Today We Remember Tomorrow

[A slightly edited sermon preached at Diocesan House by Bill Lewellis, Oct. 31, 2013, Vigil of All Saints]

From several of my classmates and friends and professors in Rome during the early 60s, I gained a love of good theology. But it wasn’t until some 15 years ago that I heard four words, right here, that captured the purpose of theology and the meaning of Eucharist.

Today, we remember tomorrow. My mantra.

I owe Jane Teter for this insight. It was September 13, perhaps 15 years ago. The next day was the Feast of the Holy Cross. Jane was our celebrant. She began to explain that on this day, September 13, not a special day on the church calendar, we would use the readings and prayers of the next day, which was a special day. Somewhere within those words, Jane got caught up in a circular explanation. She escaped with, “So, today we remember tomorrow.”

The words sang in my head. I wanted to applaud.

Today … We … Remember … That’s the heart of it. We remember. We make Eucharist, our Great Thanksgiving, by remembering. In our celebration together of this and every Eucharist, we give thanks by remembering the acts of God through the multi-millennial history of salvation … and the fourscore years of our lives.

Listen to some of the words we pray as we make ucharist. “We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love you have made known to us … in creation … in the calling of Israel to be your people … in your Word spoken though the prophets, and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus your Son … On the night before he died for us, he took bread … Do this for the remembrance of me. After supper, he took the cup of wine … he gave it to them … Drink this … for the remembrance of me …

Today … We … Remember … Tomorrow.
Imagine that. Remembering tomorrow! Remembering God’s acts on our behalf and God’s promises, we give thanks, we hope, we trust … we … remember … tomorrow.

We express our faith with wonder, hope and trust.

“There is but one fundamental truth for Christians,” Bishop Paul preached a few years ago on All Souls Day. It is that “in Christ we are tied to God and each other in a way that the circumstances of time and space cannot defeat.”

Or, we might say: Relationships trump doctrine.

Doing what we do in the words and actions and hymns of our liturgy, we “gently heal our past … and calmly embrace our future.” Today, we remember tomorrow.

Listen to the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer for All Saints Day. We pray this: It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. For in the multitude of your saints you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses, that we might rejoice in their fellowship, and run with endurance the race that is set before us; and, together with them, receive the crown of glory that never fades away.

We saints look deeply within. We somehow find God. We see God as we squint through the smokescreen of our conditioned reality … and we allow the God within to transform us and the world around us.

We saints. “You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea. In Church, or on trains, or in shops, or at tea. For the saints of God are just folk like me. And I mean to be one too” … while today I remember tomorrow.

Two Poems for Jane Teter – by Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril

A Bright Light Went Out Today
17 January, 2017

A Bright Light went out today.

Broken hearts litter the landscape.

Radiant she was, with the Shekinah

beaming off her cheeks, quietly

emanating God's peace.

A deeply holy woman

greatly loved and respected.

She had dignity.

She was Lady Jane.

Loving fellowship in ministry

with colleagues lay and ordained.

Witty. Zany. Fun-loving. Mischievous.

Wisdom cloaked in humor.

A great listener.

When she was with you, she always      

seemed to be simultaneously conversing

with the heavenly realm. She was rooted

there. And here. She believed in miracles.

And was living one.

Her constancy, faithfulness, determination and

endurance spelled courage, writ large.

Loved family, dogs, and butter pecan ice cream.

Angels, and English Dominoes. Time at the cottage.

Still waters were the current that ran beneath Jane and the

well from which she drew strength. She and Wendell Berry knew

enough to go apart “into the place where the wild things are, and

to come into the presence of still water.”

On the road again. She traveled constantly.

To go wherever she was called was her adventure.

The breadth of the diocese her map.

And when she wasn't driving she was knitting.

How many scarves and hats and gloves for the seamen?

How many baby hats and blankets? How many knitters are there

now because of Jane? Grains of sand and stars in the sky.

And then there were the retreats. COM, Vestry, New rectors, Cursillo. Her skills as Facilitator are legion. Always patient, cheerful and adept at bringing realistic goals to the fore. Accomplishing the task.

Nurturing sister clergy at Kirby House, “our place”. Tomato soup and grilled cheese. High tea at four. Bunk beds and pillow fights. Songs in the night. Painting, movies and hot chocolate. Stories by candlelight. Eucharist. Healing. Taking turns rocking the babies under the Christmas tree.

Treasured friend, sister, colleague,

Thanks for the memories.

Bon Voyage!

Pray for us.

