newSpin 180531
newSpin 180809

newSpin 180614

newSpin, the newsletter
June 14
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

• Update from Kevin Nichols, our bishop elect O eternal God, who settest the solitary in families and fillest the hungry with good things, visit this home and family with thy grace and favor; knit them together in thy love through good times and bad, bless their comings in and their goings out, give them thankful hearts for their daily bread and for each other, and bring them at the last into thy heavenly dwelling place; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

   This favorite prayer by Robert Rodenmayer, author of "The Pastor's Prayerbook," is particularly poignant for me right now. Our home for the past 21 years is now on the market and soon we will be moving. The news of my election as bishop of Bethlehem was met with elation and pride by my family, yet the reality of leaving a beloved family home has been bittersweet for all of us--more difficult for me than I ever imagined. In hopes of easing some of the loss associated with this transition, I asked our four children and three grandchildren to share their favorite memories of our home. Of course this was done via a group text message, and the steady "dinging" signaled another memory that brought needed laughter, smiles and even a few tears. Here is some of what they shared:
The time that we thought our brand new car was stolen from our garage.  Lo and behold a neighbor discovered it teetering on the hill in front of our house. Apparently we forgot to put on the emergency break and it rolled down the driveway! The police officer arrived and couldn't stop laughing.
The day Lindsay received word that an organ donor was located and she needed to board an Angel Flight to Pittsburgh for a transplant!  Off she and her mom went with the prayers of so many.
he annual Easter egg hunt - there was no mercy for the little ones or even a pregnant mom! Everyone in search of the golden egg.

As we reminisced through the many memorable moments of the last two decades, it became helpful to see that some of these are traditions that can be carried on or even re-created in some form in a new home or a new place. We were also reminded of God's many blessings. That in our "comings in" and our "goings out," God was somehow knitting us together--strengthening us for the journey that lies ahead. When we paused, we were reminded that this place, this home, provided us a safe haven where we could be ourselves whether we were at our best or not. Here we were nourished, fed and reminded how much we are loved and need each other's love.
   For me, this is not unlike the knitting together that occurs in our churches--our spiritual homes. As I prepare to say goodbye to my larger community as well, I am reminded of so many joy filled traditions that have grounded me, held me together, warmed my heart and strengthened my  soul. What would we be without our homes--spiritual and otherwise? Today I give thanks for the many people who have opened their homes for me and my family. Today I begin to let go of my hold on one home and reach out to another. I can't wait to see what God has in store.
In God's Love, Kevin

• Adem Bunkeddeko in the Ninth District[NYTimes Editorial Board] The NYTimes Editorial Board has endorsed Adem Bunkeddeko in the June 26 primary of the Ninth Congressional District in the heart of Brooklyn. I note this because Adem and our son Stephen were friends at Haverford College (some 12 years ago). Within the past year, at Stephen's encouragement, Monica and I made a small contribution toward Adem's campaign. As Stephen said in a text to us today, "Ya never know where a young community organizer can go." Read a bit about Adem toward the end of the editorial below. Read on.

• 8 million teeter on the brink of famine. America is complicit [WaPo Editorial Board]  While the world was focused on the U.S.-North Korea summit, two U.S. allies in the Middle East launched a reckless and potentially catastrophic military offensive in Yemen, a country already enduring the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Troops led by the United Arab Emirates and backed by Saudi Arabian warplanes are attempting to seize the port city of Hodeida, which is held by the Houthi forces who make up one side in Yemen’s civil war. Because 70 percent of Yemen’s food and aid shipments come though the port, the United Nations and every major humanitarian agency have warned of dire consequences for the 22 million Yemenis who already depend on outside assistance, including 8 million on the brink of famine. They pleaded with the Saudis and Emiratis to hold off and allow more time for a diplomatic solution.
The attack nevertheless went ahead early Wednesday after receiving what amounted to passive assent from the Trump administration. That means the United States, which already has been supplying its two allies with intelligence, refueling and munitions, will be complicit if the result is what aid officials say it could be: starvation, epidemics and other human suffering surpassing anything the world has seen in decades. Read on. Also at NYTimes.

• Atrocities under Kim Jong-un[NYTimes] Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world. In North Korea, these crimes “entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” concluded a 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea. Here are some of the atrocities that have happened there. There has been no good indication that President Trump spoke with Mr. Kim about human rights violations.

• Trump's most offensive statement on North Korea[WaPo Editorial Board] Over the past couple of days, President Trump has made a number of false statements regarding North Korea and his summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong Un. Some of these may be harmless. Some may be justifiable in the context of a nascent diplomatic process. One, however, is obtuse, offensive and harmful. One, however, is obtuse, offensive and harmful. “His country does love him,” Mr. Trump said, speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.” Yes, you see the fervor, because anyone in North Korea who does not display fervor for their leader may end up in a concentration camp. No one in North Korea may criticize Mr. Kim and expect to survive. Read on.

