So Many and Yet Too Few

By Winnie Romeril
Spokesperson, World Health Organization
Jan. 27, 2015

Sitting in wintery Geneva, it’s hard to imagine how to describe to my family and friends back home these past three months in Sierra Leone working with the World Health Organization (WHO). As I look through my photos, the most meaningful stories that fill my mind and my heart, and make my eyes well up invariably involve Ebola survivors. To date in Sierra Leone, there are over 2,100 survivors discharged from treatment facilities— each with an “Ebola-free” certificate in hand. So many and yet too few.

The first Ebola survivor I met was a soft-spoken British nurse, Will Pooley, returning post-recovery to Freetown just as I arrived. No fanfare, just a regular guy chatting with friends. He included me in their conversation, as we huddled out of the rain before boarding our boat taxi from the airport to the city. “Oh, you’re THAT Will,” I blurted out, remembering what my WHO colleagues had told me. They were fresh from meeting a roomful of his former patients at the Kenema survivors conference. The survivors asked about Will; they sent their thanks to him for their lives. He was surprised, humbled and visibly touched.  “Ebola is unlike any disease I’ve ever witnessed,” Will recently said about his experience. “Nothing can prepare you for the effect it has on the infected, on their families, and on their communities.” Read on.

[Bill Lewellis] As spokesperson for the World Health Organization, Winnie spent the past few months working at ground zero of the Ebola outbreak. BBCNews interviewed Winnie NBC also did a story with Winnie, Horror in Sierra Leone. Winnie is the daughter of the Rev. Canon Gwendolyn-Jane and Bob Romeril of Bethlehem. While growing up in Bethlehem, Winnie was a youth group leader in an Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem program. "She has been living out of the Isaiah passage for some years now," Mother Romeril says, "and where the need is greatest, she always answers the call. 'Her call is as clear as yours, but it has no labels,' Bob reminds me often. Find background on Winnie in an Express-Times story and follow her on Facebook.]

By Winnie Romeril, Spokesperson, World Health Organization

Sitting in wintery Geneva, it’s hard to imagine how to describe to my family and friends back home these past three months in Sierra Leone working with the World Health Organization (WHO). As I look through my photos, the most meaningful stories that fill my mind and my heart, and make my eyes well up invariably involve Ebola survivors. To date in Sierra Leone, there are over 2,100 survivors discharged from treatment facilities— each with an “Ebola-free” certificate in hand. So many and yet too few.

The first Ebola survivor I met was a soft-spoken British nurse, Will Pooley, returning post-recovery to Freetown just as I arrived. No fanfare, just a regular guy chatting with friends. He included me in their conversation, as we huddled out of the rain before boarding our boat taxi from the airport to the city. “Oh, you’re THAT Will,” I blurted out, remembering what my WHO colleagues had told me. They were fresh from meeting a roomful of his former patients at the Kenema survivors conference. The survivors asked about Will; they sent their thanks to him for their lives. He was surprised, humbled and visibly touched.  “Ebola is unlike any disease I’ve ever witnessed,” Will recently said about his experience. “Nothing can prepare you for the effect it has on the infected, on their families, and on their communities.”

Abdul was another health worker I had the privilege to meet. He attended a workshop given by the Ministry of Social Welfare with WHO doctors and nurses. Because of the muscle wasting caused by Ebola, Abdul was too weak to return to caring for patients. He was given this opportunity to learn the psychological first aid skills being taught to HIV/AIDS counselors, mental health workers, and others in helping professions. Ebola affected every aspect of society, everyone was stressed, and simple listening techniques could provide support.

- See more at: http://unfoundationblog.org/ebola/so-many-and-yet-too-few/#sthash.jBqGo3Ad.dpuf

By Winnie Romeril, Spokesperson, World Health Organization

Sitting in wintery Geneva, it’s hard to imagine how to describe to my family and friends back home these past three months in Sierra Leone working with the World Health Organization (WHO). As I look through my photos, the most meaningful stories that fill my mind and my heart, and make my eyes well up invariably involve Ebola survivors. To date in Sierra Leone, there are over 2,100 survivors discharged from treatment facilities— each with an “Ebola-free” certificate in hand. So many and yet too few.

The first Ebola survivor I met was a soft-spoken British nurse, Will Pooley, returning post-recovery to Freetown just as I arrived. No fanfare, just a regular guy chatting with friends. He included me in their conversation, as we huddled out of the rain before boarding our boat taxi from the airport to the city. “Oh, you’re THAT Will,” I blurted out, remembering what my WHO colleagues had told me. They were fresh from meeting a roomful of his former patients at the Kenema survivors conference. The survivors asked about Will; they sent their thanks to him for their lives. He was surprised, humbled and visibly touched.  “Ebola is unlike any disease I’ve ever witnessed,” Will recently said about his experience. “Nothing can prepare you for the effect it has on the infected, on their families, and on their communities.”

