newSpin, the newsletter
April 19, 2018 – Bill Lewellis
• A Man Called Mark … A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.
• Bishop Election Walkabouts, Two to go … 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 are the nominees for IX Bishop of Bethlehem. In April, both nominees will visit the diocese for visiting sessions called "walkabouts." During the walkabouts, the bishop nominees will make introductory remarks and hold small group question-and-answer sessions.
• Bishop Sean's Farewell Event, May 12 … Say thank you and farewell to Bishop Sean Rowe, and his family. This event includes Eucharist at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral (12:30) followed by a light hors d’oeuvres reception at the Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, Wilkes-Barre. This is a free event, however registration is required by April 23: REGISTER HERE In lieu of gifts for Bishop Sean, we will be collecting donations for Grace Montessori School. If you would like to make a donation in Bishop Sean’s honor, it can be sent to the Diocesan Office. Checks should be made payable to: The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and mailed to: 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Please be sure to include “Bishop Farewell Gift” in the memo line.
• First Female Rector at Jim Thorpe Church … [WNEP/TV16] "It just feels normal to me," Rev. Rebecca Cancelliere said. "It surprises me when I think about that there's never been a woman who has served here before because it just doesn't dawn on me that there would not have been."Mother Rebecca Cancelliere is the church's first female pastor in the nearly 200 years of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Jim Thorpe. She started at the beginning of the year. Bishop Sean Rowe will lead a special Celebration of New Ministry on Sunday, April 22. Read on.
• Creativity and the Cross … [Hillary Raining interviews Charles "Ty" Welles] Charles “Ty” Welles is a fourth generation lawyer from Scranton, PA, with degrees from Yale and Harvard. He has served as the Chancellor of Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, and, perhaps surprisingly, a sculptor, who primarily carves marble. He has been carving for more than twenty-five years and has exhibited and studied throughout the northeastern United States as well as regionally. In this episode, Ty will talk about has his 13-piece installation of the Stations of the Cross as well as his creative process. This is a discussion (Season 1, Episode 5) about the power of creativity and spirituality in every lfe. Listen.
This podcast appears on The Hive, a website created by Hillary Raining, rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne and known to many in the Diocese of Bethlehem where she was ordained. "Based on a model of community and support found in the hive of the honey bee," Hillary writes, "this wellness and spirituality website is for you in your quest to change the world." Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, April 12 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, April 5 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 29 … 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.
• Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency … [The New Yorker, Adam Davidson, April 14] In Iraq and with the financial crisis, it was helpful, as a reporter, to be able to divide the world into those who actually understand what was happening and those who said hopeful nonsense. The path of both crises turned out to be far worse than I had imagined. I thought of those earlier experiences this week as I began to feel a familiar clarity about what will unfold next in the Trump Presidency. There are lots of details and surprises to come, but the endgame of this Presidency seems as clear now as those of Iraq and the financial crisis did months before they unfolded. Read on
• Six whoppers a day … As of April 13, President Trump had made 2,436 false or misleading claims in 406 days — a rate of exactly six whoppers a day. The new normal? Read on,
• Madeleine Albright is worried, we should be, too … [NYTimes, Michelle Goldberg, April 13] Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, was born into a totalitarian age. She was only a toddler when she and her parents, who were of Jewish descent but later converted to Catholicism, fled Czechoslovakia after Hitler’s invasion in 1939. They returned following the war, but fled again in the wake of the Communist coup in 1948. Her father, the diplomat Josef Korbel, sought asylum for the family in the United States, writing in a letter to an American official that if they returned home he’d be arrested “for my faithful adherence to the ideals of democracy.” America took them in as refugees. Korbel became an eminent foreign policy scholar, and in 1997 Bill Clinton made Albright the country’s chief diplomat, the first woman to hold that position. Read on. Also here and here.
• James Comey has a story to tell. It's very persuasive … [NYTimes, April 12, Book review by Michiko Kakutani] The central themes that Comey returns to throughout this impassioned book are the toxic consequences of lying; and the corrosive effects of choosing loyalty to an individual over truth and the rule of law. Dishonesty, he writes, was central “to the entire enterprise of organized crime on both sides of the Atlantic,” and so, too, were bullying, peer pressure and groupthink — repellent traits shared by Trump and company, he suggests, and now infecting our culture. Read on,
• See the Face, Hear the Voice … [This is a slightly edited version of a sermon Bill Lewellis preached at Grace Allentown, April 17, 2005, John 10: 1-18] Amid the many wonderful images and stories the media featured after the April 2005 death of Pope John Paul II, there was also a painful progression of silly questions on just about anything that seemed religious. Silly answers, too. My favorite silly question, as I remember it, came from CNN’s Larry King. He asked Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, "Jim, do you think the Pope is face to face with Jesus now? We only have 30 seconds." Read on.