•  How suicide quetly morphed into a public health crisis … The deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are emblematic of a persistent and growing threat in the United States. Read on. And here and here and here and here and here.


• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• Somehow weak in compassion[The Guardian, UK] Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland, said in a homily that many people see the church as "somehow weak in compassion." Being pro-life means being alongside those whose lives are threatened by violence, and who cannot live life to the full because of economic deprivation, homelessness and marginalization, he said. Read on. Also at RNS.

• Eight million Jehovah's Witnesses don't salute the flag. 200,000 Amish don't stand for the national anthem. One Black Man kneels respectfully, and all hell breaks loose. Now you know why he's kneeling. And here and here and here.


• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• DioBeth Leadership News, June 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 31 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.

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Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Medicaid's Nickel-and-Dime Routine[NYTimes Editorial Board, June 6] As a wealthy and politically powerful company gambles lives for profit, Texas officials look the other way, the Morning News reporters tell us. This is the sorry state of what passes for good-enough care for patients who depend on Medicaid, among the most vital safety nets for the American poor and disadvantaged, in the second most populous state. Elsewhere, officials are striving to make it harder for people to get Medicaid at all. Read on.

• Episcopal Church, Interfaith Leaders call for U.S. Government to end its immigration policy separating families … [ENS] Under international law, people fleeing violence and persecution have the right to request asylum. The Episcopal Church has a longstanding policy affirming the universal right to seek asylum; it recognizes the need to protect vulnerable people. Last week, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry signed an ecumenical and interfaith statement expressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy “calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws.” A policy, they say, will likely result in an increase in family separations. Read on. NCR Editorial Board, here.

• RC Bishops call Trump's asylum rules 'immoral' … [WaPo] Leading U.S. Catholic bishops on Wednesday escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling new asylum-limiting rules “immoral” and rhetorically comparing the crackdown to abortion by saying it is a “a right-to-life” issue. One bishop from the U.S.-Mexico border region reportedly suggested “canonical penalties” — which could refer to withholding the sacrament of Communion — for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump policies.
The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — the organizing body of bishops — gathered for a biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The topics of migration and asylum have long been a focus for the U.S. church; more than 50 percent of U.S. Catholics under the age of 30 are Latinos.The statements, including by the conference’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, came two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that fear of domestic violence or gang violence aren’t clear grounds for seeking asylum in the United States. Sessions said asylum claims have expanded too broadly. Read on. Also, at RNS.

• Fact-Checking President Trump … [WaPo, Glenn Kessler, June 13] Here’s a roundup of claims made by President Trump at a news conference on June 12 and in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News about his talks in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Read on.

• America Isolated[NYTimes Editorial Board] When Vladimir Putin ordered his hackers to surreptitiously help Donald Trump in the presidential race, he could hardly have anticipated that once in office, Mr. Trump would so outrageously, destructively and thoroughly alienate America’s closest neighbors and allies as he did at the Group of 7 meeting in Canada. The lame explanation from Mr. Trump’s courtiers, that he needed to look tough for his meeting with Kim Jong-un, made matters worse by implying that he felt he needed to publicly kick friends aside to impress a murderous dictator. Read on.

• Scott Pruitt, who has reversed Obama era E.P.A. rules, enjoys cozy ties with a coal baron who got him a superfan experience at big Kentucky game … [NYTimes, June 2] It was one of the biggest games of the University of Kentucky basketball season, and Scott Pruitt had scored two of the best seats in the arena: a few feet from the action, in a section reserved for season-ticket holders who had donated at least $1 million to the university. The seats belonged to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Read on.

• New York is suing the Trump Foundation [NYTimes] The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign. The lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar President Trump and three of his children from serving on the boards of nonprofits, was an extraordinary rebuke of a sitting president. Read on.


• Be attentive to God in your life Daily Examen.

• Why we shouldn't try to bargain with God[America, Valerie Schultz] Prayer is where we come face-to-face with our concept of God. Who is the God we believe in deep in our hearts? When we bargain with God, we espouse a God who keeps score, rather than the God who loves us no matter what, the God who is love, according to the first letter of John (4:8). When we offer to negotiate with God, we presume that we actually have anything that God needs, which is pretty presumptuous on our part. And when we maneuver to make a deal with God, we are in essence saying that we know better than God. Whatever crisis we are facing, we have a desirable outcome in mind, and we are going to bring God around to our way of thinking. Whatever God’s will for us may be, we have a counter-proposal. In fact, we have a list. Read on

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.

