Letter to St. Margaret's Emmaus, a "parish at risk" (Canon XXIX)

November 22, 2009
From Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow and Canon Lexa Shallcross

[From the December 2009 newsletter of St. Margaret's]

Dear Friends in Christ,

One year ago, the existing Vestry and Canon Shallcross wrote to Bishop Paul and the Standing Committee requesting the diocesan help and oversight available to a "Parish under Review" according to Canon XXVIII. A that time, the identified concern was financial hardship.

In August, Bishop Paul and the Standing Committee moved St. Margaret's to a "Parish at Risk" under Canon XXIX based on the recommendation of their review team. That team includes Elizabeth House, Connie Archer, Canon Anne Kitch and Charlie Barebo. Members of the Standing Committee and the diocesan staff have been present at Vestry meetings since August. Bishop Paul used this time to determine what were the appropriate measures to take under Canon XXIX which would restore health to St. Margaret's Church. He has been at the last two Vestry meetings and has deep concerns that have led him to take the following actions which are designed to put the parish in a place where it can reform itself.

Continue reading "Letter to St. Margaret's Emmaus, a "parish at risk" (Canon XXIX)" »

New Canon for the Ministry of the Baptized at the Cathedral

The Rev. Mariclair Partee has been serving as Canon for the Ministry of the Baptized at the Cathedral since March 31. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Religion from the University of Georgia, as well as a law degree from the Law School of the University of Georgia. She is a graduate of the General Theological Seminary and has been serving as Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, Solebury, in the diocese of Pennsylvania.

In addition to taking her share in liturgical, homiletical, sacramental, and pastoral care ministries of the Cathedral, Mariclair will share with the Dean a priestly presence of support with children and youth ministries. A primary responsibility of this position will be the creation and support of programs that seek to identify, recruit, train, and support the members of this Cathedral in living out the baptismal covenant.

Ann Mickus, Lay Missioner for Children and Youth Formation at the Cathedral

Ann Mickus, who has been lay missioner for children and youth formation at the Cathedral since March 1, holds a Masters degree in Education from Widener University, and has been teaching high school math for the past eight years. She is a graduate of the Education for Ministry program of the School of Theology of the University of the South.

Ann has been actively involved in children and youth ministry serving as a Rite 13 mentor and teaching Sunday school. She is participating in Godly Play ministry at Trinity Church, Bethlehem. Ann and her husband Bob are members of Trinity Bethlehem. Ann’s ministry will focus primarily on the support and development of Cathedral's many ministries involving children and youth.

She will be present on Sunday mornings beginning March 1, and her time will increase to 20 hours a week at the conclusion of the school year and then into the next program year. A funding gift made this position possible.

How many people can you feed on a lawmaker's $158 per diem?

[Posted by Bill Lewellis]

A column by Christopher J. Kelly of The Times-Tribune, Scranton
July 26, 2009

[snip, snip]

It was quite a haul - 155 items in all. Took two shopping carts to wheel it out to the car.

"A lot of folks are going to enjoy a wonderful meal as a result of this little venture," the Rev. Canon William Warne said as he closed the stuffed trunk.

Canon Warne is pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Green Ridge. The Episcopal congregation has an open-door outreach program that includes a soup kitchen that feeds the homeless and families who struggle to get by in even the best of times.

Canon Warne and Fran, his lovely wife of 45 years, met me at the Weis supermarket in Clarks Summit on Thursday morning to conduct an experiment in evangelical economics. The object was to see how many hungry Pennsylvanians we could feed with what each of our esteemed state legislators has the freedom to waste daily.

What money can buy.

[snip, snip, snip, snip]

GREEN Sundays

Posted by Kat Lehman

[Editor's note: This came from Jo Trepagnier, Church of the Mediator, Allentown and we think it's a great idea!] This summer we have been experimenting with environmentally friendly Sundays we call GREEN SUNDAY. No bulletins are printed and the congregation is directed to the Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal and Bible by voice commands. Our coffee hour hosts find local produce and products to offer and we encourage bikers and walkers. Many parishioners brought in their own coffee cup which we labeled and keep in our kitchen. We have not been brave enough to turn off the air conditioning.

At the beginning of the summer we picked up more free recycle containers from the city of Allentown and have placed them around the building

The Rev. Canon William T. Warne set to retire

Posted by Kat Lehman

[From Warren Shotto, Senior Warden; Good Shepherd, Scranton]
It is with more than a little sadness that I report Canon William T. Warne has informed the vestry of Good Shepherd of his intention to fully retire as Priest in Residence. Below is an excerpt from the official letter sent to the vestry and wardens.

Canon Bill writes...

