newSpin 180614

newSpin, the newsletter
June 14
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin
• Update from Kevin Nichols, our bishop elect O eternal God, who settest the solitary in families and fillest the hungry with good things, visit this home and family with thy grace and favor; knit them together in thy love through good times and bad, bless their comings in and their goings out, give them thankful hearts for their daily bread and for each other, and bring them at the last into thy heavenly dwelling place; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

   This favorite prayer by Robert Rodenmayer, author of "The Pastor's Prayerbook," is particularly poignant for me right now. Our home for the past 21 years is now on the market and soon we will be moving. The news of my election as bishop of Bethlehem was met with elation and pride by my family, yet the reality of leaving a beloved family home has been bittersweet for all of us--more difficult for me than I ever imagined. In hopes of easing some of the loss associated with this transition, I asked our four children and three grandchildren to share their favorite memories of our home. Of course this was done via a group text message, and the steady "dinging" signaled another memory that brought needed laughter, smiles and even a few tears. Here is some of what they shared:
  
The time that we thought our brand new car was stolen from our garage.  Lo and behold a neighbor discovered it teetering on the hill in front of our house. Apparently we forgot to put on the emergency break and it rolled down the driveway! The police officer arrived and couldn't stop laughing.
  
The day Lindsay received word that an organ donor was located and she needed to board an Angel Flight to Pittsburgh for a transplant!  Off she and her mom went with the prayers of so many.
   T
he annual Easter egg hunt - there was no mercy for the little ones or even a pregnant mom! Everyone in search of the golden egg.

As we reminisced through the many memorable moments of the last two decades, it became helpful to see that some of these are traditions that can be carried on or even re-created in some form in a new home or a new place. We were also reminded of God's many blessings. That in our "comings in" and our "goings out," God was somehow knitting us together--strengthening us for the journey that lies ahead. When we paused, we were reminded that this place, this home, provided us a safe haven where we could be ourselves whether we were at our best or not. Here we were nourished, fed and reminded how much we are loved and need each other's love.
   For me, this is not unlike the knitting together that occurs in our churches--our spiritual homes. As I prepare to say goodbye to my larger community as well, I am reminded of so many joy filled traditions that have grounded me, held me together, warmed my heart and strengthened my  soul. What would we be without our homes--spiritual and otherwise? Today I give thanks for the many people who have opened their homes for me and my family. Today I begin to let go of my hold on one home and reach out to another. I can't wait to see what God has in store.
In God's Love, Kevin

• Adem Bunkeddeko in the Ninth District[NYTimes Editorial Board] The NYTimes Editorial Board has endorsed Adem Bunkeddeko in the June 26 primary of the Ninth Congressional District in the heart of Brooklyn. I note this because Adem and our son Stephen were friends at Haverford College (some 12 years ago). Within the past year, at Stephen's encouragement, Monica and I made a small contribution toward Adem's campaign. As Stephen said in a text to us today, "Ya never know where a young community organizer can go." Read a bit about Adem toward the end of the editorial below. Read on.

• 8 million teeter on the brink of famine. America is complicit [WaPo Editorial Board]  While the world was focused on the U.S.-North Korea summit, two U.S. allies in the Middle East launched a reckless and potentially catastrophic military offensive in Yemen, a country already enduring the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Troops led by the United Arab Emirates and backed by Saudi Arabian warplanes are attempting to seize the port city of Hodeida, which is held by the Houthi forces who make up one side in Yemen’s civil war. Because 70 percent of Yemen’s food and aid shipments come though the port, the United Nations and every major humanitarian agency have warned of dire consequences for the 22 million Yemenis who already depend on outside assistance, including 8 million on the brink of famine. They pleaded with the Saudis and Emiratis to hold off and allow more time for a diplomatic solution.
  
The attack nevertheless went ahead early Wednesday after receiving what amounted to passive assent from the Trump administration. That means the United States, which already has been supplying its two allies with intelligence, refueling and munitions, will be complicit if the result is what aid officials say it could be: starvation, epidemics and other human suffering surpassing anything the world has seen in decades. Read on. Also at NYTimes.


• Atrocities under Kim Jong-un[NYTimes] Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world. In North Korea, these crimes “entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” concluded a 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea. Here are some of the atrocities that have happened there. There has been no good indication that President Trump spoke with Mr. Kim about human rights violations.

• Trump's most offensive statement on North Korea[WaPo Editorial Board] Over the past couple of days, President Trump has made a number of false statements regarding North Korea and his summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong Un. Some of these may be harmless. Some may be justifiable in the context of a nascent diplomatic process. One, however, is obtuse, offensive and harmful. One, however, is obtuse, offensive and harmful. “His country does love him,” Mr. Trump said, speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.” Yes, you see the fervor, because anyone in North Korea who does not display fervor for their leader may end up in a concentration camp. No one in North Korea may criticize Mr. Kim and expect to survive. Read on.

•  How suicide quetly morphed into a public health crisis … The deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are emblematic of a persistent and growing threat in the United States. Read on. And here and here and here and here and here.

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• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• Somehow weak in compassion[The Guardian, UK] Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland, said in a homily that many people see the church as "somehow weak in compassion." Being pro-life means being alongside those whose lives are threatened by violence, and who cannot live life to the full because of economic deprivation, homelessness and marginalization, he said. Read on. Also at RNS.

• Eight million Jehovah's Witnesses don't salute the flag. 200,000 Amish don't stand for the national anthem. One Black Man kneels respectfully, and all hell breaks loose. Now you know why he's kneeling. And here and here and here.

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• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.




• DioBeth Leadership News, June 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 31 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.


********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********


Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Medicaid's Nickel-and-Dime Routine[NYTimes Editorial Board, June 6] As a wealthy and politically powerful company gambles lives for profit, Texas officials look the other way, the Morning News reporters tell us. This is the sorry state of what passes for good-enough care for patients who depend on Medicaid, among the most vital safety nets for the American poor and disadvantaged, in the second most populous state. Elsewhere, officials are striving to make it harder for people to get Medicaid at all. Read on.

• Episcopal Church, Interfaith Leaders call for U.S. Government to end its immigration policy separating families … [ENS] Under international law, people fleeing violence and persecution have the right to request asylum. The Episcopal Church has a longstanding policy affirming the universal right to seek asylum; it recognizes the need to protect vulnerable people. Last week, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry signed an ecumenical and interfaith statement expressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy “calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws.” A policy, they say, will likely result in an increase in family separations. Read on. NCR Editorial Board, here.

• RC Bishops call Trump's asylum rules 'immoral' … [WaPo] Leading U.S. Catholic bishops on Wednesday escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling new asylum-limiting rules “immoral” and rhetorically comparing the crackdown to abortion by saying it is a “a right-to-life” issue. One bishop from the U.S.-Mexico border region reportedly suggested “canonical penalties” — which could refer to withholding the sacrament of Communion — for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump policies.
  
The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — the organizing body of bishops — gathered for a biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The topics of migration and asylum have long been a focus for the U.S. church; more than 50 percent of U.S. Catholics under the age of 30 are Latinos.The statements, including by the conference’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, came two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that fear of domestic violence or gang violence aren’t clear grounds for seeking asylum in the United States. Sessions said asylum claims have expanded too broadly. Read on. Also, at RNS.

• Fact-Checking President Trump … [WaPo, Glenn Kessler, June 13] Here’s a roundup of claims made by President Trump at a news conference on June 12 and in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News about his talks in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Read on.

• America Isolated[NYTimes Editorial Board] When Vladimir Putin ordered his hackers to surreptitiously help Donald Trump in the presidential race, he could hardly have anticipated that once in office, Mr. Trump would so outrageously, destructively and thoroughly alienate America’s closest neighbors and allies as he did at the Group of 7 meeting in Canada. The lame explanation from Mr. Trump’s courtiers, that he needed to look tough for his meeting with Kim Jong-un, made matters worse by implying that he felt he needed to publicly kick friends aside to impress a murderous dictator. Read on.

• Scott Pruitt, who has reversed Obama era E.P.A. rules, enjoys cozy ties with a coal baron who got him a superfan experience at big Kentucky game … [NYTimes, June 2] It was one of the biggest games of the University of Kentucky basketball season, and Scott Pruitt had scored two of the best seats in the arena: a few feet from the action, in a section reserved for season-ticket holders who had donated at least $1 million to the university. The seats belonged to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Read on.

• New York is suing the Trump Foundation [NYTimes] The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign. The lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar President Trump and three of his children from serving on the boards of nonprofits, was an extraordinary rebuke of a sitting president. Read on.

 

SpiritSpin
• Be attentive to God in your life Daily Examen.

• Why we shouldn't try to bargain with God[America, Valerie Schultz] Prayer is where we come face-to-face with our concept of God. Who is the God we believe in deep in our hearts? When we bargain with God, we espouse a God who keeps score, rather than the God who loves us no matter what, the God who is love, according to the first letter of John (4:8). When we offer to negotiate with God, we presume that we actually have anything that God needs, which is pretty presumptuous on our part. And when we maneuver to make a deal with God, we are in essence saying that we know better than God. Whatever crisis we are facing, we have a desirable outcome in mind, and we are going to bring God around to our way of thinking. Whatever God’s will for us may be, we have a counter-proposal. In fact, we have a list. Read on


• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.

• The Daily Examen [IgnatianSpirituality] is a technique of pray
 

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• America can't take its salvation for granted [Richard Cohen, WaPo] Jon Meacham is a distinguished historian, journalist and television commentator who maintains in his new book, "The Soul of America," that, as bad as things are now, we have seen worse and come out the better for it. From his lips to God’s ear, as my grandmother used to say. You could ask for no better guide through the dark times than Meacham. He is a vivid writer and he seems to have read just about everything ever written that has anything to do with American history — from James Madison to William Faulkner. He cites plenty of bad days. 1968 was an awful year — the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy — and the McCarthy period of the early 1950s was even darker in the sense that its anti-communist frenzy was not the work of a single deranged person but a mass hysteria, condoned by significant parts of the political leadership.
  
That, of course, brings us to the Trump era, which prompted Meacham’s book in the first place. But while he says, “the good news is that we have come through such darkness before,” the bad news, I would have to add, is that never before has it been a president who was blocking the sun. As bad as Joseph McCarthy was, he was a mere senator and not the self-anointed American proconsul — above the law, pardoner of the egregious, immune to subpoena, blithefully ignorant of history and as dishonest as one can be in 280 characters. President Trump is a vulgar man who would take John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” and plunk a casino in it.
   We have a president whose rhetoric is ugly and divisive, who is appallingly not appalled by white racists and whose whims go unchecked by important figures in his own party. He does not summon Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” but instead stokes unreasonable fear of immigrants, of change, of diversity, of government and of the press.
  
Is Meacham right? Pray that he is. But act as if he isn’t. Read on.

DioBeth

• DioBeth Leadership News, June 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 31 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.


Episcopal/Anglican

• Supreme Court denies breakaway Episcopal group control of its churches[Religion News Service] Read on.

• Some church services are a sea of iPhones … Had you noticed that Bishop Michael Curry read his royal wedding sermon from an iPad? Read on.


General Convention
• Bishop Sean and Eight Deputies from the Diocese of Bethlehem Here.


• Overview
… July 2 - 13 – The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. It is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. In the interim between triennial meetings, various committees, commissions, agencies, boards and task forces created by the General Convention meet to implement the decisions and carry on the work of the General Convention. More info.  REPEAT?


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


TaleSpin
The Most Popular and Talked-About Course at Yale Teaches How To Be Happy
Professor Laurie Santos’s new course, PSYC 157: Psychology and the Good Life, is so wildly popular, with over 1,200 enrolled students, suggests that she’s on to something. “College students are much more overwhelmed, much more stressed, much more anxious, and much more depressed than they’ve ever been. I think we really have a crisis writ large at colleges in how students are doing in terms of self-care and mental health.” Then she adds, “Sadly, I don’t think it’s just in colleges.”
   Santos is right on both counts. College students aren’t happy, and neither is anyone else. According to a recent survey by the American College Health Association, 52 percent of students reported feeling hopeless, while 39 percent suffered from such severe depression that they had found it difficult to function at some point during the previous year. At the University of Pennsylvania, there’s even a slang term for the grim mask of discontent that accompanies this condition: “Penn Face.” We could go further and diagnose a national case of “USA Face,” given that America recently ranked 18th in the U.N.’s “World Happiness Report,” trailing such national bastions of well-being as Finland (No. 1), Canada (No. 7), and Australia (No. 10). Read on.

Charles Krauthammer has terminal cancer[WaPo] Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer announced Friday he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. "My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live," he wrote in a farewell letter at The Washington Post. "This is the final verdict. My fight is over." Krauthammer, 68, thanked his medical caregivers, friends, colleagues, and readers. "I leave this life with no regrets," he said. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living." Read on.

• 9 People Reveal a Time They Racially Stereotyped a Stranger … [NYTimes] Here.


Requiescant in pace
• Frank T. Dobias, Jr. 89 
died June 2. Frank was employed as the Director of Educational Services for WLVT Channel 39, Bethlehem, for over 20 years, retiring in 1994. Previously, he was employed as a Radio Engineer for WAEB and also as the former General Manager of Blue Ridge Cable TV. While working at WLVT Channel 39, he originated and served as Executive Director of Scholastic Scrimmage, from its origin in 1975, until his retirement in 1994. He was a member of St. John's Palmerton. Obituary.

• Anthony D. Muntone, 81
… Tony and I were close during three years in Rome and nearly 15 years working in the bishop's office of the RC Diocese of Allentown. Msgr. Muntone was a good friend, a stand-up guy. Brilliant, yet loved by common people. A model of integrity and authenticity. Good sense of humor and wit. I loved him. He died on May 30. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Southern Baptist Leader Fired … [WaPo, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey May 30] A major Southern Baptist seminary has fired one of the movement’s giants of the last quarter-century, Paige Patterson, after new information came to light regarding how Patterson handled a sexual abuse allegation while he led another institution, the school said in a statement Wednesday night. Read on.

• A Televangelist and his Planes … [WaPo, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. May 29]  Jesse Duplantis, saying he needs about $54 million to help him efficiently spread the gospel to as many people as possible, has asked the Lord — and hundreds of thousands of hopefully deep-pocketed followers across the world — for a Falcon 7X. Read on.


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican
Pope Francis appeals to top energy executives to care for the poor and the environment [NCR, Joshua J. McElwee] “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization,” Pope Francis told top executives of the world’s main petrol, natural gas and energy-linked investment companies when he met them in the Vatican on June 9. He appealed to them to use their “creativeness and professional expertise” in “the service of two great needs in today’s world: the care of the poor and the environment.” America here. NYTimes here.

• Pope Francis is finally starting to get it … [WaPo Editorial Board] The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children. Here and here.


• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• Guide to Your Midlife Tuneup … [Jane E. Brody, NYTimes, May 21] Our health needs change with every passing decade, but the good news is that it's never too late to start taking better care of yourself. Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond, the Well Midlife Tuneup will put you on a healthier path to improving your body, mind and relationships. You are only as old as you feel, and completing our tuneup will definitely help you feel young at heart. Let's get started. Here.

Film and TV
• The Fred Roger documentary feels radically subversive … [Vox] Generations of American children now have grown up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in part because it runs on public television, something that Fred Rogers himself was instrumental in saving. Somewhere between a playmate, an affable uncle or grandpa, and a fairy godfather, Rogers’s slow and compassionate approach to children’s television ran counter to what we typically expect of TV shows for kids; there are no bright, flashy, fast-moving cartoons or slapstick humor in his neighborhood, just simple, direct conversation and storytelling. You got the feeling he cared. The main goal of Won’t You Be My Neighbor is to convince us that while kindness and empathy are in short supply today, it need not be that way. Read on.

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech


• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
The Episcopal Café
Here.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effectis about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphateis a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.


Varia


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Royal Wedding
1. The Sermon Watch it. Read it.

2. Wholly Un-British, Amazing and Necessary … [Esquire] "We really did not expect to get inspired by a Royal Wedding, but there you are. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to join the Episcopal Church."  Read on.

3. 'Almost a Sermon'
A few hours after the royal wedding, BBC repeated Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon followed by this bit of curious commentary. "A pretty lively, a pretty forceful and uplifting address, almost a sermon by Bishop Michael. Maybe it’s fair to say it’s an address the likes of which hasn’t been heard at a royal wedding for quite some time, if at all, in recent years. Because he really had a message to deliver and he really did deliver it with some energy and some vigor, all about the power of Love..."

4. A Black Bishop Brings a Political Message to the Royal Wedding … [The Atlantic, Emma Green, May 21]
Poverty, hunger, justice, and care for the earth aren’t typical themes for a wedding sermon. But they’re typical for Curry, who has called for a transformative “Jesus movement” and has an unapologetically fierce preaching style. He was installed as the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in 2015, bringing a new voice of leadership to an extremely homogenous denomination: The Episcopal Church is 90 percent white in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center. Read on.

5. Global Praise For Presiding Bishop's Royal Wedding Sermon … [Episcopal News Service, David Paulsen] “There are some things you come to expect from royal weddings,” the Washington Post said. “One thing you don’t expect: That sermon.” The Post called Curry’s 14-minute sermon a “barnstorming address.” Canada’s CBC called it the “highlight” of the royal wedding. Vox said Curry “stole the show,” adding that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were “all but upstaged” by Curry’s “fiery sermon.” And the U.K. Guardian commentary asserted that Curry’s “royal wedding sermon will go down in history as a moment when the enduring seat of colonialism was brought before the Lord, and questioned in its own house.” Read on.

6. On the Morning Shows … [EpiscopalCafé] Watch Bishop Curry on Good Morning America, Today and The View. Here.

7. The Royal Wedding made Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry a superstar. Can the religious left translate that into political change? [WaPo] The 65-year-old priest is now the repository of hope for progressive Christians who want to reclaim their faith from conservative evangelicals. Read on.

• For the Poor and the Neglected
[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishopNichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
   "I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
  
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."
   Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
   A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
 
While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. Read on,

• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• A Man Called Mark … A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
  
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.

• Reclaiming Jesus is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.

• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

Jubilate for Pentecost B … is now available at the Trinity Bethlehem website. Also, Prayers of the People may be found there. Jubilate is a resource for hymn selection. Weekly Prayers of the People may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in both Word (.doc) and .pdf formats. Find both here.

• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.


newSpin 180531

newSpin, the newsletter
May 31
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Royal Wedding
1. The Sermon Watch it. Read it.

2. Wholly Un-British, Amazing and Necessary … [Esquire] "We really did not expect to get inspired by a Royal Wedding, but there you are. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to join the Episcopal Church."  Read on.

3. 'Almost a Sermon'
A few hours after the royal wedding, BBC repeated Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon followed by this bit of curious commentary. "A pretty lively, a pretty forceful and uplifting address, almost a sermon by Bishop Michael. Maybe it’s fair to say it’s an address the likes of which hasn’t been heard at a royal wedding for quite some time, if at all, in recent years. Because he really had a message to deliver and he really did deliver it with some energy and some vigor, all about the power of Love..."

4. A Black Bishop Brings a Political Message to the Royal Wedding … [The Atlantic, Emma Green, May 21]
Poverty, hunger, justice, and care for the earth aren’t typical themes for a wedding sermon. But they’re typical for Curry, who has called for a transformative “Jesus movement” and has an unapologetically fierce preaching style. He was installed as the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in 2015, bringing a new voice of leadership to an extremely homogenous denomination: The Episcopal Church is 90 percent white in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center. Read on.

5. Global Praise For Presiding Bishop's Royal Wedding Sermon … [Episcopal News Service, David Paulsen] “There are some things you come to expect from royal weddings,” the Washington Post said. “One thing you don’t expect: That sermon.” The Post called Curry’s 14-minute sermon a “barnstorming address.” Canada’s CBC called it the “highlight” of the royal wedding. Vox said Curry “stole the show,” adding that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were “all but upstaged” by Curry’s “fiery sermon.” And the U.K. Guardian commentary asserted that Curry’s “royal wedding sermon will go down in history as a moment when the enduring seat of colonialism was brought before the Lord, and questioned in its own house.” Read on.

6. On the Morning Shows … [EpiscopalCafé] Watch Bishop Curry on Good Morning America, Today and The View. Here.

7. The Royal Wedding made Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry a superstar. Can the religious left translate that into political change? [WaPo] The 65-year-old priest is now the repository of hope for progressive Christians who want to reclaim their faith from conservative evangelicals. Read on.


TopSpin

• Michael Curry takes his message to the White House … [WaPo video, 2:41] Here.

• Puerto Rico: A Real Catastrophe[David Leonhardt, NYTimes] When President Trump traveled to Puerto Rico last October after Hurricane Maria, he touted the storm’s low death toll as proof that his administration had done its job well. “Every death is a horror,” he said. “But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina … what is your death count, as of this moment? 17?” He was very wrong.
   The true death toll could exceed 4,600, according to a study published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine that appears to be the most rigorous count yet. Many of the victims likely died from delayed medical care, which is something that a competent government response could have avoided. Puerto Rico’s fatality count is now more than twice as high as the Katrina count that Trump called a “real catastrophe.” Read on.

• Stealth Reform in the Roman Catholic Church[TheWeek, May 23] Pope Francis' stealth reform of the Roman Catholic Church shows no sign of slowing down — and may even be accelerating. Stealth is key here. If the pope had declared earlier this month that henceforth the Roman Catholic Church would authoritatively teach that homosexuals should be happy being gay, that God made them homosexual, and that God himself (along with the pope) loves them just the way they are, it would have been a massive story in the history of Catholicism — and one that quite likely would have precipitated a major schism, with conservative bishops and priests (mainly in North America and Africa) formally breaking from Rome.
  
But because word of the pope saying these things comes to us second hand, in a report of a private conversation between Francis and a gay man named Juan Carlos Cruz who is also a victim of the clerical sex abuse crisis in Chile, the utterance will go down as just the latest example of the pope making unorthodox statements in settings in which he has plausible deniability and in which he can claim he was speaking as a pastor rather than as an expositor of the church's official dogmas and doctrines. Read on. Also, 'God made you this way," here.


• The Pope Opens His Eyes to Abuse[NYTimes Editorial Board] The abuse of minors by pedophile priests has been among the most painful sagas of our time, the horror compounded by the knowledge that hierarchs could have stopped the predators if only they had not chosen for so long to cover up their actions. Now, at long last, Pope Francis seems to have glimpsed the depth of the global crisis.The catalyst was a scandal in Chile, one of Latin America’s most staunchly Catholic countries, where for years the church establishment failed to act on multiple complaints of sexual abuse against an influential priest, Fernando Karadima. On a trip to Chile in January, the pope condemned Father Karadima’s actions but then refused to meet with his victims and dismissed allegations of inaction by bishops as “slander.”
  
In the outrage that followed, the pope appointed two investigators who produced a damning report confirming systematic efforts by the Chilean Catholic hierarchy to conceal clerical sexual abuse. That led to an apology by Pope Francis for the “grave errors” in Chile and an emergency meeting earlier this month with Chile’s bishops at which all 34 submitted their resignations and asked forgiveness for the “pain they caused the victims, the pope, the people of God and our country.” Read on.
Also at Crux.

• A 'Heretic' in the Vatican [Politico, May 28]  “They call me a heretic.” Not the words you’d expect to hear from the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But that’s what Pope Francis told a group of fellow Jesuits in Chile earlier this year, acknowledging the fierce pushback from arch-conservatives in the Vatican. Celebrated by progressives around the world for his push to update and liberalize aspects of church doctrine, Francis is facing fierce blowback from traditionalists who take issue with his openness to Muslim migrants, his concern for the environment and his softer tone on divorce, cohabitation and homosexuality. Opposition has become so heated that some advisers are warning him to tread carefully to avoid a “schism” in the church. Read on.

• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• Reclaiming Jesus … Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners have issued the following letter to church leaders about the Reclaiming Jesus Declaration. Read the letter here.

• Challenging Trump's Christian Apologists … E.J. Dionne Jr. discusses the declaration, Reclaiming Jesus, written in part by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The document posits six theological truths and explains their political implications. Though it never mentions Donald Trump’s name, the document’s vision is an implicit rebuke to “Christians who are invoking religious arguments in apologetics for a president whose actions and policies seem antithetical to almost everything Jesus taught.” Read on.

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• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• Ireland votes to repeal abortion ban [David Leonhardt, NYTimes] It was one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans, the prime minister said. The vote swept aside generations of conservative patriarchy and dealing the latest in a series of stinging rebukes to the Roman Catholic Church. The surprising landslide cemented the nation’s liberal shift at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe and the Trump administration is imposing curbs on abortion rights in the United States. Read on.

• Somehow weak in compassion[The Guardian, UK] Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland, said in a homily that many people see the church as "somehow weak in compassion." Being pro-life means being alongside those whose lives are threatened by violence, and who cannot live life to the full because of economic deprivation, homelessness and marginalization, he said. Read on. Also at RNS.

• Eight million Jehovah's Witnesses don't salute the flag. 200,000 Amish don't stand for the national anthem. One Black Man kneels respectfully, and all hell breaks loose. Now you know why he's kneeling. And here and here and here.

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• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.




• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 17 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10 … Here.


********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********


Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• McCain's Final Message[The Week] [John McCain still has something to say, even if a White House press aide doesn't think a dying man's thoughts matter. "I don't remember another time in my life when so many Americans considered someone's partisan affiliation a test of whether that person is entitled to respect," the Arizona senator writes in a new book. Read on.

• Trump Immigration Policy Veers from Abhorrent to Evil[NYTimes, Nicholas Kristof, May 30] We as a nation have crossed so many ugly lines recently, yet one new policy of President Trump’s particularly haunts me. I’m speaking of the administration’s tactic of seizing children from desperate refugees at the border. “I was given only five minutes to say goodbye,” a Salvadoran woman wrote in a declaration in an A.C.L.U. lawsuit against the government, after her 4- and 10-year-old sons were taken from her. “My babies started crying when they found out we were going to be separated.”

   This mother, who for her protection is identified only by her initials, J.I.L., said that while in El Salvador she was severely beaten in front of her family by a gang, and she then fled the country to save the lives of her children. Who among us would not do the same? We as a nation should protect our borders. We must even more assiduously protect our soul. Read on.

• Immigration Changes Could Lead to Dropped Children's Health Coverage[NCR] As many as 2 million U.S. citizen children could drop health coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), despite remaining eligible, if proposed changes to immigration policy go into effect. "When kids don't have access to health care they are not getting the preventative services that they need. When they are sick they're not going to the doctor, so you have an increase of emergency room visits," said Laura Peralta-Schulte, senior government relations advocate for Network, the Catholic social justice lobby. "There's just a myriad of problems presented when people can't access health."
   Since the first draft was leaked in February of new Department of Homeland Security guidelines to determine if immigrants in the U.S. seeking permanent residence could become a "public charge," advocates have worried that the changes could lead immigrants and their family members to drop out of public benefits programs in order to increase their chances of gaining a green card. Read on.


• Donald Trump's Guide to Presidential Etiquette[NYTimes Editorial Board, May 25] For the fourth time in a year, we’ve compiled a list of Mr. Trump’s more egregious transgressions. These items don’t represent disputes about policy, over which reasonable people may disagree. They simply serve to catalog what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the other Trump-supporting Republicans in Congress and across America, through their silence, have now blessed as behavior befitting a president of the United States.
   We find this guide a helpful way to avoid growing numb to what is so abnormal about this presidency, and to remind ourselves that a day may yet come when dignity and decency will matter again, even, perhaps, to Mr. McConnell and his fellow hypocrites. Read on.

• Nixon had his 'Enemies List' – If Trump has one, Amazon might be near the top [WaPo]
President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars. [Some reading here may know that Postmaster General Brennan is from Pottsville, Schuylkill County]
  
Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.
   Few U.S. companies have drawn Trump’s ire as much as Amazon, which has rapidly grown to be the second-largest U.S. company in terms of market capitalization. For more than three years, Trump has fumed publicly and privately about the giant commerce and services company and its founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post. Read on.


• Because He Says So
[NYTimes] As a candidate, Donald J. Trump claimed that the United States government had known in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks. He hinted that Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice who died in his sleep two years ago, had been murdered. And for years, Mr. Trump pushed the notion that President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya rather than Honolulu, making him ineligible for the presidency. None of that was true.
  
Last week, President Trump promoted new, unconfirmed accusations to suit his political narrative: that a “criminal deep state” element within Mr. Obama’s government planted a spy deep inside his presidential campaign to help his rival, Hillary Clinton, win — a scheme he branded “Spygate.” It was the latest indication that a president who has for decades trafficked in conspiracy theories has brought them from the fringes of public discourse to the Oval Office.
  
Now that he is president, Mr. Trump’s baseless stories of secret plots by powerful interests appear to be having a distinct effect. Among critics, they have fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media that mirror his own.
  
“The effect on the life of the nation of a president inventing conspiracy theories in order to distract attention from legitimate investigations or other things he dislikes is corrosive,” said Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and biographer. “The diabolical brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges, and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them.” Read on.

• "He has sold us a whole way of accepting a narrative that has so many layers of unaccountable, unsubstantiated content that you can't possibly peel it all back." [Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer, on the president's fixation on conspiracy theories.]

• No Blocking [NYTimes, May 23] President Trump’s practice of blocking Twitter users who are critical of him from seeing his posts on the social media platform violates the First Amendment, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled. The ruling came in a case brought by seven Twitter users who had been blocked by the @realDonaldTrump account after they criticized the president. Read on.

