Wilkes-Barre organ recitals and Lenten ecumenical services

Dear friends throughout the Diocese of Bethlehem and beyond:

Since the 1920s, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church has been host to an annual ecumenical Lenten series of services and organ recitals for downtown Wilkes-Barre and its surrounding communities.  The tradition will continue this year on Ash Wednesday, March 5th, with an organ recital at 11:30 am, followed by an ecumenical Lenten Service at 12:00 pm.

The theme of this year’s ecumenical services is “Finding Your Way Home.”  As in past years, the 2014 Lenten series will involve clergy, musicians, and laity from congregations throughout Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming Valley.  A soup-and-sandwich lunch will be served each week following the Lenten Service, with a suggested donation of $4.00 per person.  Members of the participating congregations will be the hosts for these lunches.  Offerings received at this year’s services and lunches will support the Wilkes-Barre Free Medical Clinic.

This year’s organ recitalists include gifted performers from throughout the United States, from as far away as Houston, Texas, Rochester, New York, and Washington, DC.  The Ash Wednesday Organ Recital at 11:30 am will be presented by Michael Smith, Chair of Performing Arts at The Shipley School and Organist and Choirmaster at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, both in Bryn Mawr (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania.  Before assuming these posts, he served as Director of Music at The Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts, where he was awarded the Pratt Chair of Music.  Michael earned his undergraduate degree in organ performance at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  While in Birmingham, Michael was assistant conductor of both the Samford A Cappella Choir and the Birmingham Boys Choir, and was choirmaster at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.  He went on to earn graduate degrees in organ and conducting at Yale University, where he served as graduate assistant conductor to the famed Yale Glee Club.  He has accompanied and conducted choirs on tours throughout Europe, Africa, Russia, and South America.  Mr. Smith’s St. Stephen’s recital will feature works by J. S. Bach, Eugene Bozza, and William Boyce.

The Service at 12 noon will be led by The Reverend Daniel FitzSimmons, Rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Martin in the Fields, Mountaintop.  The preacher will be The Reverend William J. Marshall, Jr., Interim Priest Associate of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre.  Special music will be presented by The Wilkes University Chorus, directed by Dr. Steven Thomas.  Organist and music director for these services will be St. Stephen’s Organist and Choirmaster, Canon Mark Laubach.  Hosts for the lunch that follows the March 5th service will be the Women of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral.

A schedule of participants in the remaining Lenten recitals and services follows …

March 12 – Organ recital by Stephen Distad, Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, Houston, TX; The Rev’d Peter Kuritz, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church of Wilkes-Barre (Liturgist); The Rev’d Shawn Walker, The First Baptist Church of Wilkes-Barre (Preacher); special music by Thomas Heinze, oboe; Lunch provided by Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church.

March 19 – Organ recital by John Richardson, The First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, PA; Ms. Caitlin Czeh, Wilkes University Campus Ministry (Liturgist); The Rev’d Msgr. Vincent Grimalia, St. Luke’s Villa, Wilkes-Barre (Preacher); special music by Earl Orcutt, horn; Lunch provided by St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church.

March 26 – Organ recital (starting ten minutes early at 11:20 am) by Robert Poovey, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, NY; The Rev’d Diane Sickler, Unity of NEPA (Liturgist); Rabbi Larry Kaplan, Temple Israel of Wilkes-Barre (Preacher); special music by The Wyoming Seminary Madrigal Singers, directed by John Vaida; Lunch provided by Unity of NEPA.

April 2 – Organ recital by John Bohl, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, K Street, Washington, DC; The Rev’d William J. Marshall, Jr., St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre (Liturgist); The Rev’d Diane Sickler, Unity of NEPA (Preacher); special music by John Michael Vaida, violin; Lunch provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church, Wilkes-Barre.

April 9 – Organ recital by Thomas Sheehan, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA; The Rev’d Dr. Robert Zanicky, The First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre (Preacher); special music by Carol A. Tome, mezzo-soprano; Lunch provided by The First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre.

April 16 – Organ recital by Carl Ruck, Church of Christ Uniting, Kingston, PA; Ms. Caitlin Czeh, Wilkes University Campus Ministry (Preacher); special music by The Marywood University Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Rick Hoffenberg.

I hope many of you can join us for at least one or more of these recitals and services!

Wishing you and yours a blessed and holy Lenten season ...

Mark Laubach
Canon Mark Laubach, Organist & Choirmaster
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Bethlehem
35 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701
Church Phone: (570)825-6653
Church Fax: (570)825-0430
Mark's Mobile Phone: (570)704-7055

Sermon by Bill Lewellis at Bishop Paul's retirement

God-baked, God-broken, God-made
Bishop Paul’s Retirement
St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, W-B
Sermon by Bill Lewellis, Dec. 15, 2013
Ezekiel 34:11-16; 2Timothy 4:1-8; John 21:15-19

Bill preaching at Paul retirementLove is a word
"Do you love me?" Yes, Lord, I love you. Then what?

