlehem Globe under John Strohmeyer. We became good friends. His gifts, integrity and professionalism have been a blessing to journalism, especially along the religion landscape. Tom was one of three local journalists who left a deep impression on me. I remember his affection for Dan Berrigan and the story of the teenage Jesus he wove into a column, a story he heard from Berrigan. That story, with attribution, appeared in several of my own columns and sermons over the years. I suggested to Tom that his dream job might be with the National Catholic Reporter. He applied. NCR offered him a job in Washington, but the money wasn’t what he needed at the time. He then went to and saved “Religious” News Service – and happily changed its name. Ultimately, he became editor at the NCR. Tom was a progressive Roman Catholic thoughout his life. The RC Church in the U.S. owes Tom big time for the many time he kept that institution honest.

• Marketing stories, news and spotlights [The Mission] Seth Godin: “Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. People don’t trust the beautiful women ordering vodka at the corner bar (they’re getting paid by the liquor company). People don’t trust the spokespeople on commercials (who exactly is Rula Lenska?). And they certainly don’t trust the companies that make pharmaceuticals (Vioxx, apparently, can kill you). As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.” Read on.

• The nature and power of fiction … [AM, Liam Callanan, Oct. 31] Good nonfiction may teach us what to believe, but fiction teaches us how. Read on.

Requiescant in pace
Robert Hugh Nourse, 84 … died on Dec. 4.
He was a member of Trinity Easton. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
The evangelical slippery slope, from Ronald Reagan to Roy Moore [LATimes, Randall Balmer, Dec. 11] I left the evangelical subculture, more or less, at the end of the 1970s. Little did I know that evangelicals were then stepping onto their own slippery slope that would lead to Donald Trump and now Roy Moore. To say that I left the evangelical subculture is not quite accurate — and not only because evangelicalism is so stamped into my DNA that it is impossible to leave entirely. Evangelicalism really left me more than I left it. The religious tradition that shaped me was part of a long and noble movement that, in earlier generations of American life, took the part of those on the margins of society. Evangelicals, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sought to educate those on the bottom rungs of society so they would have a better life. They worked for the abolition of slavery and advocated equal rights, including voting rights for women.
   By the late 1970s, however, leaders of the religious right were preparing to abandon that legacy, and their first step onto the slippery slope was their embrace of Ronald Reagan. Read on.

• The real danger of religious lies …  [CNN, Daniel Burke, Dec. 2] Earlier this week, a Russian Orthodox cleric investigating the 1918 assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family raised the possibilityt hat it was a "ritual murder." To many observers, that statement might sound strange, but more or less inoffensive. To Jews, however, it raised the haunting specter of "blood libel," a pernicious and long-lasting lie about Jews murdering Christian children and using their blood in religious rituals. Used for hundreds of years as a pretext to torture, imprison and kill Jews, the "blood libel" myth may be the worst religious lie in circulation, but it is far from the only one. Read on.

• For unto (some of) us a child is born[Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman, Dec. 3]
This is the season when choral music aficionados will argue the merits of various renderings of G. F. Handel’s masterwork while pretty much ignoring the peculiar theology of the Charles Jennens libretto for Messiah—60 percent of which was stitched together from bits of the Hebrew Bible as viewed through the lens of Christian triumphalism. But attention should be paid to the theology, especially to the question of who exactly is the “us” in in Part 1, No. 12: “For unto us a child is born.” Read on.

• More Resources

... way below

Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
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
• Fomer Salvadoran official extradited, to stand trial for murder of Jesuits[NCR, Nov. 29] A 9-year legal battle has ended with U.S. officials handing over custody of Inocente Orlando Montano, a former Salvadoran army colonel, to Spanish authorities who have indicted him for "terrorist" murder in connection with the 1989 Jesuit massacre in El Salvador. Read on.

• Policing the Communion line[Commonweal, Cathleen Kaveny, Nov. 29] Why sacramental rigorism backfires. Read on.

• How a group of California nuns challenged the Catholic Church[The Conversation, Diane Winston, Dec. 6]
California in the 1960s was the epicenter for spiritual experimentation. Indian gurus and New Age prophets, Jesus freaks and Scientologists all found followings in the Golden State. But among those looking for personal and social transformation, the unlikeliest seekers may have been a small community of Roman Catholic religious: the Immaculate Heart Sisters. Theirs was, as I discovered in my research on the order, a compelling spiritual saga, culminating in a showdown with the Catholic hierarchy. The story of that conflict spotlights the impact of the California dream on a Church in transition. Read on.

• NY Catholic archdiocese pays $40 million to sex abuse victimss[AP, Dec. 7]
Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse, the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday. The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed. Money for the payouts came through a long-term loan.Mediators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros evaluated victim claims and determined compensation. Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said he did not have a specific breakdown of how much each recipient received; some of the victims’ claims date back decades. The payouts averaged $211,600. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton
... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.

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

The Vatican
• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.

Health and Wellness
• Forgetfulness and aging: What's normal?

• Flu shots
… Got mine. Got yours? Read on.

• More Resources… below.


• A mess without adult supervision [Kevin Roose, NYTimes, Dec. 11]
If you’ve lost sleep worrying about the growing power of the alt-right — that shadowy coalition that includes white nationalists, anti-feminists, far-right reactionaries and meme-sharing trolls — I may have found a cure for your anxiety. Just try using its websites. Read on.

