Letter from the Standing Committee regarding the audit

Editorial note: This letter comes from the Standing Committee and will also be available on the web site. The President of the Standing Committee, Canon Gerns, has sent it to Vestry Officers and Bethlehem Clergy News prior to posting on the web site and newSpin blogs.


Monday, February 24, 2014


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Before we gather to elect a bishop provisional on Saturday, I wanted to inform you of an important piece of diocesan news that has just recently come to light.

Late last month, the Standing Committee discovered that the diocese’s finances have not been audited since 2007. This came as a shock to us because both our diocesan canons and the canons of The Episcopal Church require an annual audit.

Upon learning of this situation we moved quickly to respond, creating an audit committee that is chaired by Libby House, a member of the Standing Committee, and includes members of the Diocesan Council and the Incorporated Trustees, as well as another member of the Standing Committee and the diocesan treasurer.

On February 7, the audit committee met with representatives of Campbell Rappold & Yurasits, LLP, a reputable Allentown accounting firm and requested a proposal for audits to be conducted on an aggressive schedule of the years 2008-2013. We received that proposal last week, and will be reviewing it on March 1 after our diocesan convention in a joint meeting with the Diocesan Council. Assuming a successful election, our Bishop Provisional, the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, will also be present.

Because the funds originally allocated for the 2008-13 audits were held in reserve, securing audits for those will not affect the diocese’s annual operating budget nor in any way affect the Diocesan Investment Trust.

We are deeply concerned that these audits were never conducted, and that the diocese failed to provide its members and donors with the accountability that they deserved. We are determined to discover why the audits were not conducted, and to put procedures in place to make sure that such a lapse in the diocese’s fiduciary responsibilities does not occur again.  We will be reporting to you on these efforts and the findings of the auditors in the months ahead.

Please continue to hold the Diocese of Bethlehem in your prayers as we continue in our season of faithful change.




The Rev. Canon Andrew T. Gerns
Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Easton
President, Standing Committee

[email protected]

Diocesan Convention resolutions and information about pre-convention meetings

Attached you will find the four resolutions that will be presented at the Diocesan Convention October 7-8 at Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. All delegates should receive a pre-convention packet mailed to them at their home by September 17th. If you are a delegate and have not received your packet by September 23rd, please call Rosie Hummel at 610-691-5655 x221.

Pre-Convention meetings are open to anyone in the diocese. They are scheduled as follows:
September 27, St. Alban's, Sinking Spring     7:00 P.M.
September 29, Church of the Epiphany, Clarks Summit    7:00 P.M.
October 4, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem    7:00 P.M.

Resolution A: Resolution on the Budget of the Diocese of Bethlehem
Resolution B: Resolution of the Personnel Committee Regarding the 2012 Salary Schedule
(Resolution A and B can be found here): Download 2011 Resolutions A and B

Resolution C: To Establish a Plan of Action for Relief for the Homeless and Poor in Our Society
(Resolution C can be found here): Download 2011 Convention Resolution C

Resolution D: Building Relationships with the Muslim-American Community
(Resolution D can be found here): Download 2011 Resolution D

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

[Editor's note: this is the first of four parts. This post includes the full document which will be discussed at length during the 2010 diocesan convention. The following posts are the commentary articles that are published in Diocesan Life.]

I.  Introduction

    The purpose of this paper is to discern the standards, practices, and resources that will foster faithfulness of ministry in every congregation of the Diocese.  The object is that the Committee will 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.
    We suggest that the mission and instrumentality of the Committee is to:

• Strengthen all parishes, especially those that have exhibited vitality;
• Inspire and 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.

II.  Background

    The mission of the Congregational Development Committee in the past has been to support dependent congregations through financial grants; to support congregations in long-range planning; and to foster the development of new congregations.  Over the past several months an ad hoc committee of interested persons in the Diocese has met concerning the role of congregational development in the Diocese.  A drafting team was tasked to develop a report.  It convened four mini-consultations with representative groups from across the Diocese to provide information, background and suggestions to a reconstituted Committee.  This report is the result.

Download the full report here: From Risks to Opportunities (Full Report)

Download the executive summary here: FROM RISK (Exec Summary)

Parish Transition Guidelines

June, 2008
TO: Parish clergy, wardens, Congregational Development

Parish Transition guidelines
Diocese of Bethlehem

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This document summarizes the policies and practices of the Diocese of Bethlehem from the time a priest first meets with me to discuss retirement or a new call through the settling and first year of the new priest. I am grateful to the Diocese of Washington, which has provided on its website bits of the boiler plate in the pages that follow. There will be many places where what is unique in our common life will stand out. It is best to start with one such place:

Everything depends on the search process being conducted not only in or with prayer, but as prayer. Consciousness that one is doing a holy thing for the good of the whole congregation and the sacrifice of personal agenda are the two essential qualities in all those involved in the decision. Inability to make those commitments indicates that person has a different ministry in the parish.

Those of you who have participated in a search before will find the contents of this document familiar.

As you know, transition times are a mixed bag of loss, stress, challenge, and discovery. The single most important factor in the time of transition is the steady calm of the wardens and search chair(s).

As you perhaps do not know, parishes in transition or seeking new leadership are prayed for by name every day at Diocesan House and remain in my own prayers. If it should ever seem to you that communication is not what it should be, the wardens should contact me directly, preferably by telephone.

Archdeacon Stringfellow, Canon Teter, and I stand ready to assist you in any way we can.

May God bless your search.


Download the Parish Transition Guidelines below.

Download parish_transition_guidelines2.doc

Download parish_transition_guidelines2.pdf