newSpin, the newsletter
February 22, 2018 – Bill Lewellis
• Since Sandy Hook, more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings … [NYTimes, Feb. 15] When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it rattled Newtown, Conn., and reverberated across the world. Since then, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In those episodes, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were killed. The data used here is from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that began tracking school shootings in 2014. Read on.
• Two nominated for IX Bishop of Bethlehem … The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem released the names of two priests who will stand for election for the ninth bishop of the diocese. They are the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 55, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado. The search committee had chosen three nominees, but one withdrew shortly before the slate was presented to the Standing Committee, which oversees the election. More info and photos.
• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates … A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, are due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to email@example.com.
Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).
Jubilate, Lent Year B 2018 (WORD)
Jubilate, Lent Year B 2018 (PDF)
• DioBeth Leadership News, Feb. 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Feb. 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 1 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.
******** [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, firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 email@example.com ********
Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Heavy on bluster, thin on facts … [Commonweal, John Gehring, Commentary by Commonweal Editors] John Gehring comments on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s remarks that Dreamers are “too lazy” to register for protected status. Gehring points out that Kelly is “either oblivious to the irony of someone with his family’s background trafficking in pernicious stereotypes or knowingly tapping into the power of caricatures to dehumanize people.” It is “galling” that Kelly, Paul Ryan, and others enable such xenophobia when their own Irish Catholic ancestors faced similar nativism a century ago. But there is good news. “In the face of craven politicians who perpetuated fear and ugly stereotypes, those immigrants persevered and made America great.” Read on.
• "What terrifies religious extremists … like the Taliban are not American tanks or bombs or bullets, it’s a girl with a book.” –Malala Yousafzai
• The United States of Guns… [Jason Kottke, Feb. 14] Like many of you, I read the news of a single person killing at least 17 people in Parkland, Florida today. While this is an outrageous and horrifying event, it isn’t surprising or shocking in any way in a country where more than 33,000 people die from gun violence each year and guns that can fire dozens of rounds a minute are perfectly legal America is stuck in a Groundhog Day loop of gun violence. We’ll keep waking up, stuck in the same reality of oppression, carnage, and ruined lives until we can figure out how to effect meaningful change. I’ve collected some articles here about America’s dysfunctional relationship with guns, most of which I’ve shared before. Change is possible — there are good reasons to control the ownership of guns and control has a high likelihood of success — but how will our country find the political will to make it happen? Read on.
• Trump's 'best people' and their dubious ethics … [NYTimes Editorial Board, Feb. 18] President Trump’s White House has been so scandal-plagued that controversies involving cabinet members and other high-level officials that would have been front-page news in any other administration have barely registered in the public consciousness. Where to begin? Trump officials have been accused of wasting taxpayer dollars when they travel for work — or, in the case of one cabinet secretary, when they travel for a work trip-cum-European vacation. Others have appeared to misuse their positions to benefit special interests and political allies. Then there are those who have conscripted family members to help them do their jobs, possibly under the mistaken belief that it takes a village of people with the same last name to run a government department.
Perhaps we should not be surprised by these ethical lapses, given that the president himself has little interest in ethical niceties. He has refused to disclose his tax returns or divest businesses that may create conflicts of interest between Mr. Trump the executive and Mr. Trump the president. And he has given his daughter and son-in-law, who have no government experience, plum White House jobs. Here are some of the recent scandals in Trumpland that deserve greater public scrutiny, or even congressional hearings and investigations. Read on.
• Whatever Trump is hiding is hurting all of us … [Thomas Friedman, NYT, Feb. 18] Our democracy is in serious danger. President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a toweringfool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy. Read on.
• How the survivors of Parkland began the Never Again movement … [TNY, Emily Witt, Feb. 19] By Sunday, only four days after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, the activist movement that emerged in its aftermath had a name (Never Again), a policy goal (stricter background checks for gun buyers), and a plan for a nationwide protest (a March for Our Lives, scheduled for March 24th). It also had a panel of luminary teens who were reminding America that the shooting was not a freak accident or a natural disaster but the result of actual human decisions. Read on.
• How banks could control gun sales if Washington won't … [NYT, Feb. 19] Andrew Ross Sorkin proposes a way to bypass a dithering Congress to make AR-15 sales harder: Cut off the credit carT NYds. He notes that Apple Pay, Square and Pay Pal don’t allow gun purchases on their services. Extend that, he suggests, to Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Put it in the terms of service. Read on.