 

SpiritSpin
• Would that be political or biblical?
[An op-ed by Bill Lewellis, published in The Morning Call, Sunday, May 27] There is power in love," Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached at the recent royal wedding. He was quoting Martin Luther King Jr. "If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire," he continued, quoting French Jesuit Teillard de Chardin. Think about an American Episcopal bishop quoting a Baptist minister and a Roman Catholic theologian at an Anglican royal wedding. I owe that quip to Wilkes-Barre City Council President Tony Brooks.
   "There are some things you come to expect from royal weddings," the Washington Post said. "One thing you don't expect: That sermon." Commentary in the U.K. Guardian asserted that Curry's 14-minute "royal wedding sermon will go down in history as a moment when the enduring seat of colonialism was brought before the Lord, and questioned in its own house." Some would criticize that sermon as political. Read on.


• Less Clouded By Irrelevance
[Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call, May 20]
A spiritual journey is a relationship. It’s a metaphor. No two journeys are the same. No authentic journey begins before God somehow speaks. "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1:1). Read on.


• Oscar Romero … [Except for four new paragraphs at the beginning, this is a slightly revised excerpt from a sermon preached by Bill Lewellis in 2010] Almost a year before I left the Roman Catholic Church, Oscar Romero became one of my heroes. Onetime Archbishop of El Salvador, he was assassinated at the altar on March 24, 1980. Read on. An interview with Noam Chomsky, here.

• A Clear Turnabout[NCR] After a 38-year-wait, it is now official. Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered in 1980 for speaking out against military oppression, will be made a saint. His canonization while expected in recent months, nonetheless represents the culmination of one of the clearest turnabouts of Francis' nearly five-year papacy. The cause for Romero had languished for decades under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who expressed unease with his connection to liberation theology and his vocal denunciations of government killings and kidnappings. Read on.

• Trinity – A Glimpse into the Mystery of God[A slightly revised excerpt from a 2001 sermon preached by Bill Lewellis on Trinity Sunday] Religion is about relationship because that is what God is about. God is three-in-one, being-in-relationship, being-in-community. That is what we celebrate on Trinity Sunday. Read on. Find another Trinity Sunday sermon, At the Heart of Reality, here.


• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.

• The Daily Examen [IgnatianSpirituality] is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
  
[Bill] When I was in college seminary in Philadelphia, those responsible for mentoring our spirituality put this into our nighttime community prayer as an examination of conscience (recalling our sins of the day) rather than an examination of consciousness (discerning God's presence in our day). What an awful misunderstanding of the Daily Examen! Worse yet, it may have been intentional in the RC seminary culture of those days. Read on.

 
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin

DioBeth
Jubilate for Pentecost B
… is now available at the Trinity Bethlehem website. Also, Prayers of the People may be found there. Jubilate is a resource for hymn selection. Weekly Prayers of the People may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in both Word (.doc) and .pdf formats. Find both here.

• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishop
Nichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
   "I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
  
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."

   Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
   A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
 
While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. Read on,

• On preserving favorable tax treatment of clergy housing allowances
[Forbes, May 6] The big trouble makers in this are are the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its officers. They think that allowing "ministers of the gospel" to receive cash housing allowances tax free is a violation of the Establishment Clause. Read on.

Ties with Royalty in Jim Thorpe [WFMZ-TV] While the world was focused on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the focus of Jim Thorpe's Mary Shorten was aimed at the scene directly in front of the couple. "I was concentrating more on the reredos trying to see theirs. My personal thought was ours is nicer," said Shorten, a sexton of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The sculpture behind the altar at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe is a replica of the one in Saint George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. "It's pretty cool. I think ours stands out more because the way our wall is versus the way the wall was at St. George," she added. In 1880 Queen Victoria gave the church the green light to make it. So how does one get an in with the Queen of England? Read on.

• DioBeth General News, May 24 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 17 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10 … Here.



Episcopal/Anglican

• House of Bishops' pastoral response to #MeToo will focus on listening, liturgy and steps for healing[The Episcopal Church, Public Affairs Office] In an open letter to the Episcopal Church, an invitation is extended to share reflections on sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation. A selection of the reflections will be read at a special listening session during General Convention 2018. The House of Bishop’s Pastoral Response will be a sacred space for listening and further reconciliation on Wednesday, July 4, 5:15 pm to 7 pm Central (6:15 pm Eastern/4:15 pm Mountain/3:15 pm Pacific). Those at General Convention 2018 in Austin, TX, are welcome to attend; those not in Austin will be able to participate remotely via a live webcast. Read on.

• The Episcopal Asset Map … unveils redesigned site, invites full participation across church. It's an online platform showing the location and ministries of Episcopal churches, schools and other communities. It has been revamped and refreshed with more-detailed information, easier access and ease of navigation. If your congregation or appropriate info about your congregation is not included, that means info has not been supplied. Read on.

• Alexa, when did the Church of England become so tech savvy?[The Guardian UK, Andrew Brown] Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer was well ahead of its time when in 1549 it addressed “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be opened, all desires known, and no secrets hid” – but it would take nearly five centuries for the church to turn this vision into technology. For now there is a Church of England “skill” – a set of canned responses – on Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant which can give its answer to 30 religious questions. It doesn’t answer the interesting ones though. “Alexa, ask the Church of England how can I be saved?” produces a silence easily interpreted as baffled, and I don’t think this is because the Church of England long ago decided that I couldn’t be. Read on.


General Convention
• House of DeputiesMay newsletter.


• Overview … July 2 - 13 – The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. It is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. In the interim between triennial meetings, various committees, commissions, agencies, boards and task forces created by the General Convention meet to implement the decisions and carry on the work of the General Convention. More info.


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


TaleSpin
The Complicated Task of Covering John McCain's Final Days
[Columbia Journalism Review, May 21] As a war hero, former presidential candidate, influential voice in the Senate, and ready quote, John McCain has been a constant presence in the public eye for decades. His final book, The Restless Wave, is out today. McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis provides the opportunity for a slow motion, living eulogy, and the press has responded with a steady drumbeat of coverage. Read on.

• Australian Archbishop Convicted of Covering Up Child Sex Abuse[IAP] An Australian archbishop on Tuesday became the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world convicted of covering up child sex abuse and faces a potential two years in prison when he is sentenced next month. Read on.

•  The 10-Point … The Wall Street Journal will send you any of many newsletters and alerts, even if you are not a subscriber. I have found Gerard Baker's "The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News" (in the Journal) to be useful. If you are not a subscriber, of course, links will not take you to the full story, but the summaries are usually helpful. Here.

• Migrant in Paris Scales Building to Save Child … [NYTimes] Even by the   The 4-year-old boy seemed to be suspended from a balcony. An adult standing on a nearby balcony seemed powerless to help. Disaster seemed the only possible outcome. Read on.


Requiescant in pace
• Hildegarde Mahala Singles Buratti 96, retired executive director of the Bethlehem YWCA, died on May 27.
Hildegarde and her husband Ralph (deceased) were longtime members of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. She was regular in worship until age and illness prevented her. Obituary.

• June D. (Beckman) Hayes, 93 …
died May 25.
Born in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, she and her family moved to Dallas in 1956. City girl turned country, she learned to love the area and its people; especially her neighbors and friends, who were many. She loved her position at the Dallas Dry Cleaners. which gave her the opportunity to meet people and make many new friends. She was very proud of the years she spent as a Dallas Borough election officer; one of only three people registered as a Democrat in the borough in those days. She was a member of the Prince of Peace Episcopal Church. She loved all creatures great and small.
   In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make generosity a way of life through every day simple actions — thought, word and deed; kindness, take some time to visit neighbors, volunteer, help a stranger, forgive, make a charitable donation. Let us know what you are doing by posting your kind deeds on June Hayes Sr. Facebook page, or write us a note. Obituary.


• Ralph E. Trumbower, 95
… died May 24.
He was the husband of Charlotte M. (Schlicher) Trumbower for 52 years. He served with the US Marine Corps. in the Central Pacific during WWII. Ralph was a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Allentown. He retired as a conductor for Conrail and the former Bethlehem Steel PBNE railroad, and retired as a courier for the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network. Obituary

• Winifred D. Swick, 96
… died May 23.  Winifred was a registered nurse. She attended Temple University and graduated from the School of Nursing of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She had also been a volunteer at Warren Hospital for 40 years. She was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton and a former choir member. She was a member and past president of the Rotary Ann Club of Phillipsburg. In 2006 she was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club. Obituary.  

• Richard K. Kulasinsky, 61
… died May 23. H
e
was a very devoted member of Christ Episcopal Church, Forest City, where he was a member of the vestry and an active volunteer. Obituary.

• George Councell, 68
11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, died May 21. He retired as bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey in the fall of 2013, five years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After his diagnosis, he was determined not to let the disease hold him back, and he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2008. Read on.

• Philip Roth, 85 … One of the most prolific and celebrated writers of his generation, Philip Roth died May 22. Between his first collection of stories, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), and his final novel, 2010's Nemesis, Roth won two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, two National Book Critics Circle awards, and three PEN/Faulkner Awards. He is best known for 1969's Portnoy's Complaint, and his literary explorations of sex and life as an American, a Jew, and a man. Many of his protagonists were thinly veiled versions of himself — Nathan Zuckerman, Alexander Portnoy, David Kepesh — and his work explored and blurred the lines between truth and fiction. Read on.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Employees quit American Bible Society over sex and marriage rules … [RNS] One of the oldest nonprofit organizations dedicated to distributing Bibles around the world will soon require all employees to adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs and heed a conservative code of sexual ethics. Employees are resigning in protest of the new policy, which will effectively prohibit sexually active LGBT people and couples in cohabitating relationships from working for the American Bible Society. But the organization stands by it as a measure intended to bring “unity and clarity.” Read on.


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• As Fear Permeates Immigrant Communities, U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops' Responses Vary [NCR, Peter Feuerherd] Many immigrants are Catholic, but many white Catholics voted for Trump and his anti-immigrant platform. And in the middle of the immigration crisis stand more than 400 American Catholic bishops. While they stand together, bishops retain their individuality. They differ on strategies, approaches and how much of a priority they put on the issue of immigration. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican
• Francis names 14 cardinals[NCR, Joshua J. McElwee] Pope Francis named fourteen new Catholic cardinals May 20, again diversifying representation in the most elite body of church prelates with selections from places as far-flung as Iraq, Pakistan and Japan and solidifying his influence on the group that will one day elect his successor. Read on.

• Stealth Reform in the Roman Catholic Church … See above, under TopSpin.
• The Pope Opens His Eyes to Abuse … See above, under TopSpin.
• A 'Heretic' in the Vatican … See above, under TopSpin.


• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• The NYTimes Magazine Health IssueHere.

• How to Age Well and Stay in Your Home … [Jane E. Brody, NYTimes, May 21] What will it take to age well in place, in the surroundings we’ve long cherished that bring us physical, social and emotional comfort? What adaptations are needed to assure our safety and comfort and relieve our children’s legitimate concerns for our welfare?
   F
or those of you with concerns about aging family members and friends, I recommend a very helpful, comprehensive yet not overwhelming book, “Age in Place: A Guide to Modifying, Organizing, and Decluttering Mom and Dad’s Home,” by Lynda G. Shrager, an occupational therapist for the last 37 years who has worked with seniors in their homes for more than 13 years. Ms. Shrager has good reasons to believe that addressing the challenges of independent living can help keep seniors safe and their kids sane.
  
“It’s cheaper to stay in your home, even if you have to make some renovations and get an aide a few days a week to help,” Ms. Shrager said in an interview. “It’s money well spent and a lot cheaper than assisted living. But it’s important not to wait until there’s a crisis — a parent falls and breaks her hip.” Read on.


Film and TV
• Wild, Wild Country … [America] The Netflix documentary series “Wild Wild Country,” directed by brothers Chapman Way and Maclain Way,details Rajneeshpuram’s downward spiral; the scandals that plague the community include immigration fraud, biochemical attacks, arson, assassination attempts, the recruitment of homeless individuals to sway an election and the drugging of those same folks after their presence threatens the commune’s peace. The documentary features a wealth of archival footage, from the nascency of Rajneesh’s public life in India to the dissolution of the Oregon experiment. There are extensive interviews with key former members of Rajneeshpuram, including Sheela herself. The combination of intimate footage and candid confessions makes “Wild Wild Country” a worthwhile watch.

   It also presents the opportunity for a worthwhile discussion. Sometimes the best way to understand a serious phenomenon is to look at its parody. In this case, the serious phenomenon is religion, and its parody, a modern attempt at inventing one. The incursion of the “orange people” into Wasco County ignited a religious freedom debate that spread across Oregon in a not-so-predictable fashion. Their presence presented the problem of relating to the “other,” whether that “other” was a retired rancher or a spiritualist in red. One could also ask how Rajneesh managed to exploit the logic of global capitalism along with a certain market for spirituality among Westerners. Read on.


• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.

• Unprediictability is a trait, not a strategy [From Madeleine Albright's new book, Fascism: A Warning] The course I teach at Georgetown is about the tools of foreign policy and how to use them. From what I’ve seen, the president would have a hard time passing it. He considers himself a master at bluster and bluff, which can be an effective tactic, when applied sparingly. During the Cold War, Henry Kissinger tried to pry concessions out of the Soviets by suggesting that Nixon was a little crazy and that there was no telling what he might do if he didn’t get his way. Given Trump’s undisciplined style, a similar strategy now would certainly have the advantage of credibility. Trump can seem unhinged. But unpredictability is a trait, not a strategy. The question is whether the president’s penchant for insults and off-the-wall threats is linked to a plan for making progress toward specific national security objectives. Read on.

• The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, by Jon Meacham …I hear that Bishop Curry is reading this. He probably has a signed copy. Jon Meacham is an Episcopalian. Here. NYTimes review.


• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
The Episcopal Café
Here.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effectis about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphateis a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.


Varia


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• A Man Called Mark … A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
  
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.

• Reclaiming Jesus is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.

• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 

 


newSpin 180517

newSpin, the newsletter
May 17
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin

• Bishop Sean's ministry could expand to Western New York … [Times-News staff, May 7] he Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Western New York could begin sharing Bishop Sean Rowe in 2019.
Erie’s Episcopal bishop will wrap up his work in the Diocese of Bethlehem but could then head to the Diocese of Western New York.
   The Right Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Erie-based Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, will end his duties as provisional bishop in Bethlehem when its newly elected bishop is consecrated Sept. 15. Rowe became bishop in Erie in 2007 and took on the temporary Bethlehem job in 2014 after the bishop there retired. In 2019, he could resume the job of provisional bishop, this time in Western New York following the retirement of Bishop William Franklin.
   Rowe, 43, the youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church, leads an Erie-based diocese of 33 congregations that officials say has more than 3,000 members in 13 counties. The Diocese of Western New York, based about 100 miles from Erie in Tonawanda, New York, has 57 parishes with almost 8,500 members. Read on

Jubilate for Pentecost B … i
s now available at the Trinity Bethlehem website. Also, Prayers of the People may be found there. Jubilate is a resource for hymn selection. Weekly Prayers of the People may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in both Word (.doc) and .pdf formats. Find both here.

• Michael Curry will preach at the royal wedding[NYT] Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church, will deliver a sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19. Read on. Also at Newsweek.

• A short but moving video … Church leaders drafted this statement because the soul of the nation is at stake. Here.

• Reclaiming Jesus … Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners have issued the following letter to church leaders about the Reclaiming Jesus Declaration. Read the letter here.

• Great Sermon! Now, how about my carburetor? … Most everybody in Moscow, PA knows Father Earl Trygar. At some point or another, he's probably had his head under the hood of one of their car. Plus, about 40 of them hear him preach and sing the Eucharist at St. Mark's Church every Sunday morning. It makes for interesting conversation. “People will stop on the way out of church and say, ‘Nice sermon! By the way, my inspection sticker expires at the end of the month. Can you get me in?’” And Trygar always can. Trygar’s Auto Center, which he opened in 1977, is the only garage in town, and it’s conveniently located about 100 yards from St. Mark’s Church, where Trygar has served as rector since 2003. During the years leading to his 2002 ordination to the priesthood, more than a few church leaders urged him to consider ordained ministry. Not that they wanted him to give up being a car mechanic; they just thought he should do both. Read on.

• Four different news stories over 24 hours – how they connect [David Leonhardt, NYTimes] The president is going to keep lying, and his allies are going to keep covering for him. The rest of us need to remember that a lie is still a lie, even when it’s coming from the president. #4: Pro-Trump media outlets, many of which have little regard for truth, are spreading. They include Salem Radio Sinclair Broadcasting, Fox News and local websites promoting Republican candidates that are intentionally framed to look like real news websites. Read on.

• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10 Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 3
Here.
• DioBeth General News, April 26 … Here.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• We'll separate you from your childrenThat’s the message from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to people who cross U.S. borders without documentation. Sessions said 700 kids already have been taken away from their parents by U.S. officials since July.That’s the message from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to people who cross U.S. borders without documentation. Sessions said 700 kids already have been taken away from their parents by U.S. officials since July. Read on.

• On preserving favorable tax treatment of clergy housing allowances [Forbes, May 6]
The big trouble makers in this are are the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its officers. They think that allowing "ministers of the gospel" to receive cash housing allowances tax free is a violation of the Establishment Clause. Read on.

• Ben Carson vs. The Fair Housing ACT [NYTimes Editorial Board, May 13] The contempt of the housing and urban development secretary, Ben Carson, for the Fair Housing Act of 1968 has blinded him to policies that are in the nation’s best interest, and made him a prime target for lawsuits and court intervention. Read on.


• Protecting Religious Liberty [Bernard Prusak, Commonweal] Why should religious beliefs warrant accommodation when they conflict with other people’s interests?
Here.

• In rebuke of Trump, Tillerson says lies are a threat to democracy [NYTimes]
In his address, he cut to the heart of the most significant criticisms of the president, that Mr. Trump exaggerates and constructs his own truths and that he has undermined ethical standards in Washington. “If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” Mr. Tillerson warned. Read on.

• Trump's Failure in Jerusalem [NYTimes Editorial Board] The day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem is a day the world has longed for, because of what it was supposed to represent: the end of a seemingly endless conflict, a blood-soaked tragedy with justice and cruelty on both sides. Israelis and Palestinians have envisioned a capital in Jerusalem, and for generations the Americans, the honest brokers in seeking peace, withheld recognition of either side’s claims, pending a treaty that through hard compromise would resolve all competing demands.
   But on Monday President Trump delivered the embassy as a gift without concession or condition to the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and as a blow to the Palestinians. The world did not witness a new dawn of peace and security for two peoples who have dreamed of both for so long. Instead, it watched as Israeli soldiers shot and killed scores of Palestinian protesters, and wounded thousands more, along Israel’s boundary with the Gaza Strip.
Read on.

 

SpiritSpin
• Isn't this a good thing we are doing?[A 1987 column by Bill Lewellis published in a local daily newspaper] There's
a good story about that awful distinction described as "ministers minister and congregations congregate." I'd like to supply appropriate attribution, but I can't remember where I heard the following parable about ministry.


• Faith, Fear and Certainty … [A slightly edited version of a 2003 column by Bill Lewellis, published in The Morning Call] When the religious certains have been many, they have harassed, persecuted, even killed the few. When the certains are few, they simply bore others to death with an ironic accomplishment: replacing the joy and richness of relationship with God with a drab and tedious version of being right. Read on

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.

• What are your defining moments? [A slightly edited version of a column by Bill Lewellis, published in 1998] A three-story perspective casts a little light for me on God’s continuing visitations in our lives. Read on.

• The Daily Examen [IgnatianSpirituality] is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
  
[Bill] When I was in college seminary in Philadelphia, those responsible for mentoring our spirituality put this into our nighttime community prayer as an examination of conscience (recalling our sins of the day) rather than an examination of consciousness (discerning God's presence in our day). What an awful misunderstanding of the Daily Examen! Worse yet, it may have been intentional in the RC seminary culture of those days. Read on.

• Keep thinking – It's so religious [A slightly edited version of a 2005 column by Bill Lewellis, published in The Morning Call] A conclusion, according to Mark Twain, is the place where someone got tired of thinking. God wants us to keep thinking. That’s why we have so many parables, images and themes in the bible without one-size-fits-all conclusions. I think. Read on.

• Life within the Swirl – pointlessly purposeful … [A slightly edited 1997 column by Bill Lewellis, published in a daily newspaper] Preachers over the years have moved from the classic “three-point” sermon to one memorable point. Television has, indeed, affected our attention span. Recently, however, I heard sermon-resource guru Leonard Sweet suggest that sermons be “pointless.” His “point” was that sermons ought to invite us into further contemplation. Open-ended images and stories do that better than points. My contribution to that discussion is a “pointless” column. My image: swirls. Read on

• 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. Read on,


• Ability, Adaptability, Ambiguity: Living with integrity in the tension[Bill Lewellis] A one-sided conversation took place during the late 1960s when what was to become for me a 40-year ministry on the staffs of three bishops in two denominations. Too soon was it over. My first day at the bishop’s office of the RC Diocese of Allentown was a deep-water introduction to ecclesial systems. I was 30 years old with the slight experience of three years in parish ministry, and one year of teaching in local Catholic high schools. I had earned a reputation as one who resisted the system. Well, it was the '60s.
  
During that first day, the bishop’s main man gave me some advice. "You obviously have ability,” he said, “but even more important for your work here will be adaptability … and being able to deal with ambiguity."

   The veiled message spooked me. I was warned. It was a pre-emptive strike. I believed then, however, and still believe that the one giving the advice was looking out for me. One question stayed with me after I processed the advice: "How to live with integrity in the tension?" Read on.

• Oh the Places You Can Go With Metaphors [A slightly edited excerpt from a 2006 sermon preached by Bill Lewellis]  “Like knotholes in a fence around a construction site,” it has been said, “metaphors allow the curious to peek into the realm of God.”  One cannot speak about God or about relationship with God without using images and metaphors, some helpful, some not. Read on.

• Jesus is a troublesome figure[A 2001 published column by Bill Lewellis] Midway through The Brothers Karamazov, (New York: The Modern Library, pp. 259-266), Dostoevsky deals insightfully with the temptations Jesus rejected, temptations to carry out his mission by manipulation. He inserts in his novel the story of “The Grand Inquisitor.”
Read on

 
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• Baylor's 12 Most 'Effective' English Language Preachers … [CNN] For only the second time in two decades, Baylor University has released its list of the 12 most "effective" preachers in the English language. It is among the most prestigious honors in the preaching profession -- one that has changed the lives of previous recipients.
Here, Here and Here.

• No wonder there's an exodus from religion
[EJ Dionne, Jr., WaPo, May 6] Do you wonder why the proportion of Americans declaring themselves unaffiliated with organized religion has skyrocketed in recent decades? This trend is especially pronounced among adults under 30, roughly 40 percent of whom claim no connection to a religious congregation or tradition and have joined the ranks of those the pollsters call the “nones.” To understand how so many now prefer nothing to something when it comes to religion, ponder the news over the past few days.
Read on.

DioBeth
• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishop
Nichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
   "I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
  
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."

   Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
   A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
 
While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. Read on,

• DioBeth Leadership News, May 10
Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, May 3
Here.
• DioBeth General News, April 26
Here.


Episcopal/Anglican

• House of Bishops' pastoral response to #MeToo will focus on listening, liturgy and steps for healing[The Episcopal Church, Public Affairs Office] In an open letter to the Episcopal Church, an invitation is extended to share reflections on sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation. A selection of the reflections will be read at a special listening session during General Convention 2018. The House of Bishop’s Pastoral Response will be a sacred space for listening and further reconciliation on Wednesday, July 4, 5:15 pm to 7 pm Central (6:15 pm Eastern/4:15 pm Mountain/3:15 pm Pacific). Those at General Convention 2018 in Austin, TX, are welcome to attend; those not in Austin will be able to participate remotely via a live webcast. Read on.

• The Episcopal Asset Map … unveils redesigned site, invites full participation across church. It's
an online platform showing the location and ministries of Episcopal churches, schools and other communities. It has been revamped and refreshed with more-detailed information, easier access and ease of navigation. If your congregation or appropriate info about your congregation is not included, that means info has not been supplied. Read on.

• House of DeputiesMay newsletter.

• How the Church of England has shifted on divorce[WaPo] When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand before the altar at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a refuge of the British monarch for a thousand years, the Archbishop of Canterbury will tie the knot with vows from the Common Book of Prayer that read “to have and to hold . . . until death do us part.” Not so very long ago, this wedding — with this service and this officiant at this place — would have been impossible.Not because Markle is an American and a commoner, marrying a prince now sixth in line for the throne. And not because the actress is biracial, raised Episcopalian and attended Catholic school in Los Angeles. No, such a service would have been opposed by the Church of England hierarchy because Markle is divorced and her former husband is still alive. Read on.


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


TaleSpin
Question Your Answers
[The Atlantic and HBO] These days, our culture rewards strong opinions and quick-draw conclusions. In a time when every side seems convinced it has the answers, The Atlantic and HBO are partnering on a series of short films that challenge our certainties.
   Civil discourse ultimately depends on a recognition that none of us has a complete understanding of the world—and that we’re at our best when we engage with arguments that confront our deepest beliefs. This is how we, as a society, move toward a better and shared future. Read on.

• Children of the Opioid Epidemic[Intro by Jake Silverstein of the NYTimes Magazine] This NYTimes Magazine's cover story is a masterful piece of reporting, writing and human empathy from the novelist and journalist Jennifer Egan, who spent many months documenting the lives of women who are addicted to opioids and become pregnant. This is an aspect of the opioid crisis that we haven’t heard as much about, in part, perhaps, because it seems so tragic. But Egan’s story is a vitally important one. As she explains, the number of pregnant women addicted to opioids has grown significantly in recent years; and there has been a similar increase in the number of newborns experiencing the opioid-withdrawal condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Egan’s story explores the complex emotional and physical struggles that these women and their children go through.
  
As Egan notes, the tendency in many areas to villainize these women, to treat them as criminals (or at least criminally irresponsible), is a dangerous one, not only because it risks compounding their cycles of addiction with shame and persecution but also because it fails to recognize that a newborn baby can often become a lifeline for a woman who has struggled in vain for years to quit using drugs. Read on.


•  I am one of the lucky ones [A Mother's Day reflection by Dean Tony Pompa of Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem]     I realize that I am one of the lucky ones. I was fortunate to be born to a woman whose basic instinct is one of nurture, love, and compassion. I also was fortunate enough to be have a mother who was resilient and smart, though she would never come to that thought on her own. I was raised in love, protected enough from strong forces that might work against me, and because my mother lived as one who respected other's dignity, I hold that as a core value. I am so very very grateful to my mother for her sacrifice and for her example. I am also lucky to still have her in my life and that my children have grown up to know this amazing woman. Lucky. In theological terms, my mother has been a blessing to me and my siblings.
  
I also know that Mother's day isn't always an easy day for some. I am aware that some have never known their mother or experienced the good fortune I have. I am aware that some relationships get strained, and that not all those who have given birth have had the resources or emotional capacity to love their children in ways some might hope for. I am aware that some relationships are abusive and that those scars remain a lifetime. I am aware that some have lost their mothers in death, sometimes tragically, and that pain often stings while folk like me enjoy the good fortune of a living and loving mother. I am also aware that some mother's among us have lost children prematurely, and that the hole left in their hearts by this is deep and sometimes dark.
   I suppose on such a day I will offer my thanks and share my gratitude and love with my mom. At the same time I offer my respect for the fragility of the day for those whose pain I am aware of, and walk a care filled path so that I might not step on the feelings of those whose pain I may not be aware. Perhaps a psalm that might be written or sung is to the great nurturer who is our God. A psalm that is able to mix a spirit of thanksgiving for love received with a balm of healing for love lost and longed for.

• A secretary quietly amassed a fortune, then gave most of it to scholarships … [NYTimes, May 6] Even by the dizzying standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history.
   It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died not long afterward in 2016.
  
Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest friends and relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune over the decades. She did this by shrewdly observing the investments made by the lawyers she served.

   “She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’s lives, including their personal investments,” recalled her niece Jane Lockshin. “So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.” Read on.

• Surest way to face marijuana charges in New York: Be Black or Hispanic[NYTimes, May 14] The police explanation that more black and Hispanic people are arrested on marijuana charges because complaints are high in their neighborhoods doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Read on.

• The 9 Minutes that Almost Changed America[BuzzFeed, h/t NYTimes] A riveting reconstruction of last year’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, which was very nearly a ‘deadly, mass political assassination.’ Detailed and haunting, it will remind readers of an awful day that, if not for a group of brave people, could have been even worse. But it also underscores how our hyper-charged news cycle has already pushed even this mass shooting to the edges of memory. Read on.