Abdul was another health worker I had the privilege to meet. He attended a workshop given by the Ministry of Social Welfare with WHO doctors and nurses. Because of the muscle wasting caused by Ebola, Abdul was too weak to return to caring for patients. He was given this opportunity to learn the psychological first aid skills being taught to HIV/AIDS counselors, mental health workers, and others in helping professions. Ebola affected every aspect of society, everyone was stressed, and simple listening techniques could provide support.

- See more at: http://unfoundationblog.org/ebola/so-many-and-yet-too-few/#sthash.jBqGo3Ad.dpuf

Election Results for Diocesan Convention

The following are the election results for the 140th Diocesan Convention

The Commission on Ministry - Clergy (3 year term)
The Rev. Frank St. Amour, III
The Rev. R. Jane Williams

The Commission on Ministry - Lay (3 year term)
Virginia Falzone
Carolyn Tolley

Diocesan Council - Clergy (3 year term)
The Rev. John R. Francis
The Rev. Daniel Gunn

Diocesan Council - Lay (3 year term)
Richard Evans
Joan Flint
Joe Jackloski

The Incorporated Trustees - Lay (3 year term)
Charlie Barebo
Cynthia Phillips
Bob Romeril

The Standing Committee - Clergy (5 year term)
The Rev. T. Scott Allen

The Standing Commitee - Lay (5 year term)
Elizabeth House


Episcopal Journal begins publication in February

Starting in February, Diocesan Life, the newspaper of the Diocese of Bethlehem will include a new national newspaper covering the life and work of the Episcopal Church.  Called Episcopal Journal, a new independent publication serving Episcopalians throughout the country and abroad.


Initially, the new paper will be available as a printing partner with more than a dozen diocesan and parish publications, including Diocesan Life, that reach over 50,000 households. A campaign for individual and small group subscriptions will follow.


Editorial director Jerry Hames says the Journal’s mission is “to inform, involve and inspire Episcopalians in the United States and abroad by sharing the good news of our church’s life and ministry.”


Freshly designed with an attractive contemporary layout, Episcopal Journal will offer timely and accurate reporting, drawing its news articles from Episcopal News Service and other Episcopal, Anglican and ecumenical news services, he said.


“It will also invite contributions from recognized names in the fields of religion, science and the arts, and offer columns and meditations appropriate for the church seasons.”


Hames, editor of Episcopal Life from 1990 to 2007, said the new publication will fill a vacuum caused by the decision to terminate national print publications from the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church voted in October to approve a budget that cut all funding for print publications. That followed an across-the-board budget reduction voted by the General Convention in 2009. As a result, Episcopal News Monthly, which succeeded Episcopal Life a year ago, will cease publication with the January 2011 issue.


“We now have partners committed to the printing program from coast to coast,” Hames said. “They include the dioceses of Delaware, Long Island, Bethlehem, Easton, Vermont, New Hampshire, Northern Michigan, West Tennessee, Iowa, Nevada, San Joaquin and Eastern Oregon.” A quarterly issue of the Journal will also be produced for several dioceses who publish four times a year.


Four diocesan editors whose publications are partners in the printing program will serve on an editorial advisory committee. They are the Rev. Heather Cook of Easton, Cate McMahon of New Hampshire, Rise Thew Forrester of Northern Michigan and Jeanie Senior of Eastern Oregon.


At this time, Hames said, editorial inquiries and submissions may be sent to episcopaljournaledit@gmail.com or Box 308, Cranbury, NJ 08512. Advertising inquiries should be addressed to episcopaljournalads@gmail.com, or to Box 106, Fort Washington, PA 19034.


For further information you may contact Jerrold Hames, 609-897-9769, or email at jerrold.hames@gmail.com


From risk to opportunities: Congregational renewal in the Diocese of Bethlehem

[Editor’s note: This is the first of a three part series focusing on congregational renewal within the diocese. If you would like further information please contact Fr. Charles Cesaretti or one of the members listed in the article.]

From risk to opportunities: Congregational renewal in the Diocese of Bethlehem

By Ty Welles and Canon Andrew Gerns
A group of laity and clergy are working to create a process to assist congregations with renewal and development in rapidly changing times, based on utilizing inherent strengths in local communities and networking parishes with similar situations in creative and collaborative ways.