“After much thought and prayer, I have decided to truly retire, and, thus, to bring to an end by August 31 of this year my service as Priest-in-Residence to you and the people of Good Shepherd…Fran and I simply want to have more time in my retirement, not only for ourselves and the pursuit of many and varied personal interests, but also the freedom to spend much more time with our sons and their families, especially our grandchildren   ‘Being deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life’ (BCP, page 504) and recognizing that we are not getting any younger, personal concerns and family gatherings begin to loom larger in priority as they rightly should…Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t say what a joy it has been to share in the mission and ministry of Good Shepherd (notwithstanding, at least initially, a time filled with doubt and uncertainty) and how thankful I am that through your prayers and efforts, and the support of many others in numerous ways, our parish has emerged with ‘new hope’ and faith, and with a wonderfully stated purpose ‘to serve Christ and others with open hearts, minds, and doors’…Thanks so much for your wonderful support and understanding…I know I am leaving the ministry at Good Shepherd in most capable hands and I am confident that you will continue to be blessed richly by God’s grace.”

However, as we at Good Shepherd know,  after every storm comes the sun. I am also happy to announce that Archdeacon Stringfellow, with Bishop Paul’s blessing, has graciously agreed to be Supply Priest at Good Shepherd and has offered to stay until such time we are ready to take the next step in the search process.

So please keep us in your prayers as we step out and begin this journey of faith.


Warren Shotto

Evangelism Road Trip

Evangelism Road Trip
By Warren Shotto
Senior Warden, Good Shepherd Scranton

A contingent of people on a summer service trip from St. Phillip’s church in New Hope and Trinity in Buckingham , Pa is coming to Good Shepherd the last week of July. Led by Rev. Peter Pearson, they will be helping us with the “sweat equity” projects in the undercroft, bowling alley and kitchen while they are here. They are staying at the Fatima retreat center and we will be providing lunch and dinner for the entourage for the week they are here.

Recently our evangelism committee comprised of Kathy Elgaway, Char Jeffers, Pam Shotto and me, were asked to come to New Hope to speak about our journey from a parish with an uncertain future to our commitment to mission to the recent awarding of the New Hope grant and present situation at Good Shepherd. We spoke at both St. Phillips and Trinity on Sunday June 21st. Both parishes were very interested in what we were doing and establishing similar ministries at their churches. 

Continue reading "Evangelism Road Trip" »

Allentown Weed and Seed needs continued state support

Allentown Weed and Seed needs continued state support
Op-Ed, The Morning Call, June 18, 2009
By Phyllis Alexander, Weed and Seed coordinator for community development.

Revitalization activities, such as Weed and Seed, are the smartest strategies for investing in communities. The data reflect this. During the last three years, the Weed and Seed employment counselor who works out of Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Allentown and who focuses on center city residents has helped more than 300 residents find full-time employment with benefits and brought in more than $6 million in salaries to the economy of our poorest neighborhoods.

Weed and Seed is a rather strange name for a program that saves the state taxpayers millions of dollars a year. The name does not convey the importance of this program, which weeds out crime and seeds opportunities in our most desperate neighborhoods.

Perhaps that is why Weed and Seed is misunderstood and undervalued by our legislators in Harrisburg. Perhaps that is why, despite a proven record of saving millions of taxpayer dollars a year, Senate Bill 850 completely cuts the state's support of this vital and successful program.

Continue reading "Allentown Weed and Seed needs continued state support" »

My Community Guide

My Community Guide, sponsored by St. Luke's Hospital, appears as a full page in The Morning Call every Wednesday, listing nonprofit and community events, including breakfasts, dinners, school performances, speakers, benefit sales, and groups, dance recitals, flea markets, shows and much more. To list your event free, go to http://www.lvupcoming.com.

Feast of Corpus Christi at Holy Cross, Wilkes-Barre

[FROM DAN JONES, HOLY CROSS, WILKES-BARRE] Bishop Jack will be the celebrant at this year's Feast of Corpus Christi on June 11 at 7:00 P.M. in Holy Cross, 373 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre. All are invited to attend.

This feast is celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday to commemorate our Lord's institution of the Holy Eucharist.  Maundy Thursday, which commemorates this great event is in Holy Week, a season of lamentations, during this period our minds are focused on our Lord's Passion.  The Feast of Corpus Christi gives us the opportunity to show our love of our Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist and celebrate this beautiful ceremony in true joy and blessing.

Clergy who wish to vest should wear white stoles.