• A Different Age
[NYTimes] Viewing Eleanor Roosevelt’s tenure as first lady through the acrid smoke of Hillary Clinton’s history as political wife, senator, secretary of state and failed presidential candidate is like trying to picture a loved one before she suffered a devastating injury: There is no way to un-see that wreckage, to reimagine her whole. But there was once a highly educated, independent American wife and mother who transformed the role of first lady, worked tirelessly for social justice and served as a strategic helpmate to her charismatic, philandering husband — while retaiof course, and yet she was awarded — by a still moderately respectful press and not least by Franklin D. Roosevelt himself — a measure of personal freedom to nurture close emotional ties with others. One of the most significant of these was the A.P. journalist Lorena Hickok (known as Hick), who left her job after becoming tooning her dignity, and even some measure of privacy, in that exposed position. It was a different time.
   Eleanor Roosevelt had legions of detractors as well as acolytes, close to her subject, worked for the Roosevelt administration and later lived at the White House. In July 1933, just a few months after her husband took office, Eleanor and Hick set out for a vacation in New England and Canada, driving off in Eleanor’s sporty blue convertible, unaccompanied by the Secret Service, staying together in hotels and farmhouses. Today it’s unthinkable that such a holiday could go undocumented — or unpunished.
Read on,


Requiescant in pace
 • Gabrielle (Gaby) Whittier … died April 29. Gaby was a faithful parishioner and long-time parish administrator at Trinity Bethlehem.

• Louis J. Falzone, 87
… died May 11.
He was a member of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Wilkes-Barre, and had been a member of the choir for many years. Obituary.

• Loren Mead, 88 … died peacefully under hospice care at his home,
in Falls Church, Virginia, on May 5. He was a congregational studies pioneer. "The Episcopal Church has lost a visionary pioneer and leader in congregation wellness and mission," Archdeacon Rick Cluett writes "I have lost an old friend. I am grateful for him. I have known him since the late 1960s. He was very important in my early ordained ministry and later inspired the church to see that God may be doing - and needing - new things as the Church moves into this era. I am grateful to him." Obituary.

• Tom Wolfe, 88 … died on May 14. The white-suited wizard of “New Journalism” who exuberantly chronicled American culture from the Merry Pranksters through the space race before turning his satiric wit to such novels as “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full,” died of an infection in a NYC hospital. AP, NYTimes, Poynter, Master of the Long Sentence, and Poynter, How Tom Wolfe made me feel better about the semicolon.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• St. Paul's Lutheran in Allentown in Danger of Closing … [Column, May 6, by Pastor Steve Shussett] Over the past few weeks, many people have learned about the precarious situation in which St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Allentown finds itself. Like many inner city mainline churches, its membership, though faithful, has declined for a variety of reasons. Generosity through the ages has carried the congregation far, but those resources cannot last forever. And so, like many churches, it faces the prospect of closing. Vital, if not sustainable, it remains a beautiful, worshipful place.
  
But unlike most churches, St. Paul's has become known as ground zero for ministry to the homeless and marginalized in Pennsylvania’s third largest city. From colleagues in community and government to Christian, Jewish and Muslim, and other faith partners, those in need knew they could come to St. Paul's for an array of services for body, mind and spirit. Regrettably, that soon may come to an end. We are hopeful, we are trying, but we are also realistic. We are trusting in God’s resurrecting power: that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can take this dire situation and bring new life. Read on.

• The elusive phenomenon of churches without God[The Economist] When a group sings, talks and bonds like a religion but may not be one. Like many similar clubs across the Western world, this “atheist church” aims to offer some features of a religious congregation (fellowship, collective enjoyment, a stimulus to moral behaviour) while eschewing any belief in a deity or the supernatural. Ruth Walther, the founder of the Seattle community, sums up its ethos by drawing a contrast with a Christian hymn, “God moves in a mysterious way”. At her church, she says, “We believe in good because good works in non-mysterious ways.” Read on.

• Is Jerusalem embassy part of God's grand plan? Why some evangelicals love Israel [RNS] Evangelicals' influence on the decision to move the Israel embassy suggests that United States policy in the Middle East is now heavily influenced by dispensational theology. Read on. And, The new American emassys messianic moment.



Evangelical Lutheran Church
• In historic votes, Lutherans elect two African-American women bishops [RNS] A synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America made history Saturday (May 5) by electing the denomination’s first female African-American bishop. One day later, a synod 900 miles away elected the second. Read on,

• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• The value of a doctor-patient relationship [NYTimes Magazine] In its push for profits, the U.S. health care system has made it difficult for patients to get personal attention from doctors. But what if hands-on medicine actually saves money — and lives? Read on.

• The NYTimes Magazine Health IssueHere.

• All about ticks and mosquitoes[NYTimes] Here.


Film and TV

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.

• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
The Episcopal Café
Here.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effectis about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphateis a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.


Varia
• Ukrainian Sushi Here.



Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• A Man Called Mark … A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
  
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.

• Reclaiming Jesus is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.

• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 

 


newSpin 180503

newSpin, the newsletter
May 3
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin
• Diocese of Bethlehem elects Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishop … Nichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
   "I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities," Nichols said. "The momentum there is unmistakable and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us together.
  
"I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God's love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God's planting and pruning."

   Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire's Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.
   A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew's in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
   While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company. Read on,

• Bishop Sean's Farewell Event, May 12 … Say thank you and farewell to Bishop Sean Rowe, and his family. This event includes Eucharist at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral (12:30) followed by a light hors d’oeuvres reception at the Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, Wilkes-Barre. This is a free event, however registration is required by April 23:  Register here. In lieu of gifts for Bishop Sean, we will be collecting donations for Grace Montessori School, now a diocesan school. If you would like to make a donation in Bishop Sean’s honor, it can be sent to the Diocesan Office. Checks should be made payable to: The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and mailed to:  333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, PA  18015. Please be sure to include “Bishop Farewell Gift” in the memo line.

• A. Theodore Eastman, 89 … 12th bishop of Maryland, retired, died April 26. Bishop Eastman was rector of the Church of the Mediator, Allentown,1969-73. More below, under "Requiescant."

• A Lynching Memorial[NYT] The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opens Thursday on a six-acre site overlooking the Alabama State Capitol, is dedicated to the victims of American white supremacy. And it demands a reckoning with one of the nation’s least recognized atrocities: the lynching of thousands of black people in a decades-long campaign of racist terror. Read on.

• The Waiting Game [ProPublica, April 23] The U.S. is supposed to be a safe haven for people fleeing persecution. But asylum-seekers face years of uncertainty when they arrive.
   Like any piece of journalism, The Waiting Game presents true stories in each of the game’s five narratives. They’re based on detailed records and accounts from five real asylum seekers, as well as interviews with people who worked directly with them, and with experts who work with asylum seekers on a regular basis. The places, major events and people in our narratives are real, as are the reasons each person sought asylum and the results of their asylum requests. We have omitted details to protect the identity of the asylum seekers. Read on.

• These are the 12 most 'effective' preachers in the English language [CNN]
For only the second time in two decades, Baylor University has released its list of the 12 most "effective" preachers in the English language. It is among the most prestigious honors in the preaching profession -- one that has changed the lives of previous recipients. Read on. View/hear the sermons that put these 12 preachers on Baylor's list, here.

• DioBeth General News, April 26 …
Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, April 19
Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, April 12Here.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Trump blasts 'breeding' in Sanctuary Cities. That's a racist term[Analysis by Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, April 18] '"Breeding’ as a concept has an animalistic connotation. Dogs and horses are bred. So (Trump’s) use of it is, at best, dehumanizing to the immigrants he appears to be referring to," writes CNN’s Z. Byron Wolf. The network’s political director notes that “fear of immigrants from certain countries ‘breeding’ has been a staple of nativist thought for hundreds of years. The ‘breeding’ fear has been affixed to Jews from Eastern Europe, Catholics from Ireland and Italy, Chinese and, now, Latinos, Filipinos, Africans and Haitians.” Apparently excepted from Trump’s rhetoric: Germany and Scotland, where his immigrant grandfather and mother were born. Read on.

• NJ Court rules churches can't receive county's historic preservation money [Episcopal News Service, David Paulsen, April 19] It was an offer too good for a congregation to refuse. Need your church tower preserved? Your roof replaced? Your parish house restored? Morris County, New Jersey, was ready to help, with a historic preservation grant program offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in upkeep assistance for a range of properties, including houses of worship. The problem: Such direct taxpayer assistance to churches violated the state constitution, the New Jersey Supreme Court has concluded, ruling April 18 against a list of defendants that includes 12 churches, three of them Episcopal churches.

   The potential financial ramifications for Morris County churches are significant. The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, as one prominent example, received a $294,000 grant in 2013 to restore its 1926 parish house and an additional $272,000 in 2015 to restore the church’s slate roof. The court did not require Church of the Redeemer and the other 11 churches named in the lawsuit to repay the $4.6 million they received over four years, but the county is barred from awarding money to churches in the future. Read on.

• Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest? Why did Paul Ryan dismiss the House chaplain? [WaPo, Greg Sargent]
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has dismissed the House chaplain, outraging Catholics in the lower chamber, and this morning’s speculation has centered on a prayer offered by the chaplain that was critical of the GOP tax law. In that prayer, Rev. Patrick J. Conroy urged members of the House to ensure that “there are not winners and losers” under the new law, but rather “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
  
In an interview this morning, Democratic Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia said that Conroy told him he thought this prayer was a cause of his dismissal. “He speculated that this might be the reason,” Connolly told me. Conroy has publicly made similar suggestions elsewhere, and Ryan’s office has refused to explain the decision.
   “A Catholic priest, a Jesuit like the Pope, committed to the social justice doctrine of the church, mildly encouraged members to keep fairness in mind as we contemplated the tax bill,” Connolly told me. “It reminds me of the line in Henry II, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'” Read on. Also here and here.


• What Mueller wants to ask Trump about obstruction, and what it means … The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently provided President Trump’s lawyers a list of questions he wants answered in an interview. The New York Times obtained the list, and published it with the context and significance of each. The questions fall into categories based on four broad subjects. Read on.

• Is the Christian Right driving Americans away from religion?
… New research finds that, when evangelical organizations raise their profile by sponsoring a high-profile political campaign, a backlash ensues. Read on.

• Frequently and Shamelessly [David Leonhardt, Op-Ed Columnist, NYTimes, May 1] Throughout his business and political careers, Donald Trump has had an important advantage: He is willing to lie, frequently and shamelessly. Most other people in public life view reality as a limitation. Trump does not. If telling falsehoods is more convenient or helpful to him than telling the truth, he tells falsehoods. It’s worked out very well for him — making his business look more successful than it was, helping him land a prime time television show and, of course, allowing him to win the most powerful political office on earth. In his 15-plus months as president, Trump has added a second bit of shamelessness to his approach. In addition to lying, he has also been willing to obstruct justice.  Read on,

• A Sad Track … President Trump has made 3,001 documented false or misleading claims since he has been in office — and he's making them more frequently in recent months, according to an updated count by Washington Post fact-checkers. "Seventy-two times, the president has falsely claimed he passed the biggest tax cut in history — when in fact it ranks in eighth place," the fact-checkers write. "Fifty-three times, the president has made some variation of the claim that the Russia probe is a made-up controversy." Read on,

• Proposed cuts to food program are immoral [Editorial, National Catholic Reporter, April 29] Sometimes it feels hard to keep up with the myriad scandals swirling around the Trump White House. From alleged payoffs to a porn star and ongoing inquiries into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the headlines come at a dizzying pace. The lurid spectacle of it all should not blind us to actual policy scandals that make a mockery of the administration's laughable claim to being "pro-life."
  
While cable pundits are buzzing about Stormy Daniels, the most vulnerable Americans now face the prospect of losing critical nutrition support for their families. Under a 2018 farm bill proposal in the House Agriculture Committee supported by the White House, a reckless change to the nation's food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), ties critical food support to work requirements (see Page 3).

   More than 2 million people who rely on the program, including parents raising children and people with disabilities, would be affected by the plan. This partisan, punitive measure breaks with a long history of bipartisan commitment to alleviating hunger as a matter of basic human dignity.
   The details are sobering and unacceptable. The bill cuts SNAP benefits by more than $20 billion over 10 years, diverting much of that money to sweeping new work programs with unforgiving penalties. Read on.

SpiritSpin
• Pope Francis, spiritual guide[RNS, Thomas Reese]
Before he was pope, before he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis spent much of his Jesuit life as a spiritual guide to young Jesuits. He was not a great theologian, although he was well read in theology. Nor was he the president of one of the order’s universities. Rather his job was to introduce young men to the Jesuits and help form them in their spiritual lives. He was the director of novices and rector of the community where young Jesuits studied philosophy and theology.
  
This background and experience helped make Francis the person he is today. It also explains why he naturally felt impelled to write “Gaudete et Exsultate,” his recently released apostolic exhortation on the call to holiness. For Francis, all Christians, not just religious and priests, are called to holiness. But as an experienced spiritual guide, he knows that most people are confused about what holiness really is and therefore can easily get lost on their spiritual quest.

   Francis’ goal was not to write an abstract theological treatise on holiness but to present a practical way to holiness for our time. He does this with a simple style that is full of spiritual wisdom that can enrich any reader, whether a beginner or experienced practitioner of the spiritual life. Read on. Read Gaudete et Exsultate.

• The Template of Reality … [Richard Rohr] The basic template of reality is Trinitarian, it’s relational. God is relationship. The energy in the universe is not in the planets or in the protons or neutrons, but in the relationship between them. Not in the particles but in the space between them. Not in the cells of organisms but in the way the cells feed and give feedback to one another. Not in any precise definition of the three persons of the Trinity as much as in the relationship between the Three! This is where all the power for infinite renewal is at work: The loving relationship between them. The infinite love flowing between them. The dance itself. Read on.

• At the Heart of Reality [Sermon by Bill Lewellis, Trinity Sunday, 2004] Clues to the most profound mysteries of life – who we are, why we are, where we are going, how we are meant to live – may be embedded in our DNA… that double-helix spiral staircase that has inspired scientists and artists and theologians over the past half century. Read on.

• Not to Win but To Be One [A slightly edited excerpt from a 1991 column by Bill Lewellis, published in a local paper] Despite my reservations about activities that nurture the competitive over the cooperative and empathic tendencies of children, our 14-year-old son plays ice hockey and our two younger sons, ages 6 and 8, play Little League baseball. Fortunately, the younger ones have coaches who love children more than the score.
   One Saturday morning in May, I wasn’t able to be at my six-year-old’s game. “How’d it go?” I asked Stephen later. “O.K.,” he said. “I got two hits and scored two runs — one for us and one for them.”
  
“One for us and one for them?” “Yes,” he said. “Some of the kids on the other team had church and couldn’t play today. So our coach made some of us play sometimes for us and sometimes for them.”

   That was church of its own. Jesus didn’t say we ought to win. He prayed only that we might be one. One for us and one for them

• Celebrate Life … [A slightly edited 1987 column by Bill Lewellis, published in a daily newspaper] Our spiritual journey is a relationship. No two are the same. Still, a reasonable construct which draws on the experiences of many, including St. Paul and St. John, suggests God is not only the end of the journey but also its beginning. The journey begins when God speaks. "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1: 1). Read on.

• Creativity and the Cross[Hillary Raining interviews Charles "Ty" Welles] Charles “Ty” Welles is a fourth generation lawyer from Scranton, PA, with degrees from Yale and Harvard. He has served as the Chancellor of Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, and, perhaps surprisingly, a sculptor, who primarily carves marble. He has been carving for more than twenty-five years and has exhibited and studied throughout the northeastern United States as well as regionally. In this episode, Ty will talk about his 13-piece installation of the Stations of the Cross as well as his creative process. This is a discussion (Season 1, Episode 5) about the power of creativity and spirituality in every life. Listen.
   This podcast appears on The Hive, a website created by Hillary Raining, rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne and known to many in the Diocese of Bethlehem where she was ordained. "Based on a model of community and support found in the hive of the honey bee," Hillary writes, "this wellness and spirituality website is for you in your quest to change the world." Here.

• Jesus' Farewell[Bill] In the Gospel according to John, just before John’s account of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, there are five chapters — 13 through 17 — that make up an especially powerful read. Read the entire section reflectively, perhaps today or tomorrow, and you will understand. John put that section together to be Jesus’ Farewell. Read on,

• Be in Love Transformed [Bill Lewellis, column published in The Morning Call, May 2003] My next to last step when preparing a sermon plays out on Saturday morning at a local diner where I browse through my notes while having breakfast and much coffee. I glance randomly at the faces of strangers. Might anything I’ve written be useful to anyone in this place? Something good always happens. I almost always discard cute phrases to which I was wedded a few days earlier. Ernest Hemingway, I believe, called this “killing your darlings?” *
   Something else happened a few weeks ago. Seeing that my coffee cup was full, the waitress on refill duty said, “You’re good.” Lose the notes, I chuckled. Anne gave you the sermon. This is your waitress. Listen to her. Read on.

• 'Religion' in Opposition to 'Ideology'[Interview: America Magazine with Jordan Peterson] In your lectures, you define “religion” in opposition to “ideology.” Could you explain the difference between the two?

   To me, ideology is corrupt; it’s a parasite on religious structures. To be an ideologue is to have all of the terrible things that are associated with religious certainty and none of the utility. If you’re an ideologue you believe everything that you think. If you’re religious there’s a mystery left there. The mystery is whatever God is. That mystery has the possibility of keeping you humble. You’re not the ultimate authority, and you’re accountable in some ultimate sense.
  
Now, you might say that doesn’t translate directly into proof for God, and obviously it doesn’t. But I think you could make a very compelling case that people are ultimately responsible, and if they don’t act that way. all hell breaks loose. Plus, religious thinking is a human universal that’s biologically instantiated. There’s every bit of evidence that capacity for religious thinking and experience evolve. Read on.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• Good Shepherd Sunday sermon by Winnie Varghese at Trinity Wall Street.

DioBeth
• A Man Called Mark
A new biography of Bishop Mark Dyer, will be published on July 17. Dyer was bishop of Bethlehem from 1982 to 1995. [Church Publishing and Leadership News] This official biography tells the compelling story of the Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer: Irish Catholic boy from New Hampshire, U.S. Navy vet, Roman Catholic then Episcopal priest, bishop, and seminary professor-and one of the most influential, beloved leaders of the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
  
Following a dispute with ecclesiastical authorities, Dyer left the Roman Church for the Anglican Church of Canada. Later received as priest in the Episcopal Church, his gifts as teacher, preacher, and pastor were recognized with election as Bishop of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There, he established a new model of leadership, delegating administrative duties to concentrate on spiritual direction, pastoral care, and creating mission projects at every church in his diocese. Also renowned as a story-teller, many of his favorite stories appear here, told in his own voice. Read on.

• Herding Cats in the Kingdom of God [A sermon preached by Canon Andrew Gerns at the celebration of new ministry of the Rev. Rebecca Parsons Cancelliere at St. Mark and St. John Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe, PA on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B, April 22, 2018.] If you were to ask me to choose the 100 best TV commercials of all time, do you know what would be at the very top of my list? It would be an ad that first appeared in Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.
   Picture tough, dust-caked cowboys riding the range. They are on a drive through the desolate, wild, open prairie. From their horses they shout, whistle and use their lariats to bring their herd home. The ad opens with a young cowboy standing next to a Conestoga wagon, holding up a picture. “This is my grandfather,” he says. “He started herding cats when he was 15.”
  
Yes, these cowboys are herding cats. “Anyone can herd cattle,” one of these cowboys says. “But keeping ten thousand half-wild short hairs together… is about the hardest work a man can do.” This ad works because it takes a time honored image that we all know and with wonderful details like a little yarn, a sneeze, and a lint roller---not to mention dozens and dozen of cats--and turns it all upside down.

   Sort of like taking an historic parish founded by a famous industrialist located in a town re-named for a famous athlete and then raising up for that parish an all-female leadership team. Read on.

• Charlie Barebo … has been appointed Diocese of Bethlehem missioner for stewardship and development. Barebo, who has resigned from his role as treasurer to take on this non-stipendiary position, will share his expertise with parishes that request support in annual giving, stewardship, and other fundraising programs. "I am grateful for the service of Charlie Barebo as diocesan treasurer over the last four years," Bishop Rowe said. "He was instrumental in implementing a new accounting system, improving internal controls, reorienting the DIT [Diocesan Investment Trust], and setting a sustainable and mission driven financial strategy."
 
• Libby House … former member of the Standing Committee and current Finance Committee and Diocesan Council member, has been appointed the new treasurer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. "I am pleased that Libby House accepted the appointment as diocesan treasurer," said Bishop Rowe. "She has a depth of experience in non-profit finance, most recently as the director of the Grace Montessori School in Allentown, and has served on the Standing Committee during our time of transition."  

• Michelle Moyer … canon for family and faith formation at Nativity Cathedral Bethlehem has accepted a full-time position as chaplain to the independent and assisted living residence of the Phoebe Home Allentown.

• DioBeth General News, April 26Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, April 19Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, April 12Here.


Episcopal/Anglican
• Video series invites Episcopalians to revisit slave trade, share truths about race today[The Episcopal Church, Public Affairs Office] "Door of Return: Racial Truth and Reconciliation Pilgrimage to Ghana" is a series of three powerful, short films and discussion tools that open conversation about race, faith and the path toward healing. The videos and discussion guide are available for viewing or download at no fee. Read on.


• We went to 'Beyoncé Mass' and it was glorious[Mother Jones] San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, an historic episcopal church known for its commitment to social justice, hosted its “Beyonce Mass” as part of a weekly worship series intended to uplift the experiences of women and appeal to young worshippers. The unconventional service featured a sermon about liberation struggle, readings from a speech by civil rights leader Ella Baker, scripture readings by black women, a traditional communion, and of course, the singing of Beyoncé songs. A gospel soloist backed by a choir and live band performed Beyonce’s songs “Listen,” “Freedom,” “Flaws and All,” and “I Was Here,” as well as “Survivor,” a hit by Beyonce’s original girl group Destiny’s Child.
  
News of the planned service appeared in more than two dozen local and national news outlets—including the New York Times. Not surprisingly, the church was mobbed. Ushers estimated there were about 900 people in attendance—Grace’s Wednesday night service normally attracts 50 or so. Read on. Also here.

• Vital Practices for leading congregations … This website of the Episcopal Church Foundation seems to me to be an especially useful tool for anyone active in parish life. It covers much more than parish finances. Read on.


Evangelism
• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


TaleSpin
She spoke to the soul
… Years ago, after having sufficiently experienced the ether, I ventured to say that online conversation would enable us to know people we might never meet. Ann Fontaine died this morning April 19). Though she was known personally to many across the Episcopal Church, she was known also to many more who never met her. Count me among those. Andrew Gerns of Trinity Easton has served for many years as an editor of Episcopal Café, as had Ann. Yet, they never did meet. Andrew wrote a tribute to Ann today that begins: "It seems strange to me, but I am grieving the death of a friend whom I have never seen in real life, at the same time we have 'spoken' as many as a dozen times a day as we worked together on the Episcopal Café over the past decade."
   "Maybe the reign of God is like this," Andrew also wrote. "We have dear friends knit together by bonds that defy space and time but are intimately connected by the love of God in relationship to Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Ann communicated Jesus in strikingly powerful and ordinary ways. When she told us that she had been admitted to hospice, she wrote in a way that was real, reassuring (to us), and reflective. She told us she was okay. And she was." Read Andrew's tribute.

• The Life She Deserves[Brookings] When Jennifer Collins was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy, the drugs prescribed to stop her seizures made her angry, suicidal, and interrupted her ability to live a normal life. Desperate to help their daughter, Jennifer’s parents sought out alternative treatments, and learned about the success of cannabis oil in treating epilepsy. There was just one problem: marijuana wasn’t legal where they lived, even for medical purposes. Watch the rest of Jennifer’s story in the short film online now
  
What if you had to choose between suffering from a debilitating illness and breaking the law? A new documentary short film from Brookings sheds light on the challenges American patients and their families face when navigating the outdated laws and lack of research around medical marijuana. Read on


•  How religion is coming to terms with modern fertility methods… [WaPo, April 27] Forty years ago this July, the world’s first “test tube” baby was born at a British hospital in the industrial city of Oldham, heralding a radical change in the creation of human life. Until Louise Joy Brown arrived, hopeful parents had been at the mercy of fate, and a barren marriage could feel like divine punishment.
   Since then, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and related technologies have produced some 7 million babies who might never have existed — roughly the combined population of Paris, Nairobi and Kyoto — and the world’s fertility clinics have blossomed into a $17 billion business.

   The procedures have amplified profound questions for the world’s theologians: When does life begin? If it begins at conception, is it a sin to destroy a fertilized egg? What defines a parent? Is the mother the woman who provides the egg or the woman who gives birth? What defines a marriage? If a man’s sperm fertilizes an egg from a woman who is not his wife, does that constitute adultery?
   The moral questions are rapidly becoming more complex. Researchers are working to advance gene-editing tools that would allow parents to choose or “correct for” certain preferred characteristics; to create artificial wombs that could incubate fetuses outside the body for nine months; and to perfect techniques to produce “three-parent” babies who share genetic material from more than two people. Read on.

• It's about the music … [Bill Lewellis] In April 1999, Bishop Paul preached to the deacons and priests of the Diocese of Bethlehem at the Chrism Mass, the Eucharist wherein Holy Oils are blessed and ordination vows renewed. He spoke about how ordained ministry is so much more than role and function. “When I took organ lessons,” he said, “I was a bit too concerned at one point with technique and with hitting the right notes. My. teacher said, ‘Paul, I could get a monkey to play the right notes. What I want to hear from you is music.’" Read on.

 

• Same-sex marriage garners support among most American religious groups[RNS, Janet Riess, May 1] Most religious groups now support the legalization of same-sex marriage, according to a study released Tuesday (May 1) from the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey, which was based on more than 40,000 responses collected during 2017, finds that twice as many Americans now support same-sex marriage as oppose it, 61 percent to 30 percent.
  
What is more surprising is how quickly support for same-sex marriage has grown among religious groups that are more politically diverse. Two-thirds of Catholics, Orthodox Christians and white mainline Protestants now say they are in favor.
  
What’s more, majority support now includes African-Americans, whose support for same-sex marriage has increased from 41 percent in 2013 to 52 percent today. Hispanic Americans also saw double-digit increases, with support rising from 51 percent in 2013 to 61 percent today. Majorities of Americans in most states support same-sex marriage, with the exceptions all located in the South. Even in the handful of states that do not have more than 50 percent support for same-sex marriage, they also don’t have 50 percent opposition; Alabama is now the only state where a majority of residents say they oppose same-sex marriage. Read on.

• I give you a new commandment … A few decades ago on a National Public Radio program, someone spoke about an experiment she did with her kindergarten class. The occasion for her experiment was her dismay over the five-year-olds who would constantly exclude: "You can't play with us." "You can't sit in here with us." And so on.

   So the teacher sat down with the children and told them there was a new rule now. Everyone can play with everyone else and sit with everyone else. She reported that the children were relieved. I can’t think of her name, but the teacher wrote a book entitled: You Can’t Say You Can’t Play.
  
A new rule. Everyone can play with everyone else and sit with everyone else. The story reminded me of the beginning of Jesus’ farewell: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." (Jn. 13:34)


Requiescant in pace
• Louise "Petey" D. Perkins, 92 … died April 23.
She was a member of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, since 1955 and President of Talbot Hall, the Episcopal Diocese's onetime home for teenage girls. Since 1980 she served as an Associate Chaplain with the Pastoral Care Department of St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem. Obituary.

• David R. Brackenbury, 39 … of Bethlehem tragically lost his long battle with bipolar disorder on April 20. Obituary.

• Barbara Ann (Wamsher) McCord, 84 … died on April 6. She was a member of St. Thomas Morgantown. Obituary.

 • Paul R. Neff, 84 … died April 3. He was a vestry member and senior warden of Trinity West Pittston. He recently held several positions, including choir and vestry member, at Saint Peter's Tunkhannock. Obituary

• A. Theodore Eastman, 89 … 12th bishop of Maryland, retired, died April 26. Bishop Eastman was rector of the Church of the Mediator, Allentown,1969-73. Washington Post obituary here. Also, Baltimore Sun.


• James H. Cone, 79
The Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, a central figure in the development of black liberation theology in the 1960s and ’70s who argued for racial justice and an interpretation of the Christian Gospel that elevated the voices of the oppressed, died April 28 in Manhattan. Read on. Also, here and here. His theology is easy to like and hard to live, Christian Century.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican
Pope to Chile abuse victims: 'I was part of the problem'
[AP] The three whistleblowers in Chile’s sex abuse scandal urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to transform his apology for having discredited them into concrete action to end what they called the “epidemic” of sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church.
   Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo spoke to reporters Wednesday after spending five days with the pope at his Vatican hotel. Their press conference was broadcast live in Chile, a sign of the unprecedented nature of their hours of meetings with the pope.
   Cruz said that during his private encounter with Francis, the pope acknowledged: “I was part of the problem. I caused this, and I apologize to you.” Read on.
   [Bill] Now there's an apology. None of this "I apologize to anyone who was offended."

• Vatican treasurer to face trial on abuse charges[CNN, May 1] Cardinal George Pell, of Australia, is accused of abuse spanning three decades, including incidents that allegedly took place at a swimming pool in rural Victoria in the 1970s and at St. Patrick's Cathedral during his time as archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Pell, who says he's innocent and has pleaded not guilty, is the most senior figure in the Catholic Church to face criminal sex abuse charges. Read on
. Also, RNS.

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• Infections like Lyme disease, dengue and Zika that are spread by ticks and mosquitoes are soaring, the C.D.C. says [NYTimes] The number of people who get diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, federal health officials reported on Tuesday. Since 2004, at least nine such diseases have been newly discovered or introduced into the United States. Ticks spread Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rabbit fever, Powassan virus and other ills, some of them only recently discovered. Read on.

• All about ticks and mosquitoes[NYTimes] Here.