"Do you love me, Paul, Diana, Anne, Howard, Andrew?” Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Love is a word. Then what? 

Even God's Word became flesh.

When Bishop Paul heard this passage read also at his 1996 consecration, as today, this passage about loving God and being taken to difficult places, he must have suspected that God's love leads far beyond what we might naively expect.

"Do you love me?" Yes, Lord, you know I love you. Well, not so fast. Then what? "When you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go." Will you love me then? Will you love me when you're 64?

About a month ago, I asked Paul: Is there anything you’d like me to say during the sermon. Only two things, he said without missing a beat. (1) Say that whatever has been done these past 17 years, we all did it together. (2) Tell the truth.

Seems like an easy assignment, except that there’s just too much truth to tell. But, I’ll do my best.

Sudan 2006/New Hope
Upon returning from a 2005 mission trip to southern Sudan, Paul Marshall told this story: “At the end of a week in that bomb-torn country, Diana and I baked in a bus for 14 hours.

"Finally you give up wiping your face. As we became increasingly caked with red dirt, and the overcrowded bus grew hotter and hotter, I found myself baking in a creative and holy sense: I knew God wanted my attention. 

"Genesis says humans began our existence as kind of mud pies, and the red dust of the earth baking into my pores helped me have a new beginning of insight: Here were sisters and brothers with almost nothing to their names trying to build a life and a country — how could I go on as usual?

"In addition to altering how I live personally, I have had to abandon some of my bricks-and-mortar dreams for our own diocese in order to see what God would have us do for others. The question that intrigued me was, Could we dare to have a capital fund drive where we didn’t get the money?”

Do you love me? Yes, Lord, I love you. Then what?

From those African mud pies and red dust, the New Hope Campaign was created for the people of our companion Diocese of Kajo Keji and for the needy among us. With his leadership, we did dare. The New Hope Campaign – a capital fund drive for others – has been eminently successful.

Six years earlier, in 1999, with proactive encouragement from the bishop, the diocesan World Mission Committee began to focus the attention of the diocesan community on conditions in developing countries. “Our deeper attachment to brothers and sisters in the third World can only mean good things,” Bishop Paul said at that time. “I’d like to see the day when people from our diocese go to Third World countries to do various kinds of ministry.” And we did. 

Bishop Paul had previously asked Charlie Barebo to help spearhead a capital campaign to develop a diocesan camp and conference center. “A funny thing happened on the way,” said Charlie, “I woke up one morning in the Sudan. It was a life-changing event that has deepened my faith and altered my outlook on this world.”

Do you love me? Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Then what? Love is a word.

During that 2005 visit, Bishop Paul ordained 37 Africans, including a woman. He and Diana – attorney, registered nurse and Mama Diana in the Sudan – addressed 17 gatherings during the weeklong visit. During one gathering, laying the foundation stone of the Mothers Union Training Center in Kajo Keji, Mama Diana observed that the church in the United States is grateful to have heard the wisdom of African men, but that the African witness will be fully present in Anglicanism when women’s wisdom is celebrated and revered by all. “It is time to hear the voices of African women,” she said.

Over the past year, we have begun to hear of African women bishops.

"Would you send me a headshot," I emailed Dr. Paul Marshall back in 1995 while he was teaching at Yale when he became one of five nominees from which we would choose our next bishop. You'll have to use your graphic imagination to appreciate what I received by return email. Picture the ivy-covered buildings and walls of Yale. Paul stood in front of a building but behind a head-high wall. Only his head was visible, as though mounted on the ivy-covered wall. No body, not even a neck. Only a head. A headshot. John the Baptist's head on a platter.

We've got a live one, I thought. I hope he keeps me on staff if he's elected.

Easy mark
In December of 1995, during our Diocesan Convention when he was elected bishop, however, despite my great appreciation of his wit, I neither rooted for nor voted for Paul Marshall.

He soon found out. The tell was that I had prepared a news template with Rosemari Sullivan's name and address, the nominee from Virginia. When the electors voted Bishop Paul in, I substituted his name. In my haste, however, I did not delete Rosemari's address.

He did keep me, but he never let me forget. There were many strategic instances of "You didn't vote for me. I know" – or, to others, "You know, Bill didn't vote for me." I was an easy mark for his wit ... for years ... and years. 

Bulletproof vest
Move forward. Seven months.

July 29, 1996. In this church ... when Paul Marshall was to be consecrated the 919th bishop in the Episcopal succession and eighth bishop of Bethlehem. I understand that four burly men stationed themselves at strategic parts of the church. Many mistook them for ushers. They were police. I didn't know it at the time. 

Edmund Browning was then presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. He would ordinarily have been the principal consecrator. He wasn't present, because he had received death threats. The late Bishop Robert Rowley stood in his place ... wearing a bulletproof vest. 

Bishop Paul, that was some beginning!

All because you invited the late Walter Righter, retired Bishop of Iowa, to be a co-consecrator. 