• Pope Francis wants you to be holy online. Here's how … According to Francis, constant distraction because of too much screentime is making us unable to reflect seriously on choices we have to make in life. And this leads to the pope’s advice about silence. Francis does not endorse silence full stop. He thinks it is sometimes an excuse to flee “interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service.” But, he said, people should not ignore “the need for moments of quiet solitude and silence before God.” Which, he writes, is in short supply thanks to the “presence of constantly new gadgets, the excitement of travel and an endless array of consumer goods” that “at times leave no room for God’s voice to be heard.” “We are overwhelmed by words,” he writes, “by superficial pleasures and by an increasing din, filled not by joy but rather by the discontent of those whose lives have lost meaning.” Read on.
• The Lord is Risen. No Bingo) … [RenewalWorks, Monday Matters, Jay Sidebotham, April 9] My decades-old hobby has been collecting photos of church signs. The sign that triggered this hobby was perched on a small trailer, in front of a country church. It read: “The Lord is Risen. No Bingo.” As a preacher who unceasingly grazes for sermon material, I used this sign to make the homiletic point that the news of Easter brings transformation. It’s meant to change things. It’s meant to change us. Read on.
• Setting the Table … [Diana Butler Bass] While writing Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, I reread Luke's account of Zacchaeus. Like many Christians, I knew the story from Sunday school -- the "wee little man" who climbed a tree to see Jesus. I thought of it as a charming tale that taught us to go to any length to catch a vision of God. But researching Grateful convinced me that gratitude was at the center of an important political tension in the Roman world regarding debts and obligation. The story of Zacchaeus transformed from a children's story to a powerful encounter between Jesus and an unjust system of quid pro quo. Corrupted gratitude can snare us, or, as Jesus taught, a renewed vision of gratefulness can liberate us. The Zacchaeus story shows us how. Read on.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... 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 and reflections. Here.
Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• 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 dioerticese has the opportunity to attend.
• DioBeth Leadership News, April 12 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, April 5 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 29 … Here
• Interview with Justin Welby … [The Guardian, Rachel Cooke, April 1] The archbishop of Canterbury was raised by an alcoholic and answered God’s call ‘kicking and screaming’. Now, his unorthodox views are at odds with many in his church. Here he talks about his demons and his mission. Read on,
• Beyoncé Mass offers religion with a pop beat at Grace Cathedral … [San Francisco Chronicle] San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral has announced that it will host a special mass devoted to Queen Bey’s music and accomplishments on Wednesday, April 25. Hosted by the Vine, a weekly contemporary worship service espousing progressive theology set to a pop beat, the Beyoncé Mass will give parishioners a chance to sing along with their favorite songs and discover how the 36-year-old star’s art “opens a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females.” Read on.
• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.
• How Liberty University built a billion-dollar empire online … [NYT] With a hard sell to prospective students and huge amounts in taxpayer funding, Jerry Falwell Jr. transformed the evangelical institution into a behemoth. Read on.
• Why some Christians don't trust their devices … [RNS] Who is Jesus? If viral videos are to be believed, some Christians aren’t happy with the answers they’ve gotten from their smart speakers, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Read on.
• Why America's black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death crisis … [NYTimes Magazine, April 11] In 1850, when the death of a baby was simply a fact of life, and babies died so often that parents avoided naming their children before their first birthdays, the United States began keeping records of infant mortality by race. That year, the reported black infant-mortality rate was 340 per 1,000; the white rate was 217 per 1,000. This black-white divide in infant mortality has been a source of both concern and debate for over a century.
Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. Read on.
• 'Boy Who Came Back from Heaven' sues book's Christian publisher … [The Guardian, UK] Alex Malarkey claims he has been financially exploited over bestselling account of meeting Jesus "concocted" by his Christian therapist father. Read on,
• Enter the School Bus Driver … A father is raising his 11-year-girl as best he can after his wife dies. But he can't braid hair. Enter the school bus driver. Read on.
Requiescant in pace
• Jean S. Montgomery, 90 … died April 9. She was an active member of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity since 1969, serving as a Sacristan, Choir Mother, Lay Eucharistic Minister, as well as a member of the Altar Guild committee. She was also a member of the Property Committee and acted as secretary for many years. Obituary.
[Dean Tony Pompa] Many know what an integral part of the faith life of this congregation Jean was until medical issues impeded her participation. Jean gave her heart, soul, time, talent, treasure and fierce spirit to her Lord through the mission of this Cathedral most of her adult life. She and her husband Dee, who preceded her in death, raised their family with great dedication to the ministries of formation and music. Jean volunteered in the office for many years, was a member of the Altar Guild, and the list can go on and on. Jean was firm in her faith and in the way she devoted herself to our Lord and to others. Well done faithful servant, rest now from your labors.
• Martha Rossnagle … died April 7. She was an parishioner at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity.
[Dean Tony Pompa] Martha was a volunteer in the office of the Cathedral for a number of years and a faithful participant in the life of the parish until advancing age impeded. Until recent health issues moved her to Cedarbrook in Fountain Hill, she resided with her daughter Sarah King, husband Geoff, and granddaughter Amelia (Mimi), also members of our Cathedral community. Please keep them in your prayers in these days. A private memorial and interment will take place at the Cathedral at the convenience of family. Your prayers and support of Sarah, Geoff, and Amelia are welcomed.