Film and TV
• Reflecting on the frightening lessons of 'The Handmaid's Tale'[America] The Handmaid shows us that that terrible things happen when there is only one acceptable religion to practice or when there is only one way to be a woman. Read on.

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech
• James Comey has a story to tell. It's very persuasive [NYTimes, April 12, Book review by Michiko Kakutani] The central themes that Comey returns to throughout this impassioned book are the toxic consequences of lying; and the corrosive effects of choosing loyalty to an individual over truth and the rule of law. Dishonesty, he writes, was central “to the entire enterprise of organized crime on both sides of the Atlantic,” and so, too, were bullying, peer pressure and groupthink — repellent traits shared by Trump and company, he suggests, and now infecting our culture. Read on,

• God and the IRS [Book by Samuel Brunson. Reviewed for Forbes by Peter J. Reilly] Brunson's thesis is that accommodations to religious individuals have been implemented in a random, haphazard manner without any sort of overarching system. The point of Brunson's survey is to demonstrate the "ad hoc, reactive lawmaking" that has created exiting religious accommodations in the tax law. From there he goes on to suggest a rational rubric and then apply that rubric to a number of situations that might call for accommodation. I have a sense that Brunson's quest is somewhat quixotic, but you can always hope. Over the next couple of years bright lads and lasses in law school may read Brunson's book. The brightest of them will be clerking for Supreme Court justices in a few years when the parsonage exclusion litigation now before the Seventh Circuit makes it to the big leagues. With just a little bit of luck the "Brunson Rubric" might then make its way into legal history. Read on.

• Great American Novels … Which books deserve to be described as "Great American Novels"? PBS plans to put its own spin on this much discussed question in The Great American Read, a new 8-part series, starting May 22, which will journey across the country to uncover the nation's 100 most-loved novels.

• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
The Episcopal Café
Here.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effectis about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.
• Caliphateis a new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi of the NYTimes as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul.


Varia
• Ukrainian Sushi Here.



Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• Reclaiming Jesus is a confession of faith in a time of crisis signed on to by many faith leaders including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.  THERE'S A NEW TOOLKIT

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 

 


newSpin 180405

newSpin, the newsletter
April 5
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin
• Bishop Election Walkabouts, April 17-20 … The Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 55, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado are the nominees for IX Bishop of Bethlehem. In April, both nominees will visit the diocese for visiting sessions called "walkabouts." During the walkabouts, the bishop nominees will make introductory remarks and hold small group question-and-answer sessions. Members of the diocese are invited to attend any walkabout sessions, and may submit questions for the bishop nominees in advance via email to bishoptransitiondiobeth@gmail.com. Questioners should indicate which walkabout session they plan to attend:

Tuesday, April 17 from 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18 from 7-9 p.
St. Alban's, Sinking Spring

Thursday, April 19 from 7-9 p.m.
Friday, April 20 from 7-9 p.m.
Read more about the bishop nominees on the Bishop Search and Transition website.

• Reclaiming Jesus
is as confession of faith in a time of crsis signed on to by many faith leaders incuding Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The following is an excerpt.
I. We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Therefore, we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity.
II. We believe we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28).
Therefore, we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.
III. We believe how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
Therefore, we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34).
IV. We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.
Therefore, we reject the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.
V. We believe that Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (the world) lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Therefore, we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good—and we will resist it.
VI. We believe Jesus when he tells us to go into all nations making disciples (Matthew 28:18).
Therefore, we reject “America first” as a theological heresy for followers of Christ. While we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others as a political goal. Read all of this confession of faith.

• How Dr.  King lived is why he died
[Jesse Jackson, NYTimes, April 3] He mobilized mass action to win a public accommodations bill and the right to vote. He led the Montgomery bus boycott and navigated police terror in Birmingham. He got us over the bloodstained bridge in Selma and survived the rocks and bottles and hatred in Chicago. He globalized our struggle to end the war in Vietnam. How he lived is why he died. Read on. Also, The Atlantic and RNS.

• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15
Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 22
Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 29 Here

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Mike Pompeo's evangelical zeal could complicate his new diplomatic life[The Economist, Erasmus March 20] The diplomacy practiced by a global power has to engage with the world’s messy realities. That means that it cannot pretend religion does not matter, nor can it usefully subordinate its own interests to any particular religious agenda. Expediency tends to prevail. Still, even in a Washington, DC, that is used to rude shocks, news of the president’s choice to succeed Mr. Tillerson was met with some alarm. Mike Pompeo, who has hitherto been serving the president as head of the CIA, is a zealous, evangelical Christian accused of Islamophobia.

• MLK's last Sunday sermon is as relevant today as it was in 1968 … “On some positions, cowardice asks the question: Is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? Conscience asks the question: Is it right?” King said. “There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”
  
As Christians
,, wrote the author of this commentary, we follow a man, Jesus, who never took the easy way out. Jesus did not censor himself for fear of retribution. He challenged the institutional oppression of his day, and calls us to confront the injustices of our own time. Read on.
   [Bill] Dr. King delivered his last sermon at the National Cathedral. I don't doubt that some – perhaps many – considered it too political.

• The Second-Most Dangerous American[George Will] Because John Bolton is five things President Trump is not — intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced — and because of Bolton’s West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes. Read on

• Yes John Bolton really is that dangerous [NYTimes Editorial Board, March 23] The good thing about John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks. The bad thing is he says what he thinks. There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Mr. Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts.

• Leaked EPA memo: How to downplay climate change …  The Environmental Protection Agency recently sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs.

• Can churches speak?
[Andrew Jungclaus, March 20] A short history of religion, philanthropy, tax law, and political speech in the US. Here. Also, Johnson Amendment remains intact in omnibus spending bill. Here.

• Not enough deep but respectful disagreement in political debate today[David Leonhardt, NYT, and National Review] The recent discussion between Jamie Weinstein and Ta-Nehisi Coates is a welcome exception. Read on,

SpiritSpin
• Forgiveness Sunday[America, March 15, Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations at the University of Scranton]
On Forgiveness Sunday, we look for the best in the one we forgive and seek to give a charitable interpretation of the other’s intent—what Jesuits call the “plus sign,” in reference to Annotation 22 of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.

   In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent begins with a “Forgiveness Vespers.” At the end of the service, each member of the community proceeds to the front of the church to exchange with the priest and fellow parishioners—the whole church—a plea of repentance.
  
One by one, you bow to the person before you and then, coming face to face, you say: “Forgive me!” The other person responds: “God forgives. I forgive.” You then extend your hand and the kiss of peace (or two or three, depending on the parish). And so it goes until each person has asked every other person for forgiveness, and the entire church is encircling the sanctuary. Read on.


• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• Choose to be kind over being right … and you'll be right every time,

• Messiah is among youA famous monastery had fallen on hard times. Its buildings, once filled with young monks and the singing of the chant, were deserted. People no longer came to be nourished by prayer. A handful of old monks shuffled through the cloisters and praised God with heavy hearts.
   On the edge of the monastery woods, an old rabbi had built a little hut. He came there from time to time to fast and pray. No one ever spoke with him, but whenever he appeared the word was passed from monk to monk: “The rabbi walks in the woods.” And, for as long as he was there, the monks felt sustained by his prayerful presence.
  
One day the abbot decided to visit the rabbi and open his heart to him. The rabbi's arms were outstretched in welcome as though he had been waiting for some time.

   In the middle of the hut was a wooden table with the Scriptures open on it. The rabbi and abbot sat there for a moment, in the presence of the Book. Then the rabbi began to cry. The abbot began to cry too. For the first time in his life, the abbot cried his heart out.
   After the tears had ceased to flow and all was quiet again, the rabbi lifted his head. “You and your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts,” he said. “You have come to ask a teaching of me. I will give you a teaching, but you can only repeat it once. After that, no one must ever say it aloud again.”
   The rabbi looked straight at the abbot and said, “Messiah is among you.” For a while, all was silent. Then the rabbi said, “Now you must go.” The abbot left without a word and without ever looking back. The next morning, he called his monks together. He told them he had received a   teaching from “the rabbi who walks in the woods” and that this teaching was never again to be spoken aloud. Then he looked at each of his brothers and said, “The rabbi said that one of us is the Messiah.” The monks were startled by this saying. “What could it mean?” they asked themselves. “Is Brother John the Messiah? Or Father Matthew? Or Brother Thomas? Am I the Messiah? What could this mean?” There were all deeply puzzled by the rabbi's teaching. But no one ever mentioned it again.
  
In those days, the rabbi no longer walked in the woods. His hut had fallen into ruins. But, somehow or other, the old monks who had taken his teaching to heart still felt sustained by his prayerful presence.

• Bidden or unbidden, God is present (Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit) … Commonly attributed to Carl Gustav Jung. My understanding, however, is that Jung discovered it among the Latin writings of Desiderius Erasmus, who declared the statement had been an ancient Spartan proverb. Jung popularized it by having it inscribed over the doorway of his house and upon his tomb.

• A Failure of EmpathyThis Twitter thread may make you feel differently about your day. On the way to the gym today, novelist Celeste Ng drove past an elderly lady sitting on the sidewalk. "It's 40 today and it seemed like a weird place to sit," she thought. "I told myself she was probably fine, but I also felt uneasy. So I went back."

• NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar … NBC’s live production of Jesus Christ Superstar was pitched to audiences as a “Live in Concert” version, which led some to expect a straightforward performance of the songs. It turned out to be an inventively staged production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock-and-roll gospel, so passionately imagined that it set a new standard for this type of event. Reviewer Matt Zoller Seitz said it "was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been writing about TV." Read on.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• The Resurrection isn't an argument – It's the Christian word for defiance [The Guardian, Giles Fraser, March 31, 2016]
The Easter story is who we are, and allows us to push back against the darkness. I know the Church of England is supposed to be dying. And there are those who want to save it with cod management theory and evangelical up-speak. But if we as a church really believe in death and resurrection, then we don’t really need any of that secular sorcery. There has been a priest in my parish continuously since the reign of King John in the early 13th century. Politicians call it resilience. I call it resurrection. Read on.

• God and her (female) clergy [Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes, March 31]
Ever since Eve bit into an apple in the Garden of Eden, God has been rough on women. Or, more precisely, the men who claim to speak on behalf of God have routinely disparaged women or discriminated against them. Male religious leaders declared menstruation ritually unclean and advised in Deuteronomy that when a girl doesn’t bleed on her wedding night “the men of her town shall stone her to death.” Saint Paul orders women to “be in submission” and adds, “It is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (some scholars believe that Paul didn’t write that passage, and that it was added later). Over the centuries, it was fine for women to be martyred (or, at times, to be burned as witches), but they were denied the right to become priests, rabbis or ministers. Yet a revolution is unfolding across America and the world, and countless women will be presiding this weekend over Easter and Passover celebrations. In just a few decades, women have come to dominate many seminaries and rabbinical schools and are increasingly taking over the pulpit at congregations across the country. “What we’re seeing before our very eyes is a dramatic shift; in my mind it’s as big as the Protestant Reformation,” says the Rev. Serene Jones, the first woman president of New York City’s Union Theological Seminary — where almost 60 percent of the students are now female. Read on.


DioBeth

• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates
… A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
   The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
   Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, were due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to office@diobeth.org.
   Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).

• Trinity Bethlehem Artist-in-Residence teaches LCCC students to fly Aram Basmadjian, Artist-in-Residence at Trinity Bethlehem, was featured in an article in Aspire Magazine. In addition to amazing work which he does at Trinity as organist/choir director, he also serves as the Chief Flight Instructor at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). This is a quote from the article: “Aram Basmadjian clearly has one of the most experienced and qualified team of flight instructors that I have seen in 15 years of flying.

• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 22 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 29 … Here


Episcopal/Anglican
• Interview with Justin Welby[The Guardian, Rachel Cooke, April 1] The archbishop of Canterbury was raised by an alcoholic and answered God’s call ‘kicking and screaming’. Now, his unorthodox views are at odds with many in his church. Here he talks about his demons and his mission. Read on,

• Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Easter Message[The Guardian, Rachel Cooke, April 1] It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest … Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love. View and/or read.


Evangelism
• Highlights (4 minutes) of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon at the Opening Eucharist of Evangelism Matters
[March 15] View here.

• A new comprehensive Evangelism Toolkit … is available online for congregations, dioceses, groups, and individuals to explore Evangelism.


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


TaleSpin
Jesus Died Only to Rise Again. Where Did the Concept of the Resurrection Come From?
[Jon Meacham, NYT, March 30] To many believers — and even to many nonbelievers — the story of Christianity seems monumental and unchanging, the stuff of oft-recited creeds and hymns. It’s essential to appreciate, however, that there was no pre-existing expectation of an atoning messianic human sacrifice in the complex Judaism of the first century. No one was looking for a savior who would suffer, die and rise again to offer redemption from sin and eternal life. On the contrary, the prevailing thought was that a militaristic Davidic figure would emerge to throw off Roman rule and inaugurate what was known as “the kingdom of God,” an era of justice marked by the defeat of evil, a general resurrection of the dead and the restoration of Israel. Before the formation of the Christian story, resurrection within Judaism was less about the rising from the dead of a specific person than about a glorified vision of a triumphant Israel. Read on.

How the world’s best basketball player became a political force for racial justice LeBron James is quite possibly the best basketball player who’s ever lived. He has compiled a résumé that rivals any player in the history of the NBA — up to and including Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest player in the sport’s history. But the 33-year-old James is much more than a living sports legend. He is an actor, a media mogul, and a cultural icon. He rose to the top of his sport at the same time that America was forced to confront its systematic violence against black people, especially young black men, and James has taken up that cause as one of the most famous young black men in the nation. He is perhaps the most socially and politically influential athlete since Muhammad Ali. Read on.

• Because our father does … As a Roman Catholic priest in Reading during the mid '60s, I visited a family a few blocks from the church. Mother and three children, about 5 to 15. Father wasn't home. After some introductory conversation, I mentioned that I've never seen them in church. I asked why they did not attend. "Because our father does," the 15-year-old boy said. I was silent. Then the mother said something like this. "My husband is not a good husband to me. He's not a good father to our children. But he goes to church every Sunday. You may have seen him." She asked the children to go into the adjoining room and went into sad detail. For some reason, that suddenly came to mind recently.

• Lehigh Valley agency throws Hail Mary pass to save homeless housing Probably because we made a 2017 contribution, significant for us, in response to a plea from the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley to help Puerto Ricans flooding the Lehigh Valley, fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Maria, we were on the mailing list for an unusual appeal from CACLV's executive director Alan Jennings.

   A uestionable change in HUD regs has put the existence of long-term transitional housing programs such as CACLV's Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown in jeopardy. Jennings' letter wasn't your ordinary "give what you can" approach. Rather, it was a "Hail Mary" pass (inside-baseball talk for football fans). "We need to find that rare person who would be able and willing to contribute a substantial amount of money in order to keep this project going," he said: they needed $60,000 this year, roughly $50,000 next year and $25,000 per year for two or three years after that. "Such a commitment would give us more time to find a more permanent solution," the letter read. I read the letter on Friday and discarded it with an "I wish."
   According to Bill White's Morning Call column online, Jennings got an email from a couple who said they were in for the 60 and 50 Then a call from another offering 50 and another offering 30. "It produced a miracle," Jennings told White. "It's the kind of thing that makes you feel good about your community … And it's a pleasure to thumb our noses at HUD once again." More here.

• The Last Frontier for Gay Rights [WaPo, Tiffany Stanley, April 2] A powerful liberal activist, a rural conservative town and a debate that won’t end.

• The President sang Amazing Grace [The Atlantic]
Joan Baez, the folk singer, remembers the first time she heard “The President Sang Amazing Grace.” At the time, she was driving: “I had to pull over to make sure I heard whose song it was, because I knew I had to sing it.” Watch a new animation of Baez’s rendition of the song.


Requiescant in pace
• Grover N. Keiper, 67 … died March 29. He was a member of St. Luke's Scranton. Obituary


• Sue P. Large,
95 … died Feb. 25. She was an active parishioner at St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem. Obituary.

• Robert Jackson, 75 … died March 24. He was an member of St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem. Obituary.

• Frances Arthofer, a former long time member of the Cathedral. She lived in a retirement care facility near Myerstown, Pennsylvania for many years. Fran was active at the Cathedral, a member of the Altar Guild and the Quilters group.

• Betty Miles, 67 … died March 26. She was an member of Trinity Easton. Obituary.

• Minnie E. White, 88 … died March 23. She was a member of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Emmaus, where she worked as the secretary from 1964 to 1973. Obituary.

• Mary Thiel … died March 5. [Dean Tony Pompa]
Mary was one of the longest living members of Nativity Cathedral who in her younger years was devoted to the mission, ministry, and life of this congregation. A true matriarch of love and faithfulness who embodied grace.

• Annamae VanDoren, 99 … died March 17. She was at one time a longtime member of Nativity Cathdral Bethlehem. Obituary.

• Linda J. Ellis, 78 … died on March 6. She was a member of St. Brigid's Nazareth. Obituary.

• P.L. Thibaut Brian, 87 … died April 2. He attended the Church of the Mediator in Allentown and the Church of the Annunciation in Bradenton, FL. Obituary.

• Stephen Hawking, 76[CNN March 14] may have been our era's greatest scientist. Read on. To be interred at Westminster Abbey.

• Linda Brown, 75 … died March 25. Remember Brown v. Board of Education? Read on.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• The Church of Scientology has launched a TV channel. It's weirdly familiar. [Vox] Scientology channel's vague "self-help" platitudes and stock-footage-laden graphics tie neatly into the intersection of capitalism and spirituality that has come to define the American religious landscape. Read on,


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
Cute mascot? Beloved grandmother? Sister Jean reveals deeper stereotypes about nuns[WaPo, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, March 31] In movies such as “The Sound of Music,” “Sister Act,” “Dead Man Walking” and “Doubt,” Hollywood has cycled through different portrayals of the religious figures, such as singing nuns, sexy nuns, serious nuns and lovable nuns. But even fun stereotypes are dangerous, Sullivan said, because they can diminish the many accomplishments of these women. “They’re not adorable mascots,” she said. “They’re women of experience and passion who have fought through some serious battles and emerged stronger than ever.” Read on.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican
• Lost in Transition
… [Commonweal, Massimo Faggioli, April 3] Communication problems are usually not just communication problems: this is as true at the Vatican as it is anywhere else. The fiasco surrounding Benedict XVI’s letter declining an invitation to write the introduction for a series of volumes on Pope Francis’s theology was more than a PR snafu. It reveals deeper issues in the ongoing transition from the pontificate of Benedict XVI to the pontificate of Francis. Read on.

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• Health and Salvation: A Parish Nurse in the basement of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Allentown [March 20, “The Patient Body” is a monthly column by Ann Neumann about issues at the intersection of religion and medicine. This month: Parish Nursing] Deb Gilbert sits at the head of a diagonally placed folding table in a small room. She is surrounded by black garbage bags overflowing with winter coats of every color and style. Gilbert both blends in—she’s wearing head to toe purple—and stands out—she is clean, orderly and perfectly manicured. From each of her earlobes dangles a tiny snowman earring. Outside the door, about 60 homeless men and women mill about in a loose queue, waiting for lunch to be served. The basement smells like winter air, like stale alcohol, like food prepared in large quantities. And like bodies that haven’t been washed today, but maybe yesterday or the day before.
   Gilbert is a registered nurse and director of the Parish Nursing/Community Outreach Department of Sacred Heart Health Services, a Catholic hospital founded in 1912 by a monsignor and the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart. Gilbert meets with patients in this coat-filled basement room every week to practice her version of holistic medicine, which is part first aid, part prayer, and part close listening. She is not Catholic, she tells me, so she is able to refer patients to whatever denominational services they desire. “The first question I ask,” Gilbert says of her approach to patients, “is ‘Tell me about your spiritual journey.’” Read on

• The facts about farmed salmon
… [NYT] S
almon passed tuna as the most popular fish in the United States. Our doctors have told us to eat more of it; our fitness and diet regimens have put it in heavy menu rotation. The problem is not all salmon is created equal. More than 90 percent of the fresh salmon eaten in this country comes from giant fish farms, and those farms have problems. Big ones. Here are the facts about America’s favorite fish that you should know but perhaps wish you didn’t. Read on.

• Five susrprising reasons to eat more garlic … It helps control blood pressure. It eases inflammation. It makes cold season less miserable. It's good for your joints. It may help you lose weight. Read on.


Film and TV
• PBS film explores how we go gently – or kicking and screaming – into the night … [RNS] Five weeks after she receives her terminal lung cancer diagnosis, Phyllis Tickle is sitting on her porch in Tennessee, talking about death. “I’ve reared my children. I’ve buried my husband. I’ve done the work I think I came to do,” the renowned religious historian says. Then she pauses. “Now I can go.”
  
81-year-old Tickle’s body was laid to rest three months later — before her longtime friend Helen Whitney, a veteran filmmaker, could interview her a second time for a documentary project. The two-hour film “Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death,” which premieres March 26 on PBS, pushes viewers to confront their own mortality. In the film, Whitney asks nine men and women grappling with death to tell their stories. Read on,

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.

• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
• The Hive … is a website created by Hillary Raining, rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne and known to many in the Diocese of Bethlehem where she was ordained. "Based on a model of community and support found in the hive of the honey bee," Hillary writes, "this wellness and spirituality website is for you in your quest to change the world." Here.

The Episcopal Café
Here.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas. I especially jliked Episode 4 with Richard Rohr
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
• Freakonomics Radio … Stephen Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.
• Things Not Seen … is an independent radio show and podcast that features in-depth interviews with nationally recognized guests. Each week, we welcome authors, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, and more. "We take faith seriously, and our guests do, too."
• The Francis Effectis about the real world of politics and current events, seen through the lens of Catholic teaching and spirituality. Hosts, Fr. Dan Horan and David Dault, both have doctorates in theology. Dan is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. David is a radio producer and Catholic convert.


Varia



Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.  THERE'S A NEW TOOLKIT

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 

 


newSpin 180322

newSpin, the newsletter
March 22
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin
• Nationa Geographic confesses its own sins [Poynter] “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” With that, National Geographic editor in chief Susan Goldberg announced the findings of a historian’s audit of the 130-year-old magazine’s archives. Until the 1970s, National Geographic rarely covered people of color in the United States. The magazine had used slavery-era slurs. It had portrayed “natives” elsewhere as “exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages,” Goldberg writes. “It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past,” she said in an editor’s note. “But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.” Read on.

• On Race[Poynter and NYT] The New York Times has an extensive write-up about a study of 20 million young Americans that reveals an uncomfortable truth: Systematic racism is making it hard for black boys to achieve what their white counterparts achieve. A quote from the story: “ ‘One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea,’ said Ibram Kendi, a professor and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. ‘But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.’” The study was led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau. Read on.

• Face the Racist Nation … After you’ve read the NYTimes piece, it’s worth visiting this episode of WNYC’s “On the Media” titled “Face the Racist Nation.” It’s a deep dive into the media’s coverage of white supremacist groups and includes a thought-provoking observation in its final segment: Ignorant people aren’t the reason for racism; racism comes from the top. Here.
   [Stephen Lewellis] In the spirit of Maria Popova, pair this with Professor Kendi’s "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America." Here.

• The billionnaire who gave his $8 billion away[The Irish Times, March 3] Giving while living – It was the right thing to do, and it's a lot more fun. Read on.

• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15
Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 8
Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 1 Here.
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newslet
ter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• A firm with ties to the Trump campaign obtained 50 million Facebook users' data [NYT, March 18] Lawmakers in the United States and Britain demanded on Sunday that Facebook explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network alerting those whose information was taken.
  
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, went so far as to demand that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, appear before her panel to explain “what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters.”
  
The calls followed reports on Saturday in The New York Times and The Observer of London that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, had used the Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior. Read on.

• We're not sure why McCabe was fired. But Trump's tweet suggests the worst … [WaPo Editorial Board, March 17] More than the details of the case, President Trump’s tweet early Saturday celebrating the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is what stands out: a marquee of bullying and unseemly behavior by a president. Mr. Trump acts like a nasty, small-minded despot, not the leader of a democracy more than two centuries old in which rule of law is a sturdy pillar. If there is doubt that the timing of Mr. McCabe’s dismissal was driven by political vengeance, Mr. Trump does everything he can to prove the worst with his own sordid words.  
This is the language of a banana republic. In nations without a strong democratic foundation, tyrants cling to power by belittling perceived enemies and insulting and coopting other institutions, such as a free press, law enforcement and the military, coercing them into subservience. Just look around the world at practices today in Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Turkey, to name a few. The banana republic playbook has no place in the United States, not in a town hall, not in a statehouse, least of all in the Oval Office. Read on.

• Trump's Bluster on the Opioid Epidemic
[NYT Editorial Board, March] In a speech this week, the president laid out a plan to address the crisis that was at turns thin on details and alarmng in content. Read on.

• President Trump's Lies, the Definitive List [NYT] Here.

SpiritSpin
• Forgiveness Sunday [America, March 15, Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations at the University of Scranton]
On Forgiveness Sunday, we look for the best in the one we forgive and seek to give a charitable interpretation of the other’s intent—what Jesuits call the “plus sign,” in reference to Annotation 22 of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.

   In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent begins with a “Forgiveness Vespers.” At the end of the service, each member of the community proceeds to the front of the church to exchange with the priest and fellow parishioners—the whole church—a plea of repentance.
  
One by one, you bow to the person before you and then, coming face to face, you say: “Forgive me!” The other person responds: “God forgives. I forgive.” You then extend your hand and the kiss of peace (or two or three, depending on the parish). And so it goes until each person has asked every other person for forgiveness, and the entire church is encircling the sanctuary. Read on.

   [Bill] It seems that when my disrespect for Donald Trump gets to the point that I could not imagine respecting him (and his office as long as he holds it) and forgiving him for daily lies and much else, I come across something like "Forgiveness Sunday" to reflect on. This morning, I've reflected on it. Though I could forgive him if what he has done affected only me. I think I don't have the right to forgive him for what he has done to so many, the US and the world. That's where I am. How can I be elsewhere? Can you help me?

• A prayer before anything[Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be … Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love.

• When someone comes to you and tells you your own story … I don't remember where I found this story, decades ago, It's a bit longer than many stories, but I think you won't regret reading it to the end and considering it in an open-ended way. For example, a good friend once gave me a custom-made T-shirt with these words on the front: "My life is based on a true story." Since then, I have been aware that God comes to me occasionally to tell me my own story, Thanks. Bill

• Waiting for my spirit … In Africa, a tired old man was sitting on a roadside. A missionary asked if he wanted a ride. He declined the offer and said, "I walked a long way today. I'm sitting here waiting for my spirit to catch up with me."

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.

• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons and reflections. Here.


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• John 3:16 needs 17 [From the March 11, Lent 4B, of Andrew Gerns at Trinity Easton]
3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to the end that all that believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 3:16 is the slogan-passage for many Christians, describing for them the core of Christian faith. That’s the problem with simply reading the Bible by the numbers. Because that’s not how the book was first written and the numbers tempt us to forget about the rest of the passage and its context.
  
3:17 “Indeed, God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that it might be saved through him.” In other words, the whole point of the chapter in John describing Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in the dead of night, is that God’s salvation is not about “me” but about “we.”

   Many Christians focus on the personal part of the passage: “…all that believeth in him…” part in verse 16 but the real story is at the start of the passage is that God loves the world, and in verse 17, that God’s chief goal is the reconciliation of the whole world. We have tended to reduce salvation, and everything that goes with it—sin, redemption, holiness of life—to a personal, once-and-done, relationship with God alone. But the point of salvation and the purpose of holiness is we followers of Jesus participate with God in the saving and healing of the whole world! Read on.

• We're in the midst of an Apocalypse, and that's a good thing[Wapo, Acts of Faith, Nadia Bolz-Weber, March 15] If, when you think of an apocalypse, you picture a scary, doom-filled, punishment-from-above type of thing, you are not alone. Originally, though, apocalyptic literature — the kind that was popular around the time of Jesus — existed not to scare the bejeezus out of children so they would be good boys and girls, but to proclaim a big, hope-filled idea: that dominant powers are not ultimate powers. Empires fall. Tyrants fade. Systems die. God is still around. An apocalypse is a good thing, and I’m delighted to welcome you to this one. Read on.

• A Parable of Self-Destruction [Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes Sunday Review, March 17] Easter Island — This remote speck in the South Pacific is famous for its colossal stone statues, nearly 1,000 of them towering over the landscape like guardians. Who built them? How did they get there? And who fitted some of them with giant red stone hats weighing up to 12 tons each? … “Easter Island’s isolation makes it the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources,” Jared Diamond wrote in his 2005 book, “Collapse.” “The parallels between Easter Island and the whole modern world are chillingly obvious. Read on.

• Have guns beome our modern-day idols?[WaPo, Acts of Faith, Adapted from a sermon by Susan Flanders, an Episcopal priest at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in D.C. What appears immediately below is an excerpt.] Guns were so important at the time our Constitution was written. They allowed for hunting, a necessary activity for many to be able to feed their families. But beyond that, guns were important for self-defense, and sadly, for conquest of native populations as we gradually took over a new continent. And for the Founding Fathers, guns were deemed necessary to enable a militia to protect the citizens’ freedom against any who might try to reintroduce tyranny in their young democracy. Hence the Second Amendment to our Constitution protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Guns started out as a kind of savior, a source of protection — like the bronze serpent.
  