Six years earlier, Bishop Righter had ordained an openly gay man to the order of deacon. Two months earlier, he was cleared of charges of heresy brought by ten of his brother bishops. Thus the death threats and the security.

Bishop Righter took this essentially political charge in good humor. He got a vanity plate for his Subaru Legacy: HRETIC. Being accused became for him a mark of honor.

Bakerwoman God
During her homily at the consecration Eucharist, Bishop Cathy Roskam read a poem by Alla Renee Bozarth-Campbell. I think you will want to hear it. For some of us, hear it again.

Bakerwoman God,
I am your living bread.
Strong, brown, Bakerwoman God,
I am your low, soft and being-shaped loaf.

I am your rising bread,
well-kneaded by some divine
and knotty pair of knuckles,
by your warm earth-hands.
I am bread well-kneaded.

Put me in your fire, Bakerwoman God,
put me in your own bright fire.
I am warm, warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold, soft and hard,
brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.

Break me, Bakerwoman God.
I am broken under your caring Word.

Drop me in your special juice in pieces.
Drop me in your blood.
Drunken me in the great red blood.
Self-giving chalice, swallow me.
My skin shines in the divine wine.
My face is cup-covered and I drown.

I fall up
in a red pool,
in a gold world
where your warm
sunskin hand
is there to catch
and hold me.

Bakerwoman God,
remake me.

"When we put ourselves in God's hands to be bread,” Bishop Roskam said, “God keeps messing around in our lives … The process is dynamic, creative, intimate and sometimes painful.”

It's not easy being bread. But, it seems to me to be a bishop's occupational hazard ... and call.

Paul's ministry among us
From my unique perspective, over the past 28 years, on both Bishop Mark Dyer's and Bishop Paul's staff – I saw how broad and deep Bishop Paul's ministry and dedication among us has been ... well-kneaded, God-baked, God-broken and God-made: teacher, pastor, preacher, administrator, author, advocate and participant in ministry with people in the developing world, children and youth, the poor and the marginalized, advocate and reconciler with those within the church who consider themselves progressive as well as those who consider themselves traditionalists, interpreter of family systems theory, communicator within and beyond the diocesan community, a leader who consults with colleagues, and a person whose ministry as bishop proceeds from prayer and a contemplative vision of God's kingdom.

From my unique perspective, I saw not only how broad and deep was Bishop Paul’s ministry among us, but also how deep was his suffering and how en-fleshed was his love.  

Messages in the Mall
During his first year with us, Bishop Paul decided to write a monthly column and offer it to dailies and weeklies that circulated to some 400,000 homes in our 14-county diocese, and a bit beyond, over the next 13 years. It was a unique ministry that no other bishop in the U.S., episcopal or other, could claim, then or now.

He meant the column to engage the secular culture and to bring the church's message to the culture by commenting on the realities of the human condition and on issues of general interest. With dry and gentle wit, deep compassion and, sometimes, anger, he wrote about topics from the tragic Columbine school shootings to the spiritual ramifications of the TV series The Sopranos.

Doing the column, he told me, was a monthly agony, but it was a way he had ... to reach the most people.

In Learning From What Jesus Did Not Do, he wrote that Jesus "did not give in to his disciples' desire to have more power than others, did not force anyone to believe in him, did not condemn those who were pushed to the edges of life ... The ministry of not condemning was one of the most radical things Jesus did."

One of my favorites, from a column subtitled Don't Confuse Being Valuable with Being Right: "We don't maintain the unity of Christ's Church by being right. The late Rabbi Edwin Friedman said in his lectures on family systems that no aquarium survives unless some fish is willing to eat the garbage.”

Many people beyond the Episcopal Church got to know Bishop Paul through those columns. 

Permit me a commercial. Messages in the Mall -- Looking at Life in 600 Words or Less (Seabury, 2008) is a compilation of some 90 selected columns from those years. I recommend it to you for entertaining ... and spiritual ... reading ... and to get to know this man better. It's even available for Kindle.

The Dance
“We are a curious lot, we who serve the church in whatever capacity,” Bishop Paul wrote in one of four sermons he preached during the summer of 2012 when he served as conference preacher during a gathering in Philadelphia of the Anglican Association of Musicians.

Paul's sermons, not only these four, are among the best I've ever read or heard. But, of course: in his 1991 book on preaching he wrote, “I have a rather pragmatic view of preaching. If it doesn’t help people live, then it’s probably a waste of their time.”

Those who visit our newSpin blog or read my online notes may have wondered why I very recently posted those sermons: Because Bishop Paul told me only recently that he wrote them at a time he thought he was soon to die. 

With that in mind, I searched those sermons for a perceived “soon-to-die” passage. Allow me to quote, in slightly edited form, a passage from the first.

He noted that Gustav Mahler, when asked why he never composed a mass, said it was because there was a creed in it.

“For the orthodox Christianity of Mahler’s day, the creed was for the most part data, not a song. So perceived, it ultimately reduced God to an object, capable of study, dissection, and definition, the fuel for debate and even persecution. Such talk of a domesticated and definable God does not invite the ecstasy of music.

