newSpin 140902

The newSpin newsletter
September 2, 2014
Bill Lewellis

Published weekly, usually by Tuesday

• Bishop Sean accepts Ellyn Siftar's resignation ... With deep regret, I write to announce that I have accepted the resignation of Ellyn Siftar as the Missioner for Youth and Young Adult Ministries.  The wisdom and grace with which Ellyn has exercised her ministry is clearly evident. For the past three years, she has provided gifted leadership and steady guidance to the programs for youth and young adults of our diocese.  Her genuine respect for the youth and young adults with whom she has worked is commendable, as well as her ability to uphold and model with enthusiasm a mature vision of spiritual growth and mission. She leaves us to pursue the worthy goal of completing her college degree on a more full-time basis.  Ellyn will continue her ministry with us through November. I know you will join me in wishing her well and offering prayers for her continued success. +Sean, August 29, 2014. Read on.

• A conversation about Islam ... Saturday, Sept. 6, at Marywood University, 1-3 pm. More here.

• Where college football is a religion, and religion shapes college football 
... [WaPo] In the South, college football fits somewhere between pastime and obsession, and like church, it is more than a weekend activity. Read on.

• Cracks in the 'stained-glass ceiling' ... [RNS] Chicago. New York. Washington, D.C. In quick succession this year, three women have been chosen to lead historic tall-steeple churches in all these cities. Read on.

• You are invited to a Benedictine Spirituality Evening: Sept. 15 ... [Canon Laura Howell] "Who is the one who will have life and desires to see good days?" This line from Psalm 34, quoted by a 5th century Italian monk named Benedict, invites us all into a deeper relationship with God. For many years a group of seekers after simple holiness have been meeting twice a month as they live out the command “Let them prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ.” We would like to invite you to spend a Benedictine evening with us: a little prayer, a little conversation, a little potluck, and a chance to hear about what we do and how we spend our lives. Please join us and bring a dish to share on Monday, September 15, at 6:00 in the Parish Hall at Trinity Bethlehem.  We have members from several denominations, so everyone is welcome.  Invite a friend! Please let me know if you are coming (, 610-867-4741), so we can be sure to have enough food – Benedictine hospitality rules here! Wherever you are in your spiritual life, we are all always beginners, and can benefit from each other’s wisdom.

• New and creative ways of prayer
... [ENS] What is being called “a daily office for the 21st century” is now available to members of the Episcopal Church and beyond. “Daily Prayer for All Seasons,” developed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers a variation on the Book of Common Prayer’s tradition of prayers for morning, noon, evening and nighttime. Read on. Soft cover and leather-bound editions are available. A 37-page sampler from the book is here.

• In-Formation in Bethlehem ... Canon Anne Kitch's September newsletter on lifelong Christian formation resources. Here. Don't miss the 35-minute "Embracing Forgiveness" video with Barbara Crafton and "God be in my eyes," Anne's own reflection that will draw you to your place within where you may sense God.

• If you pray for Joan Rivers, or wish good luck, who benefits? ... [RNS, Cathy Lynn Grossman] Doctors were planning to bring Joan Rivers, the 81-year-old comedienne, out of a medically induced coma and assess her mental and physical condition today (Tuesday)after she had a heart attack last week during an outpatient procedure. While she’s silent,  everyone else is talking — and praying for a miracle or simply crossing their fingers, or both like her daughter Melissa.Does either make a difference? For whom? Read on.

Tuesday, doctors were planning to bring the 81-year-old comedienne out of a medically induced coma and assess her mental and physical condition after she had a heart attack last week during an outpatient procedure. - See more at:

• A puzzling exile ... [Barbara Crafton's Almost Daily eMo] See below, under "Columns, Sermons ..."

• Start of School ... [Barbara Crafton's Almost Daily eMo] See below, under "Columns, Sermons ..."

• Celtic Spirituality Initiative at Bethlehem Cathedral
... [Melinda Rizzo] Beginning September, the Cathedral Church of the Nativity's Celtic spirituality offerings will take place  at 5:00 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month. All are welcome, regardless of their denomination or faith affiliation. The sessions are informal, and invite participants to enter the Cathedral for meditation, silent prayer, personal reflection time, to light candles, privately ask for healing prayers, and simply enjoy brief theme appropriate meditative readings and poems spoken, all supported by quietly played Celtic music by guest musicians, well known and versed in Celtic-themed music. Nativity’s dean Tony Pompa said his hope is for the monthly offerings to become a touchstone for anyone interested in seeking a new way to approach spirituality and make a deeper connection with the sacred. “We offer a variety of opportunities for sacred connections in about 40 minutes, and the sessions hold a peace-filled and paced economy of time; the Celtic music played by our gifted guest musicians throughout the majority of the evening invites transformation, it’s a recipe of sacred mystery," Pompa explained. Read on.