But, like the bronze serpent, guns have become an idol for many, and the right to have guns — of any kind, in any amount has become a near article of worship for some. The NRA and gun makers can be seen as the priesthood — elevating our guns to sacred status, equating them with a power and potency that must be maintained.

   I’m hoping that perhaps now we are in a Hezekiah moment, a time like the one so long ago when the bronze serpent was destroyed. Can we begin to see guns for what they have become, far too prevalent, too high-powered, false saviors in, too often, the wrong hands? False saviors — not only with no power to save but with horrific power to destroy. Can we recognize the worship of assault weapons as the idolatry that it is, and can we stand up to those who continue to bow down at the shrine of unfettered access to murder weapons? Read on.

• When we're not ready [Slightly edited excerpt from a 2001 sermon by Bill Lewellis at Grace Allentown] God often meets us when we are not ready, when we have other matters on our minds: when we are busy living, working, resting, cooking, laughing, hurting… when we have not consciously invoked the divine presence. At some unlikely times and places, we find we are on holy ground.
   I heard former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold tell about rushing for a train after having given a talk to a group of clergy on the need for solitude and space in our lives (on his day off!). He took a flying leap onto the station platform and ruptured his Achilles’ Tendon. As he lay in a hospital bed awaiting surgery, he read Evening Prayer for that particular Tuesday.
  
In the appointed psalm (94), he came across the verse: “As often as I said, ‘My foot has slipped,’ your love, O Lord, upheld me.”

   “That,” he said, “became the word of God – or rather unleashed the word of God to me right then and there. I burst out laughing. The circumstances of my life, the scriptural word, the word within me all came together.”
   After relaying that story, Bishop Griswold proceeded to say that in order to stay open to God’s word, to God’s visitations, to God’s presence in his life, he relies upon three sentences that help him stay grounded amid daily complexities and contradictions.
   The first is from Teilhard de Chardin’s book, The Divine Milieu. “By means of all created things without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.”
   The second comes from a Russian Orthodox monk who lived in the forests of Finland. When asked what he had learned from his many years of prayer and monastic life, he replied: “The very circumstances of your life will show you the way.”
   The third sentence comes from James Finley, a disciple of Thomas Merton: “A simple openness to the next human moment brings us into union with God in Christ.”
   “I am also aware,” Bishop Griswold said, “that God’s word does not present itself fully formed. It comes to us in various ways in the ebb and flow of our lives. It comes with scars.”
   We need to live the questions that life and God’s often unformed word present to us. God’s word often presents itself to us as a question rather than an answer, as something to live and struggle with.
   “Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart,” Rainer Maria Rilke writes in his Letters to a Young Poet. “Try to love the questions themselves… Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
   By means of all created things without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. Some of those created things may be crosses.
   The very circumstances of your life will show you the way. Some of those circumstances may be crosses.
   A simple openness to the next human moment brings us into union with God in Christ. That moment may be a moment of conversion, transformation, resurrection.


DioBeth
• Two nominated for IX Bishop of Bethlehem
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem released the names of two priests who will stand for election for the ninth bishop of the diocese. They are the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 55, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado. The search committee had chosen three nominees, but one withdrew shortly before the slate was presented to the Standing Committee, which oversees the election. More info and photos.

• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates
… A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
   The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
   Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, were due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to office@diobeth.org.
   Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).

• St. Stephen's W-B Says Embezzlement Could Top $10,000 … [Times Leader W-B and Citizens Voice W-B, March 13] St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral is missing $10,000, and the priest in charge said an investigation is trying to determine if the amount could be even higher. In a statement, the Rev. Brian Pavlac said the South Franklin Street church discovered that a member of the parish “had systematically misappropriated pledge payments and other donations made in our offering plates.” Pavlac said the individual has admitted to embezzling $10,000 in 2017, and the church is investigating if the amount is higher and whether the embezzlement began earlier. “He (the parishioner) did admit it,” Pavlac said. “We know of $10,000 being missing. We are investigating to determine if more has been taken. We really don’t know how large the amount is.”
   Pavlac said the church’s vestry board voted to report the suspected embezzlement to Wilkes-Barre City Police, and did so on Thursday, March 8. “We believe this was a necessary step, not only to insure the proper investigation of our own case, but to alert other members of the community who may have found themselves in similar situation,” Pavlac said in the release. Pavlac identified the parishioner. The Times Leader has chosen not to identify the individual, as no charges have been filed to date.
   “We’re a church that does a lot of good work in the community,” Pavlac said in a telephone interview. “I do not know the status of the police investigation. Any further criminal charges are up to law enforcement.” He did say the individual has been offered religious support. “Despite our dismay at this situation, we will continue to pray that (the parishioner) may seek amendment of life and God’s peace, and that those who love him may be comforted. A diocesan priest is providing him with pastoral care,” Pavlac said.
   St. Stephen’s has about 200 members, said Pavlac, who has been the priest in charge since the summer of 2015. Here and Here.

• DioBeth Leadership News, March 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, March 8 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, March 1 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.


Episcopal/Anglican


Evangelism
• Highlights (4 minutes) of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's sermon at the Opening Eucharist of Evangelism Matters
[March 15] View here.


Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Episcopal Migration Ministries … Here
.
• Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) … Here.
• Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) … Here.
• Episcopal Asset Map … Here.


People

In the Media


TaleSpin
• Telling the good news in the media
[Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] ROME — If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.

• No deathbed conversion for atheist Stephen Hawking[RNS, Kimberly Winston, March 20]  It happens a lot after famous nonbelievers die: People claim the nonbeliever had a deathbed conversion to Christianity.And it happened again after the death last week of physicist Stephen Hawking, who, by his own account, did not believe in God … But that did not stop a Facebook page called Catholics Online from claiming that Hawking uttered “I believe” in his mechanical voice after a meeting with Pope Francis just before his death. Trouble is, it isn’t true. The investigative site Snopes called the claim and its source “disreputable” before slapping the story with its bright red “FALSE” sticker. Read on.

Christianity as default is gone: the rise of a non-Christian Europe … [The Guardian, London] Europe's march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion. Read on.

Of course, you are right … A rabbi was approached by two feuding members of a congregation and asked to mediate the dispute. He met with the first member and listened carefully. At the end he nodded and said gently, "And of course you are right."

   The other disputant came over and laid out his side of the argument and again the rabbi listened carefully and at the conclusion said, "And of course, you are right."
   His wife who had heard both conversations came up to him after the second poerson had left and said "I do not understnad. You told the first one he was right and you told the second he was right. They can't both be right!" He said gently, "And of course, you are right." [Rabbi David Wolper, Chicago Tribune]


Requiescant in pace
• Edna M. Bell, 92 … died March 14. She lived in Center Valley since 2004, at Cedarbrook/Fountain Hill, these last 3 years. She was a member of St Paul’s Episcopal in Clinton NC ere she taught Sunday school and later, Grace Episcopal Allentown. Obituary.

• Nadina P. Mattes, 90 … died March 8, a week after turning 90. She was a member of the Church of the Epiphany, Glenburn, where she was a Sunday school teacher, an acolyte leader and on the altar guild. She was also a lay minister, in addition to serving on many committees and church projects. She also volunteered for numerous charitable causes. After her retirement, Nadina fulfilled a lifelong ambition of becoming a missionary for the Episcopal Church in Haiti and 10 years later in the Dominican Republic. Obituary.

• Stephen Hawking, 76 … [CNN March 14] may have been our era's greatest scientist, but he became something of a pop star, too. The British theoretical physicist died at the age of 76. His life was, quite simply, remarkable. He overcame the debilitating disease ALS to publish a series of popular books probing the universe's mysteries. He went on to become something of a cultural icon as well, with appearances on everything from "The Simpsons" to "The Big Bang Theory." Read on,

• T. Berry Brazelton, 99 … [NYT, March 14] died March 13. He was America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically. Read on.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Reassessing Religion [The Atlantic Daily March 12] People’s connections to their religions have changed greatly over the years, but recently the spotlight has turned on evangelicals, a segment of Christians undergoing a form of identity crisis in America. In our April cover story, Michael Gerson examines the group’s relationship to Trump, a president who seemingly lives beyond many traditionally Christian principles. And a new book looks at similar themes, including how leaders in the evangelical world grapple with the different perceptions people have of their faith. Read on.


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Ross Douthat's Francis book is poorly sourced, inadequate journalism[NCR, Michael Sean Winters]  You would think that someone who works for a newspaper would be able to distinguish fact from fancy, to feel some sense of authorly responsibility for getting the story correct, have a nose for propaganda and insanity. In the case of Douthat's book, these attributes are missing. As I read my review copy, a paperback with no footnotes, I kept noting in the margins, "Source?" and "How would he know this?" and "That is not how bishops talk about one another." When the hardback arrived with the footnotes, I realized in the first instance that the sources were few, or a paragraph full of assertions would have a footnote that only referenced the last of those assertions. And among the sources were Life Site News, and Catholic World Report, an essay by John Zmirak and articles mostly from Edward Pentin, Sandro Magister and John Allen. If you are unfamiliar with these "sources," check them out. The first three are lunatic fringe, and the latter three display varying degrees of anti-Francis bias …
   I cannot recommend that anyone buy this book, but if you do and you retrieve it from the non-fiction section of the bookstore, you can ask for your money back. Douthat should go write novels. The editors at The New York Times should ask why they would continue to give a man capable of such dishonest prose some of their prime real estate. Let him go be among his friends at Life Site News and Catholic World Report where this kind of nonsense is standard fare. Maybe he could be the next editor of The Wanderer. He has done a disservice not only to those who seek to understand the Catholic Church but also to those of us work hard to get the true story, who base our analysis on facts not fictions, and who grow suspicious when our theses are unbalanced, in short, a disservice to journalism. This book is a disgrace. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.
 

The Vatican
• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness



Film and TV

• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.


Media, Print, Music, Tech
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.


Websites
The Episcopal CaféHere.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People
… Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas. I especially jliked Episode 4 with Richard Rohr
• The Daily … How the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Invisibilia …Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
• Today, ExplainedVox's daily explainer podcast — bringing you the biggest news every day with guests, context, radio drama, and more
• Radio Atlantic … Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us.
• Stay Tuned with Preet … Join former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for a podcast about justice and fairness.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … Revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.
• Pod Save America … Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency. 
• Trumpcast … A quasi-daily podcast from Slate chronicling Donald Trump's rise to the presidency and his current administration. With journalists, historians, psychiatrists, and other experts to help explain who this man is and why this is happening, right now, in the United States of America. 


Varia
• You probably eat more sugar than is good for you. Here's a handy guide to cutting back without sacrificing the pleasures of eating … [NYT, David Leonhardt, March 18] Here.


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 


newSpin 180308

newSpin, the newsletter
March 8
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis

TopSpin
• President Trump’s North Korea Gamble[Nicholas Kristof, NYT, March 8] This is stunning: President Trump has accepted an invitation from Kim Jong-un for a summit. It’s also, I think, a dangerous gamble and a bad idea. I can’t believe I’m saying that. For many years, over several trips to North Korea, I’ve argued for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, and it’s certainly better to be engaging the North than bombing it. If the choice is talk versus missiles, I’ll go with the talk. But the proper way to hold a summit is with careful preparation to make sure that the meeting advances peace — and certainly that it serves some purpose higher than simply legitimizing Kim’s regime. Kim and Trump are both showmen with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. That would make a summit thrilling — but creates great risks if everything turns out wrong. Read on.

•  A model settlement: The wise resolution of a church property dispute [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board, March 3] This week the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and nine churches that broke away from the diocese in 2008 finally settled their differences over property rights, and they did so in a refreshingly evenhanded way. Read on. Also here.

• Publishers rejected her, Christians attacked her: The deep faith of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ author Madeleine L’Engle[Washington Post, Sarah Pulliam Bailey March 8] Although L’Engle did not like denominational labels, she mostly attended Episcopal churches, serving for about four decades as a librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, an Episcopal church and one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
   “The themes that are important in Christianity permeate her writing: good and bad, light and darkness,” said the Rev. Patrick Malloy, subdean of the cathedral. “She was open to questions and to looking at new ways to say old things.”
  
In the 1990s, L’Engle began attending Sunday services at All Angels Church, an Episcopal church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side known for attracting artists. She wanted the smaller community of All Angels but still attended noon prayer and evensong services at St. John the Divine. Read on.

[Patrick Malloy, ID'd in the WaPo story as "subdean," is Canon for Liturgy and the Arts at St. John the Divine. He was rector of Grace Allentown for some ten years during the first decade of this century.]

• Madeleine L’Engle’s Christianity was vital to A Wrinkle in Time. The new Disney movie has excised L’Engle’s faith. … [Vox, Tara Isabella Burton, Mar 8] Here,

• An Ignatian guide to a 'A Wrinkle in Time'[America, Eric Sundrup, March 9]
I watched “A Wrinkle in Time” sitting next to a religious sister in full habit. I was disguised in civilian garb, so it was less obvious that I was a Jesuit priest. By the end of the film, I felt a tinge of guilt. I should have been in clerics—wearing all my commitments visibly—because this film was inviting all of us to wear our hearts on our sleeves, to be honest and unabashedly earnest, to hope. It is a demanding task for adults in the age of Trump, and much to their credit, I think the children will have an easier time of it. We need to pay attention to them. Read on.

• DioBeth General News, March 1Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Feb. 15
Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Feb. 22
Here.
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 8
Here.
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.


********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• In blow to Trump, Supreme Court won't hear appeal of DACA ruling [NBC News, Pete Williams, Feb. 26] The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the Trump administration's appeal of a federal judge's ruling that requires the government to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program going. Under a lower court order that remains in effect, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept applications to renew DACA status from the roughly 700,000 young people, known as Dreamers, who are currently enrolled. The administration's deadline of March 5, when it intended to shut the program down, is now largely meaningless. Read on.

• I
s God in this Picture? [Editors of Commonweal, March 6] Right-wing Christians support Donald Trump in the hope that he’ll change the tide of the culture wars. Despite the president’s narcissistic and debaucherous private life and tendency toward “deception, fraud, and shameless bravado,” some Christians believe that “Trump is in the White House for a reason,” that God will use this flawed instrument to reverse what supporters insist is “the nation’s precipitous cultural decline.” But this stance “seems to confuse the political agenda of conservative Evangelical Christians with God’s will.” Contrary to what these Christians believe, “to the extent that conservative Christians bind themselves to this president, all of us will have a ‘front row seat’ on the further decline of Christian influence in America.” Read on.

• The Man behind the Trump Dossier[The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, March 12] How the ex-spy tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia. Read on.

 

SpiritSpin
• Lent – Time for a Cool Change … If there's one thing in my life that's missing, it's the time that I spend alone. Listen.


• A prayer before anything [Bill] Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. Let us pray: Guide us, gracious God. May we be …
Attentive to our experience, to the voices and hearts of those around us, Intelligent in our interpretation of that to which we have been attentive. Reasonable in our judgments about what we have understood. Responsible in our decisions about how we will act on our judgments. And always open to inner conversion, to transformation in your truth and your love

• We're already in the presence of God[Richard Rohr] What's absent is awareness.

• Nothing is more practical … than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
   What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
  
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

   Fall in love, stay in love and it widecide everything.
[Origin uncertain: frequently attributed to Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991) Superior General of the Society of Jesus 1961-1984.]

• Forgiving the others as well [I’ve long been challenged by this story.] The elect, some who were greatly discriminated against in life, gather outside the heavenly gates, confident that their good works have secured their reservations inside. Suddenly, they become aware of a rumor spreading among them. The rumor is this: “He’s going to forgive the others as well.” Many of them are beside themselves over all the trouble they went through to secure their reservations. They become part of a storm of indignant protest. They question God’s justice. They feel that God’s receiving the others as well somehow diminishes their own suffering and good works. They become furious. They curse God. At that instant, they judge themselves, damned to a world where you get only justice, no more. Final judgment. They refused to acknowledge love.

• Saved by Faith –– Created for Good Works[A slightly edited excerpt from a 2006 homily, Lent 4B, by Bill Lewellis, Eph. 2:4-10] There was a time I thought faith and belief were simply two words for the same reality. I no longer think that. I have come to experience faith as quite different from belief. Read on,

• How to talk about death[Commonweal, Feb. 17] Eternity is not to be confused with perpetuity. The central Christian event is not survival but resurrection—a radical transformation at odds with the consoling continuity of “living on.” Read on.

• A Man and his Dog … A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery. It suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, the wall was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. He saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
  
He and the dog walked toward the gate. He saw someone, and called out, "Excuse me, where are we?" "This is heaven,” came the answer. "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked. "Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

   The gate began to open. "Can my friend come in, too?" the traveler asked. "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets." The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw someone inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
   "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?" "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there. Come on in." "How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog. "There should be a bowl by the pump." They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
   When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the one who was standing by the tree waiting for them. "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is heaven," was the answer. "Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "Down the road, they said that was heaven, too." "Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell." "Doesn't it make you mad that they use your name like that?" "No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind".

• Saying a Prayer I Don't Believe In[NYT, Jay P. Lefkowitz, March 1] Like countless Jews before me, I am saying Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning. Three times a day, wherever I am in the world, I strive to find a minyan (quorum) so I can recite these ancient Aramaic verses as a last measure of devotion to my father.
   The Kaddish is probably the most famous of all Jewish prayers. Leonard Bernstein set it to music in his Third Symphony; Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem by the same name upon the passing of his mother. In Tony Kushner’s play “Angels in America,” two of the characters say the full Kaddish over Roy Cohn’s dead body. And it was chanted by Neil Diamond, playing a cantor, in “The Jazz Singer,” and by all of the workers in the factory in the last scene of “Schindler’s List.” Most improbably, it is even recited by Rocky Balboa when he mourns the passing of his beloved trainer, Mickey, in “Rocky III.”

   Yet, the Kaddish is an odd prayer to have become the centerpiece of mourning. Despite its association with death and dying, it does not mention the word death. Instead, it is an endlessly repetitive celebration of the glory of God.
   Whatever its origins, the text of the prayer leaves me cold. Each day as I say the Kaddish, I struggle with the fact that I am praising a God who, according to Jewish tradition, created the world “according to His Will.” Does God really will that the world endure the cruelty and suffering we see so often? And, on a more personal level, did God will that my father, an intellectual who suffered from dementia, would lose the ability to communicate and have the mental faculties of a 5-year-old
   The essential gift of the Kaddish is that it fosters community for a person who has just suffered a searing loss of a parent or sibling, spouse or child, even when we find ourselves far from home.
   Even if the words themselves offer little comfort, I take great satisfaction in this communal act of prayer; of hearing the voices of others respond to my own prayers; and of being welcomed and enveloped by a larger and transcendent community. And in that experience, I honor and reconnect with my father. Read on.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.

• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• Francis invites change, but we are the change [Joan Chittister, NCR, March 10]
Five years ago, for instance, we moved from one style of church to another. It happened quietly but it landed in the middle of the faithful like the Book of Revelation. Gone were the images of finger-waving popes, stories of theological investigations, and the public scoldings and excommunications of people who dared to question the ongoing value of old ways. Read on

• A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches[NYT, Campbell Robertson, March 9] Megachurches around the country were trying to racially integrate and finding some success. Then came the 2016 election. Read on.



DioBeth
• Two nominated for IX Bishop of Bethlehem
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem released the names of two priests who will stand for election for the ninth bishop of the diocese. They are the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 55, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado. The search committee had chosen three nominees, but one withdrew shortly before the slate was presented to the Standing Committee, which oversees the election. More info and photos.

• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates
… A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
   The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
   Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, were due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to office@diobeth.org.

   Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).

Jubilate, Lent Year B 2018 (WORD)
Jubilate, Lent Year B 2018 (PDF)


• DioBeth General News, March 1 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Feb. 15 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Feb. 22 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Feb. 8 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here


Episcopal/Anglican
GC Liturgy and Music committee offers church a plan to unscramble its calendar of saints
[Mary Frances Schjonberg, March 5] ‘Situation of great confusion’ was 10 years in the making, Read on,

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
Here.
• Additional Resources
 ... way below

People


In the Media


TaleSpin
• In Vatican magazine exposé, nuns reveal their ec
onomic exploitation … [NYTimes, March 1] ROME — Sister Marie told of nuns who worked long hours to cook and clean for cardinals and bishops, without being asked to break bread at the same table. Sister Paule pointed out that many nuns did not have registered contracts with the bishops, schools, parishes or congregations they worked for, “so they are paid little or not at all.” Sister Cécile said that “nuns are seen as volunteers to have available at one’s calling, which gives rise to abuse of power.”
   These stories — told by sisters using pseudonyms — were revealed Thursday in an exposé about how nuns are exploited by the leaders and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. The article, by the French journalist Marie-Lucile Kubacki, was published in the March edition of Women Church World, the monthly magazine on women distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The stories amount to a distress signal about the unfair economic and social conditions many nuns experience, as well as the psychological and spiritual challenges that many face. Read on.
   [Bill] I witnessed – at times was the unwitting beneficiary of – this exploitation, both in the U.S. and in Rome.

• The Opioid Crisis is the worst Addiction Epidemic in American History[TIME Magazine, March 5, 2018] Drug overdoses kill more than 64,000 people per year — roughly as many as were lost in the entire Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined – and the nation’s life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row. Over the last year, photographer James Nachtwey set out to document the opioid crisis in America through the people on its front lines. Alongside TIME’s deputy director of photography, Paul Moakley, the pair traveled the country gathering stories from users, families, first responders and others at the heart of the epidemic.
  
Pharmaceutical companies helped spark this epidemic by aggressively marketing opioids as low-risk solutions for long-term chronic pain. We now know that they’re anything but ­low-risk—and yet drug­makers have continued to push opioids and reward doctors who prescribe them. Attempts to crack down on prescriptions have helped, but Americans are still prescribed far more opioids than anyone else in the world—enough for almost every adult in the country to have their own bottle of pills.
  
Political efforts in Washington have also been insufficient. In October, the White House declared a public-health emergency but did not grant any additional money for the crisis. The position of drug czar remains unfilled, and a limit on Medicaid reimbursements for large facilities remains in place, though the President’s own opioid commission suggested that lifting it would be “the single fastest way to increase treatment availability across the nation.”
   T
his issue of TIME, the first in our 95-year history devoted to the work of a single photographer, is an effort to go beyond charts and policy.
  
Prescriptions gave way to cheaper, stronger alternatives. Why scrounge for a $50 pill of Percocet when a tab of heroin can be had for $5? Synthetic opioids, which have flooded into the U.S. from high-volume labs in China and Mexico, are even more potent—and a potentially fatal dose costs less than a Big Mac.
  
The actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who fatally overdosed after years of battling addiction, left behind a family. “When Phil died four years ago, I was so overwhelmed, vulnerable and cracked open that anger became my protective shield, the only thing between me and collapse,” wrote Hoffman’s wife Mimi O’Donnell, in an essay for this project. “I wondered if I had talked to more people, asked for more help—screamed louder—if it would have saved his life.”
  
In the absence of a major national initiative, people across the country have gone to extraordinary lengths to help where they can. They bring food, medical supplies and clean needles to kids living on the streets of San Francisco, in the shadow of the tech world’s billionaire dream factories. They work to steer people into treatment programs and out of the over­burdened and ill-equipped prison system. They adopt their own grandchildren—or foster kids whose own families can no longer care for them. They open their own homes to pregnant users, offering them a reason to believe that their life—and their child’s—can be different.
  
Finding a way out will not be easy, particularly at a time of partisan division when national will is so hard to muster. But the need to act is urgent, and the map is increasingly clear: first, we need to recognize that addiction is a disease. The opioid epidemic must be seen as a public-health crisis rather than a moral failure. That means expanding access to medically assisted treatment and counseling, which is widely considered to be the most effective method of getting people off of opioids for good, yet is available to far fewer people than all those who need it. We must enhance efforts to reduce the supply, through the work of law enforcement, by regulating lawful prescriptions and by encouraging other strategies for managing pain. And, finally, we need to confront problems such as the growing economic divide, unaffordable health care and the diminished employment opportunities for those without a college degree which are helping fuel demand in the first place.
  
An effort of this order will be a massive undertaking. It will require cooperation between the federal government, local officials, law enforcement and public-health leaders—and far more money than has been set aside so far. In early February, Congress allocated $6 billion to helpTi—experts in the field say the amount needs to be at least 25 times that to make a permanent dent.
  
To see the faces and hear the stories of those with the most at stake is to begin to reckon with the crisis. As Nachtwey once put it: “We must look at it. We’re required to look at it. We’re required to do what we can about it. If we don’t, who will?”

[Bill] As I paged through this issue of TIME, viewing and reading most of it, in hard copy and online, I felt that a significant step toward the solution of the opioid crisis was in my hands and on my screen. This issue of TIME presents an insightful draft for a middle and high-school curriculum on the crisis. If local school boards cannot finance this, perhaps a combination of federal and state funds along with contributions from foundations and people such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet might. In any event, we must be able to do better than the White House which in October declared a public-health emergency but did not grant any additional money for the crisis. Thanks. Page on.

How 'The Big Lebowski' Taught Judaism … [RNS, Jeffrey Salkin,  March 7] I know that you will kick yourself for not remembering, but March 6 marked the twentieth anniversary of one of the great cult films of our time, “The Big Lebowski.”
   “The Big Lebowski,” directed by the Coen brothers, is the ultimate stoner classic – the shaggy dog story of the Dude and his quest to seek revenge for a urinated-upon rug. It has a great cast: Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi (“Shut the f_____ up, Donny!”) Sam Elliott, Julianne Moore, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and John Turturro.
   But, Jews remember the film for yet another reason – and that would be the immortal performance of John Goodman as Walter. Read on.


Requiescant in pace
• Georgia Johnson Besecker, 88 … died February 3. She was a member of Prince of Peace Dallas. Obituary.

• Martha Grace Matos, 88 … died on February 27.
She was a member of Christ Church Forest City where she taught Sunday school. Obituary.

• Eleanor and John, 93, Deykes … John died on February 19. Eleanor died six days later. Married for 72 years, they were members of St. Mark's Moscow where Eleanor had served on the Altar Guild and John had been Treasurer. Obituaries.

• Kenneth E. Banzhof, 70 … died on February 24. He  was a member of Mediator Allentown. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• The Scandal of Firing LGBT Catholics[CommonweL, John Gehring, Feb. 16] Last week’s firing of a first-grade Catholic school teacher who married her same-sex partner again raises the question of whether Catholic institutions are selectively enforcing the church’s sexual ethics in ways that unfairly target gays and lesbians. As these firings become increasingly common, Catholic leaders must acknowledge the deep wounds they are causing to people who love and serve the church. A more prudent, and ultimately, more Christian, response is needed in these complex cases. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.
 

The Vatican
• Former president of Ireland tells pope to develop 'credible strategy' for women's inclusion … [NCR, Joshua McElwee, March 8] Vatican City –– Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, has called on Pope Francis to develop a "credible strategy" to include women at every level in the Catholic Church's global structure, saying their exclusion from decision-making roles "has left the church flapping about awkwardly on one wing." McAleese, speaking at the annual Voices of Faith event March 8, said the church "has long since been a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny." "Today, we challenge Pope Francis to develop a credible strategy for the inclusion of women as equals throughout the church's root and branch infrastructure, including its decision-making," she told a packed crowd in a small hall at the Jesuit order's Rome headquarters outside the Vatican's walls but on the city-state's territory. Read on.

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness



Film and TV
• New 'Pope' series on CNN[America, John Anderson, March 9] Quite a few readers of America will know more going in than they will get from “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History.” But the intent isn’t to woo scholars and theologians but rather an audience less familiar with history’s 266 pontiffs, the scope of their power, their various peccadilloes and the peculiarities of papal history. What’s the problem? That the creators of the program didn’t think their utterly fascinating subject was going to be quite fascinating enough. Read on

Media, Print, Music, Tech


Websites
The Episcopal CaféHere.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere.


Podcasts
• The Bible for Normal People

• The Daily
• Invisibilia
• The Day Explained
• The Hive
• Radio Atlantic
• Stay Tuned with Preet
• The Axe Files with David Axelrodj
• Pod Save America


Varia
• 14 Ways to Eat Healthy on the Cheap [Web MD] Keep your pantry stocked with these inexpensive, nutrient-packed foods. Most cost less than 50 cents per serving. Read on,


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


Selected Posts from Past newSpin Newsletters that may still be of interest

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

 

 


newSpin 180125

newSpin, the newsletter
January 25
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis


TopSpin
• Special Electing Convention and Diocesan Convention Updates … A Special Electing Convention with the sole purpose of electing the IX Bishop of Bethlehem will take place April 28 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on September 15 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
   The Diocesan Convention, including the seating of the new bishop, will take place October 12 and 13 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Allentown Bethlehem Center Valley. Eucharist and the seating will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Please note the change of dates and location. The seating will be held during diocesan convention rather than the Sunday morning after the ordination and consecration so that everyone in the diocese has the opportunity to attend.
   Certificates of Election of Lay Delegates, who will serve at both the Special Electing Convention and at the Diocesan Convention, are due February 28. Certificates must be completed and sent to the diocesan office through mail, fax or to office@diobeth.org.

   Download the Certificate of Election of Lay Delegates (fillable PDF).