                                   Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril
                                   20 January, 2017

Wendell Berry, “Simple Grace


Woman of substance

I miss you!

Your smile, your laughter

riding on the air like

little monastery bells!

I miss watching you

unfold the Holy Mysteries

you lived with and the

other ones, the ones

you liked to read.

Always centered,

emanating peace and

tranquility, you blessed me.

I miss the long drives to

faraway quilting shops and

Friday lunches at the diner,

where mac and cheese

and the best stewed tomatoes

in the world gave us sustenance

for the long haul.

Your quiet deep caring was like

the shawl I wear, covering me

with sisterly love and affection.

The tears are mine.

I ponder God's plan for me,

still on journey.

Now you and Edgar

walk hand in hand

in Paradise, God's

plan for you complete.

Thanks be to God.

Goodbye my friend.

                                                                                                Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril
                                                                                                27 January 2017

Jane Ballantyne Teter – A Celebration of her Life and Ministry

Sermon by Archdeacon Richard I Cluett
January 28, 2017
Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem

Jane Teter
This has been very hard – trying to capture the faith and the life – the essence of a beloved friend and sister I have known for 40 years. But here is where I have come to this morning.

Because of her firm and uncluttered faith in the God who created her and loved her, Jane Ballantyne Teter was one audacious and tenacious woman. Just ask her kids. Just ask me.

I first met Jane in the late 1970’s when she was beginning to discern that she was be called by God to the priesthood. That was an audacious act, in and of itself – to think that she could and would be called by God to be a priest, this young-ish widow of a priest and the mother of three kids. What an audacious idea back in those days when the ordination of women was recently authorized and certainly not the norm and not accepted by many,

But once that call was affirmed in her heart and soul, she was tenacious in pursuit of it. Willing to endure institutional hurdles, the skepticism of others, managing family life, work life, and seminary studies, to be the person God created her to be, working as hard as she had ever worked. It took a lot, it cost a lot and by God she got there. Thanks be to God.

You all might not think of Jane as audacious and tenacious, but in her own quiet way she was indeed. How else could she have lived with the untimely death of her husband Edgar, raised and educated three wonderful and diverse kids, worked full-time, and made her way in the world and the church with such Grace and commitment. Audacity and Tenacity.

She built a life with her family at the center, certainly her kids, Deb, Ned, and Laurie, and then their families, and always caring for her beloved twin brother Robert and his family across the country, and her grandparents and aunts and others I do not know about.

She was the keeper and sometimes the Sheriff of family traditions. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter and the annual summer weeks spent at the camp on the lake in the Adirondacks. These were pretty much nonnegotiable for Jane and so for her family, and she would sacrifice and go to some lengths to see that they happened and were opportunities for celebration in her family.

We all knew about her mystery novels, 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, and her love for her dogs – even though she carped about them from time to time – and her knitting, always knitting. Sweaters for family, blankets for babies, and wool caps, scarves, and mitten for seafarers, and more. That one she spread throughout the diocese.

Indeed as her health began to fail, it was her Deb and Laurie and Ned who became the keeper of the traditions, who saw that these family events and times always happened. I know, perhaps better than they do, how much she loved them and how proud she was of them.

When I was rector of St. Margaret’s Church in Emmaus, it was my pleasure and privilege (and a bit my conniving, too, as chair of the Commission on Ministry) to have Jane come to St. Margaret’s as a seminarian intern, then stay on as assisting deacon and priest. She was ordained priest in the church named for Queen Margaret of Scotland, the patron of the Church in Scotland. How fitting was that for a woman in the family and clan of Ballantyne?

As a priest in a time when the ordination of women was still a new idea for some, viewed with skepticism by others, and denied altogether by some others, Jane’s audacious faith and tenacity took her into many, many parishes of this diocese to give people the chance to experience and come to know a woman in holy orders. By celebrating and preaching as a visitor on Sundays, by being willing to be interviewed by search committees whether or not she was interested in a move to a parish, serving as a consultant to parish leadership, she demonstrated the fullness of the ordained ministry to those who had never experienced it or even knew it was possible.

She exercised a special ministry as mentor, model, and wise woman for many women, especially, as they came into the ordained ministry of the church

Her ministry as priest, pastor, spiritual guide, mentor and friend was a gift to so many and she is loved to this day for it. Just look at the comments on the diocesan Facebook page testifying to her gifts, life, and ministry.

Serving in parishes as assisting priest, interim rector, vicar and eventually, as Edgar her husband had before her, serving as a canon to the bishop, she touched and enhanced the lives of so many of us.