RNS: The “Left Behind” books series has sold more than 60 million copies. What do you think when you hear that so many have been influenced by that brand of eschatological thought? 

SH: My reaction to the “Left Behind” series is one of amusement and pathos. Pathos because so many people have misunderstood Christian eschatological convictions and turned them into speculative accounts of the so-called “rapture.” I take it to be a judgment against the church that that kind of speculation has gained a foothold.

- See more at:

• Resources
 ... Here.

• Chimps outplay humans in brain game ... [Scientific American] We humans assume we are the smartest of all creations. Yet, as Scientific American reports, scientists have shown repeatedly that many animals have an extraordinary intellect. In a recent study, chimps and humans played a strategy game -- and unexpectedly, the chimps outplayed the humans. Read on.

• Khan Academy ... Start learning now. Here.

• Godly Play Training
... [Anne Kitch, 610-691-5655 x222]] September 6, 9am - 3pm, Grace Church, 30 Butler St. Kingston, PA 18704. Register here. Led by certified Godly Play trainer Dawn Stewart. This training is for new and experienced Godly Play teachers. The day will include the demonstration of several Godly Play stories, discussion about managing time and behavior, and tips on obtaining and creating Godly Play materials. There will also be the opportunity to meet and network with others using Godly Play in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Cost $10, includes lunchSponsored by Grace Church Kingston and the Commission of Lifelong Christian Formation for the Diocese of Bethlehem.More Godly Play training opportunities.

• Listening, Prayer and Discernment ... [News release from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem] Two Episcopal Moment consultants, the Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Johnson, Jr., D.Min, and the Rev. Dr. Robert K. Myers, PhD, both priests based in the Chicago area, will facilitate a series of listening opportunities, to be held across the diocese beginning in fall, at which everyone will be invited to discuss the challenges facing the Episcopal Church in northeastern Pennsylvania, how the diocese has responded to these challenges, and where the Holy Spirit might be leading this diocesan community. The goal is for everyone who wishes to participate in this process to have a chance to be heard. Read on.

• Resources
 ... Here.

• Maria Montessori ... [Writer's Almanac] was born in Chiaravalle, Italy, August 31, 1870, was a medical doctor and a major innovator in education theory and practice. She believed that children were not blank slates, but that they each had inherent, individual gifts. It was a teacher's job to help children find these gifts, rather than dictating what a child should know. She emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers. Children were encouraged to make decisions. She was the first educator to use child-sized tables and chairs in the classroom. Though many schools call themselves "Montessori" schools, Grace Montessori School in Allentown may be the only truly Montessori school in a wide area. Read on.

• Canonical roles of vestries and clergy ... [newSpin blog, Andrew Gerns] There is a tendency in this country to run Episcopal Churches according to a congregational (where the whole congregation makes decisions) or a Presbyterian model (where elected committees and officers make the decisions) and in both these the clerics are at best the hired help. The situation you described is apparently one where the lay leadership seems to have fallen into one of those models to bad effect. It is not an uncommon problem.
   There is an equal tendency to organize Episcopal Churches along Roman Catholic lines, where the priest is in total charge and the vestry and lay leaders exist solely to raise funds, maintain the property and carry out the priest's vision. This can have the effect of holding lay leadership back from taking their full place in the life of the church.
   We Episcopalians, on the other hand, strive for that elusive via media. Read on.

• St. Brigid's golf outing ... will be held on Saturday, October 4 with a 9 a.m. shotgun start at Southmoore Golf Course in Bath. There will be a lunch buffet at 2 p.m. in the pavilion. Prices are $90 per golfer and $15 per non-golfer for lunch. Registration forms are available at Take the opportunity to tell your friends and family members about this fun, relaxing way to help St. Brigid’s minister to both its own needs and those of the Nazareth community.

• Resources

... Here.