• The Avengers [The cover and cover story of TIME, Jan. 29] First they marched. Now they're running. Call it payback, call it a revolution, call it the Pink Wave, inspired by marchers in their magenta hats, and the activism that followed. There is an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, overwhelmingly Democratic, running for offices big and small, from the U.S. Senate and state legislatures to local school boards. At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, potentially doubling a record for female candidates set in 1994, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The number of Democratic women likely challenging incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives is up nearly 350% from 41 women in 2016. Roughly 900 women contacted Emily’s List, which recruits and trains pro-choice Democratic women, about running for office from 2015 to 2016; since President Trump’s election, more than 26,000 women have reached out about launching a campaign. The group had to knock down a wall in its Washington office to make room for more staff. Read on.

• Letter to the Episcopal Church from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies  [Jan. 22]
In recent weeks, compelling testimony from women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by powerful men has turned our minds to a particularly difficult passage of holy scripture: the story of the rape of King David’s daughter Tamar by her half-brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13: 1-22). It is a passage in which a conspiracy of men plots the exploitation and rape of a young woman. She is stripped of the power to speak or act, her father ignores the crime, and the fate of the rapist, not the victim, is mourned. It is a Bible story devoid of justice.
  
For more than two decades, African women from marginalized communities have studied this passage of scripture using a method called contextual Bible study to explore and speak about the trauma of sexual assault in their own lives. Using a manual published by the Tamar Campaign they ask, “What can the Church do to break the silence against gender-based violence?” Read on.

• The church that thrives in a ghost town[BBC] 
In Pennsylvania's coal-mining mountains, there's an empty grid where a town once lived. Once, there were homes and gardens. Now there are weeds. Before Centralia started burning from below, more than a thousand people lived here. At the last count, there were six. The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been left to die -- but its last remaining church is thriving. Read on.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Jan. 18Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Jan. 11 … Here.  
• DioBeth General News, Jan. 4Here.
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Trump’s words may have been shocking, but they can’t be seen as surprising [Columbia Journalism Review, Peter Vernon, Jan. 12] Meeting with lawmakers Jan. 11 in the Oval Office, President Trump expressed his displeasure with the bipartisan immigration deal being discussed. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked, referencing immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey broke the story, reporting that Trump next suggested the US should instead prioritize people from countries such as Norway.
  
Trump’s words may have been shocking, but they can’t be seen as surprising. His history of racist comments stretches back decades, and it was only weeks ago that The New York Times reported that the president, again in an Oval Office meeting, said Haitian immigrants "all have AIDS" and Nigerians who visit the US would never "go back to their huts." Yesterday’s comments were nothing new for a man who launched his political profile on the lie that Barack Obama wasn’t a true American. Read on.
Also here.

• 'An assault on the body of the Church' [The Atlantic, Emma Green, Jan. 22] Catholic parishes have been hit hard by President Trump’s decision to suspend Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans. – A woman fled El Salvador in fear of violence, just months before a deadly series of earthquakes destroyed many Salvadorans’ lives and homes. She settled in Maryland with her husband’s family and started to build a life. She worked first in hotel housekeeping, then as a teaching assistant at a neighborhood school. She had four children, who excelled in school. She invested deeply in her local Catholic church, serving as a catechist and usher, working with kids on Sunday mornings, and hosting a small prayer group in her home.
   Now, after nearly two decades in the United States, the Trump administration may be sending her back to El Salvador, a country that still suffers from one of the world’s highest homicide rates, destabilizing gang activity, and a stalled economy. Many immigration advocates have pushed back on the decision, but perhaps none more strongly than the U.S. Catholic Church. Catholic leaders see these deportations not as a left-right political issue, but as threat to the families that make up the heart of their communities. As one local priest told me, “I see it as an assault on the body of the Church.” Read on.

• Deportation in America[The New Yorker Radio Hour podcast with David Remnick, Jan. 12]
A tougher stance on immigration is the signature position of the Trump Administration, and the President’s first year in office has been marked by sharply increased numbers of arrests of unauthorized immigrants. In this hour, we explore immigration and deportation from the perspective of a Wisconsin dairy farm, a conservative Washington think tank, the mother of a deportee, and a sanctuary church where a woman is hiding in plain sight from immigration enforcement.
  
In the first segment, about 8 minutes, Amanda Morales Guerra, fleeing deportation, is hiding from ICE, and its officers know exactly where: at the Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights NYC, where the congregation has given her sanctuary. Listen.

• Salvadorans at risk of losing immigration status find support in churches [RNS, Jan. 17] When German Fernandez learned last week that the Trump administration plans to end Temporary Protected Status for him and around 200,000 other immigrants from El Salvador, it was a nightmare come true. “When I saw the news, I could express no words,” he said. “TPS has protected me for 18 years.”
   When the program allowing undocumented Salvadoran immigrants to live and work in the United States ends next year, many will be at risk of deportation to a country that is racked by horrific gang violence. But rather than succumb to despair, many Salvadorans — who are overwhelmingly Christian — are finding hope, support and empowerment in churches that are working with advocacy groups and faith-based coalitions to offer assistance. Fernandez, who has been sending money he makes in the U.S. back to his family in El Salvador, has found support at St. Matthew’s Parish, an Episcopal church in the Washington suburb of Hyattsville, Md., where about 40 percent of the congregation’s roughly 800 members are Salvadoran TPS holders. Read on.

• Joan Chittister calls for formal censure of President Trump [NCR, Jan. 18] Martin Luther King Jr. wrote once, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." It's the congressional silence in the face of President Donald Trump's unpresidential, international insult of black countries that is bothering me right now. It is difficult to decide which is worse: A president unworthy of the office or a Congress unworthy of their power and place in American society. A Congress that stands by meekly — silently — while the standards of the presidency and the character of the nation deteriorate from the top down also betray us. Congress and its leaders say not an official word of public censure about the racism that has been exposed in relation to our immigration policies. The silence in this case is not virtue. By saying nothing about the racism that underlies the president's attack on black countries, Congress abdicates its responsibility to the nature of American democracy. Read on.

• The Republican's Guide to Presidential Etiquette [NYTimes Editorial Board, Jan. 20] When the editorial board published the first edition of the Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette last May, we hoped to provide a helpful reminder to those morally upright members of the G.O.P. who were once so concerned about upholding standards of presidential decorum. Remember the hand-wringing when Barack Obama wore a tan suit or tossed a football in the Oval Office? Yet even as the current occupant of the White House continues to find new and shocking ways to defile his office, congressional Republicans have only lashed themselves more tightly to him. The examples come so fast that it’s easy to forget that the last one happened just four days ago, or just this morning.
  
As part of our continuing effort to resist the exhausting and numbing effects of living under a relentlessly abusive and degrading president, we present, for the third time in nine months, an updated guide to what Republicans now consider to be acceptable behavior from the commander in chief. As before, these examples, drawn from incidents or disclosures in the last three-plus months, do not concern policy decisions — only the president’s words and actions. And no, we’re not even opening that Michael Wolff book. Read on.

• Lawmaker gets Sunday-shooled over botched religious reference … A GOP congressman called thousands of missing FBI text messages “the greatest coincidence since the Immaculate Conception,” then struggled to explain just what he meant. Here

SpiritSpin
• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Serenity Prayer … God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Read on.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin
• Are we there yet? Imagine that! [Bill Lewellis, The Morning Call, Jan. 21] Are we there yet? You may remember saying that. You may remember how slowly time moved. Your fullness of life was ahead of you. You perceived your days as plodding on. Toward fullness. That perception was your reality. Fullness came. Too busy to notice? You became used to time’s movement, perceived usually as neither slow nor fast. Now in my 81st year, time flies. In two-week increments. Read on. Also here.

DioBeth
• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the People
Linked here from Trinity Bethlehem.

Under "More Resources" way below.

• Data and Analysis from the 2016 Parochial Reports … of the Episcopal Church are available here.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Jan. 18 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Jan. 11 … Here.  
• DioBeth General News, Jan. 4 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.



Episcopal/Anglican
• House of Deputies newsletter
[January] Here.

• England's cathedrals face financial crisis as running costs soar[The (London) Guardian] A significant number of England's 42 historic Anglican cathedrals are at "severe financial risk" and some have ineffective and under-resourced management, an investigation set up by the archbishops of Canterbury and York has found. Read on.

• The Good Book Club[ENS]  Resources now available. Here. Also, Join the Journey 30-minute webinar, Jan. 31, 3:30pm here.

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD

Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
Here.
• Additional Resources

... way below


People

• Mother Laura Howell … On January 7, Trinity Bethlehem held a special celebration to give thanks for the ministry of the Rev. Canon Laura Howell upon her retirement. Emeritus Archdeacon Rick Cluett delivered the sermon at the Eucharist. Find the text here. Retirement? "You are sending me off to assist St. Margaret’s in Emmaus and St. Barnabas in Kutztown, two small parishes which are in need of clergy," Mother Laura said during her own reflection at Eucharist. "The spiritual formation and experience which I gained working with you will now be shared with yet more people in your name."

• Dr. James Day, son of Canon Ginny and the Rev. Charles Day, was selected to be director of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College. Read on.



In the Media


TaleSpin
• Inside one of America's last pencil factories [NYTimes Magazine] 
Interesting story. Great photography.
  
A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.
  
Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produShe was active both locally and nationally in the Episcopal Church, having been appointed to the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches in New York. As a member of the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, Anne served as a representative to the Episcopal Church of the United States. Her past service included being a member of the executive committee of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, as well as a lay delegate to the Pennsylvania Council of Churches. Anne is credited with developing the clergy dialogues and instrumental in developing Consultation on Church Union. She was passionate about finding common points of intersece. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City. Read on.

• 1 Son, 4 Overdoses, 6 Hours[NYT Jan. 21] The first time Patrick Griffin overdosed one afternoon in May, he was still breathing when his father and sister found him on the floor around 1:30. When he came to, he was in a foul mood and began arguing with his father, who was fed up with his son’s heroin and fentanyl habit. The torrent of people who have died in the opioid crisis has transfixed and horrified the nation, with overdose now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
   Patrick, 34, feeling morose and nauseated, lashed out. He sliced a love seat with a knife, smashed a glass bowl, kicked and broke a side table and threatened to kill himself. Shortly after 3, he darted into the bathroom, where he shot up and overdosed again. He fell limp, turned blue and lost consciousness. His family called 911. Emergency medical workers revived him with Narcan, the antidote that reverses opioid overdoses.

   Throughout the afternoon his parents, who are divorced, tried to persuade Patrick to go into treatment. His father told him he could not live with him anymore, setting off another shouting match. Around 4, Patrick slipped away and shot up a third time. He overdosed again, and emergency workers came back and revived him again. They took him to a hospital, but Patrick checked himself out.
   Back at his mother’s house and anxious to stave off withdrawal, he shot up again around 7:30, overdosing a fourth time in just six hours. His mother, frantic, tried pumping his chest, to no avail, and feared he was dead. Rescue workers returned and administered three doses of Narcan to bring him back. At that point, an ambulance took him to the hospital under a police escort and his parents — terrified, angry and wrung out — had him involuntarily admitted.
   Most drug users do not die. Far more, like Patrick, are snared for years in a consuming, grinding, unending cycle of addiction. Read on.

• The Promise [The Guardian, Tom McCarthy]
After a year of interviews in Northampton County, which voted twice for Obama before supporting Trump, the Guardian’s project ends at the closed-down furnaces of Bethlehem Steel. It has become clear that Trump has lost a critical measure of support in the county, though his base remains strong. Read on


Requiescant in pace
• Anne C. Shire, 89 … died on January 15. She had been a member of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, Allentown.
She was active both locally and nationally in the Episcopal Church, having been appointed to the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches in New York. As a member of the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, Anne served as a representative to the Episcopal Church of the United States. Her past service included being a member of the executive committee of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, as well as a lay delegate to the Pennsylvania Council of Churches. Anne is credited with developing the clergy dialogues and instrumental in developing Consultation on Church Union. She was passionate about finding common points of intersection of different faiths. Obituary.

• June Weidner Holt, 92 … died on January 22. She was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, Allentown. Obituary.

• F. Jean Ebling, 84 … a member of Trinity Pottsville, died on January 20. Obituary.


Garson W. Wunderlich Jr, 89 … died on January 11. He was a member of St. Gabriel's Douglasville where he served on the vestry and as junior warden. Obituary.

Ralph H. "Jim" Imschweiler Jr, 90 … died on January 9. He was a member of Trinity Pottsville. Obituary.

Angelina Ciervo Burkhart, 88 … died on January 11. She was a member of St. Alban's Sinking Spring. Obituary.  

Walter R. Weaver Jr, 71 … died on January 11. He was a member of St. Anne's Trexlertown. Obituary.

Gloria J. Palmisano, 86 … died on January 23. She was a member of St. Mary's Wind Gap
where she served on the Altar Guild, and was instrumental in starting and running St. Mary's Hoagies fund raiser. Obituary.
 

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.

Evangelical chaplain's suspension intensifies ECC's marriage debate  [RNS, Adelle Banks, Jan. 11] The suspension of a popular evangelical university chaplain has highlighted tensions over same-sex marriage in a growing Protestant denomination that forbids it but also takes pride in its willingness to allow congregants to hold opinions contrary to church doctrine. The Rev. Judy Peterson, ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church and pastor at its flagship North Park University in Chicago, presided at the wedding of two men in April. That act resulted in her suspension and then a petition drive calling on ECC leaders to place a moratorium on their guidelines forbidding clergy to officiate at same-sex weddings. The petition had more than 4,270 signatures as of Thursday (Jan. 11). Members of the ECC — which has more than 850 churches in North America, with about 225,000 weekly attenders — have grappled with the issue much as have other Protestant denominations. Other ECC pastors also face disciplinary action for taking part in the nuptials of gay couples or affirming them in other ways. Read on.

• Why so many Americans think Buddhism is just a philosophy [The Conversation, Jan. 22] Traditional Buddhism does in fact have many deities, doctrines and rituals, as well as sacred texts, ordained priests, ethics, sectarian developments and other elements that one would typically associate with any organized religion. But at the 1893 World Parliament, the Buddhist masters favorably presented their meditative tradition to modern America only as a practical philosophy, not a religion. This perception of Buddhism persists in America to this day. The Buddhists did not deliberately misrepresent their tradition or just tell the Americans what they wanted to hear. They were genuine in their attempt to make a 2500-year old tradition relevant to the late 19th century. But in the end they only transplanted but a few branches of Buddhism’s much larger tree into American soil. Only a few cuttings of Buddhist philosophy, art and meditation came into America, while many other traditional elements of the Buddhist religion remained behind in Asia.
   The popular construction of nonreligious Buddhism has contributed much to the contemporary “spiritual but not religious” phenomenon, as well as to the secularized and commodified mindfulness movement in America. We may have only transplanted a fraction of the larger bodhi tree of religious Buddhism in America, but our cutting has adapted and taken root in our secular, scientific and highly commercialized age. For better and for worse, it’s Buddhism, American-style. Read on.

• The Episcopal Churchis currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

• Five major world religions
Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  • Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.  

• The Protestant Reformation … 
Khan Academy's introduction to the Protestant Reformation



Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.
 

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Study asks: Why are young Catholics going, going, gone? [NCR, Julie Bourbon, Jan. 22] A new report on young adults who no longer identify as Catholic is attempting to understand why so many have "disaffiliated" from the faith they were born into. It comes at a time when more young people than ever before are leaving the church, even as those losses are being offset by Hispanic immigration to the U.S. Whether it's feelings of being judged by religious leaders who don't know or understand them, or being forced by their parents to attend church, or witnessing the sexual abuse scandal and the hypocrisy of church hierarchy, young people are expressing a desire both to break free from organized religion and to be part of a community. Read on

• 'An assault on the body of the Church' [The Atlantic, Emma Green, Jan. 22] Catholic parishes have been hit hard by President Trump’s decision to suspend Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton ... Here.
Diocese of Allentown ... Here.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.

The Vatican
• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• The surprising predictors of a long, healthy lifeRead on.


Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech

• Two new Netflix original documentary series
Dirty Money, premiering Jan. 26, takes on corporate greed. Six episodes from Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions feature multiple directors tackling various subjects related to scandal and corruption in the world of business. Says Netflix, “Using first-hand accounts from perpetrators and their victims, combined with rarely-seen video footage, this addictive series keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.”
   Rotten began Jan. 5. Six episodes tackle food biz corruption. From the team behind Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and The Mind of a Chef, Rotten, as Netflix describes, “gives food the true crime treatment, diving deep into the food production underworld to expose the corruption, waste and real dangers behind your everyday eating habits. In a world where huge global supply-chains are increasingly intertwined and consolidated, this series starts on your dinner plate… and follows the money to the shocking consequences—intended or not—of regulation, innovation and greed.” Read on.


Websites, Podcasts and Blogs
The Episcopal CaféHere.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere. Story here.

• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … This podcast includes revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. David Axelrod is the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Recent interviews with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich (especially good), Preet Bharara, Steve Kerr, Frank Bruni, Kathleen Seebelius, Donna Brazile, Tony Blair, Christiane Amanpour, Susan Rice, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

• The Daily … Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism. An especially good one recently was the December 19 edition wherein Catherine Porter, a New York Times reporter, talked to the heroes of Burial Road, the men who tend to the unclaimed bodies of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Here.


Varia


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal

newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]

 


newSpin 180111

newSpin, the newsletter
January 11
, 2018 – Bill Lewellis


TopSpin
• In Haiti, the heroes of burial road[NYT, 'The Daily' podcast] For some Haitians, death is harder t'o afford than life. The men who tend to the bodies of the unclaimed dead told their stories to a New York Times reporter. So coincidetally, as I was listening to the podcast, my son Stephen suggested it to me as a follow-up meditation on an earlier post of mine about "where everybody is somebody." Listen.

• Where everybody is somebody … The late Bishop Mark Dyer's description of the Kingdom of God.


• Until evacuated itself, CA Episcopal church served as shelter from mudslides  [Episcopal Café] Mudslides in southern California have killed at least 13 as storms hit soil left bare by last year’s wildfires. Montecito has been particularly hard hit. Read on.

• How would Jesus drive?[David Brooks, NYT, Jan. 4] Over the past several years we have done an outstanding job of putting total sleazoids at the top of our society: Trump, Bannon, Ailes, Weinstein, Cosby, etc. So it was good to get a reminder, from Pope Francis in his New Year’s Eve homily, that the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks, through their normal, everyday gestures being kind in public places, attentive to the elderly. The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good.” Read on.

• Joe Biden on what helped him deal with grief[PBS News Hour, Jan. 4] The day will come when the memory of the person you lost brings a smile to your lip before a tear to your eye. View.

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality [Boston Globe, Spotlight] The median net worth of non-immigrant African-American households in the Boston area is just $8, the lowest in a five-city study of wealth disparities. It’s hard to ignore the dramatic contrast to the $247,500 net worth for white households in the Boston area. That borders on insane and absurd. The disparity in Boston just transcends everything, said William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at Duke University who was one of the lead investigators of that study, which involved the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It’s just staggering. And when it comes to income alone, the imbalance looks like this: For every one black household earning more than $75,000 in the metro region, there are about 21 white ones. Read on

• The Episcopal Café's top magazine posts during 2017Here.

• Sexuality, Race and Gender[RNS, Jonathan Merritt, Dec. 29] Three explosive insights about America’s 100 largest churches. 1. None of America’s 100 largest churches are LGBTQ-affirming. 2. 93% of America’s 100 largest churches are led by a white pastor. 3. Only 1 of America’s 100 largest churches has a female pastor. Read on.

• Cardinal Laws complex role in the contemporary history of clergy sexual abuse [NCR, Thomas Doyle, Dec. 28] Public awareness of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy actually dates from 1984. It was triggered by the public exposure of widespread sexual violation of children by a single priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, and its systemic cover-up by the church's leadership that lasted well over a decade. Cardinal Bernard Law, who went from in 1974 being bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to in 1984 being named archbishop of Boston, became the most powerful and influential Catholic bishop in the United States. This all came to a screeching halt in 2002. In one day Law became the face of hierarchical treachery and dishonesty when The Boston Globe revealed the systemic cover-up of widespread sexual abuse by Boston priests, most of it his doing. He remained the face of the hierarchy's disgraceful attitude towards the violation of minors and the vulnerable. Even in death – Dec. 15 in Rome – he remains the focal point of the anger and rage of countless victims of sexual abuse by clergy — certainly Boston victims, but also others worldwide. Read on. Also, by NCR staff, here.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Dec. 21Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Dec. 14Here.
• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7Here.
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• Republicans in Congress are failing America's children [NYT, Editorial Board, Jan. 8] Children from lower-income families could soon lose access to affordable health care because the Republican leaders in Congress have failed to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is a travesty. Read on.

• Trump's increasing unfitness … [TNY, David Remnick, Jan. 15 issue] Scandal envelops the President. Obstruction of justice, money-laundering, untoward contacts with foreign governments—it is unclear where the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will land and what might eventually rouse the attention of the U.S. Senate. Clearly, Trump senses the danger. A former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been indicted. A former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, has admitted to lying to the F.B.I. and has become a coöperating witness. The President sees one West Wing satrap and Cabinet official after another finding a distance from him. “Where is my Roy Cohn?” he asked his aides angrily, according to the Times, when his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, defied his wishes and recused himself from the Russia investigation.

   In the meantime, there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is, the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land. This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office. The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States. Read on.

• Nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador
[NYT, Jan. 8] who have been allowed to live in the United States for more than a decade must leave the country, two government officials familiar with the decision said on Monday. It is the Trump administration’s latest reversal of years of immigration policies and one of the most consequential to date. Homeland security officials said that they were ending a humanitarian program, known as Temporary Protected Status, for Salvadorans who have been allowed to live and work legally in the United States since a pair of devastating earthquakes struck their country in 2001.  Read on
. Also, NYT Editorial Board, Jan. 9, here.

• President Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days [WaPo, Glenn Kessler, Meg Kelly and Nicole Lewis, Jan 2] An update on The Fact Checker's year-long project analyzing, categorizing and tracking every false or misleading claim by President Trump. Read on.


SpiritSpin
• When the carols have been stilled[Howard Thurman] Here.

• Why won't Ivanka become the Pharoah's daughter?Here.

• Bishop John Spong: Hell was invented by the churchHere.

• For the Poor and the Neglected[BCP] Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin

 

DioBeth
• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the People
Linked here from Trinity Bethlehem.

Under "More Resources" way below.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Dec. 21 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Dec. 14 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7 … Here.
• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.


DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
Under "More Resources" way below.


Episcopal/Anglican
• 2018 likely to be another tough year for the ABC 
[RNS, Dec. 20] If 2017 was a tough year for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby keeping the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion together, 2018 promises to be tougher still. Read on.

• The Good Book Club[ENS]  Resources now available. Here.

• The Toolkit of the Public Affairs Office … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."
• Sermons that work, Weekly bulletin inserts and more … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD

Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
Here.
• Additional Resources

... way below


People

• The Rev. Charley Day[Rick Cluett] shown here with his beloved Ginny, was ordained to the sacred order of Priest on December 20, 50 years ago. He has enriched our lives in this diocese for a good number of those years and to me is a model for life long learning and curiosity. In his retirement, he has exercised his ministry as a consummate chaplain and pastor. Congratulations, Charley, on God’s holy calling well lived out. (And I bet you won’t like this public notice!)


In the Media
• St. Peter's Tunkhannock supports Young People in Recovery
[Wyoming County Examiner] For the second year in a row, Young People in Recovery rang in the New Year at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Tunkhannock.
Read on

• Abington-area parishes to share priest[Abington Journal, Clarks Summit, Dec. 26] St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Tunkhannock, and Church of the Epiphany, Glenburn will begin a new ministry relationship in January, 2018. Rev. Lou Divis will remain as the pastor of St. Peter’s and become the pastor of Church of the Epiphany. Both positions are part-time. This is a new era in The Episcopal Church as people become more involved in various ministerial activities with pastoral oversight. Read on.

• St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral holds annual vigil for homeless [Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Dec. 22, Patrick Kernan] After the brief prayer service — which fittingly ended with a rendition of “Amazing Grace” — the congregation went into the church’s courtyard for a candlelight vigil. Standing in a circle, the congregation read the names of area homeless people who have died since 2001. As each individual read the names on the card they were given, they blew out their candle … The Rev. Brian Pavlac, priest-in-charge at St. Stephen’s, said helping with homelessness is something important to the South Franklin Street church. “It’s something the church has really committed itself to,” Pavlac said, adding there are renovations being made to the church, especially to the bathrooms, to help the homeless community. Pavlac said there is a need in the area for a permanent shelter. But until then, St. Stephen’s is happy to house the traveling homeless shelter run by Catholic Social Services. He said St. Stephen’s houses the shelter more frequently than other local churches. “If one or two things go wrong, anyone could be there,” Pavlac said. “It’s often through no fault of their own. But even if it is, these people still need help.” Read on.



TaleSpin
• A simple question saved their marriage For years, novelist Richard Paul Evans and his wife Keri struggled with their marriage. Then, one day, they learned to ask each other a simple question: “How can I make your day better?” The question, which Evans wrote about in a viral blog post, saved their marriage. Read on.



Requiescant in pace
• Elizabeth Coken, 98 … a longtime member of Nativity Cathdral, Bethlehem, died on Jan. 6.
Obituary.

• Katherine Johnson, 77 … a member and choir member of Trinity Bethlehem, died on Dec. 7. Obituary.

• George Oxenreider, 88 … a member of St. Alban's, Sinking Spring, where he served on the vestry for several years, died December 15. Obituary.


Jonathan Demme and many more
Several times at the close of the year, I've watched in silent attention the photos and brief videos cable networks collected on entertainment celebrities who died during 2017. Some whose good work and deeds were obvious; others, whose weren't, but not necessarily non-existent. Pray for them. One of those was Jonathan Demme, Oscar-winning filmmaker who observed emphatically American characters with a discerning eye, a social conscience and a rock ’n’ roll heart, achieving especially wide acclaim with “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,”
  
I remember Demme best of all for his direction of a 1992 documentary, "Cousin Bobby," about his cousin Robert Castle, a white Episcopal priest who had served an inner-city church in Harlem for many years, and who died in 2012 at 83. Castle was fairly conventional at an earlier stage of his life. Then came the 1960s and social upheaval, and, for him, a crucial and influential friendship with Isaiah Rowley, a Black Panther leader in Jersey City, N.J. At a time when the Panthers were feared and hated, Castle found Rowley to be a natural leader, sane and inspirational, and gradually the white priest was drawn into circles that were alarming to many members of his congregation.

   Castle once spoke at an AIDS Memorial at Nativity Cathedral in Bethlehem. View.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem: Breakaway group seeks new home [TMC, Dec. 27] The conservative leaders of the fractured First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, who recently lost a court battle for ownership of the sprawling property on Center Street, intend to find a new home, possibly taking a majority of the church’s members with them. In June 2016, a majority of the congregation voted to split from the church’s national denomination, the increasingly progressive Presbyterian Church USA that recognizes gay marriage and allows gay ministers to be ordained. The majority joined the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, or ECO. Read on. Also here.

• More Resources

... way below


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Father Gregory Boyle… Sarah Silverman sits down with Father Gregory Boyle to talk about his work with Homeboy Industries. View.

• Monsignor who stole $500K sentenced to federal prison[PhillyNews, Jan. 3]
The church has forgiven Msgr. William Dombrow for embezzling a half-million dollars meant to fund the care of aging and retired priests. The federal justice system, however, showed Wednesday that it was not so ready to absolve him. Read on.

Diocese of Scranton
... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.
 

The Vatican
• Pope upbraids Vatican Bureaucracy: Serve the world, not 'degraded logic of small cliques[NCR, Dec. 21] Pope Francis again upbraided the high-level Catholic prelates who run the Vatican bureaucracy in an annual pre-Christmas speech Dec. 21, telling them to get beyond what he termed an "unbalanced and degraded logic of plots and small cliques" in order to better serve him, the global church and the world at large. Francis told the cardinals and bishops who run the bureaucracy to not "let themselves be bribed by their ambition" in search for higher office but rather to act simply as antennae that listen for the "cries, joys and tears of the churches of the world" and relay what they hear to him. Most of all, the pope told the prelates the Vatican is not designed to be closed in on itself but to be at the service of the world, especially local bishops, "for whose good it operates and acts." Speaking in the apostolic palace's 16th-century Clementine Hall in his colorful style, Francis warned: "A curia closed up in itself would betray the objective of its existence and would fall into self-centeredness, condemning itself to self-destruction." The pope was speaking Dec. 21 in an annual meeting that under previous pontiffs had simply been a polite encounter to exchange greetings before the holidays. Read on.

• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• Forgetfulness and aging: What's normal?
Here.

• Flu shots
Read on.

• More Resources… below.


Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech

• Three Billboards [Jeffrey Salkin, RNS, Jan. 8]
The story one of the most religious tales that you will see on the silver screen, and for this alone, it merits your attention. Simply put: The movie is about sin, forgiveness, and redemption. Or, as one of my colleagues said, it was deeply Christian. Yes — but it is also deeply Jewish. Read on.

• Cue the religion scholar![RNS, Cathy Lynn Grossman, Dec. 1] Representing faith on the big and small screen. You try boiling down 400 years of religious history into a few seconds. Read on.