Small parishes were a special love and concern for Jane and she advocated for their care and wellbeing in the councils of the diocese and beyond in the councils and General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Even as her health declined, she took on a ministry of care for the retired clergy and widowed spouses of our diocese with prayer, greeting cards, phone calls, birthday remembrances and advocacy, never forgetting anybody.

Jane was “Never Quit Jane”. If it was important to do, then it was important to do it. Right up to the end. Dying, still a member of the bishop’s staff, carrying out this unique and important ministry at the age of 79.

You may have noticed that the scriptures today are not meant for Jane. They are meant for us, for those who have loved her and will always miss her –and may need the reminder, the reassurance that she has entered into the bright light of God’s love, into eternity, into the blessed company of the saints. She knew all these things deep I her heart and soul, and when it came time to contemplate passing from this life into eternity, she just set her face to it and went about it.

That is a gift to her family, and that is her gift to the rest of us. There is no need to live - or die - in fear. We are in the love and care of God all the day long, even and especially “when the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done” – even as we are passing from this life to the next.

I want to leave the last word to Hillary Raining, another priest ordained from Trinity Church, Bethlehem. Hillary posted this on our Facebook page: “Jane was a mentor and a friend to me. One of the greatest honors of my life was interviewing several first generation women priests in DioBeth, including Jane, to capture their pioneering stories. Jane taught me so much in that interview and this has prompted me to take the transcripts off the shelf today to read them. In her own words, Jane told me to always, “claim the good that you are doing so that others will feel empowered to do the things they might not know they can do. That will be how God works through you.”

Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. And this is how God worked through Jane. And now, dear friend, may you rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

The Rev. Canon Jane Ballantyne Teter

Jane Teter

The Rev. Canon Jane B. Teter died on January 17 after a long struggle with cancer.

At the time of her death, she was serving on the bishop's staff as chaplain to retired clergy and their spouses. During her career, Canon Teter served in many parishes in the diocese and was the founding vicar of St. Brigid's, Nazareth.

She was ordained in 1983, just a few years after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. As a layperson she was an active leader in Cursillo and a member of Trinity Church, Bethlehem.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Dr. Hillary D. Raining said, "She was a mentor and a friend to me. One of the greatest honors of my life was interviewing several first generation women priests in DioBeth including Jane to capture their pioneering stories. Jane taught me so much in that interview and this has prompted me to take the transcripts off the shelf today. In her own words, she told me to always, 'claim the good that you are doing so that others will feel empowered to do the things they might not know they can do. That will be how God works through you.' Thank you, Jane. May she rest in peace and rise in glory."

In announcing the news on Facebook, Archdeacon Rick Cluett said, "Jane's dying and death were consistent with her life; powered by her faith, strength, and determination, and her deep love and care for her family. Her life and ministry touched so many in our diocese as both layperson and priest ... Well, done, Jane, very well done. May she now rest in peace and rise in glory."

Canon Teter is survived by her children Deb, Laurie, and Ned and their families. Her funeral will be Saturday, January 28 at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Friends may call from 10-11 a.m.


[Bill Lewellis] Beyond being a longtime colleague, Jane was a faithful friend whom I loved and with whom I loved to banter. One of my fond remembrances resulted in four words that captured the meaning of Eucharist: Today, we remember tomorrow.

On September 13, during the late '90s, before celebrating Eucharist at Diocesan House, Jane offered an explanation. We would use the readings and prayers of the next day, the Feast of the Holy Cross. She got caught up in a circular explanation. She escaped with, “So, today we remember tomorrow.”

The words sang in my head. I wanted to applaud. It's tomorrow, Jane. It's tomorrow.


OBITUARY – Jane B. Teter, born in Schenectady, New York, was the daughter of Thomas and Esther (Klapper) Ballantyne. She was the wife of the late Rev. Lloyd Edgar Teter, Jr. who she married in 1956. Jane attended William Smith College in Geneva, New York and later Earned a Master of Divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem.

In 1983, Jane was one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and served as a trailblazer and mentor for those women who followed. Jane began her ordained ministry as deacon at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Emmaus, where she later served as Interim Rector. Jane was active throughout the diocese and at several parishes including Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem and later at St. Brigid's Episcopal Church, Nazareth, where she was the founding vicar. For the last 20+ years, Jane served on the Staff of the Bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem in a variety of roles, most recently as the Bishop's Assistant for Retired Priests and Spouses, a position she held until her death.