• The Daily Examen [IgnatianSpirituality] is a technique of pray

• 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 ... 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
• America can't take its salvation for granted [Richard Cohen, WaPo] Jon Meacham is a distinguished historian, journalist and television commentator who maintains in his new book, "The Soul of America," that, as bad as things are now, we have seen worse and come out the better for it. From his lips to God’s ear, as my grandmother used to say. You could ask for no better guide through the dark times than Meacham. He is a vivid writer and he seems to have read just about everything ever written that has anything to do with American history — from James Madison to William Faulkner. He cites plenty of bad days. 1968 was an awful year — the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy — and the McCarthy period of the early 1950s was even darker in the sense that its anti-communist frenzy was not the work of a single deranged person but a mass hysteria, condoned by significant parts of the political leadership.
That, of course, brings us to the Trump era, which prompted Meacham’s book in the first place. But while he says, “the good news is that we have come through such darkness before,” the bad news, I would have to add, is that never before has it been a president who was blocking the sun. As bad as Joseph McCarthy was, he was a mere senator and not the self-anointed American proconsul — above the law, pardoner of the egregious, immune to subpoena, blithefully ignorant of history and as dishonest as one can be in 280 characters. President Trump is a vulgar man who would take John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” and plunk a casino in it.
   We have a president whose rhetoric is ugly and divisive, who is appallingly not appalled by white racists and whose whims go unchecked by important figures in his own party. He does not summon Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” but instead stokes unreasonable fear of immigrants, of change, of diversity, of government and of the press.
Is Meacham right? Pray that he is. But act as if he isn’t. Read on.


• DioBeth Leadership News, June 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 31 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.


• Supreme Court denies breakaway Episcopal group control of its churches[Religion News Service] Read on.

• Some church services are a sea of iPhones … Had you noticed that Bishop Michael Curry read his royal wedding sermon from an iPad? Read on.

General Convention
• Bishop Sean and Eight Deputies from the Diocese of Bethlehem Here.

• Overview
… July 2 - 13 – The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. It is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. In the interim between triennial meetings, various committees, commissions, agencies, boards and task forces created by the General Convention meet to implement the decisions and carry on the work of the General Convention. More info.  REPEAT?

Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.

The Most Popular and Talked-About Course at Yale Teaches How To Be Happy
Professor Laurie Santos’s new course, PSYC 157: Psychology and the Good Life, is so wildly popular, with over 1,200 enrolled students, suggests that she’s on to something. “College students are much more overwhelmed, much more stressed, much more anxious, and much more depressed than they’ve ever been. I think we really have a crisis writ large at colleges in how students are doing in terms of self-care and mental health.” Then she adds, “Sadly, I don’t think it’s just in colleges.”
   Santos is right on both counts. College students aren’t happy, and neither is anyone else. According to a recent survey by the American College Health Association, 52 percent of students reported feeling hopeless, while 39 percent suffered from such severe depression that they had found it difficult to function at some point during the previous year. At the University of Pennsylvania, there’s even a slang term for the grim mask of discontent that accompanies this condition: “Penn Face.” We could go further and diagnose a national case of “USA Face,” given that America recently ranked 18th in the U.N.’s “World Happiness Report,” trailing such national bastions of well-being as Finland (No. 1), Canada (No. 7), and Australia (No. 10). Read on.

Charles Krauthammer has terminal cancer[WaPo] Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer announced Friday he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. "My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live," he wrote in a farewell letter at The Washington Post. "This is the final verdict. My fight is over." Krauthammer, 68, thanked his medical caregivers, friends, colleagues, and readers. "I leave this life with no regrets," he said. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living." Read on.

• 9 People Reveal a Time They Racially Stereotyped a Stranger … [NYTimes] Here.

Requiescant in pace
• Frank T. Dobias, Jr. 89 
died June 2. Frank was employed as the Director of Educational Services for WLVT Channel 39, Bethlehem, for over 20 years, retiring in 1994. Previously, he was employed as a Radio Engineer for WAEB and also as the former General Manager of Blue Ridge Cable TV. While working at WLVT Channel 39, he originated and served as Executive Director of Scholastic Scrimmage, from its origin in 1975, until his retirement in 1994. He was a member of St. John's Palmerton. Obituary.

• Anthony D. Muntone, 81
… Tony and I were close during three years in Rome and nearly 15 years working in the bishop's office of the RC Diocese of Allentown. Msgr. Muntone was a good friend, a stand-up guy. Brilliant, yet loved by common people. A model of integrity and authenticity. Good sense of humor and wit. I loved him. He died on May 30. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Southern Baptist Leader Fired … [WaPo, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey May 30] A major Southern Baptist seminary has fired one of the movement’s giants of the last quarter-century, Paige Patterson, after new information came to light regarding how Patterson handled a sexual abuse allegation while he led another institution, the school said in a statement Wednesday night. Read on.