Your Faith, Your Life  … [Church Publishing, Revised Edition of the 2009 book by Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis, Nov. 2017] The everything-you-need to know adult guide to the Episcopal Church that is easy to read but with substance for newcomers, adult formation groups, and lifelong Episcopalians who desire to know more about their church. The language of worship, theology, church structure, sacraments, and discipleship offers a framework to explore the meaning and practice of being an Episcopalian and follower of Jesus. Not just a book of information, but a book for transformation. Read on.
   "Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis have completed a generous update of the 2009 instant classic Your Faith, Your Life, presenting orthodoxy for the 21st century. It's not rewriting orthodoxy to include 21st century ideals, its showing that orthodoxy always included these ideals. New textbooks on physics aren't created because the immutable laws of physics have changed. New discoveries illuminate what was already there: quarks, gluons, earth-like planets. These don't change our view of Newton's laws of gravity, or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Likewise, Gamber and Lewellis have brought the "new" discoveries of the gospel of inclusion, the Jesus Movement, and the modern Church to a new guidebook of Episcopal identity. Your Faith, Your Life will be the new must have for Confirmation classes, adult education, college ministry, and other formation needs. It offers a simple guide through what it means to be an Episcopal disciple in the 21st century." –– Bill Campbell, Executive Director of Forma 


Websites, Podcasts and Blogs
The Episcopal CaféHere.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere. Story here.

• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … This podcast includes revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. David Axelrod is the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Recent interviews with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich (especially good), Preet Bharara, Steve Kerr, Frank Bruni, Kathleen Seebelius, Donna Brazile, Tony Blair, Christiane Amanpour, Susan Rice, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

• The Daily … Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism. An especially good one recently was the December 19 edition wherein Catherine Porter, a New York Times reporter, talked to the heroes of Burial Road, the men who tend to the unclaimed bodies of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Here.


Varia
• The Five People [Podcaster Tim Ferriss] You are the average of the five people you most associate with.

• Oprah's Golden Gloves speech … [NYT, Jan. 7] Oprah Winfrey accepted the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement with a rousing acceptance speech that began as a personal reflection and ended as a call to arms. Read on.


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
… Associated Press
BCP
… Book of Common Prayer
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal


newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


More Resources

DioBeth
• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin … Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. The Leadership News and the General News are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. The newSpin newsletter you are now reading is not an official publication – and will usually not duplicate news, info and features relating to our diocese and parish as found in the official newsletters. It is a relatively lengthy eclectic sampling of items related to religion – at times not, at times not so clearly – that the editor thinks readers might find to be of interest. It has been a kind of hobby of a onetime communication minister, the work of a volunteer who in retirement enjoys and dedicates time to do the research required. The newSpin newsletter is always posted on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to rebecca@canticleccommunications.com

• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the PeopleLinked here from Trinity Bethlehem are Jubilate, a resource for hymn selection, and weekly Prayers of the People which may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in Word (.doc) and .pdf formats.


• Look online … for the Diocese of Bethlehem Facebook Page, Facebook Group (Bethlehem Episcopalians) and Twitter feed.

• Bethlehem Episcopalians … is a Facebook group for conversations about mission, spirituality, Christian formation, and more that has replaced the old Bakery email list. Bethlehem Episcopalians is an open group. Anyone can join and items that you post can be shared by group members on their own Facebook pages. This offers each of us the opportunity to reach a larger audience with news and conversations about what God is doing in our diocese." Join the Facebook group. Includes more than 425 members

DioBeth website
Stumbling into the Sacred ... [Reflections on seeing God in the everyday by Canon Anne E. Kitch]
newSpin blog ... including the newSpin weekly by Bill Lewellis.
Facebook Page  … Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Facebook Group … Bethlehem Episcopalians
Twitter
Flickr
YouTube
Vimeo
LinkedIn

Center for Congregations ... The "Using Resources" series of publications by the Center for Congregations is designed to help congregations make the most effective use of capital funds, consultants, architects, contractors, books, congregation management software, and more.
Congregational Consulting ...  More information on how to contact the consultants can be found here and at http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/ .
• Church locators ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
The Chalice, a publication created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.

DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
• Allentown: Episcopal House … Here.
• Allentown: Grace … Here.
• Allentown: Grace Montessori School … Here.
• Allentown: Mediator … Here. Refugee Community Center … Here.
• Allentown/Bethlehem: St. Andrew … Here.
• Athens: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Nativity Cathedral … Here. Emergency Shelter … Here.
• Bethlehem: New Bethany Ministries … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Carbondale: St. James-St. George … Here.
• Clarks Summit/Glenburn: Epiphany … Here.
• Dallas: Prince of Peace … Here.
• Douglassville: St. Gabriel … Here.
• Easton: Trinity … Here.  ARK Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Emmaus: St. Margaret … Here.
• Forest City: Christ Church … Here.
• Hazleton: St. Peter … Here.
• Hamlin: St. John … Here.
• Hellertown: St. George … Here.
• Honesdale: Grace … Here.
• Jermyn: St. James/St. George … Here.
• Jim Thorpe: St. Mark/St. John … Here.
• Kingston: Grace … Here.
• Lebanon: St. Luke … Here.
• Lehighton: All Saints … Here.
• Milford: Good Shepherd … Here.
• Montrose: St. Paul … Here.
• Morgantown: St. Thomas … Here.
• Moscow: St. Mark … Here.
• Mountain Top: St. Martin-in-the-Fields … Here.
• Mount Pocono: … Here.
• Nanticoke/Alden Station: St. Andrew … Here.
• Nazareth: St. Brigid … Here.
• Palmerton: St. John … Here.
• Pen Argyl: St. Joseph … Here.
• Pottsville: Trinity … Here.
• Reading: Christ Church … Here.  SPARK … Here.
• Reading: St. Mary: … Here.
• Sayre: Redeemer: … Here.
• Schuylkill County: North Parish … Here.
• Scranton: St. Luke: … Here.
• Sinking Spring: St. Alban … Here.
• Stroudsburg: Christ Church … Here.
• Towanda: Christ Church … Here.
• Trexlertown: St. Anne … Here.
• Tunkhannock: St. Peter … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen School … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Clement/St. Peter … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Stephen … Here.
• West Pittston: Trinity … Here.
• Wind Gap: St. Mary … Here.
[Bill] Please let me know if your website is not listed above. Also, let me know if you would like me to highlight something on your site. Please note, also, that a few of the websites need to be updated. Thanks.]

• Data and Analysis from the 2016 Parochial Reports … of the Episcopal Church are available here.

Episcopal/Anglican
• The Episcopal Church website, news service, news service blog,
Episcopal Café
• AngicansOnline website and news centre.
The Living Church
• The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• The Daily Scan: Contact publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org to add subscribers for news releases, notices, statements, or Daily Scan.
• Free weekly bulletin inserts provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Find the inserts here.
Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Episcopal Church Event Calendar ... Here

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

Ecumenical/Interfaith Relations
• The Episcopal Church
… is currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

• Five major world religions
… Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  • Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.  
• Protestant Reformation… 
Khan Academy's introduction to the Protestant Reformation

• Five major world religions … Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  •
Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.   MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

• Protestant Reformation
  Khan Academy's introduction to the
Protestant Reformation  MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

SpiritSpin
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.


Bible&Worship
• The Lectionary ... A collection of Lectionary resources for the Episcopal Church, updated Sunday night. Here.
• Lectionary Page ... A liturgical calendar for upcoming weeks, with links to readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), as adapted for use in Episcopal worship. Here.
• Revised Common Lectionary ... Here.
• The Liturgical Calendar ... BCP, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, HWHM ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Celebrating the Eucharist, by Patrick Malloy. Google Book
• Enriching our Worship, 1 to 5 ... Free download here.
• The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant: Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships [Extracted from Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing] Here.
• Collection of worship resources at Diobeth.org ... Including Diocesan Cycles of Prayer for weekly worship, Holy Women Holy Men, and The Text This Week. Here.

Health and Wellness
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here
• WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Three Free Apps for getting qualified medical advice... [Techlicious] Urgent Care, HealthTap and First Aid. Info and links.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Center for Disease Control - Healthy Living
Church Health Reader

Eastern Pennsylvania Faith Community Nurses
Episcopal Mental Illness Network
Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH

National Episcopal Health Ministries
NEHM Wellness Resource Page 

Let's Move

News/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Daily Religion Headlines ... here.
• Religious Freedom Blog ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• BBC News Online ... here.
• BBC Religion & Ethics ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• Religion Research Hub ... ARDA, Association of Religion Data Archives, an especially useful site.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.

Media/Film/TV/Books/Podcasts/Music/Tech
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks  and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.

Varia
• Insights into Religion ... Here.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.

 

 


newSpin 171214

newSpin, the newsletter
December 14
, 2017 – Bill Lewellis


TopSpin
• Puerto Rico's hurricane death toll is much higher than the government has reported[NYT, Dec. 8] It may be over 1,000, not 62. Officially, just 62 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the island with nearly 150-mile-an-hour winds, cutting off power to 3.4 million Puerto Ricans. But The Times found that in the 42 days after the storm made landfall, 1,052 more people than usual died across the island. The analysis compared the number of deaths for each day in 2017 with the average of the number of deaths for the same days in 2015 and 2016. Read on.

• Nativity Cathedral hosting family of six from Puerto Rico[Dean Tony Pompa] The Cathedral community is responding to the crisis in Puerto Rico following the devastation of recent hurricane by providing short term housing to a family of 6. This family has endured much over the last year and now their home in Puerto Rico has met with complete devastation. Three adults and three children have been given refuge in an apartment on Cathedral grounds. One of the children is in need of medical treatment that cannot be provided in Puerto Rico. We are working closely with the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley who are providing a great deal of support. One member of this family is a social worker looking for employment. Read on.

• Influx of people from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico straining Lehigh Valley agencies[TMC] Community groups are feeling the strain of helping people flee hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, and are pleading for cash donations to aid families settling in the Lehigh Valley. Nonprofit leaders said their agencies have received an abundance of clothes and food. But now the urgent need is affordable housing and transportation costs. “We’re feeling that we’re not able to help enough,” said Mary Colon, interim executive director of the Hispanic Center in south Bethlehem. “We just want to do more for our folks.”
  
The call for help was made at a press conference Tuesday held by officials from the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, nonprofits involved in helping the victims of Hurricane Maria and community leaders. The Hispanic Center and Casa Guadalupe in Allentown have already helped more than 60 families each from Puerto Rico.
  
Many leaving Puerto Rico have come to the Lehigh Valley because they have family here. The most recent U.S. Census figures showed about 64,000 people of Puerto Rican heritage live in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Unlike Texas and New York, Pennsylvania has not been designated a host state for Hurricane Maria survivors by the federal government, a designation that would bring federal money. That means nonprofits and community groups must use their own small budgets to help victims.
  
Alan Jennings, executive director of the CACLV, said efforts to help Puerto Ricans coming to the Valley are putting a strain on nonprofits. Among the problems is charities don’t have enough staff to meet the demand. “These are nonprofits that struggle in the best of times,” he said. “Now we’ve got arguably the worst of times.” CACLV will collect monetary donations and disperse them among the groups. Donations can be made on CACLV’s website. Read on.

• The Silence Breakers[Person of the Year 2017, TIME Magazine]
Taylor Swift says she was made to feel bad about the consequences that her harasser faced. After she complained about a Denver radio DJ named David Mueller, who reached under her skirt and grabbed her rear end, Mueller was fired. He sued Swift for millions in damages. She countersued for a symbolic $1 and then testified about the incident in August. Mueller's lawyer asked her, on the witness stand, whether she felt bad that she'd gotten him fired. "I'm not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault," she told the lawyer. "I'm being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine." (Mueller said he would appeal.)
   In an interview with TIME, Swift says that moment on the stand fueled her indignation. "I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances," she says, "imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance." Like the five women gathered at that echoing soundstage in San Francisco, and like all of the dozens, then hundreds, then millions of women who came forward with their own stories of harassment, she was done feeling intimidated. Actors and writers and journalists and dishwashers and fruit pickers alike: they'd had enough. What had manifested as shame exploded into outrage. Fear became fury.
   This was the great unleashing that turned the #MeToo hashtag into a rallying cry. The phrase was first used more than a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke as part of her work building solidarity among young survivors of harassment and assault. A friend of the actor Alyssa Milano sent her a screenshot of the phrase, and Milano, almost on a whim, tweeted it out on Oct. 15. "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote, and then went to sleep. She woke up the next day to find that more than 30,000 people had used #MeToo. Milano burst into tears. Read on.

Default must be to trust the victim[NCR Editorial Staff, Dec. 12] In our legal system, we presume an accused person to be innocent until someone can prove otherwise. In the case of sexual assault, violence or harassment, that means the burden is on victims to prove their trustworthiness. Often, in those cases, we are asked to choose sides based on the stories of the only two people involved — the accuser and the accused. In the post-Weinstein milieu we are now experiencing, one is a woman and the other a man who holds some level of power. In a different conversation, the victims have been children and the powerful accused have been priests … Women, children, anyone who has been abused or who has felt some sexual pressure by a person in power must be shown the respect of our trust. They must feel confident that if they tell their stories, people will listen. Moreover, they must be able to draw from that sense of public trust in finding the strength to push back when faced with an ugly situation. Read on.

•  Boston. Racism. Image. Reality [Boston Globe, Spotlight]
The median net worth of non-immigrant African-American households in the Boston area is just $8, the lowest in a five-city study of wealth disparities. It’s hard to ignore the dramatic contrast to the $247,500 net worth for white households in the Boston area. That borders on insane and absurd. The disparity in Boston just transcends everything, said William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at Duke University who was one of the lead investigators of that study, which involved the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It’s just staggering. And when it comes to income alone, the imbalance looks like this: For every one black household earning more than $75,000 in the metro region, there are about 21 white ones. Read on. Read on.

• First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem property belongs to national denomination
[MC, Sarah M. Wojcik, Dec 12] A Northampton County judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the congregants of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem who’ve remained loyal to the national denomination in a court case over who keeps the sprawling church property on Center Street. In a 42-page ruling, President Judge Stephen Baratta declared that the 31.5-acre property was held in trust for the national denomination, Presbyterian Church USA, and was not the property of the church members to do with what they pleased.
  
Opposing the national body was a majority of the congregation that had joined with a more conservative branch of the church which, among other things, opposes gay marriage and gay ordination. Read on.

• Study ranks RC dioceses' online financial transparency [NCR, Peter Feuerherd, Dec. 7] Separated by a continent, the dioceses of Sacramento, California, and Camden, New Jersey, are also divided by degrees of financial transparency. Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time. That is a takeaway from a study on financial transparency undertaken recently by Voice of the Faithful, a church watchdog group. The study surveyed dioceses and archdioceses across the country, rating them from most transparent to most opaque. The study was based on how much financial information is accessible on diocesan websites. Read on. Also here.

• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 30Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22Here
• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• The Republican war on children[NYT, Paul Krugman, Dec 7] Let me ask you a question; take your time in answering it. Would you be willing to take health care away from a thousand children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir? Read on.

• Fight the tax plan and the coming budget cuts
[NCR Editorial Staff, Dec. 8] What is truly wrong with this plan, however, is that is just the first step of a two-step process that will accelerate the decades-long conservative agenda to shrink government and reduce social investments that aid all Americans.
  
Numerous analyses have shown the Republican messaging on this tax plan to be a lie. The plan does not favor the middle class. We have yet to see a final reconciliation bill, but what we have seen in the Senate and House versions are tax cuts that flow overwhelmingly to the richest households and to profitable corporations. The Senate bill would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance and severely undermine confidence in the health care market.
  
Numerous studies, even those done by government offices, say these plans will add a trillion dollars and probably more to the deficit. These studies, too, refute Republican claims that giving more money to the wealthy and large corporations will stimulate economic growth and generate enough revenues to offset the cuts. Read on.


SpiritSpin
• Questions[Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe] Sometimes attaining the deepest familiarity with a question is our best substitute for actually having the answer.”

• No word …One degree of separation. During a conversation yesterday with a friend of the mother of a young woman who was shot and killed recently, I mentioned that while a young child who has lost her parents is called an orphan, a wife who loses her husband is referred to as a widow, and a husband who loses his wife is a widower … there is no word for a parent who loses her child. "It's too terrible to name," she said. "It's not meant to happen."

• Finding and losing[Thomas Merton] Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

• Lost in translation?[NYT, Dec. 8] It has been a question of theological debate and liturgical interpretation for years, and now Pope Francis has joined the discussion: Does the Lord’s Prayer, Christendom’s resonant petition to the Almighty, need an update? Read on.

• The truth about the war on Christmas[Mic video] A Jesuit priest explains the truth about the "War on Christmas" — and it's really not what you think. Here.

• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spi


 

DioBeth
• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the People
Linked here from Trinity Bethlehem are Jubilate, a resource for hymn selection, and weekly Prayers of the People which may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in Word (.doc) and .pdf formats.

• DioBeth General News, Dec. 7 … Here.
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 30 … Here.
• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22 … Here

• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.


DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
Under "More Resources" way below.


Episcopal/Anglican
• Presiding Bishop Curry's Christmas Message 2017 Video and Transcript.

• House of Bishops, Alaska meeting … Three videos. Here.

Your Faith, Your Life  … [Church Publishing, Revised Edition of the 2009 book by Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis, Nov. 2017] The everything-you-need to know adult guide to the Episcopal Church that is easy to read but with substance for newcomers, adult formation groups, and lifelong Episcopalians who desire to know more about their church. The language of worship, theology, church structure, sacraments, and discipleship offers a framework to explore the meaning and practice of being an Episcopalian and follower of Jesus. Not just a book of information, but a book for transformation. Read on.
   "Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis have completed a generous update of the 2009 instant classic Your Faith, Your Life, presenting orthodoxy for the 21st century. It's not rewriting orthodoxy to include 21st century ideals, its showing that orthodoxy always included these ideals. New textbooks on physics aren't created because the immutable laws of physics have changed. New discoveries illuminate what was already there: quarks, gluons, earth-like planets. These don't change our view of Newton's laws of gravity, or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Likewise, Gamber and Lewellis have brought the "new" discoveries of the gospel of inclusion, the Jesus Movement, and the modern Church to a new guidebook of Episcopal identity. Your Faith, Your Life will be the new must have for Confirmation classes, adult education, college ministry, and other formation needs. It offers a simple guide through what it means to be an Episcopal disciple in the 21st century." ––Bill Campbell, Executive Director of Forma 

• The Good Book Club[ENS]  Resources now available. Here.

• The Toolkit of the Public Affairs Office … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."
• Sermons that work, Weekly bulletin inserts and more … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Charity Navigator…maintains lists of charities and offers advice on how to pick a charity. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is highly rated, above American Red Cross. Read on.

• An ethical guide to responsible giving[The Conversation] Before you reach for that checkbook or give to a charity online, pause to think about what makes a cause good in the first place. Read on.

Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
Here.
• Additional Resources

... way below


People



In the Media


TaleSpin
• Tom Roberts
[NCR, Dec. 8]
Tom Roberts, who has served the mission and readers of NCR for nearly 24 years, is retiring. The official record will note that Roberts joined NCR in January 1994 serving as managing editor, editor and editor at large. The simplicity of those words do not convey the true meaning of what Roberts has done for this news organization and for those of us who have had the privilege, honor and pleasure to have worked with him. Read on.
   [Bill] During my early years on the staff of the bishop of Allentown, as press liaison and communication minister, Tom was a young reporter at the old Bethlehem Globe under John Strohmeyer. We became good friends. His gifts, integrity and professionalism have been a blessing to journalism, especially along the religion landscape. Tom was one of three local journalists who left a deep impression on me. I remember his affection for Dan Berrigan and the story of the teenage Jesus he wove into a column, a story he heard from Berrigan. That story, with attribution, appeared in several of my own columns and sermons over the years. I suggested to Tom that his dream job might be with the National Catholic Reporter. He applied. NCR offered him a job in Washington, but the money wasn’t what he needed at the time. He then went to and saved “Religious” News Service – and happily changed its name. Ultimately, he became editor at the NCR. Tom was a progressive Roman Catholic thoughout his life. The RC Church in the U.S. owes Tom big time for the many time he kept that institution honest.


• Marketing stories, news and spotlights [The Mission] Seth Godin: “Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. People don’t trust the beautiful women ordering vodka at the corner bar (they’re getting paid by the liquor company). People don’t trust the spokespeople on commercials (who exactly is Rula Lenska?). And they certainly don’t trust the companies that make pharmaceuticals (Vioxx, apparently, can kill you). As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.” Read on.

• The nature and power of fiction … [AM, Liam Callanan, Oct. 31] Good nonfiction may teach us what to believe, but fiction teaches us how. Read on.


Requiescant in pace
Robert Hugh Nourse, 84 … died on Dec. 4.
He was a member of Trinity Easton. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
The evangelical slippery slope, from Ronald Reagan to Roy Moore [LATimes, Randall Balmer, Dec. 11] I left the evangelical subculture, more or less, at the end of the 1970s. Little did I know that evangelicals were then stepping onto their own slippery slope that would lead to Donald Trump and now Roy Moore. To say that I left the evangelical subculture is not quite accurate — and not only because evangelicalism is so stamped into my DNA that it is impossible to leave entirely. Evangelicalism really left me more than I left it. The religious tradition that shaped me was part of a long and noble movement that, in earlier generations of American life, took the part of those on the margins of society. Evangelicals, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sought to educate those on the bottom rungs of society so they would have a better life. They worked for the abolition of slavery and advocated equal rights, including voting rights for women.
   By the late 1970s, however, leaders of the religious right were preparing to abandon that legacy, and their first step onto the slippery slope was their embrace of Ronald Reagan. Read on.

• The real danger of religious lies …  [CNN, Daniel Burke, Dec. 2] Earlier this week, a Russian Orthodox cleric investigating the 1918 assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family raised the possibilityt hat it was a "ritual murder." To many observers, that statement might sound strange, but more or less inoffensive. To Jews, however, it raised the haunting specter of "blood libel," a pernicious and long-lasting lie about Jews murdering Christian children and using their blood in religious rituals. Used for hundreds of years as a pretext to torture, imprison and kill Jews, the "blood libel" myth may be the worst religious lie in circulation, but it is far from the only one. Read on.

• For unto (some of) us a child is born[Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman, Dec. 3]
This is the season when choral music aficionados will argue the merits of various renderings of G. F. Handel’s masterwork while pretty much ignoring the peculiar theology of the Charles Jennens libretto for Messiah—60 percent of which was stitched together from bits of the Hebrew Bible as viewed through the lens of Christian triumphalism. But attention should be paid to the theology, especially to the question of who exactly is the “us” in in Part 1, No. 12: “For unto us a child is born.” Read on.

• More Resources

... way below


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Fomer Salvadoran official extradited, to stand trial for murder of Jesuits[NCR, Nov. 29] A 9-year legal battle has ended with U.S. officials handing over custody of Inocente Orlando Montano, a former Salvadoran army colonel, to Spanish authorities who have indicted him for "terrorist" murder in connection with the 1989 Jesuit massacre in El Salvador. Read on.

• Policing the Communion line[Commonweal, Cathleen Kaveny, Nov. 29] Why sacramental rigorism backfires. Read on.


• How a group of California nuns challenged the Catholic Church[The Conversation, Diane Winston, Dec. 6]
California in the 1960s was the epicenter for spiritual experimentation. Indian gurus and New Age prophets, Jesus freaks and Scientologists all found followings in the Golden State. But among those looking for personal and social transformation, the unlikeliest seekers may have been a small community of Roman Catholic religious: the Immaculate Heart Sisters. Theirs was, as I discovered in my research on the order, a compelling spiritual saga, culminating in a showdown with the Catholic hierarchy. The story of that conflict spotlights the impact of the California dream on a Church in transition. Read on.

• NY Catholic archdiocese pays $40 million to sex abuse victimss[AP, Dec. 7]
Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse, the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday. The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed. Money for the payouts came through a long-term loan.Mediators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros evaluated victim claims and determined compensation. Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said he did not have a specific breakdown of how much each recipient received; some of the victims’ claims date back decades. The payouts averaged $211,600. Read on.


Diocese of Scranton
... Here.

Diocese of Allentown ... Here.


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Here
Catholic News Service ... Here.
Crux Now ... Here.
 

The Vatican
• Vatican Information Service blog
... Here.

• Vatican News/Info Portal ... Here.


Health and Wellness
• Forgetfulness and aging: What's normal?
Here.

• Flu shots
… Got mine. Got yours? Read on.

• More Resources… below.


Media/Print/Films/TV/Music/Tech

• A mess without adult supervision [Kevin Roose, NYTimes, Dec. 11]
If you’ve lost sleep worrying about the growing power of the alt-right — that shadowy coalition that includes white nationalists, anti-feminists, far-right reactionaries and meme-sharing trolls — I may have found a cure for your anxiety. Just try using its websites. Read on.

• Not So Great Escape[Rand Richards Cooper, Commonweal, Nov. 29] Cooper looks at Novitiate, writer-director Margaret Betts’s new film, set in 1964, about life among young cloistered nuns. “One can’t help but warm to the luminous performance of Margaret Qualley as Sister Cathleen,” Cooper writes. “But the religious life as Betts depicts it is little more than a stifling regimen of deprivation … Novitiate sets its sights not on eternity, but pathology.” Read on.

• Cue the religion scholar![RNS, Cathy Lynn Grossman, Dec. 1] Representing faith on the big and small screen. You try boiling down 400 years of religious history into a few seconds. Read on.


Websites, Podcasts and Blogs
The Episcopal CaféHere.

AnglicansOnlineHere.
Diocese of BethlehemHere.

The Episcopal ChurchHere.
Episcopal News ServiceHere. Story here.

• Radiolab … is a radio show and podcast about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
• The Axe Files with David Axelrod … is a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. David Axelrod is the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
• The Daily … This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
• Vox's The Weeds is a semiweekly policy podcast hosted by Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias.

Varia
• The Five People [Podcaster Tim Ferriss] You are the average of the five people you most associate with.

• A murmuration of starlings … [Aeon] The flight of a starling flock at dusk, known as a murmuration, is one of nature’s most beguiling sights. Blurring the line between the individual and the group, murmurations involve synchronised swooping patterns to ward off predators and exchange information in a manner that’s still something of a mystery to scientists. Read on.

• Why you need to touch your keys to believe they're in your bag[Aeon] An important aspect of touch is often missed: touching is more psychologically reassuring than seeing. Touch does not always make us experience things better, but it certainly makes us feel better about what we experience. Even when we can see that the keys are in our bags, we are much more certain that they are once we’ve touched them.
What might seem almost superstitious at first could however have deeper reasons. The assurance that touch gives us makes it rather special in our epistemic life. René Descartes came close to this diagnosis when he noted that the evidence we got from touch was somewhat harder to discard: ‘Of all our senses,’ he wrote in The World (1633), ‘touch is the one considered least deceptive and the most secure.’ We have perhaps to remember the biblical story of doubting Thomas to understand the privilege of touch: Thomas had to touch Christ’s wounds to be convinced the person in front of him was Jesus.
  
The story of Thomas tells us something important. Touching ‘to be sure’ is especially relevant when our other senses or beliefs create a situation of high uncertainty. Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder keep touching the objects of their anxiety, even though they can look at them: they return to turn off the tap, even when they can see or hear that no water is dripping. Research also shows that people experience apprehension when interacting with graphical user interfaces that display objects that cannot be touched. Touching reassures; knowing that things can’t be touched can create anxiety. Now why would touch bring us more certainty? Read on


Abbreviations of Sources
AM … America Magazine
AO
… Anglicans Online
AP
…ple Associated Press
CJR
… Columbia Journalism Review
COM
… Commonweal
CN
… Crux Now
CNS
… Catholic News Service
DoB
… Diocese of Bethlehem
EC
… Episcopal Café
ENS … Episcopal News Service
ERD … Episcopal Relief & Development
MC … Morning Call, Allentown
NCR … National Catholic Reporter
NYM … New York Magazine
NYT … New York Times
R&P … Religion&Politics
RNS … Religion News Service
TA … The Atlantic

TEC … The Episcopal Church
TLC … The Living Church
TNY … The New Yorker
WaPo … Washington Post
WSJ … Wall Street Journal


newSpin? … I decided years ago to call this newsletter and its related blog newSpin. The "S" in the middle suggests that some items are newS; others, Spin; others, both. Items I include as well as how and how often I present them are clues to my leanings. I think all of us spin. There's a lot more spin in the world of news than most editors own up to. Watch out for that upper case S in the middle. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul might be said to have spun "the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" [Mark 1:1]. We continue to spin that good news, as we experience and dance with the Risen Lord.
   The newSpin newsletter is uploaded to the newSpin blog and posted on a newSpin list of some 2,000 addresses every other Thursday. Many recipients forward it to others. It comes, of course, with some spin from the editor. The views expressed, implied or inferred in items or links contained in the newsletter or the blog do not represent the official view of the Diocese of Bethlehem unless expressed by or forwarded from the Bishop, the Standing Committee, the Canon to the Ordinary or the Archdeacon as an official communication. Comments are welcome on Bethlehem Episcopalians (if you have joined that interactive FaceBook group).

Bill Lewellis, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired
Communication Minister/Editor (1986-2010), Canon Theologian (1998-)
Blog, Email (c)610-393-1833
Be attentive. Be intelligent. Be reasonable. Be responsible.
Be in Love. And, if necessary, change. [Bernard Lonergan]


More Resources

DioBeth
• Look online every Thursday for a Diocese of Bethlehem newsletter or for newSpin … Every Thursday in the following rotation: (1) The Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) The General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. The Leadership News and the General News are official publications of the Diocese of Bethlehem. They include news, info, features and events relating to our diocese and parishes. The newSpin newsletter you are now reading is not an official publication – and will usually not duplicate news, info and features relating to our diocese and parish as found in the official newsletters. It is a relatively lengthy eclectic sampling of items related to religion – at times not, at times not so clearly – that the editor thinks readers might find to be of interest. It has been a kind of hobby of a onetime communication minister, the work of a volunteer who in retirement enjoys and dedicates time to do the research required. The newSpin newsletter is always posted on the newSpin blog. If you wish to receive it by email, please send a note to rebecca@canticleccommunications.com

• Look online … for the Diocese of Bethlehem Facebook Page, Facebook Group (Bethlehem Episcopalians) and Twitter feed.