• Why the Second Amendment does not stymie gun control … [The Economist, Feb. 20] the Second Amendment is not the primary obstacle to gun control. If legislators in the state capitols and Congress find the political will to clamp down on America’s millions of powerful and often loosely regulated weapons, it seems there is a constitutional way. Read on.
• Will America choose its children over guns? … [NYT Editorial Board, Feb. 20] As surely as there are camels’ backs and straws to break them, moments arrive when citizens say they’ve had enough, when they rise up against political leaders who do not speak for them and whose moral fecklessness imperils lives. We may be witness to such a moment now with the protests by American teenagers sickened — and terrified — by the latest mass murder at the hands of someone with easy access to a weapon fit for a battlefield, not a school.
These kids have had enough. They’ve had enough of empty expressions of sympathy in the wake of the sort of atrocities they’ve grown up with, like last week’s mass shooting that took 17 lives at a high school in Parkland, Fla. Enough of the ritualistic mouthing of thoughts and prayers for the victims. Enough of living in fear that they could be next in the cross hairs of a well-armed deranged killer, even with all the active shooter drills and lockdowns they’ve gone through. Enough of craven politicians who kneel before the National Rifle Association and its cynically fundamentalist approach to the Second Amendment. Read on
• Good Book Club among diverse Lenten tools offered by the Episcopal Church … Here.
• Lent – Time for a Cool Change … If there's one thing in my life that's missing, it's the time that I spend alone. Listen.
• Recognizing God in the moments … [Episcopal Café, Laurie Gudim, Feb. 15] Practicing the presence of God is a very simple devotion, but, especially to start with, it does take an almost continual shifting of awareness. We don’t often recognize that God is with us in each and every moment of our lives. Intellectually we might have come to that understanding, but actually talking to God, listening for God, and knowing God is present as we participate in meetings, write reports, prepare dinner, teach classes, talk to the kids and grandkids, and so forth, is a different matter. We have to keep drawing ourselves back from an illusion that we are alone. Read on.
• The clear relationship between spirituality and mission … [Bill Lewellis] A committee planning a conference on "Spirituality and Mission" scheduled 12 workshops on spirituality for the morning, and a similar number on mission for the afternoon. More than three decades ago. Separating the workshops in this way was a logistical -- not a theological -- decision. We needed a way to pre-empt the message that spirituality and mission were separate-but-equal, and need not converge.
We discovered a story. A child wandered into a sculptor's studio and watched a master sculptor work with hammer and chisel on a large piece of marble. Marble chips flew in all directions. Months later he returned. To his surprise, where once stood only a large block of marble, there now stood a majestic and powerful Aslan-like lion. "How did you know," he asked the sculptor, "there was a lion in the marble?" "I knew," the sculptor replied, "because before I saw the lion in the marble, I saw him in my heart. The real secret, though, is that it was the lion in my heart who recognized the lion in the marble.
Henri Nouwen told this story of the Christ within who recognizes himself unformed in the disguises of the world to illustrate the relationship between contemplation and action. [Clowning in Rome, Image Books, 1979]. We used it to show how clearly related were spirituality and mission.
The story suggests to me also, as one who has worked in church communication for some five decades, that, for each of us as Christian disciples, our basic ministry is communication. It's about God's word becoming flesh. Incarnation continues. Communication in the church is about proclaiming the gospel. It is your ministry. Communicate… Your Ministry. Live God's love: tell what you have seen and heard.
• Aging … [Bill Lewellis] Monica's and my books inhabit two floors and a basement. On shelves. On tables. In piles on the floor. We need a library and a librarian. Were I younger, I might advocate for turning our old-style and unused parlor into a library, with bookshelves against every available wall. I frequently find a book I want to read again. But do not. Earlier this morning, Monica gave me a 1976 Doubleday Image Book with a $2.45 price tag: "Aging," by Henri Nouwen and Walter Gaffney. I began reading it immediately. But I can't read without sharing.
The introduction includes the following. An old Balinese legend might help us to think more clearly about our own society and the way we relate to those we have labeled "the old" or "the elderly." It is said that once upon a time the people of a remote mountain village used to sacrifice and eat their old men. A day came when there was not a single old man left, and the traditions were lost. They wanted to build a great house for the meetings of the assembly, but when they came to look at the tree-trunks that had been cut for that purpose no one could tell the top from the bottom: if the timber were placed the wrong way up, it would set off a series of disasters. A young man said that if they promised never to eat the old men anymore, he would be able to find a solution. They promised. He brought his grandfather, whom he had hidden; and the old man taught the community to tell top from bottom.