Columns, Sermons, Reflections and other Spin
• Miners labored for the community in a world of dim carbide lamps ... [Bishop Paul Marshall, Labor Day 1998] Long days, mining an eighteen-inch seam on your belly; child labor starting at age seven; water, dirt, and noise; not to mention health, safety, and economic questions. A miner's life is not one I would have wanted. I understood why being sent to the mines in the ancient pre-industrial world was a death sentence for a convict. The industrial world we enjoy was built by the backbreaking labor of millions of people, supported by the unpaid labor of those who made what homes they could for them, with little hope for something better. We need to acknowledge our debt to them, not because they made some owners and investors wealthy (possibly some who read this today), but because they helped build a country, and for a long time provided much of the economic backbone of our region. May we attend to the grim reminders of what it cost them. Read on.

• Being Southern
... [Caroline Cavett] Caroline has agreed to write regular columns for the newSpin blog. She holds dear the memories of eight years in the Diocese of Bethlehem. She lives on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee and is an active member of Good Shepherd Church where "we still do not handle snakes; we read and write and use the liturgy quite coherently, and we all wear shoes." She and her late husband Van were parishioners at the Cathedral while Van served as Comment Pages editor at The Morning Call. Caroline wrote good stories for the former Diocesan Life and channeled Gilbert and Sullivan in ditties about the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read her first column, Being Southern, here.

• Christianity and the good death: From one reality to the next ... [The Globe and Mail, Lorna Dueck] We are vulnerable and flawed as we face death. Palliative-care workers have told me that Christians face the fear of the dark night no differently than secularists. Clergy have told me that sitting at a death bed with a Christian is the most beautiful work they engage in, because they experience God’s presence and care mediated through people, medicine and hospice. They also encounter the Holy as God ushers life from one reality to the next. Read on.

• A puzzling exile ... [Barbara Crafton's Almost Daily eMo] During my exile, I sometimes wondered if I had ceased to be a writer. What if I never wrote another eMo? And what if the little book just published was my last one ever? What if my dependable discipline were never to return? Well, what of it? Nothing lasts forever. Nothing lasts forever, and nothing has to. This fact -- which seemed such a melancholy one, not so long ago -- has changed its character. Now, it is nothing less than freedom.  Read on.

• Start of School ... [Barbara Crafton's Almost Daily eMo] Now it starts -- the calendar year may begin on January first, but my years have always begun in September. September is when you write again with a sharp new pencil on brand-new paper. In September you begin again, with a fresh supply of hope and resolve. Energy returns-- you are done with the goalless ennui of summer. Time to get to work. Read on.

• Do miracles happen? ... [Episcopal Café, Andrew Gerns] Reform magazine, the journal of the United Reformed Church, asked four people to respond to the question of miracles: Maggie Dawn of Yale, Michael Jagessar of the United Reformed Church, Attorney (and Anglican) Simon Edwards, Novelist Catherine Fox. Read on.

People from our diocese and parishes in the media
• Nothing to report

• 2014-2015 Diocesan Youth Events ... Here.

• Youth delegates elected for Diocesan Convention ... Here.

• Resources

... Here.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Worship/Church Growth
• Resources

 ... Here.

Rest in Peace
• Irene Klemmer, 83 ... [Dean Tony Pompa] I write to inform you that Irene Klemmer died suddenly on Wednesday August 27 at home. Irene is the wife of John Klemmer. Irene and John were married at the Cathedral 59 years ago. They both have served faithfully as Church school teachers and youth mentors. John has served multiple terms on the Vestry of the Cathedral. Visitation for the Klemmer family will take place on Thursday September 4 from 2-4 pm and then 6:30-7:30 pm at the Pearson Funeral Home on Linden Street in Bethlehem. Funeral services will begin at 7:30 pm at the Pearson Funeral Home. Please keep John, son John, his wife Susan, and their children in your prayers. Obituary here.

• Florence Batten, 95
... widow of The Rev. Augustus Batten, died on July 25. She resided in South Carolina. 

Episcopal/Anglican (Beyond DioBeth)
• Resources
 ... Here.

• How the Apocalypse would happen if heaven were a small non-profit ... [McSweeney's] Daniel Cech writes a quirky little post for the humor website of the San Francisco publishing company McSweeney’s. “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will send e-mails to each other creating action plans and purposely not CC or talk about it with any of the angels,” he begins. Those of you who have ever worked for a non-profit – you will understand. [h/t Religion News Roundup]

Employment Opportunities
• Episcopal Positions (NYC/DC) ... Here.