• Bethlehem Episcopalians … is a Facebook group for conversations about mission, spirituality, Christian formation, and more that has replaced the old Bakery email list. Bethlehem Episcopalians is an open group. Anyone can join and items that you post can be shared by group members on their own Facebook pages. This offers each of us the opportunity to reach a larger audience with news and conversations about what God is doing in our diocese." Join the Facebook group. Includes more than 425 members

DioBeth website
Stumbling into the Sacred ... [Reflections on seeing God in the everyday by Canon Anne E. Kitch]
newSpin blog ... including the newSpin weekly by Bill Lewellis.
Facebook Page  … Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Facebook Group … Bethlehem Episcopalians
Twitter
Flickr
YouTube
Vimeo
LinkedIn

Center for Congregations ... The "Using Resources" series of publications by the Center for Congregations is designed to help congregations make the most effective use of capital funds, consultants, architects, contractors, books, congregation management software, and more.
Congregational Consulting ...  More information on how to contact the consultants can be found here and at http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/ .
• Church locators ... Here.
• ECF Vital Practices ... Here.
The Chalice, a publication created by Joan DeAcetis for older adults and caretakers. Download issues here.
• Weekly Bulletin Inserts from the Episcopal Church ... Here.
• Calendar of events in our parishes ... Here.

DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
• Allentown: Episcopal House … Here.
• Allentown: Grace … Here.
• Allentown: Grace Montessori School … Here.
• Allentown: Mediator … Here. Refugee Community Center … Here.
• Allentown/Bethlehem: St. Andrew … Here.
• Athens: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Nativity Cathedral … Here. Emergency Shelter … Here.
• Bethlehem: New Bethany Ministries … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity … Here.
• Bethlehem: Trinity Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Carbondale: St. James-St. George … Here.
• Clarks Summit/Glenburn: Epiphany … Here.
• Dallas: Prince of Peace … Here.
• Douglassville: St. Gabriel … Here.
• Easton: Trinity … Here.  ARK Soup Kitchen … Here.
• Emmaus: St. Margaret … Here.
• Forest City: Christ Church … Here.
• Hazleton: St. Peter … Here.
• Hamlin: St. John … Here.
• Hellertown: St. George … Here.
• Honesdale: Grace … Here.
• Jermyn: St. James/St. George … Here.
• Jim Thorpe: St. Mark/St. John … Here.
• Kingston: Grace … Here.
• Lebanon: St. Luke … Here.
• Lehighton: All Saints … Here.
• Milford: Good Shepherd … Here.
• Montrose: St. Paul … Here.
• Morgantown: St. Thomas … Here.
• Moscow: St. Mark … Here.
• Mountain Top: St. Martin-in-the-Fields … Here.
• Mount Pocono: … Here.
• Nanticoke/Alden Station: St. Andrew … Here.
• Nazareth: St. Brigid … Here.
• Palmerton: St. John … Here.
• Pen Argyl: St. Joseph … Here.
• Pottsville: Trinity … Here.
• Reading: Christ Church … Here.  SPARK … Here.
• Reading: St. Mary: … Here.
• Sayre: Redeemer: … Here.
• Schuylkill County: North Parish … Here.
• Scranton: St. Luke: … Here.
• Sinking Spring: St. Alban … Here.
• Stroudsburg: Christ Church … Here.
• Towanda: Christ Church … Here.
• Trexlertown: St. Anne … Here.
• Tunkhannock: St. Peter … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen … Here.
• Whitehall: St. Stephen School … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Clement/St. Peter … Here.
• Wilkes-Barre: St. Stephen … Here.
• West Pittston: Trinity … Here.
• Wind Gap: St. Mary … Here.
[Bill] Please let me know if your website is not listed above. Also, let me know if you would like me to highlight something on your site. Please note, also, that a few of the websites need to be updated. Thanks.]

• Data and Analysis from the 2016 Parochial Reports … of the Episcopal Church are available here.

Episcopal/Anglican
• The Episcopal Church website, news service, news service blog,
Episcopal Café
• AngicansOnline website and news centre.
The Living Church
• The Anglican Communion website and news service.
• The Daily Scan: Contact publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org to add subscribers for news releases, notices, statements, or Daily Scan.
• Free weekly bulletin inserts provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Find the inserts here.
Updated Episcopal Church canons and constitution ... Here.
• Forward Movement ... Here.
• Episcopal Web Radio ... Here.
• Episcopal Church Event Calendar ... Here

• The Toolkit … of the Public Affairs Office is located on the Public Affairs pages of The Episcopal Church website here. Among the items are: Topics – topics of interest and dates of importance. Catalog – a list of important topics along with actions taken by The Episcopal Church and General Convention. Getting started - an easy how-to for getting started in preparing materials, media releases, op-eds, etc. For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer, publicaffairs@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6080.

Sermons that work … The Episcopal Church welcomes many different points of view, and sermons offered during an Episcopal service may vary greatly from congregation to congregation. Although there is no “typical” or on'e-size-fits-all sermon for Episcopal congregations, the sermons in this series are selected for their universal qualities so that they may be useful to a wide variety of small congregations without full-time priests on staff, where lay leaders often shoulder the responsibility of delivering the sermons on Sunday. To assist these small congregations, the Episcopal Church offers Sermons That Work, new sermons each week for Sundays and major feast days throughout the liturgical year. Here.

Weekly bulletin inserts … provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. Here. There's also an archive dating back to 2006.

Ecumenical/Interfaith Relations
• The Episcopal Church
… is currently in full communion relationship with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

   The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships. Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. Canon Maria Tjeltveit of the Church of the Mediator in Allentown is the designated officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. Read on.

• Five major world religions
… Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  • Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.  
• Protestant Reformation… 
Khan Academy's introduction to the Protestant Reformation

• Five major world religions … Khan Academy's tour through five major world religions.  •
Buddhism,  • Christianity,  • Hinduism,  • Islam,  • Judaism.   MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

• Protestant Reformation
  Khan Academy's introduction to the
Protestant Reformation  MOVE UNDER 'MORE RESOURCES'

SpiritSpin
• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• The Imitation of Christ ... Available free online.

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.


Bible&Worship
• The Lectionary ... A collection of Lectionary resources for the Episcopal Church, updated Sunday night. Here.
• Lectionary Page ... A liturgical calendar for upcoming weeks, with links to readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), as adapted for use in Episcopal worship. Here.
• Revised Common Lectionary ... Here.
• The Liturgical Calendar ... BCP, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, HWHM ... Here.
• Oremus Bible Browser ... Here.
• Celebrating the Eucharist, by Patrick Malloy. Google Book
• Enriching our Worship, 1 to 5 ... Free download here.
• The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant: Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships [Extracted from Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing] Here.
• Collection of worship resources at Diobeth.org ... Including Diocesan Cycles of Prayer for weekly worship, Holy Women Holy Men, and The Text This Week. Here.

Health and Wellness
• Resources for caregivers ... Here.
• Medline Plus ... Here
• WebMD ... Here.
• Alzheimers.gov ... For people helping people with Alzheimers. Here.
• Three Free Apps for getting qualified medical advice... [Techlicious] Urgent Care, HealthTap and First Aid. Info and links.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Center for Disease Control - Healthy Living
Church Health Reader

Eastern Pennsylvania Faith Community Nurses
Episcopal Mental Illness Network
Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH

National Episcopal Health Ministries
NEHM Wellness Resource Page 

Let's Move

News/info/commentary
• Religion News Service Daily Roundup ... here.
• Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Daily Religion Headlines ... here.
• Religious Freedom Blog ... a weekly look back at the top stories and developments on religious liberty around the world. Here.
• National Catholic Reporter ... here.
• BBC News Online ... here.
• BBC Religion & Ethics ... here.
• Faith in Public Life ... Here.
• Religion&Ethics News Weekly (PBS) ... Here.
• Religion Research Hub ... ARDA, Association of Religion Data Archives, an especially useful site.
• Back issues of the newSpin newsletter ... here.

Media/Film/TV/Books/Podcasts/Music/Tech
• Spirituality & Film ... Here.
• Spirituality on DVD ... Here.
• Books for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Audios for Spiritual Journeys ... Here.
• Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg  ... Here
• Free Audiobooks from LibriVox ... Here
• Free Audiobooks and eBooks ... Here and Here.
• Google Books ... Millions of books you can preview or read free. Here
• The Online Books Page ... from UPenn. Here.
• More free eBooks  and Audiobooks ... [Techlicious] Here.
• Telling the good news, in the media ... [Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson] If the media isn’t telling the stories you want told about your congregation, it is possible (we say very gently) that those stories aren’t interesting or significant enough to warrant coverage. Or, it is possible that you are not presenting them to the media in a way that catches their attention. Or perhaps you have not presented stories to the media at all. It isn’t easy to get your congregation, diocese, conference, or other sort of Christian organization into the newspaper or in online media outlets unless something has gone significantly wrong. It is even harder to get it on television or the radio. But it is possible if you absorb these 10 simple tips. Read on.
• Communicate … Your Ministry, including Bill's Communication Biases and Communication-Evangelism. Here.

Varia
• Insights into Religion ... Here.
• The Alban Institute ... Here.

 

 


newSpin 171130

newSpin, the newsletter
November 30
, 2017 – Bill Lewellis


TopSpin
• A great migration from Puerto Rico is set to transform Orlando[NYT, Nov. 17] Ten intolerable days after Hurricane Maria trounced Puerto Rico, Sahria Garcia finally got a call from her brother on the island. The call lasted three minutes and the news shook her: Her family had lost everything — jobs, houses, possessions, cars — and had spent days foraging for food, ice and water. Ms. Garcia, who lives in a small Orlando apartment with her three children, did not hesitate: “Don’t even ask,” Ms. Garcia said she told her brother during their conversation. “This is your house.”
  
Last week, they arrived — two brothers, their wives and their four children — and plopped onto newly bought bunk beds. The family is one small part of a sudden exodus of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans racing to Florida after Hurricane Maria, a migration so large it rivals those from New Orleans to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and from Cuba to Miami during the Mariel boatlift. The scale is larger than any previous movement of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. Read on.

• Nativity Cathedral hosting family of six from Puerto Rico[Dean Tony Pompa] The Cathedral community is responding to the crisis in Puerto Rico following the devastation of recent hurricane by providing short term housing to a family of 6. This family has endured much over the last year and now their home in Puerto Rico has met with complete devastation. Three adults and three children have been given refuge in an apartment on Cathedral grounds. One of the children is in need of medical treatment that cannot be provided in Puerto Rico. We are working closely with the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley who are providing a great deal of support. One member of this family is a social worker looking for employment. Read on.

• Influx of people from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico training Lehigh Valley agencies[TMC] Community groups are feeling the strain of helping people flee hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, and are pleading for cash donations to aid families settling in the Lehigh Valley. Nonprofit leaders said their agencies have received an abundance of clothes and food. But now the urgent need is affordable housing and transportation costs. “We’re feeling that we’re not able to help enough,” said Mary Colon, interim executive director of the Hispanic Center in south Bethlehem. “We just want to do more for our folks.”
  
The call for help was made at a press conference Tuesday held by officials from the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, nonprofits involved in helping the victims of Hurricane Maria and community leaders. The Hispanic Center and Casa Guadalupe in Allentown have already helped more than 60 families each from Puerto Rico.
  
Many leaving Puerto Rico have come to the Lehigh Valley because they have family here. The most recent U.S. Census figures showed about 64,000 people of Puerto Rican heritage live in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Unlike Texas and New York, Pennsylvania has not been designated a host state for Hurricane Maria survivors by the federal government, a designation that would bring federal money. That means nonprofits and community groups must use their own small budgets to help victims.
  
Alan Jennings, executive director of the CACLV, said efforts to help Puerto Ricans coming to the Valley are putting a strain on nonprofits. Among the problems is charities don’t have enough staff to meet the demand. “These are nonprofits that struggle in the best of times,” he said. “Now we’ve got arguably the worst of times.” CACLV will collect monetary donations and disperse them among the groups. Donations can be made on CACLV’s website. Read on.

• Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem welcomed and served 250 guests on Thanksgiving … Thanks to the generous service and ministry of 30+ volunteers. See a 2015 report on Trinity Soup Kitchen here.

• Don't be the one without coverage
… The Trump administration has cut funding for advertising during the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act medical insurance. A Los Angeles graphic design firm responded to that situation by offering a set of free downloadable advertisements that any congregation or organization can use in encouraging enrollment. Find the material here.

• Texting while driving – Tragic all around[Morning Call] A 21-year-old Palmer Township man was formally charged Wednesday with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in the crash that killed 12-year-old Emma Raymondo. Authorities say Dylan T. Groff was texting while driving on Sept. 22 when he hit Emma along Route 248 near her home.
   A crying woman, who identified herself as Groff’s mother, told [District Judge Jackie] Taschher that her son “is the most honest and trustworthy human being you will ever find.” Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Groff was neither drunk or speeding the day of the crash. But, he said, Groff’s decision to use his cellphone while driving proved just as dangerous and sparked a tragedy when he drifted onto the shoulder of Route 248 and hit Emma, who was walking home with her younger siblings after buying ice cream at a nearby convenience store. Groff stayed at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators, authorities said. Pennsylvania court records show no prior criminal history. Read on.

•  A free workshop on domestic violence[Turning Point] Join us Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 9 to 10 AM, for an educational presentation for pastors and laity at Dubbs Memorial Community Center (457 W. Allen St., Allentown). Topics include the dynamics of an abusive relationship, how a person takes power and control over the life of another, the cycle of abuse, and the effects of abuse on the victim, the children, and the community. We will also discuss how you can recognize, support, respond, and refer victims of domestic abuse to supportive services. To confirm your attendance, call Miriam R
ivera of Turning Point Lehigh Valley at 610-797-0530 ext. *226 or email Rev. Larry Pickens. All spiritual leaders are welcome to attend.

• Fifty years later, religious progressives launch a new Poor People's Campaign [Religion and Politics, Nov. 27] I
n the past 18 months Bishop William Barber, the longtime president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the state’s Moral Mondays movement, has given a blockbuster speech at the Democratic National Convention, appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times, helped topple a Republican governor, received attention from major Democratic funders, and otherwise established himself as a rising star of progressive politics. But when, in May, Barber announced that he was stepping down from his North Carolina positions to launch a national campaign, he didn’t join a big progressive organization. Instead, Barber announced that he would partner with the Kairos Center—a little-known anti-poverty organization housed at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Read on.

• Jubilate, Advent 2017 to Last Epiphany 2018, and weekly Prayers of the PeopleLinked here from Trinity Bethlehem are Jubilate, a resource for hymn selection, and weekly Prayers of the People which may be used in place of the forms found in the Book of Common Prayer. Both are prepared by Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate. They are available in Word (.doc) and .pdf formats.

• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22Here
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 16Here.
• DioBeth General News, Nov. 9
Here.

• Bishop Search Committee websiteHere.

********  [A DioBeth newsletter (General or Leadership) or the unofficial newSpin newsletter is published online on Thursdays in the following rotation: (1) Leadership News, (2) The newSpin newsletter, (3) General News, (4) The newSpin newsletter. If you are not receiving these newsletters by email, be in touch with Paula Lapinski (610-691-5655, paula@diobeth.org). If you find something online or in print(or if you'd like to write something) that you think might warrant inclusion in the newSpin newsletter for the sake of many, please send the link or your text to bill.lewellis@gmail.com ********

Intersection: Religion, Culture, Politics.
• It started as a tax cut. Now it could change American life[NYT, Peter . Goodman and Patricia Cohennov, Nov. 29] The tax plan has been marketed by President Trump and Republican leaders as a straightforward if enormous rebate for the masses, a $1.5 trillion package of cuts to spur hiring and economic growth. But as the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.
  
Some of this re-engineering is straight out of the traditional Republican playbook. Corporate taxes, along with those on wealthy Americans, would be slashed on the presumption that when people in penthouses get relief, the benefits flow down to basement tenements. Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill — both on the wish list of the evangelical right.

   With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services. In their longstanding battle to shrink government, Republicans have found in the tax bill a vehicle to broaden the fight beyond Washington. The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic. All of this is taking shape at such extraordinary velocity, absent the usual analyses and hearings, that even the most savvy Washington lobbyist cannot be fully certain of the implications. Read on.

• GOP 'war' on Johnson Amendment turns serious
[RNS, Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk, Nov. 19] When last we visited Republican meddling with the Johnson Amendment, it was (according to me) much ado about very little. With passage of the tax bill in the House of Representatives, it has turned into something serious.   Read on.  Update … Killing the Johnson Amendment about more than religion. Read on.

• We're on the verge of a profligate arms race[NCR Editorial, Nov. 30]
Pope Francis' condemnation of nuclear weapons, "the threat of their use, as well as their very possession," has come at a crucial time, perhaps in the nick of time. The possibility that nuclear weapons could actually be used and the cataclysm their use would wreak on the planet has never been greater than right now.
   Just days after Donald Trump became president, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of its doomsday clock to two and half minutes to midnight. Reasons cited for the push included North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons, tensions between the United States and Russia, "a rise in strident nationalism worldwide … including in a US presidential campaign," and Trump's disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons. We know all too well how these trends have deepened and darkened through this year. Read on.

• Truthfeed spreads pro-Trump propaganda
The website has connections to the president’s camp—and white supremacists. Read on.

• Trump retweets video critical of Muslims … President Donald Trump retweeted a series of inflammatory videos Wednesday (Nov. 29) purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims. Trump retweeted them from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, a small fringe group whose profile was elevated by Trump’s attention. The group’s tweets read: “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” and “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” Read on. Also, The British prime minister's office said President Trump was 'wrong' to share anti-Muslim videos by U.K. nationalists, a rare rebuke by an ally. Here. Also here. And here.

• The Russia Investigation's spectacular accumulation of lies[WaPo, Michael Gerson, Nov. 16] There is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self- ­protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing. The implications of all this are not only legal and political. We are witnessing what happens when right-wing politics becomes untethered from morality and religion. Read on.

• The Nationalist's Delusion[The Atlantic] One hundred thirty-nine years since Reconstruction, and half a century since the tail end of the civil-rights movement, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who explicitly pledged to use the power of the state against people of color and religious minorities, and stood by him as that pledge has been among the few to survive the first year of his presidency. Their support was enough to win the White House, and has solidified a return to a politics of white identity that has been one of the most destructive forces in American history. This all occurred before the eyes of a disbelieving press and political class, who plunged into fierce denial about how and why this had happened. That is the story of the 2016 election. Read on.



SpiritSpin
• Imagining a new America[Krista Tippett of "On Being" interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates] He is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. His books include The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir, Between the World and Me, and most recently, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Listen to or read the transcript.


• The Book of Common Prayer ... every edition from 1549 to 1979. Here.
• Prayers and Thanksgivings from the BCP ... Here.
• The (Online) Book of Common Prayer ... Here.
• The Daily Office ... can be read online in Rite I, Rite II or the New Zealand Prayer Book versions. At Mission St. Clare.
• The Daily Office ... from the Diocese of Indianapolis. Here.
• The Prayer Site ... a resource of Forward Movement. Here.
• Speaking to the Soul ... Episcopal Café blog. Sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality. Here.
• Spirit Resources
 ... way below


Columns, Sermons, Reflections, other Spin

• The Da Vinci Lode[NYT Editorial Board, Nov. 16] The sale of Leonardo's "Salvator Mundi" for almost a half-billion dollars says more about grotesque financial inequality than about art. Read on

DioBeth

• DioBeth Leadership News, Nov. 22 … Here
• The newSpin Newsletter, Nov. 16 … Here.
• DioBeth General News, Nov. 9… Here.

• Bishop Search Committee website … Here.


DioBeth Parish and Agency Websites
Under "More Resources" way below.


Episcopal/Anglican
• Our moral opportunity on climate change [NYT, archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Nov. 3] As a global family of churches, the Anglican Communion has stood alongside other faiths in prayerful solidarity and compassion with victims and survivors of the recent extreme weather in many places around the world. Read on.

• House of Bishops, meeting in Alaska … Three videos. Here.

Your Faith, Your Life  … [Church Publishing, Revised Edition of the 2009 book by Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis, Nov. 2017] The everything-you-need to know adult guide to the Episcopal Church that is easy to read but with substance for newcomers, adult formation groups, and lifelong Episcopalians who desire to know more about their church. The language of worship, theology, church structure, sacraments, and discipleship offers a framework to explore the meaning and practice of being an Episcopalian and follower of Jesus. Not just a book of information, but a book for transformation. Read on.
   "Jenifer Gamber and Bill Lewellis have completed a generous update of the 2009 instant classic Your Faith, Your Life, presenting orthodoxy for the 21st century. It's not rewriting orthodoxy to include 21st century ideals, its showing that orthodoxy always included these ideals. New textbooks on physics aren't created because the immutable laws of physics have changed. New discoveries illuminate what was already there: quarks, gluons, earth-like planets. These don't change our view of Newton's laws of gravity, or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Likewise, Gamber and Lewellis have brought the "new" discoveries of the gospel of inclusion, the Jesus Movement, and the modern Church to a new guidebook of Episcopal identity. Your Faith, Your Life will be the new must have for Confirmation classes, adult education, college ministry, and other formation needs. It offers a simple guide through what it means to be an Episcopal disciple in the 21st century." ––Bill Campbell, Executive Director of Forma

• In Conversation: Michael Curry and Barbara Harris is the first volume of Church Publishing’s new In Conversation series focusing on dialogues between leaders. Edited by Fredrica Harris Thompsett. Curry serves the Episcopal Church as its 27th presiding bishop. Harris is the first female bishop elected by the Anglican Communion (1989). Thompsett, a historian and theologian, is professor emerita of historical theology at the Episcopal Divinity School, where she also served as academic dean for fourteen years. Read on.

• Planning for Rites and Rituals: A Resource for Episcopal Worship, Year B 2017-2018 [Church Publishing] From the introduction: A wide range of thought-provoking creative options for Sundays and holy days. Looking for ways to engage a range of ages? It's here. Looking for help "seeing" the images in each week's scripture? We've got that. Want hymns keyed to the lectionary or brief introductions to the scriptures? It's all here, in a single resource. Read an excerpt here

• Episcopal News Service (ENS) has launched a leading-edge new website. Visually appealing, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly, the new ENS website was designed to improve the overall user experience, raise awareness of the news service, and generate further interest and engagement in the life-changing ministries of the Episcopal Church. Story here.

• The Toolkit of the Public Affairs Office … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."
• Sermons that work, Weekly bulletin inserts and more … Way down, under "More Resources," at "Episcopal/Anglican."

Evangelism/Stewardship/Church Growth/Migration/ERD
• Charity Navigator…maintains lists of charities and offers advice on how to pick a charity. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is highly rated, above American Red Cross. Read on.

Episcopal Migration MinistriesHere.
Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN)Here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)Here
• Episcopal Asset Map
Here.
• Additional Resources

... way below


People



In the Media


TaleSpin
• Stop watching your local news?
… The news you think is "neutral" isn't neutral at all. Read on.

• Can Time survive the Kochs? [TNY, Jane Mayer, Nov. 26] Time magazine’s cover story from its November 6th issue was a point of pride in its twelve-person Washington bureau. It featured three swinging wrecking balls emblazoned with Donald Trump’s face and a tough-minded, fact-laden investigative report on three Trump Cabinet secretaries who were systematically dismantling protective regulations in their respective government agencies. The section on Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was particularly critical, opening with a story from a mother from Minnesota whose eight-month-old baby appeared to have suffered brain damage from a pesticide that Pruitt’s E.P.A. had recently removed from the list of banned chemicals after meeting with executives from the company that manufactures it. (An E.P.A. spokesperson told Time that the conversation was brief and that the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, was not discussed.)
   The sale of Time Inc. earlier this week, to the Meredith Corporation—a deal made possible by an infusion of six hundred and fifty million dollars from Koch Industries’ private-equity arm—has called into question whether such independent, accountability journalism from the media company will continue. For decades, Charles and David Koch have spent a staggering amount of money from their family’s private oil, gas, and chemical fortune to attack government regulations—particularly concerning the environment, where their company has a history of record-breaking violations. The brothers even helped sponsor Pruitt’s political career. As the New York Times reported, political operatives working for the Kochs also wrote the early blueprint for the Trump Administration’s rollback of Obama-era regulations, a corporate wish list called, “A Roadmap to Repeal.” And, as I reported, Pruitt placed Patrick Traylor, a lawyer for Koch Industries and other fossil-fuel companies, in charge of the E.P.A.’s enforcement of key anti-pollution laws. In other words, the Kochs are directly invested in promoting policies and politicians that the publications they now partly own would ordinarily cover.
   Despite their long and deep involvement in trying to align American politics with their conservative libertarian views, spokesmen for the Kochs insist that the multibillionaire brothers have no plans to play any role in running or shaping the editorial content of the Time Inc. publications. In addition to Time magazine, the company publishes Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, Money, and several other previously iconic national weeklies. Instead, spokesmen for the Kochs and for Meredith say that the brothers intend to act merely as “passive” investors. They and their underlings will have no seat on the merged company’s board of directors, and play no managerial role other than meeting on a quarterly basis with senior management to discuss “financial and strategic matters.” According to an eighty-page agreement on the merger filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Kochs do, however, reserve the right to send an emissary to attend board meetings if Meredith fails to make good on its hefty 8.5-per-cent interest payments to the Kochs. But the brothers’ motive for financing such a large chunk of the $2.8 billion merger, according to those close to the deal, is purely financial, akin to the role that Carlos Slim Helú, the Mexican telecom tycoon, has played at the Times, where he is the single largest investor.
   Those familiar with the Kochs’ history, however, have reason to be skeptical about their professed passivity.  Read on.

• Jay-Z spoke with the NYT's top editor
about therapy, politics, marriage, the state of rap and being a black man in Trump's America … [NYT, Dean  Baquet, Nov. 29] Watch and/or read.


• A teacher's perspective on Wonder … Last night, my family went to see the movie Wonder. I hoped my two, young sons would watch the movie and leave with a renewed understanding of what it means to be kind, but I wasn’t prepared for the lesson it had for me.

   It is November. The season of darkness and paperwork. By November, teachers are run down. The September honeymoon has worn off, and students, co-workers, administrators and parents are all showing their true colors. Feeling constantly behind and exhausted, we are trying to remember why we ever wanted to do this job in the first place. We feel defeated and discouraged. We know it is far too early in the year to feel this overwhelmed, and we wonder if we even have what it takes.
   Wonder is the story of Auggie Pullman, a 5th grade boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a condition that can cause extreme facial difference. Auggie’s disability is obvious. It is a constant reminder of the struggles he faces. Read on.

• Unmistakable goodness … Sometimes the Universe goes out of its way to remind you of unmistakable goodness. Read on


Requiescant in pace
• Marion L. Gavern … died on Nov. 23.
She was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Scranton, and until her illness, St. Luke's was a very big part of her life. She was a Sunday school teacher, served in the choir, Altar Guild, all fundraisers, especially the baking of Welsh Cookies. Obituary.

• Mary Capone, 97 … died on Nov. 20. She was a lifelong member of St. Mary's in Wind Gap where she taught Sunday School, and was a former member of the ECW. Obituary.

• Della Reese, 86
… died on Nov. 19. A onetime gospel singer, minister and groundbreaking African-American talk show host, she was later known for her lead role in the TV series “Touched by an Angel." Read on.

Joseph Gwilym Morris Jr, 88 … died on Nov. 26. Dr. Morris was a member of St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre. Obituary.

Ecumenism, Interfaith, Pluralism – or Not
• More Resources

... way below


Evangelical Lutheran Church
• ELCA WebsiteHere.

• ELCA News ServiceHere.
• ELCA BlogsHere.

Moravian Church
• Moravian Church in North America  Website.  

• Moravian Church Northern Province Website
• Moravian Theological Seminary Website.

United Methodist Church
News Service Here.
Communication Resources ... Start here.
Eastern PA Conference website Here.
Facebook Here.
Bishop Peggy Johnson's blog Here.

Presbyterian Church USA
• Website
... Here
• News & Announcements ... Here.

Roman Catholic
• Fomer Salvadoran official extradited, to stand trial for murder of Jesuits[NCR, Nov. 29] A 9-year legal battle has ended with U.S. officials handing over custody of Inocente Orlando Montano, a former Salvadoran army colonel, to Spanish authorities who have indicted him for "terrorist" murder in connection with the 1989 Jesuit massacre in El Salvador.

• RC priests raped children in Philadelphia, but the wrong people went to jail[Newsweek, Ralph Cipriano, Nov. 30] Philadelphia Detective Joe Walsh was admired by peers and prosecutors, but he is most proud of the fact that he never locked up an innocent person. Then he got sucked into a massive cover-up of sexual abuse by priests. [Bill] This is a lengthy, intriguing story that includes a few paragraphs on something I had not heard about, the late Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's affairs with women and his lack of financial restraint in his personal life while presiding over the painful downsizing of the archdiocese. Read on.