• A Televangelist and his Planes … [WaPo, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. May 29]  Jesse Duplantis, saying he needs about $54 million to help him efficiently spread the gospel to as many people as possible, has asked the Lord — and hundreds of thousands of hopefully deep-pocketed followers across the world — for a Falcon 7X. Read on.

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

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

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

The Vatican
Pope Francis appeals to top energy executives to care for the poor and the environment [NCR, Joshua J. McElwee] “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization,” Pope Francis told top executives of the world’s main petrol, natural gas and energy-linked investment companies when he met them in the Vatican on June 9. He appealed to them to use their “creativeness and professional expertise” in “the service of two great needs in today’s world: the care of the poor and the environment.” America here. NYTimes here.

• Pope Francis is finally starting to get it … [WaPo Editorial Board] The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children. Here and here.

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.

Health and Wellness
• Guide to Your Midlife Tuneup … [Jane E. Brody, NYTimes, May 21] Our health needs change with every passing decade, but the good news is that it's never too late to start taking better care of yourself. Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond, the Well Midlife Tuneup will put you on a healthier path to improving your body, mind and relationships. You are only as old as you feel, and completing our tuneup will definitely help you feel young at heart. Let's get started. Here.

Film and TV
• The Fred Roger documentary feels radically subversive … [Vox] Generations of American children now have grown up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in part because it runs on public television, something that Fred Rogers himself was instrumental in saving. Somewhere between a playmate, an affable uncle or grandpa, and a fairy godfather, Rogers’s slow and compassionate approach to children’s television ran counter to what we typically expect of TV shows for kids; there are no bright, flashy, fast-moving cartoons or slapstick humor in his neighborhood, just simple, direct conversation and storytelling. You got the feeling he cared. The main goal of Won’t You Be My Neighbor is to convince us that while kindness and empathy are in short supply today, it need not be that way. Read on.

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.

Media, Print, Music, Tech

• 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

Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.

• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• 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, ExplainedVox'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 Effectis 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.
• Caliphateis a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
… Anglicans Online
… Associated Press
… Book of Common Prayer
… 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]

Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Royal Wedding
1. The Sermon Watch it. Read it.

2. Wholly Un-British, Amazing and Necessary … [Esquire] "We really did not expect to get inspired by a Royal Wedding, but there you are. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to join the Episcopal Church."  Read on.

3. 'Almost a Sermon'
A few hours after the royal wedding, BBC repeated Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon followed by this bit of curious commentary. "A pretty lively, a pretty forceful and uplifting address, almost a sermon by Bishop Michael. Maybe it’s fair to say it’s an address the likes of which hasn’t been heard at a royal wedding for quite some time, if at all, in recent years. Because he really had a message to deliver and he really did deliver it with some energy and some vigor, all about the power of Love..."

4. A Black Bishop Brings a Political Message to the Royal Wedding … [The Atlantic, Emma Green, May 21]
Poverty, hunger, justice, and care for the earth aren’t typical themes for a wedding sermon. But they’re typical for Curry, who has called for a transformative “Jesus movement” and has an unapologetically fierce preaching style. He was installed as the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in 2015, bringing a new voice of leadership to an extremely homogenous denomination: The Episcopal Church is 90 percent white in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center. Read on.

5. Global Praise For Presiding Bishop's Royal Wedding Sermon … [Episcopal News Service, David Paulsen] “There are some things you come to expect from royal weddings,” the Washington Post said. “One thing you don’t expect: That sermon.” The Post called Curry’s 14-minute sermon a “barnstorming address.” Canada’s CBC called it the “highlight” of the royal wedding. Vox said Curry “stole the show,” adding that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were “all but upstaged” by Curry’s “fiery sermon.” And the U.K. Guardian commentary asserted that Curry’s “royal wedding sermon will go down in history as a moment when the enduring seat of colonialism was brought before the Lord, and questioned in its own house.” Read on.

6. On the Morning Shows … [EpiscopalCafé] Watch Bishop Curry on Good Morning America, Today and The View. Here.

7. The Royal Wedding made Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry a superstar. Can the religious left translate that into political change? [WaPo] The 65-year-old priest is now the repository of hope for progressive Christians who want to reclaim their faith from conservative evangelicals. Read on.

• 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.

• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishopNichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
   "I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."
   Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
   A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. 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.

• 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.

• Reclaiming Jesus is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including 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.

• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.

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.

Jubilate for Pentecost B … is now available at the Trinity Bethlehem website. Also, Prayers of the People may be found there. Jubilate is a resource for hymn selection. Weekly Prayers of the People 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 both Word (.doc) and .pdf formats. Find both here.

• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.

• The Episcopal Churchis 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.


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