“Beliefs, including our own,” Paul preached, “are motivated, by many things going on inside of us in our deepest unconscious. Not all of us believe with words.

“The creed has gotten more musical of late. The revival of Trinitarian theology in the last two generations has been, at its heart, the rediscovery by western Christians that what the ancient church chose to say about God is not in the first place data; it is doxology (praise).

“Doxology comes from reflection on both practical and ecstatic experience, and Trinitarian doxology comes to the conclusion that God is, in God’s deepest self, in relationship, from before time and forever. 

“Many have observed that the Greek word for that relationship is very like (but not identical to) the word for dance: Three distinct persons in one eternal Dance. Delicate, rhythmic, supple, inviting.

“What we call the heresies often moved theology from the mystical dance to something like bad PowerPoint.

“So to the part of us that resonates strongly with Mahler and other spiritually rich composers who balked at dogma perhaps because of its unmusicality, there come two words.

“The first is that our God worshiped with the creed is not worshiped as a datum, but is adored as the eternal dynamic relationship; we perceive that very God inviting us to join the dance.

“The second word is that if I try to figure God out rather than relax and adore the mystery, and lose myself in it, I condemn myself to theological tone-deafness and will not get to dance.”

I said earlier that, when Paul asked me to tell the truth, I thought that there were too many truths to tell. One of the truths is how deeply he touched many with his writing and his sermons. We’ll never know.

As one who is well into the last quarter of life, I can tell you that Bishop Paul has touched me deeply with a tune that’s easy to dance to.

Will you love me when you’re 64?
Bishop Paul, may the bakerwoman God continue to bake, break and remake you. You’re not too old. God meddling in our lives is good even for bodies he has molded more than once. May Christ, the bread of life, feed and sustain you.

"Do you love me?" Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Then what? 

"When you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go."

Will you love me then? Will you love me when you're 64?

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Wilkes-Barre, St. Stephen's: Social MInistries

Dental Clinic ;
  free dental clinic appointment only 570-235-5642
  services include: cleanings, x-rays, extractions and fillings

Medical Clinic;
   free Medical clinic , appointment only 570-793-4361
   the clinic also periodically conducts health screenings and educational workshops. part of the clinic is a dispensary for common non-narcotic prescriptions.

Reach @ St Stephens
    Food Pantry and Clothing Closet and.....
    Food Pantry hours are 12:00 pm - 3:00pm daily (unless church is closed)  and is supported by parishioners, Weinberg Food Bank and Food Drives by local agencies including (but not limited to) Kings College campus, Riverside Cafe', Holy Cross Episcopal Church, and serves 200 families per month
     Clothing Closet hours are Tuesday 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM and Wednesday 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Supported by donations only from parishioners, community and other parishes clothes are free of charge and are clean and only slightly(gently) worn. Although I have put out "ripped" jeans since they are an existing trend. Families and individuals may access the clothing closet twice a month. Nearly two hundred families utilize our facility.
      the AND ......  Bed Rolls for homeless men and women are available by request and are supplied by "My Brothers Keeper" Jim and Flo Wheatly of Hop Bottom. (we also collect fabric for them to use to make these "ugly quilts")
           for individuals and families just getting a new apartment and need "starting" housewares: plates, cups, mugs, sheets and towels are available by request.
            Mother Teresa's Haven, a mens shelter managed by Catholic Social Services, is housed, in the former drop in center, on a rotation basis with other churches.
             Toys for Tots/Teens - for the past two years St Stephens has been a distribution center for families in need of toys for their children up to age 14 (and occasionally older).  The number of children receiving toys this past year was 472.

What Should we Do?

Sermon by Father Daniel Gunn
Advent 3 (16 December) 2012
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, WB

May we seek Truth together in humility.  Amen. 
Today we arrive at the third Sunday in Advent.  This is supposed to be a day of rejoicing with Mary.  It is supposed to be a brief respite as we anticipate the advent of our Lord.  Thus we hear the voice of the prophet Zephaniah telling Zion to “Sing aloud” and “shout . . . rejoice and exult with all [our] heart.”  And today’s Epistle bears much the same message to Paul’s pet congregation: “Rejoice always, again I say rejoice” he says.  Yet we should take note how these lessons of joy are juxtaposed with the Gospel, which probably better tells where we are today.  In that Gospel we hear the voice of John the Baptist seemingly condemning us, and so we ask as those who came to hear John, “What should we do?”  In fact, I would wager that we are filled with many questions today in light of the events of this past Friday.  I am speaking, of course, of the cold murder of 27 people, mostly children, in Connecticut.  This horror is in many ways no worse than the other mass shootings we have witnessed in recent years, but to many it feels worse.  Before asking “what should we do,” we are compelled to first ask, “Why?”  If God is good, then how and why would God allow such evil to exist as we witnessed this past Friday?