The group was called together in response to Bishop Paul Marshall’s address to the Diocesan Convention in October, 2009. Bishop Marshall said the  following concerning congregations in the diocese:
“The problem with help [for parishes] from the outside is that it can look and feel imposed. Therefore, to help less endangered parishes reclaim their vitality I have been meeting with the Congregational Development Commission in order to reorganize their activities. . . . It is very important to me that parishes in similar situations talk with each other and as far as possible, work together.”

Soon after Convention, Bishop Paul invited the Congregational Development Commission, and a group interested laity and clergy together to talk about how the congregational development process can be reoriented. Instead of providing resources to assist congregations from “above” as it did in the past, the goal will be to facilitate parishes to work together for renewal. The goal will bring together diocesan and congregational resources in a network to assist both troubled and stable congregations move from mere survival to a sense of Christ-centered vitality and world-focused mission.

The new group is chaired by the Rev. Charles Cesaretti and consists of Bishop Paul, Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow, Fr. Cesaretti, Canon Jane Teter, Canon George Loeffler, Canon Andrew Gerns, Fr. Bill McGinty, Fr. Scott Allen, Charles Warwick, Ty Welles, Rachel Bartron, and Dean Tony Pompa. Some of these people were already members of the Congregational Development Commission, and others represented both parishes and other programs or oversight committees of the diocese.

The group designated a drafting team tasked to develop a report about the current state of congregation development and support as well as the needs, hopes and vision of the various groups and parishes in the diocese. The group convened four mini-consultations with representative focus groups from across the diocese to seek out information, background and suggestions. One consultation was with a joint meeting of Diocesan Council and the Standing Committee; a second was with diocesan staff; a third was with representatives of a number of parishes exhibiting growth; and a fourth was with representatives of a number of struggling parishes.

The report, titled From Risks to Opportunities: Congregational Renewal in the Diocese of Bethlehem was the result. The paper describes the standards, practices, and resources that will foster faithfulness of ministry in every congregation of the diocese. The writers suggested that the mission and instrumentality of the committee should be to strengthen all parishes, especially those that have exhibited vitality; provide resources to those congregations “at risk”; and provide self-realization and eventuality to those congregations that have lost their sense of purpose or vitality.

After being presented to Diocesan Council, the Standing Committee, the Incorporated Trustees, and various program committees of the diocese, the outline in From Risks to Opportunities will be brought to the diocese at large through Diocesan Convention this fall. These three articles provide the background for the decisions we will make together in October.

At the heart of the findings described in From Risks to Opportunities is the definition of mission found in the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer: “the mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. The mission is pursued as it prays, worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love. This mission is carried out through the ministry of all its members.” This understanding of mission proclaims that our first and primary relationship is with God; the second relationship is in the worship and proclamation of the church; and the third relationship is with the community and the world. From Risks to Opportunities suggested that this should be adopted as the mission statement of the committee.

A second suggestion was that the committee be renamed The Committee on Congregational Renewal. This would align the committee with the mission statement, and with both the goal and process.

A third finding in From Risks to Opportunities was that the Committee on Congregational Renewal should become the catalyst and agent for a multi-year program to shepherd all congregations of the diocese to renewal and transformation, and to move from risk to opportunities.

Out of the meetings held by the committee there developed a number of assumptions:
1. The bedrock of Christian action is a spiritual life, which must start, direct, and sustain all congregational life.
2. Congregations must focus on their strengths rather than on their weaknesses.
3. Congregations can greatly strengthen their witness when they link up with neighboring congregations in cooperative ventures.
4. Congregations do better when they do not become dependent upon outside sources.
5. Many clergy are ill-prepared to lead a small rural or village church.
6. Every congregation in the diocese must be included in the renewal and transformational process at the appropriate level.

The Committee on Congregational Renewal is developing a process for the diocese and congregations to move into a new era of renewal for parishes in the Diocese of Bethlehem. The vision also includes improved collaboration between the several commissions of the diocese.

As we move towards Diocesan Convention this coming October, the next two parts in this series will describe in more detail how this process will be laid out and frame the discussion and decisions before us. We will spell out the ways in which parishes in the diocese can move into the renewal process beginning at the convention, and how every Episcopalian in northeast Pennsylvania can support a renewed, re-vitalized sense of mission and Christian community.


Diocesan Council approves Capital Campaign to provide New Hope

On March 8, Diocesan Council determined to begin a campaign to raise $3.6 million: 75% for Sudan, and 25% for new ministries to the needy at home.

What we are going to do is unique: a capital campaign for somebody else.

"The Diocese," in the institutional sense, is not the beneficiary of this effort. That by itself will set this effort apart.

I am grateful to all who have worked to bring us to this moment. Now our adventure begins in Jesus' name

--Bishop Paul

Download more info below.

Download diocesan_council_approves....pdf