• Nine times Mr. Rogers said exactly the right thing … [Vox, Feb. 19] For one, on where to turn during tragedy: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I remember a cousin telling me many years ago that when he came home from work somewhat stressed, he watched Mr. Rogers. He was then in his early 30s. Don't miss the video clips. Shout out to Bob House. Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian. Read on.
• 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 Spin
• Everyone a changemaker … [NYTimes, David Brooks, Feb. 8] Bill Drayton invented the term “social entrepreneur” and founded Ashoka, the organization that supports 3,500 of them in 93 countries. He’s a legend in the nonprofit world, so I went to him this week to see if he could offer some clarity and hope in discouraging times. He did not disappoint. Read on.
• Welcoming Dreamers, the obvious choice … [Bishop Sean Rowe, The Morning Call, Jan. 29] The current political morass in Washington has thrown light on a deep and ugly divide in our country and in our faith communities on the issue of immigration. Read on.
• Two nominated for IX Bishop of Bethlehem … The Standing Commit
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 1 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Jan. 25 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Jan. 18 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.
• With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip … [The Guardian, UK, Andrew Brown, Feb. 16] Last Saturday in central London, two archbishops joined a small group of people protesting about sexual abuse. Though you might expect – or at least hope – to find archbishops on the side of the angels, what was remarkable was that they were protesting against their own church. The building in question was Church House, in Westminster, where the Church of England’s General Synod was meeting, due later that day to discuss the problem of sexual abuse, with the church facing more than 3,000 historical claims. By standing with the protesters, the Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were making a loud statement about where their sympathies lay. You had to listen very carefully under the noise to notice that the synod debate was in fact a presentation of a report and there were no survivors speaking in it. Read on.
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here.?
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.
• Additional Resources ... way below
• DioBeth's COM … Jane Williams has retired as chair of the Diocese of Bethlehem's Commission on Ministry. She will be succeeded by Tim Alleman, staff chaplain in the Geisinger Health System and rector of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre. Read on.
In the Media
• Religious test for office holders? … [Commonweal, Feb. 6] When the drafters of the Constitution returned to their home states to defend their work, they faced complaints that the document was too secular. It made no mention of God, and when coupled with the ‘no religious test clause,’ many complained that the Constitution reflected political atheism. The Article VI ban, they argued, belittled the role that religion played in fostering a free and virtuous democratic society. Proponents of the ban framed Article VI as a promotion of religious liberty. Religious tests were the tools of tyrants, they insisted. But many Americans were still wary. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison lamented that one of the primary objections to the federal Constitution was that, “by prohibiting religious tests,” the founders had “opened a door for Jews, Turks, and infidels” to serve in public office. Americans wanted religious liberty, but many insisted that their public officials meet certain religious standards. Read on.
Requiescant in pace
• The Rev. Elizabeth Diely, 75 … died February 3. Betsy had been assisting priest at St. Margaret's Emmaus where she was also a member. Obituary.
• Billy Graham, 99, dies. He filled stadiums and counseled presidents … [NYTimes, Laurie Goodstein, Feb. 21] The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer’s son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation’s best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died today, Feb. 21, at his home in Montreat, N.C. Read on. Also at AP.
• Justin David Skoniecki, 19 … died on February 16. He had been a memb of Grace Kingston where he served as an acolyte. He was a 2017 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School. Obituary.
• Denise E. Ruch, 63 … died on February 12. She was a member of St. Mark's/St. John's in Jim Thorpe. Obituary.
• Frances C. Malpas, 92 … died on February 13. She was a member of St. Alban's Sinking Spring. Obituary.
• Joseph Guzzi, 86 … died on February 15. He was a member of St. Luke's Scranton. Obituary.
Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• How Protestants made the modern world … [Religion and Politics, Feb 20] The combination of free inquiry, democracy, and limited government is pretty much what makesup liberal, market democracies. It runs the modern world. And though it seems obvious to us that liberty and equality should go together, it is not at all an obvious combination. It is that distinct heritage of Protestantism in holding those models together that is its most significant contribution to the modern world. Read on.
• A Catholic priest pens the Archbishop of Canterbury's prayer book for Lent … [CruxNow] For those who have followed the close collaboration and friendship between Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, it will come as no surprise that the spiritual head of the Church of England selected a Roman Catholic priest’s manuscript for his 2018 Lenten prayer book. Luigi Gioia, a Benedictine priest and academic scholar, has spent the past two decades bringing together ecumenical thought and spirituality in both the Church and the classroom. Gioia spoke with Crux about what monastics offer the modern age and how “the more we grow in authentic prayer, the greater our compassion grows.” How did a Catholic priest end up writing the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lenten prayer book? Read on.