Questions of this nature belong to a branch of theology called Theodicy which examines why a good God allows evil to exist.  Many better minds than ours have grappled with this, and came to unsatisfactory conclusions.  Some have said that God is not all benevolent; others that he is not all powerful, still others have tried to explain how all goodness could coexist with evil by saying that because God is good evil must exist to prove his goodness.  While still others have speculated that God limits God’s self thus allowing evil to exist.  I have read and studied them all, and find that every answer falls short.  Ultimately there are no satisfying answers and we are left with the paradox that two things can be true at the same time: God is good and evil exists.  All other attempts to explain become straw, and so we fall upon our faces before that good God and ask for mercy, forgiveness, and peace.  We humbly pray that God would deliver us from evil.

Forgive me my soapbox moment: If I had my way today I would call for a moratorium on gun sales, but having grown up around guns I know this alone is not the answer.  Guns are but one symptom of a greater problem.  What I do pray for is that we will get beyond our romance with weapons and in every way possible work to end our culture of violence.  The fundamental message of John was for the people to change their ways.  In a word: repent.  What should we do?  Repent.  It is in the act of repentance that we change our culture.  It is in the act of humbling ourselves that we change our world.  It is in the act of growing to love our neighbor as we love ourselves that change our culture.  And may we teach that love and humility to each other as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

Many of us will object, “I have done nothing wrong.  I didn’t kill 20 children.  Why should I repent?”  And we hear the voice of John crying out to us in the crowd: Bear good fruit.  Inasmuch as we participate in our culture in any way and in any part, we are called to repent.  The redemption of the world depends on the action of one person, Jesus the Christ, that is the message of Christianity.  It still depends on the actions of individuals—each of us.  Ending violence in our culture begins with you, and it begins with me.

Last week I was watching that hard-hitting news program called The Colbert Report as the anchor interviewed Sister Simone Campbell, the organizer of “Nuns on a Bus.”  Sister Simone explained the mission of the Church and of every Christian.  She said we are called to “Touch the pain of the World.”  Even before the events of this past Friday I was moved by her words.

So where is our hope today?  Our hope lies in the love of a God willing to live among us as one of us.  Our hope is in the fact that our God was willing to “touch the pain of the world.”  Our hope is in the fact that evil will never conquer good, darkness will never conquer light, and violence will lose to peace.  When we ask like those in today’s Gospel whose hearts were piqued: “What should we do?” we have the answer already.

In these thoughts may we find truth.  Amen.

Training Day, March 24th, now open for registration

The annual Diocesan Training Day is now open for registration online at www.diobeth.org. Please click on the Diocesan Events link in the right hand column to register.

The event, held Saturday, March 24th at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre will feature tweleve workshops from a variety of ministries in the diocese. Cost is $18.00 and includes lunch.

This year's courses are:

1) Ministry of the Lay Eucharistic Visitor (One workshop in both sessions) The Rev. Edward K. Erb

2) Incorporating New Members (One workshop in both sessions) The Rev. Canon Andrew T. Gerns and Evangelism Commission

3) Prayer Shawls and Charity Knitting/Crocheting The Rev. Canon Jane Teter and Mrs. Diana Marshall (Morning Session)
also offered in the afternoon as #12

4) Wardens/Vestry 101 The Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall & the Ven. Howard Stringfellow (Morning Session)

5) Getting Started with Facebook Fan Pages for Your Church Ms. Kat Lehman (Morning Session)

6) Who Isn’t Sitting Next to You in Church? Mr. Dan Charney and The Rev. Donna Jean Kiessling (Morning Session)

7) Christian Parenting The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch (Morning Session)

8) Parish Finance Workshop (formally called Treasurers’ Workshop) Mr. Richard Guyer and Mr. Bruce Reiner (Afternoon Session)

9) When the Parish Faces Crisis The Rev. Charles Cesaretti (Afternoon Session)

10) Ecumenical and Interfaith Opportunities The Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit and The Rev. Canon Mariclair Partee (Afternoon Session)

11) Adult Spiritual Formation through EfM Ms. Cathy Bailey (Afternoon Session)

12) Prayer Shawls and Charity Knitting/Crocheting The Rev. Canon Jane Teter and Mrs. Diana Marshall (Afternoon Session) also offered in the morning as #3

For a full description of each workshop, please download the brochure in .pdf format here:
Download 120113Diocesan Training Day 2012 Brochure 120112

Bishop's School, Spring Semester


The courses for the spring session of Bishop's School are:
    New Testament - taught by The Reverend Daniel Gunn - AM session
    Ethics and Moral Theology - taught by The Reverend John Heffner - PM session

The dates are:
    January 28
    February 4, 25
    March 3, 17, 31
    April 14, 21, 28
    May 5 (12 is a snow day)

The morning session will be from 9:30-11:30, lunch from 11:30-noon,
afternoon session from 12-2.

The classes will meet at St. Stephen's in Wilkes-Barre.

