TCC – Many thank you all

By Bill Lewellis

"Due to declining enrollment and a lack of funding," the story began in today's Republican Herald, "the preschool[Trinity Center for Children] at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pottsville will close June 3."
How sad. In its heyday, TCC's enrollment surpassed 30. Today, 14 children, five full-time and nine part-time, are enrolled, with a staff of four, two full-time and two part-time people.

Sad, indeed, but might we not thank God and many groups and individuals for 20 years of this wonderful ministry.

I thank God for the vision and unselfishness of the lay and clergy leadership of Trinity Episcopal Church who sought back in 1991 to provide quality education and spiritual nurture for children beyond the bounds of their membership, for the Diocese of Bethlehem, the diocesan community's provision of financial and other important resources at TCC's launch and periodically thereafter, for the board volunteers of TCC, often recognized only when criticized, who over the years provided crucial governance, expertise and insight in hiring dedicated staff and keeping the ministry afloat. I thank God for the teachers who have loved the children and for the parents who have appreciated the teachers, the board, the Diocese of Bethlehem and the vision and leadership of Trinity Episcopal Church. Indeed, it took a village to raise 20 years of precious children. Many of us thank you all.

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998)

To The Morning Call, re 'new RC structure to welcome Anglicans'

By Bill Lewellis
April 11, 2011

A March 14 Page One story (Allentown Catholic Diocese anticipates new structure to welcome Anglicans) included a phone number for Episcopalians who seek an older liturgy or who have a problem with the acceptance of women priests and gay clergy.
We learned from the story that a few "have turned to Rome where teaching and practice are unchanged." Huh? Then another stereotype: the uninformed description of Episcopal liturgy as one where "prayers are lengthier and language richly Elizabethan." We do better than that. Come and see.

Prior to my resignation as a Roman Catholic priest, I served the Diocese of Allentown as media liaison (1968-81). I wrote hundreds of news releases and made suggestions for many more stories. Not one put another denomination down.

During 24 years as communication minister for the Diocese of Bethlehem, until recently retiring, I knew some 20 former Roman Catholic priests, not counting former RC women who became priests. Hundreds of former RC laity were members of our parishes. Though I knew many of their stories, I never sought to provide any to the media. I encouraged a policy of not seeking publicity for such stories, even turning down local and national offers to publish my own story.
I enjoyed a scene from the 1997 movie, The Apostle. Robert Duvall, playing a Texan charismatic-Pentecostal minister, watched priests in full regalia bless shrimp boats. "You do it your way," he said to himself, "and I do it mine ... together we get it done."
Let's "get it done" together. No need to put the other down.

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998)
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Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]

500 homeless students in the Allentown School District?

Monica called my attention to a Letter to the Editor in Wednesday's Morning Call wherein the writer pleaded for help for the victims of the recent fire in Allentown. 

What especially hooked me was the following paragraph: "A roll of quarters given to Russell 'Rooster' Valentini, homeless coordinator for the Allentown School District, will allow a small family to take the clothes from a burned apartment to the coin laundry to be washed clean. If your children are in school in Allentown, have them bring in a roll or two of quarters to their principal for "Rooster" to use. He already has 500 homeless students on his caseload. Now he has more."

The online version of the letter includes only the first sentence of that paragraph Although I point that out, my question is not s much about the reason for the online omission but it is about 500 homeless students in the Allentown School District. Can that be?

A little Googling resulted in these possible confirmations: (1) From a 2006 Moravian College news release: In any given year, Rooster has to manage approximately 500 cases with active files normally approaching 75 cases. (2) From a June 2007 Commission Report on Allentown's Plan to End Chronic Homelessness by 2017: From 2001 through 2006, the Allentown School District documented in excess of 600 homeless students annually.

Now, if that is so, where do they stay ... and what opportunity for creative and compassionate ministry might it suggest?


New state system solves the woes of health-care bills

[This Letter to the Editor by Diana Marshall was published in The Morning Call, August. 14, 2008]

The Aug. 9 story, ''Physician group eyes cash-only system,'' reported that the group ''is considering the move because members are fed up with the complicated, confusing and costly system by which they are paid.'' Bob Stover, the group's executive director is quoted as saying, ''I'm even in the business, and I cannot tell you what my policy covers.''

Making this change will simply shift the burden of dealing with the insurance companies to patients, who are less prepared to understand the billing and reimbursement procedures and policies than the professionals; it is likely that many covered expenses will go unreimbursed or fail to be provided at all.

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