Three Episcopal clergy take part in Moravian clergy retreat

[From Deacon Sally Bosler]

The Clergy/Staff Retreat of the Moravian Eastern District was held at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, PA on May 23-25, 2011. This year, The Rev. David Bennett, the President of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, invited Bishop Paul Marshall to send three clergy persons from the Diocese of Bethlehem to attend the retreat, thereby expanding the process of exploring the full communion between the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church.  Joining the thirty-plus Moravian pastors, gathered from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, were The Rev. Andrea Baldyga, Church of the Redeemer, Sayre, PA., The Rev. Sally Bosler, St. Gabriel’s, Douglassville, PA., and The Rev. Terrence Wible, St. Luke’s, Lebanon, PA. The retreat, entitled “Cultivating Attentiveness” was led by Kairos: School of Spiritual Formation.
I arrived tired, still burdened by unfinished work, half relishing the promise of retreat and half begrudging the time set aside from my busy schedule. I was immediately welcomed by our Moravian brothers and sisters, who were also tired, but eager to journey together. My heart, mind and body all reacted to the deceleration, the conscious letting go of distractions advised by the team from Kairos. Cell phones, computers, books, unwritten sermons, etc. were to be left in our parked cars! I was invited to ‘simply be’, to rest and allow myself to be refreshed. I began to approach and then to practice silence, often awkwardly and imperfectly. Our shared “speaking” times together were rich with insight and the comments shared were often accompanied by nods born of common experience.  It was a time for listening to God, to self and to others, both when we were together and when alone. The retreat was a constant invitation to draw near. I embraced the diversity of people and experiences. With distractions at a minimum, conversation progressed past social convention into dialogue and relationship. It was a blessing to have the opportunity to greet several former classmates and to begin additional new friendships among the Moravian clergy. Deacon Sally

Women's Retreat, hosted by Cathedral

The Gold Box: Discover the Treasure Within

Deirdre Good 5x7 The Cathedral Church of the Nativity is hosting its annual retreat for women March 11-13 at Villa of Our Lady Retreat House, Mt. Pocono, open to all women in the Diocese of Bethlehem and surrounding dioceses in the Episcopal Church. This year's retreat leader is Deirdre Good, Professor of New Testament at General Theological Seminary in New York City. The Gold Box: Discover the Treasure Within is an invitation to receive Jesus' seemingly simple parables as gold boxes holding precious treasures. Together we will open these gold boxes to discover the meaning of parables for our lives today. The weekend will also feature generous fellowship, art responses, prayer stations and worship.
About the leader: Dr. Deirdre Good is professor of New Testament at The General Theological Seminary, specializing in the Synoptic Gospels, Christian origins, noncanonical writings and biblical languages. She is the author of many well-received books including Jesus' Family Values and most recently Studying the New Testament, with Bruce Chilton. Deirdre is a frequent contributor to EpiscopalCafe (, a website where writers and artists "reflect upon contemporary life in a context informed by faith."

For the complete announcement and registration form, download the pdf 2011 Womens Retreat or email Janet Kolepp at [email protected]

Please prayerfully consider coming. If you have questions call Janet Kolepp at 484-241-1252 or The Rev. Canon Mariclair Partee at 610-865-072

The Grace of Daily Obligation

A sermon preached by the Rev. Raymond Harbort
at the Eucharist at diocesan Clergy Retreat
on September 28, 2010. (Propers, Ministry III)

As I stand before you, the phrase “preaching to the choir” comes to mind.

You’ve probably heard all this before. It’s not original. But as my tutor back in the Paleolithic at General Seminary remarked as we were fussing over our sermons, “Never mind trying to be original. If it’s original, it’s probably heresy.”

Our passage from First Peter begins “The end of all things is near. therefore…” Then follows a series of exhortations for the church: “discipline yourselves for prayer…..maintain constant love among yourselves……be hospitable without complaining….serve, speak….with the strength that God supplies, that God may be glorified in all things. (I Peter 4:7-11) Exhortations for the church----and so for us who have been called and ordained to serve and to be examples to the flock. These things and all we promised to do at our ordination.

Two Episcopalians were comparing notes. One said, “Our rector’s sermons are like the peace of God. They pass all understanding.” The other said, “Our rector’s sermons are like the grace of God----never-ending.” “The end of all things is near.”

But in parish ministry, the end of all the things you have to do is never near. It is never-ending—like the grace of God that that upholds and enfolds and empowers us.

Continue reading "The Grace of Daily Obligation" »

Free Refresh/Retreat Day for Charity Knitters and Crocheters

[From Mother Laura Howell]

Greetings, all you crafty folks!

For quite  a while, some of us have been getting together in a group called "Crafting Your Prayers," where we lovingly and prayerfully
create various sorts of items. Currently, we're involved in a charity knitting and crocheting group at Knitter's Edge in Bethlehem. The St.
Francis Center for Renewal on Bridle Path Rd. in Bethlehem has offered us a quiet day, as a thank you for all that people have been doing for the needy in the community.

That day will be May 24, from 10:00-3:00. In the morning, we will gather to learn a new knitting or crocheting technique (the items will
be made for Turning Point Shelter). After a break for lunch, the afternoon session will have some spiritual/meditative reading and reflection while we work on our handcrafts.