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons, the curriculum is designed
to meet the canonical requirement for this ministry.  However, anyone is welcome to attend the classes. 
People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.  The
classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of ay semester and continue through the
three year program. 

The fee is $75 for each class and is payable with registration.  Checks should be written to:  The Diocese
of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School.

To register, please email [email protected] (or mail to Canon Teter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015) the following information:  your name, address, pone number(s), and email address. 
We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement weather or other last minute changes in the schedule.

The texts required for the classes are:

New Testament
    An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown.

Ethics and Moral Theology
    The Oxford Annotated Bible, any ed.  (New Interpreters' and Harper-Collins study Bibles are acceptable but not             preferred).
    The Book of Common Prayer

(Note:  All of these books are available from Amazon.com - both new and used).

If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
[email protected]

Advent Lessons and Carols, St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre on December 14th

ChurchPost.com » Advent Lessons and Carols


St. Stephen’s Choir will present the annual Festival Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent on Wednesday, December 14 th at 6:00 p.m., led and accompanied by Canon Mark Laubach.  Offerings will support St. Stephen’s “Voice For Life” Fund and gifts of food and clothing will be received for those in need.  A reception will follow in the Auditorium.

Bishop Paul Marshall request for flood relief for Northern tier parishes

Colleagues and friends,

Anticipating the worst, I have already designated the convention offering for flood relief in the northern tier. A general appeal is hereby launched: those not attending convention but desiring to aid those stranded or churches damaged, may send contributions to diocesan house, payable to the Bishop's Discretionary Fund. The address is 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem, 18015.

Additionally, this summer I received a very generous gift of $1000 from a source in the northern part of the diocese. Appropriately, I will add that to the funds available.

I will ask Mo. Maureen Hipple and Fr. Charles Cesaretti to jointly apportion these funds--please direct requests and suggestions to them. The first $1000 is available immediately, so that those suffering from hunger or thirst can be aided.

It is not clear how bad it will be, but as I write this there is water in the streets of Wilkes-Barre and evacuation have begun; there is waist-high water in parts of New Milford, and no phone service in parts of Bradford County, and so on. This is a time for prayers, and prayers converted to action.

I spoke with Bishop Baxter in Central PA this morning. Parts of Harrisburg are being evacuated, and Hershey has experienced damage to animal life that cannot be evacuated from the zoo. And so on.

My physical therapist, a Hindu, observed this afternoon that nature has reminded us of our frailty. I replied that I agreed, and that we are also reminded of our power to to care for and assist each other.



Diocesan Life for September 2011

Download the September issue of Diocesan Life as a .pdf
Download September2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL (3.3 MB file)

The Ordination of Eddie Lopez to the Diaconate

Sermon by Daniel Gunn
Rector, St. Stephen's Pro-cathedrl

On the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June) 2011
St. Stephen’s Pro-cathedral, WB, PA

May we seek Truth together in humility.  Amen.

Eddie, I have a question for you.  This is the last exam you will have to take in this LOOOOOONG process.  Are you ready?  (That was not the question.)  Here it is: Do you hear voices?  Think carefully before you answer.  This is not a trick question.  You’ve already passed your psychologicals, so you don’t have to lie.  Do you hear voices?  If you answer “no” then I withdraw all my support, because I believe that you do hear voices, and to this point I have known very few people who have heard and heeded that voice more than you.

I’d like to help you fine-tune that voice this evening.  First by offering some suggestions from Isaiah, and then by offering you some advice I receive from an elder priest some years ago.  Let’s look at Isaiah.  Today is the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist.  Since that is a mouth-full, let’s dispense with that, and just talk about John the Baptist, or in this case Isaiah.  Today you are being ordained to the Sacred order of Deacons.  This in some sense means that you belong to the people.  As I understand it, you exceed me, or any other presbyter, because you are directly under the bishop, and as such you have a responsibility to him (or her) to be among the people.  First there were Apostles, THEN deacons, and only thereafter, priests.  You, my friend, have a six-month tour of duty with the general.  But you need not fear.  You already have the field manual from Isaiah, and he gives you the instructions.

Ordinarily when we hear this lesson from Isaiah we are in a season of preparation and anticipation—Advent.  God spoke to Isaiah instructing him to comfort God’s people.  You’re an old hand at doing this.  In fact, you’re engaged in a system that comforts people already (that’s if being a chaplain at a concierge hospital counts).  (That reminds me: how do you pay for rich people when they have splinters removed?  I’m joking, of course.)

In all seriousness, you are called to comfort people who feel as though they are in the wilderness.  You are called to enter the wilderness and be with them.  You are called to prepare a place for God in the wilderness of people’s lives.  But how can you comfort people?  People are like grass and flowers that flourish one moment and the next they wither and fade.  Ah, but Isaiah reminds us that you have an especially comforting tool: you have the word of our God.  As you know, deacons have a special calling to proclaim the Word of God—the Good News—among the people.  So Eddie, comfort God’s people with the word; remind them that God will come to them.  Remind them that God will feed them, and when necessary, carry them.