• Not So Great Escape[Rand Richards Cooper, Commonweal, Nov. 29] Cooper looks at Novitiate, writer-director Margaret Betts’s new film, set in 1964, about life among young cloistered nuns. “One can’t help but warm to the luminous performance of Margaret Qualley as Sister Cathleen,” Cooper writes. “But the religious life as Betts depicts it is little more than a stifling regimen of deprivation … Novitiate sets its sights not on eternity, but pathology.” Read on.

• Cue the religion scholar![RNS, Cathy Lynn Grossman, Dec. 1] Representing faith on the big and small screen. You try boiling down 400 years of religious history into a few seconds. Read on.

Websites, Podcasts and Blogs
The Episcopal CaféHere.

Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere. Story here.

• Radiolab … is a radio show and podcast about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … is a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. David Axelrod is the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
• The Daily … This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Vox's The Weeds is a semiweekly policy podcast hosted by Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias.

• The Five People [Podcaster Tim Ferriss] You are the average of the five people you most associate with.

• A murmuration of starlings … [Aeon] The flight of a starling flock at dusk, known as a murmuration, is one of nature’s most beguiling sights. Blurring the line between the individual and the group, murmurations involve synchronised swooping patterns to ward off predators and exchange information in a manner that’s still something of a mystery to scientists. Read on.

• Why you need to touch your keys to believe they're in your bag[Aeon] An important aspect of touch is often missed: touching is more psychologically reassuring than seeing. Touch does not always make us experience things better, but it certainly makes us feel better about what we experience. Even when we can see that the keys are in our bags, we are much more certain that they are once we’ve touched them.
What might seem almost superstitious at first could however have deeper reasons. The assurance that touch gives us makes it rather special in our epistemic life. René Descartes came close to this diagnosis when he noted that the evidence we got from touch was somewhat harder to discard: ‘Of all our senses,’ he wrote in The World (1633), ‘touch is the one considered least deceptive and the most secure.’ We have perhaps to remember the biblical story of doubting Thomas to understand the privilege of touch: Thomas had to touch Christ’s wounds to be convinced the person in front of him was Jesus.
The story of Thomas tells us something important. Touching ‘to be sure’ is especially relevant when our other senses or beliefs create a situation of high uncertainty. Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder keep touching the objects of their anxiety, even though they can look at them: they return to turn off the tap, even when they can see or hear that no water is dripping. Research also shows that people experience apprehension when interacting with graphical user interfaces that display objects that cannot be touched. Touching reassures; knowing that things can’t be touched can create anxiety. Now why would touch bring us more certainty? Read on

Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
… Anglicans Online
…ple Associated Press
… Columbia Journalism Review
… Commonweal
… Crux Now
… Catholic News Service
… Diocese of Bethlehem
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. 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, as we experience and dance 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, the Canon to the Ordinary 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]

More Resources

• 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 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. 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

• 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 more than 425 members

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

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.

DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
• Allentown: Episcopal House … Here.
• Allentown: Grace … Here.
• Allentown: Grace Montessori School … Here.
• Allentown: Mediator … Here. Refugee Community Center … Here.
• Allentown/Bethlehem: St. Andrew … Here.
• Athens: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Nativity Cathedral … Here. Emergency Shelter … Here.
• Bethlehem: New Bethany Ministries … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Carbondale: St. James-St. George … Here.
• Clarks Summit/Glenburn: Epiphany … Here.
• Dallas: Prince of Peace … Here.
• Douglassville: St. Gabriel … Here.
• Easton: Trinity … Here.  ARK Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Emmaus: St. Margaret … Here.
• Forest City: Christ Church … Here.
• Hazleton: St. Peter … Here.
• Hamlin: St. John … Here.
• Hellertown: St. George … Here.
• Honesdale: Grace … Here.
• Jermyn: St. James/St. George … Here.
• Jim Thorpe: St. Mark/St. John … Here.
• Kingston: Grace … Here.
• Lebanon: St. Luke … Here.
• Lehighton: All Saints … Here.
• Milford: Good Shepherd … Here.
• Montrose: St. Paul … Here.
• Morgantown: St. Thomas … Here.
• Moscow: St. Mark … Here.
• Mountain Top: St. Martin-in-the-Fields … Here.
• Mount Pocono: … Here.
• Nanticoke/Alden Station: St. Andrew … Here.
• Nazareth: St. Brigid … Here.
• Palmerton: St. John … Here.
• Pen Argyl: St. Joseph … Here.
• Pottsville: Trinity … Here.
• Reading: Christ Church … Here.  SPARK … Here.
• Reading: St. Mary: … Here.
• Sayre: Redeemer: … Here.
• Schuylkill County: North Parish … Here.
• Scranton: St. Luke: … Here.
• Sinking Spring: St. Alban … Here.
• Stroudsburg: Christ Church … Here.
• Towanda: Christ Church … Here.
• Trexlertown: St. Anne … Here.
• Tunkhannock: St. Peter … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen School … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Clement/St. Peter … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Stephen … Here.
• West Pittston: Trinity … Here.
• Wind Gap: St. Mary … Here.
[Bill] Please let me know if your website is not listed above. Also, let me know if you would like me to highlight something on your site. Please note, also, that a few of the websites need to be updated. Thanks.]

• Data and Analysis from the 2016 Parochial Reports … of the Episcopal Church are available here.

• 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

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer,, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

Ecumenical/Interfaith Relations
• The Episcopal Church
… is currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

• Five major world religions
… Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  • Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.  
• Protestant Reformation… 
Khan Academy's introduction to the Protestant Reformation

• Five major world religions … Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  •
Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.   MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

• Protestant Reformation
  Khan Academy's introduction to the
Protestant Reformation  MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

• 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.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... 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.

• 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.