Jane was an accomplished knitter and an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Although Jane resided in Bethlehem for nearly 50 years, Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains always held a special place in her heart.

Survivors: Jane is survived by her three children: Deborah J. Termini (Robert), Whitehall, PA, L. Edgar Teter, III "Ned" (Linda), Lancaster, PA and Laura B. Teter (Richard Kesling), Bethlehem, PA and three grandchildren: Matthew Neas, Christopher Teter and Kaitlin Termini. She is predeceased by her twin brother, Robert.

Services: Funeral Services will be held Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, 321 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA. Calling will be from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. in the church. Contributions: In lieu of flowers contributions may be sent to The Soup Kitchen at Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 E. Market Street, Bethlehem, PA, 18018.

Online condolences may be recorded at

Diocesan support for Seamen's Church Institute

[From Canon Jane Teter]


I have received a note of thanks from the Seamen's Church Institute thanking
all of you for the knitted and crocheted items sent for the mariners on the hign
seas at Christmas. 

We sent off eleven boxes of items including:  60 scarves, 102 hats, 15 vests, 1 pair
of slippers and 19 helmets.

Many thanks to all who have made these items.

Please continue to make items for next year.  They may be dropped off at Diocesan
House all year long.  Once the holidays are over, it is a good time to relax and knit or
crochet an item or two!

Blessings of Advent to all of you,
Canon  Teter

Resolutions of Courtesy from Diocesan Convention

By Canon Anne Kitch

May it be resolved, that we who are gathered in this place do most graciously give voice to our joy in thy worshipful servant Bishop Paul, and that we offer unto him deep gratitude for that he hath led us on to ponder "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;” and for that he doth continually translate God’s Word for us.

Resolved, we salute Bishop Jack for being an all around holy man and for proving that it is possible to take our faith seriously while maintaining a light heart.

Resolved, we admire Canon Jane Teter for knitting the Diocese together through the warmth of her spirit and the multitude of her ministries.

Resolved, we humbly honor Stephen Tomor, the New Hope Campaign Coordinator in Kajo-Keji, and offer heartfelt gratitude for his faithful oversight of the construction of the schools in South Sudan.

Resolved, we applaud and support the deep Christian compassion manifested by the spontaneous outpouring of aid from parishes and individuals in our Diocese in response to those grievously afflicted by the recent flooding.

Resolved, we celebrate The Congregational Renewal Committee, for establishing the Diocesan Renewal Assemblies, summoning us to lives of prayer, showing us how to celebrate our blessings and inviting us to connect the dots.

Resolved, we marvel at Tom Lloyd, who has given 50 years of service on the Peace Commission of this Diocese and been a stalwart champion for matters of justice and peace.

Resolved, we glorify the Holy Spirit who has inspired us to bear a common witness in a hurting world with our sisters and brothers of other denominations and other faiths thereby finding strength in unity.

Resolved, we express copious gratitude to the people of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity for lavishly hosting us and for inspiring us by their gallant example of how we might cope gracefully with all impediments—scaling new heights and crossing hazardous terrain with confidence.

Resolved, we praise our merciful God for gifting us with new ministry, new schools, and new hope in our Diocese and for the favor poured out upon this Convention evident in the first four consecutive days in four months without rain. May God bless us and give us the courage to climb the mountain and the inner silence to hear God’s word.

Respectfully presented by the Committee on Resolutions of Courtesy

The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch, chair
The Rev. Earl Trygar
Ms. Melody Lewis

Diocesan Life for September 2011

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In Lebanon.A Gathering of an Unexpected Result

By Pat Walter
St.Lukes Episcopal Church, Lebanon, PA
A Prayer Shawl Conference took place Saturday, March 19, 2011 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Lebanon. Approximately 50 people from 22 churches in Lebanon County came together for this Lenten, daylong activity. Those present represented the Prayer Shawl ministries from their churches ranging from established groups, to newly formed groups, and those in hopes of starting a group.

Opening the event, Father Terrence Wible, St. Luke's Rector, welcomed the group. Canon Jane Teter, widow of the former St. Luke's rector, Lloyd Edgar Teter, was the speaker. Canon for Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Teter spoke about Contemplative Knitting and Crocheting and how its repetitive motion is soothing and opens the mind to higher thoughts. She also spoke about a possible outgrowth of each individual ministry to include countywide projects for various agencies and people in need. She showed many of her own items for this extended ministry.

Continue reading "In Lebanon.A Gathering of an Unexpected Result" »