• Barbara Bush, 92 … the widely admired wife of one president and the fiercely loyal mother of another, died April 17. The Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney wrote that Bush, popular for her lack of vanity, “wore her wrinkles with pride, once joking after seeing herself on a pair of magazine covers that ‘it looks as though I had forgotten to iron my face.’” “While she was unpretentious, plainspoken and down-to-earth,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Bush was also a Northeastern blueblood who was strong-willed, politically shrewd, always blunt and occasionally caustic.” Read on.
• Francis puts 'exhort' back into exhortation … [NCR, Michael Sean Winters] Pope Francis' new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate ("Rejoice and Be Glad"), released yesterday, puts the "exhort" back into exhortation. The document is one long, incisive effort to urge us Christians on. Not to be satisfied with mediocre spiritual lives, not to reduce the Gospel, not to despair of our own weakness, not to give up on God and the joy and gladness that He alone can bring into our lives and, through us, into the world.
Speaking of the "great cloud of witnesses" mentioned in St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews, Francis writes early in the document that the cloud "may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones" and that "their lives may not always have been perfect, yet even amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord." Read on,
• The Gospel Isn't Single-Issue … In his new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate, Pope Francis warns against elevating any issue, abortion in particular, over all others. Paul Moses writes in Commonweal that Pope Francis’s “early experience with ‘ideologies,’ with one-eyed activism, and with politicians’ murderous abuse of power” is obvious throughout Gaudete et exsultate, and so “he wants to prevent the faith from being shaped to suit political ideology.” In other words, the Gospel isn’t single-issue. Read on.
• Pope admits he made 'grave errors' in Chile sex abuse case … [WaPo, April 11, Nicole Winfield and Eva Vergara] Pope Francis admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in Chile’s sex abuse scandal and invited the victims he had discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness. In an extraordinary public letter, Francis also summoned all of Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting in the coming weeks to discuss repairing the damage from the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church. Francis blamed a lack of “truthful and balanced information” for his missteps in judging the case of Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima. Francis strongly defended the bishop during his January visit to Chile despite accusations by victims that Barros had witnessed and ignored their abuse. Read on,
• Vatican Information Service blog ... Here.
• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.
Health and Wellness
Film and TV
• Come Sunday – Now on Netflix – The Evangelical Bishop who Stopped Believing in Hell … [NPR, Heard on All Things Considered, April 15] About 15 years ago, Carlton Pearson had what you might call a revelation. It occurred to him that ideas that had informed his entire adult life — about heaven and hell, and what it takes to avoid one and enter the other — were just not true. What was a big deal for his personal faith became a much bigger one in his professional life, because Carlton Pearson presided over one of the country's biggest Pentecostal congregations in Tulsa, Okla., and his rejection of that theology for what he calls the "gospel of inclusion" would cost him just about everything he had. His story is the subject of the new movie Come Sunday, now out via Netflix. Read on.
• PBS film explores how we go gently – or kicking and screaming – into the night … [RNS] Five weeks after she receives her terminal lung cancer diagnosis, Phyllis Tickle is sitting on her porch in Tennessee, talking about death. “I’ve reared my children. I’ve buried my husband. I’ve done the work I think I came to do,” the renowned religious historian says. Then she pauses. “Now I can go.”
81-year-old Tickle’s body was laid to rest three months later — before her longtime friend Helen Whitney, a veteran filmmaker, could interview her a second time for a documentary project. The two-hour film “Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death,” which premieres March 26 on PBS, pushes viewers to confront their own mortality. In the film, Whitney asks nine men and women grappling with death to tell their stories. Read on,
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.
Media, Print, Music, Tech
• From Now On … You may enjoy this uplifting behind-the-scenes performance, as I did. View.
• 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.
• The Episcopal Café … Here.
• AnglicansOnline … Here.
• Diocese of Bethlehem … Here.
• The Episcopal Church … Here.
• Episcopal News Service … Here.
• The Bible for Normal People … Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas. I especially jliked Episode 4 with Richard Rohr
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, Explained … Vox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effect … is about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphate… is a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.
• Yale is letting anyone take its most popular course ever for free … When Yale began offering a new course this semester, over 1,000 students jumped at the opportunity. It wasn't about business, technology or innovation. It's about how to be happy. Nearly a fourth of the undergraduate student body enrolled in Psyc 157: Psychology and the Good Life. It quickly became the university's most popular class in Yale's 316-year history. Psychology and cognitive science professor Laurie Santos teaches the course. In it, she covers the science behind positive psychology and behavioral change. According to Santos, antidepressants are prescribed at 400 times the rate they were 20 years ago. That's why Santos and Yale started offering an adapted version of the course for free via online learning platform Coursera. It's called The Science of Well-Being. Read on.
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.
• A prayer before anything … [Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.
• Reclaiming Jesus … is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders incuding Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.
• 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. THERE'S A NEW TOOLKIT
• 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.