Now let me transition to some advice I received from an elder clergy person, and one from Bishop Paul.  I am going to give you these 11 nuggets, trying not to elaborate.  I keep these on the inside of my office door as a reminder.

This first one comes from Bishop Paul: “You can’t refute a sneer.”

Start daily with devotionals.

Empowerment is good for spiritual, emotional, physical, etc. health.

Keep office door open.

Answer own phone and keep own calendar.

If Rosanna (your significant other) does not like an idea – pay attention.

Can’t build efficient staff with a committee.

Clergy get paid for being Christians – laity don’t – respect them for their commitment.

It does not matter how effective or efficient you are as a priest if I flunk as friend and husband.

People are always more important than ideas.

The work of Holy Spirit is most discernable in interruptions.

My friend, you and I have been on this journey for some time; Now GO, comfort God’s people!

In these thoughts may we find truth.  Amen.

Canon Mark Laubach's 25th

May 22 Evensong and Laubach Celebration

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Canon Mark Laubach’s service to the church following a choral Evensong at 5:00 pm Sunday, May 22, in the church, at 35 South Franklin Street.  Evensong is one of the most beautiful services in the Anglican tradition, and the public is invited to stay for the reception afterward.

Music at the Evensong will include Let the People Praise Thee, O God, the majestic anthem composed by William Mathias for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in July, 1981.  The St. Stephen’s choirs under Mark Laubach’s direction also will sing the Evening Canticles in E by Herbert Murrill, and William Smith’s Preces & Responses.

Mark Laubach came to St. Stephen's as Minister of Music January 2, 1986, just two years after winning the National Young Artists Competition in organ performance.  He was appointed a Fellow in Church Music at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and shortly thereafter came to St. Stephens.  Canon Laubach has performed in major venues all over the world, including the Kennedy Center, St. Thomas Church and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (both in New York), and in London at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, as well as the King’s Chapel in Cambridge.

Canon Laubach administers a busy liturgical, choral, concert, and broadcasting schedule at St. Stephen’s. In 2002, under his supervision the church’s large pipe organ was rebuilt by the Berghaus Organ Company of Chicago. This instrument now stands among the finest of its type in the Mid-Atlantic region, having won high praise from organists and audiences.
Suzanne Fisher Staples
570.561.5962 (cell)

Bowl Auction, Apr. 10, St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre

12:00 pm til all bowls are auctioned  off

St Stephens Episcopal Church
35 S Franklin St
Wilkes-Barre, Pa
email: [email protected]

Additional Info; Registration is $2.00 or a donation of a dry/canned good

Join Us for an action packed auction featuring bowls painted by the members of the church, along with items by local artists including Jean Adams of Wilkes University, Lyn Carey of earth and wares, Christine Pocono, Mary Lou Steinburg, Kathy Redmond, Debra Kellerman and Wayne Harley.

All proceeds to benefit REACH.

Download article and poster.

Download Bowl Auction Article

Download Bowl Auction Poster


Lessons and Carols in Wilkes-Barre

[From Andrea]

Wednesday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre. This is an annual program we do to commemorate the beginning of Advent.  This year, however, will be extra special because it is our Organist/Choirmaster Mark Laubach's 25th anniversary at St. Stephen's.  Mark will perform for the first time ever a brand new commissioned piece by David Briggs, an accomplished organist from Great Britain, who performed at our last silent film showing last year.
Find below a memo from Mark with a listing of songs we will be performing. The memo als invites you to join the choir. So, if you don't plan on that, kindly disregard the info there.

Download Advent Lessons and Carols 2010.doc

There is no admission, but as usual, the Choir will collect free will contributions that will go towards our music activities. You are free to give as much or as little as you'd like. Free parking is available next to the church.

Duo piano and organ recitals

[From Canon Mark Laubach]

Erika Funke informs me that she will air an interview she did with Rick Hoffenberg and me (about our duo recitals) on her program, Arts Scene, tomorrow (Thursday, October 21st) at 11 AM. Set your dial (if you have a radio with such an ancient thing!) to 89.9 FM and be listening! You can also listen to the interview live online at www.wvia.org. I think it will be an informative and fascinating program in which we both discuss the pieces we’re playing and other aspects of doing organ & piano duets.

Dr. Rick Hoffenberg is a good friend and music faculty colleague of mine at Marywood University in Scranton, a phenomenal pianist, and a graduate of Princeton, Westminster Choir College, and Yale. Rick and I are collaborating on three performances of a duo piano & organ recital in the coming weeks. Dates and locations are as follows ...

Friday, October 22nd at 7:30 PM
The Marian Chapel, Marywood University, Scranton

Sunday, November 7th at 4 PM
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Wilkes-Barre

Friday, November 19th at 7:30 PM
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allentown PA

All performances are free and open to the public. The recital will feature duo works by Marcel Dupre and Igor Stravinsky, and solo works by Brahms, Nikolai Kapustin, and William Bolcom. I hope you can join us for one of these!