Evangelical Lutheran Church
• Resources
 ... Here.

Moravian Church
• Lecture on Human Trafficking at Moravian College ... Oct. 22, 5:30 p.m. Read on.

• Resources
... Here.

United Methodist Church
• ... a wealth of good info, opinion and reflection. Here.
• Communication tips and tools ... Here.

• Resources

... Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Resources
 ... Here.

On Meet the Press earlier this month, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, claimed that the Catholic Church is not anti-gay. “We’re pro marriage, we’re pro traditional marriage, we’re not anti anybody. We’ve been out-marketed, we’ve been caricatured as being anti-gay,” he explained to the show’s host, David Gregory. Dolan’s right. The Catholic Church isn’t anti-gay, but evidence suggests its bishops certainly are. - See more at:
Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at:
Whoops! After years of debate, Catholic bishops in France decided that the version of the Lord’s Prayer their congregants recite could be considered blasphemous. Apparently French people…can’t read French? The official translation has been changed from “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Let us not enter into temptation,” absolving God of any perceived meddling. - See more at:

Roman Catholic
• Crux: Covering all things Catholic ... Crux, a new and apparently excellent website launched at the Boston Globe by John Allen and friends, strives to cover the worldwide institution of the Roman Catholic Church, from the papacy to the hierarchy to local dioceses. It will explore the theology, doctrine, liturgy, practices, and traditions of Catholicism in the context of the life of modern-day Catholics, giving full voice to disagreements and challenges facing the Church and Catholics. We will examine Catholicism in the context of other religious traditions. [h/t Religion News Roundup]

• Resources
... Here.

The Vatican
• Resources
 ... Here.

• Sitting ourselves to death ... [The Morning Call via Mary MacVean, Tribune Newspapers] We lose two hours of life for every hour we sit, writes Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. "Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death."

• Resources

... Here

• Resources
 ... Here.

As soon as the newSpin newsletter is completed, usually by Tuesday, it is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on Bakery and on a ChurchPost list of some 1,200 addresses. Many recipients often forward it to others. The newsletter comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee or the Archdeacon as an official communication. If you're wondering why you haven't seen something related to your parish or agency here, it's probably because no one has sent relevant info. If you think something about your parish or agency merits inclusion, send email to Bill. Comments are welcome at the newSpin blog. Click there in the right hand column on the title of the current newsletter. Then, make your comment below.

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]













Diocesan Life for September 2011

Download the September issue of Diocesan Life as a .pdf
Download September2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL (3.3 MB file)

A New Day for St Mary's Reading: Angel Food Ministries

In response to current economic conditions and lengthy unemployment lines, St. Mary's Church has realized there is a great need in the city of Reading for some kind of food ministry benefiting all members of the community. Angel Food Ministries is one example of a way to provide quality, affordable food, which is part of the core of Christian mission.

Angel Food provides individuals and families with fresh, brand name food for a fraction of the retail price. By purchasing food in bulk, directly from some of the top suppliers in the country, food is discounted by up to 50 percent of retail. Angel Food Ministries is now offering a new selection of prepackaged boxes with more protein items. They contain top quality food staples from every food group, including chicken or beef, milk, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Each of the regular boxes of food feeds a family of four for about one week or a single individual for almost a month. The menu selections vary each month, and consist of both fresh and frozen items, saving Americans money with no sacrifice to quality.

Angel Food Ministries’ service is available to anyone wanting to stretch their food dollars. There are no income requirements or program qualifications. We accept Food Stamps. There are no limits to the quantity of boxes per individual, nor are there any applications or qualifications for eligibility.

Here’s a link for the August menu:

Order  by calling Scott Chambers at: 484-333-8877 at the following times:
     August 10th from 5pm – 7:30pm
     August 13th from 9am – 12 noon
     August 17th from 5pm – 7:30pm
     August 20th from 9am – 12 noon
On August 27th we will pick up the boxes at a central location at 6:30 a.m. Ordered boxes will then be available for pick up at St. Mary’s Church, 100 W. Windsor St., Reading, PA 19601 on Saturday, August 27th beginning between 8:00-8:30am. Some boxes will be VERY frozen and can go about 6 hours without refrigeration.

Anyone who wishes to learn more may go to St. Mary's website and click on the Angel Food Ministry tab. You may also call Scott Chambers directly at 484-333-8877.