Finding room for the homeless in Bethlehem

By Dave Howell
February 5, 2009
[Updated February 12 and 18. Find updates below this story]  

    The recent cold weather has been a burden for all of us. For the homeless of Bethlehem, it has been a threat to their survival.
    Trinity Bethlehem’s Soup Kitchen is a five-day-a-week stopping point for many of Bethlehem’s poor. Since its beginnings twenty-five years ago, it has come to provide more than a hot lunch.
    Deacon Liz Miller, Soup Kitchen Coordinator, has become a guide to providing socialization for the often isolated clients, as well as bus passes, over-the-counter medicine, baked goods, assistance with medical issues, and housing assistance. Since last fall, social worker Marcie Lightwood has also been helping the guests. And Bethlehem Bishop Paul Marshall has been providing counseling twice a week.
    A crisis arose this winter when the Allentown Rescue Mission and the Sixth Street Shelter for Women were filled, and homeless Soup Kitchen guests could not find a place to stay indoors. One homeless client without resources was suffering from cancer, while another had an injured foot. Word went out on “Bethlehem of Pa,” the interactive internet list of the Diocese of Bethlehem, while Trinity rector Mother Laura Howell, Deacon Liz and Marcie Lightwood began many phone calls looking for help.

Continue reading "Finding room for the homeless in Bethlehem " »

Might you be an Evangelism Consultant?

This is an invitation from the diocesan Evangelism Commission to consider prayerfully whether you would like to apply to receive training to be an evangelism consultant, to be able to assist local congregations plan and implement their evangelism ministry. The commission will train nine to twelve consultants on Saturday, April 19, (10:00 to 3:00) at Trinity Mount Pocono (lunch provided, no fee) and will then ask you to join with one of the current members of the commission to do a third round of Regional Evangelism Training Days on May 3, 10 or 17 at locations to be determined. From there, you would work with the commission and go out to parishes that request practical help in getting their evangelism ministry off the ground and help the commission plan future trainings and workshops. Donwload more information below.

Download 0801.Evangelism Consultants.Invitation.doc

Download 0801.Evangelism Consultants.Invitation.pdf

Download 0801.Evangelism Consultants.Letter to clergy.pdf

Clarks Summit.From the Rector

I would guess that few of you have been pouring over the many ‘blogs’ that have kept us up-to-date, nearly minute by minute, of the goings on in Tanzania. Perhaps some of you aren’t aware that the Primates of the Anglican Communion (an as-yet undefined entity) met in Africa last weekend, to try to wrestle some of our differences to the ground. On the whole, they failed.

We clergy have probably spent more time on this - it is, after all, our vocation to proclaim the Good News, preach the Gospel, teach the story, celebrate the blessed sacraments and minister to people God has given into our hands as parish priests. Hmmm... I guess the Primates forgot about all that - since all they did was fight about sex. (In fairness, there was some obligatory nodding to the Millennium Development goals and the ongoing AIDS crisis in Africa).
I kept trying to figure out during all this time just what their meeting had to do with the Gospel
Read the rest of Father Craig Sweeney's "From the rector" reflection in the Epiphany, Clarks Summit, March newsletter. Download 0703 under Clarks Summit.

Grace, Allentown, receives Lilly Grant

The Lilly Endowment has awarded $44,555 to Grace Church, Allentown, to enable its rector to take a three-month sabbatical. According to a news release from the church, download it below, Father Patrick Malloy will seek to explore his artistic interests in an effort to revitalize his imagination and his spiritual life. He sees this opportunity as a springboard into an on-going program of practical art study and an evolving leadership role in the development of the Allentown Arts District of which Grace Church is becoming an integral part, especially through its partnership with its neighbor The Baum School of Art.”

Lilly invites congregations and ministers across the country to apply for a grant up to $45,000. Congregations must submit the grant request for the benefit of their pastors. The 123 grants conferred this year represent 19 denominations and 37 states plus the District of Columbia.

Download news_release.Lilly Endowment Awards.pdf

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Walk a Mile in their Shoes is an advocacy and prayer vigil project sponsored by AWE: Children’s Ministries that invites congregations throughout the Diocese of Bethlehem to join in a Sabbath Season of Prayer and Action for Children. It begins with the observance of the National Children’s Sabbath (sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, Washington, D.C.) and the Diocesan ECW’s collection of Undies for Children at Risk at our Diocesan Convention.

In the months that follow Diocesan Convention, congregations throughout the Diocese are invited to unite in witness for children through prayer, education, worship and action using this Walk a Mile in their Shoes guide below for suggestions. Following this simple Walk a Mile in their Shoes guide will challenge you take off your slippers and really try on children’s shoes for size. You will likely find that the services afforded them don’t fit their soles or feed their souls.

Download walk_a_mile_participation_guide.1.pdf

Download walk_a_mile_brochure.pdf

Social Ministry Grant

The Social Minisries-Jubilee Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem is accepting proposals for its annual Social Ministry Grant. Eligible applicants include all diocesan parishes and associate ministries. The amount of the award is $1,000. Applications must be received at Diocesan House by September 18. Download the brochure containing detailed information below, either as a publisher or pdf file. Hard copy of the brochure has been mailed to rectors and priests-in-charge as well as to members and consultants of the Social Ministries-Jubilee Committee.

Download grant_application_brochure_for_social_ministry_2006.pdf

Download grant_application_brochure_for_social_ministry_2006.pub