• ‘Stations of the Cross’ art exhibition follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion across Manhattan … [ENS, David Paulsen] Although the subject matter is drawn from Christianity’s most solemn and foundational story, this “Stations of the Cross,” sponsored by Trinity Church Wall Street, is presented as an explicitly interfaith experience. Read on.
Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA Website … Here.
• ELCA News Service … Here.
• ELCA Blogs … Here.
• Teacher marries her girlfriend, and then Catholic School fires her… [NYT, Christina Caron, Feb. 7] Parents at a Catholic school in Miami said they were astounded that administrators had fired a first-grade teacher just days after she married her girlfriend, and now some of the teacher’s supporters on the faculty are scared that the school will retaliate against them as well. The teacher, Jocelyn Morffi, was by all accounts one of the most popular educators at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Miami, where she taught for nearly seven years. “I consider her the Mother Teresa of teachers,” Samantha Mills, a parent whose son was in Ms. Morffi’s class last year, said on Monday. But on Feb. 8, Ms. Mills and other parents at the school received an email from the principal saying that the school had made a “difficult and necessary decision,” and that Ms. Morffi would no longer be teaching at the school. The email was shared with The New York Times. She was fired just days after marrying her girlfriend of about two years. Read on.
• Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
• Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
• United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here.
• Catholic News Service ... Here.
• Crux Now ... Here.
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
Health and Wellness
Film and TV
• African cosmologies: spiritual reflections on the 'Black Panther' movie … [RNS, Yolanda Pierce, Feb. 19] Yes, Wakanda is a fictional place and Black Panther is just a film, but the spiritual imagination that undergirds the movie can be an opportunity for learning, and even a fostering of faith in the idea that we can build a better world, if we are willing. In a real world that has so maligned black peoples and the continent of Africa, and questioned if any good can ever come from this place, director Ryan Coogler reminds his viewers both of the beauty that already exists on the continent, and also what may yet be possible. Read on.
Media, Print, Music, Tech
• The Treble Choristers of the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys Will Perform at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem … [Liza Holzinger] The world-renowned professional boys choir, the Treble Choristers of the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys (Fifth Avenue, NYC) led by Daniel Hyde, will perform a 90-minute concert in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 2344 Center Street, as part of a concert tour in the Lehigh Valley. The world-famous choir will perform at the church on Friday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. The choir is the leading ensemble of its kind in the Anglican choral tradition in the United States. Full article here. Suggested donation is $12 at the door. More info: visit www.fpc-bethlehem.org. or phone 610-867-5865.
• The Episcopal Café … Here.
• AnglicansOnline … Here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem … Here.
• The Episcopal Church … Here.
• Episcopal News Service … Here. Story here.
Podcasts and Blogs
• The most powerful religious denomination … [The Bible for Normal People] In a recent podcast, The Bible for Normal People, the hosts spoke with Brian McLaren about the dangers of a "weaponized Bible" and how our own bias and interpretation may cause us to reach some incomplete conclusions. At one point, McLaren said he thought the most powerful religious denomination in the U.S. was Fox News because it's on in many homes 24/7 and gives them a way of seeing the world: these are the good guys, these are the bad guys. And they tend to find a church that confirms that narrative. Listen.
• Making Obama … [TNY, Sarah Larson, Feb. 19] Our memories of the Obama Administration heighten the surreality of the Trump era: every Trumpian indignity seems to have a counterpoint—an Obama meme, a Pete Souza photograph. Last week alone gave us multiple occasions to marvel at the dissonance: the unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery of the Obamas’ official portraits, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, reminded us of their thoughtful sophistication. A Valentine’s Day tweet from Barack to Michelle evoked their natural affection and mutual respect. And the Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reminded us of the empathy that Obama brought to national tragedies. The new podcast “Making Obama,” from WBEZ Chicago, hosted by Jenn White and produced by Colin McNulty, helps the Obama-nostalgic to push past wistfulness and despair by reacquainting us with who Obama was before he became mythologized—and to see what lessons we can glean from the making of political leaders. … The six-episode series traces Obama’s career from his arrival in Chicago to his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention—at which point, White told me recently, “the story becomes more familiar to people. Then he’s this national figure.” Read the story. Listen to the podcast.
Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO … Anglicans Online
AP … Associated Press
BCP … Book of Common Prayer
CJR … Columbia Journalism Review
COM … Commonweal
CN… Crux Now
CNS … Catholic News Service
DoB… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC … 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]
Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest
• For the Poor and the Neglected … [BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.
• 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
• 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.