The Retreat Day is free, but I do need to have you register, so we know how many rooms we need. Send a note to [email protected].

The Renewal Center has also offered to make lunch for us at a cost of $10. The chef wants to give us a special lunch (I can tell you that
when he says special, he means it!), but we need to let him know numbers in advance so he can order food. If you would like to attend
the day and share lunch, please let me know no later than Sunday, May 16. Later than that, check with me.

Hope to see some of you there.

Thank you to all of you who have made chemo caps, caps for the homeless, baby blankets, hats and scarves for seafarers, and so many
other things that bring comfort into difficult lives.



(The Rev.) Laura Thomas Howell, Obl.S.B.
[email protected]
Trinity Episcopal Church

“We have what we seek. We don’t have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us.”
T. Merton

Centering Prayer.How do you talk about silence?

How do you talk about silence?
Letting God enter the center of your being
By David Howell

“How do you talk about silence?” This question by Father Tom Ward shows the problem of describing centering prayer. Prayer, of course, is something personal that differs for each of us. The method of centering prayer is less concerned about asking God for something than it is about letting Him enter the center of our being.

Centering prayer has been used since ancient times, and is a form of meditation.  This definition comes from the web site: “Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence. It emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God. At the same time, it is a discipline to foster and serve this relationship by a regular, daily practice of prayer. Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970s by three Trappist monks, Father William Meninger, Father Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.”

Continue reading "Centering Prayer.How do you talk about silence?" »

Art & Prayer Lenten Workshop/Retreat, March 7


Saturday, March 7, 9:00 to 3:00, in the newly renovated, open nave of Grace Allentown. Lynn Penney will lead participants in the weaving of crosses from copper and cloth and in meditations on the Cross. No art experience is needed. The cost for the day is $30 which includes art materials and a soup and salad lunch.

"In Art & Prayer workshops, our focus is not on making “good art” – rather it is on creating something that speaks to what is sacred in our lives. Participants often find that making art can be a profound process of healing, prayer, and wholeness." [Lynn Penney]

Anyone with questions or for whom cost is a problem may speak with Cathy Constantin Reid at 484-547-1589.

Download a brochure and registration form below.
Download Art&PrayerTrifold


A Brush with God -- Icon Painting Retreat

Peter Pearson, a well known iconographer, teacher of iconography and author of A Brush with God: An Icon Painting Workbook, will offer a five day icon painting retreat at the Fatima Renewal Center in Dalton, PA (near Scranton) from May 18 to May 23.

During this retreat the participants will gather for prayer several times a day, study various aspects of Byzantine iconography, and paint their own icon of Saint George and the Dragon from start to finish.

This is a beginner level experience and there is no requirement for prior artistic experience. The cost for the entire week is $500 (including room and board). Further information is available by contacting Peter at 412-848-2642 or by email at [email protected].

Continue reading "A Brush with God -- Icon Painting Retreat" »

Peace Training Programs at Kirkridge

Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center will offer spiritually-grounded peace training, led by Janet Chisholm and Addison Bross, August 16-19. Creating a Culture of Peace: Nonviolence training for personal and social change is the kind of peacemaking training supported by General Convention, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and our Diocesan Peace Commission on which both presenters serve. A nationally-recognized leader in peacemaking, Chisholm is the originator of CCP. She is Kirkridge's Coordinator for Peacemaking, and a member of Christ Church, Stroudsburg. Bross, a member of Grace Church, Allentown, is Peace Studies Professor at Lehigh University. Download more information, as a word or pdf file, below.

Download creating_a_culture_of_peace.doc

Download creating_a_culture_of_peace.pdf

Kirkridge has been providing a place for rest and renewal to pilgrims along life’s journey. The Center is located on the beautiful Kittatinny Ridge of eastern Pennsylvania near Bangor, the Delaware Water Gap and the Pocono Mountains region. 

Kirkridge’s emphasis since 1942 has been the integration of contemplation and action for justice, or "Picket and Pray." Those early pilgrims and seekers who came to Kirkridge understood that the life of faith requires not only action to transform the world toward greater shalom, but also the cultivation of a deep spirituality to sustain that compassionate action. The legacy continues today, with a wide variety of programming and a growing constituency of folks from many faith traditions. Visit the Kirkridge website for details of many currently offered programs. Kirkridge draws presenters and retreatants from across the country. You may also download info about peace and justice programs in a table format for your use below.

Download k_weekends_table_w_bios.pdf

Download cc_with_discount.html

Continue reading "Peace Training Programs at Kirkridge" »

The Spiritual Aspects of Recovery

The Recovery Commission of the Diocese of Bethlehem invites recovering addicts, their families and friends to this retreat, Saturday, April 29 (9 to 3) at St. George's Episcopal Church, Hellertown. Facilitators will be Janet Charney and The Rev. Canon Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril. Lunch will be provided. Freewill offering to defray costs. Register by April 24, [email protected] or 610-868-0239.

You may download an 8 1/2 x 11 poster below, in pdf or MSWord format.

Download recovery_commission_retreat.pdf

Download recovery_commission_retreat.doc