Thanks –

Canon Mark Laubach, Organist & Choirmaster
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Bethlehem
35 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701
Church Phone: (570)825-6653
Church Fax: (570)825-0430
Mark's Mobile Phone: (570)704-7055

Hymn-a-thon at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre, Sept. 25

[From Canon Mark Laubach]

In days gone by, when people would visit in homes, a customary form of entertainment was to gather around a piano or pump organ and sing hymns. You didn’t have to always sing perfectly in tune, and you didn’t have to listen to a sermon – you just sang and had fun doing it!In that same joyous spirit, on Saturday, September 25th from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre – right across the street from Boscov’s) will open its doors to any and all who wish to come by for a good, old-fashioned “hymn sing” – with a twist.  We’re calling it a “HYMN-A-THON”, as it will fill five full hours with singing hymns, and will raise money to support St. Stephen’s VOICE FOR LIFE Chorister Training Program for children and youth.

Fear not, you don’t have to be here for all five hours! But you’re invited to come and sing (or even just sit and listen) for as long as you’re able. If you have favorite hymns, you can request them in return for a designated contribution (pay by the verse). And for an extra contribution, you can even request a special organ piece or an improvisation based upon your chosen hymn!

Continue reading "Hymn-a-thon at St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre, Sept. 25" »

RSCM in America/Wilkes-Barre this week

[From Canon Mark Laubach]

Dear Friends:

Since 1995, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral and King’s College in Wilkes-Barre have hosted an annual summer choir training course sponsored by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America. Prior to that year, the course was held from 1990 through 1994 at the Valley Forge Military Academy in suburban Philadelphia. For the first three years of the course’s residence at Valley Forge, the music director was Dr. Barry Rose, one of Great Britain’s most eminent choral directors and church musicians. Dr. Rose is perhaps best known for having directed in 1981 the combined choirs of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (where he served as Organist and Choirmaster at the time) and the Chapel Royal for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, an event that was seen and heard around the world.
Now 20 years after the start of this course, history is repeating itself with the return of Dr. Barry Rose as guest Music Director for the 2010 King’s College RSCM Course, which began yesterday and continues through this coming Sunday, August 1st. Nearly 190 boys, girls, teens, college students, and adults of all ages have come to Wilkes-Barre from all across the continental USA to participate in this week of choral singing in the Anglican cathedral tradition. Dr. Rose is assisted by a large staff of professionals from throughout the country, including organists Mark Laubach (Organist and Choirmaster of St. Stephen’s) and Tom Sheehan (St. Mark’s Church, Philadelphia). The Rev’d Linda Rosengren, Deacon (Jacksonville, FL) is the Course Manager, and the Rev’d William Duffey (Philadelphia) is the Chaplain. The Rev’d Daniel Cube Gunn, Rector of St. Stephen’s, is the host priest, and Bishop Paul Marshall of the Diocese of Bethlehem will be present for closing liturgies on Sunday, August 1st.
A number of services and musical events throughout the week are open to the public, and are listed below.
Choral Evensong
    Tuesday (7/27), Wednesday (7/28), and Friday (7/30) at 5:30 PM in St. Stephen’s
Sung Compline
    Tuesday (7/27), Wednesday (7/28), Thursday (7/29), and Saturday (7/31) at 9 PM in St. Stephen’s
Holy Eucharist (spoken)
    Wednesday (7/28), Thursday (7/29), and Friday (7/30) at 7:30 AM at the Chapel of Christ the King, King’s College
Morning Prayer or Eucharist (spoken)
    Saturday (7/31) at 8 AM at the Chapel of Christ the King, King’s College
CLOSING LITURGIES – Sunday, August 1st at St. Stephen’s
    Choral Eucharist at 10:30 AM  (Missa Brevis in B-flat, K. 275 – W. A. Mozart)
    Choral Evensong at 3:30 PM    (featuring the anthem, Hear my words, ye people by C. H. H. Parry)
Faculty Recital
    Thursday (7/29) at 7:30 PM at St. Stephen’s
Please feel welcome to join us for any or all of these events.
St. Stephen’s Nave is handicap accessible and air conditioned.
For more information about the RSCM King’s College Course, visit www.kingscollegecourse.com
We hope to see you here in these coming days!
Mark Laubach
Canon Mark Laubach, Organist & Choirmaster
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Bethlehem
35 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre PA   18701
Telephone:   (570)825-6653
Fax:   (570)825-0430

PAI Concert in Wilkes-Barre, July 17

From: Mark Laubach <[email protected]>
Date: July 13, 2010 10:23:33 PM EDT
To: Mark Laubach <[email protected]>
Subject: Organ, Orchestra, and Choirs Concert this Saturday at 8 PM

Dear Friends:

At 8 PM this Saturday, July 17th, St. Stephen's will be privileged to host an extraordinary concert presented by faculty and students participating in the 2010 Wyoming Seminary Performing Arts Institute (PAI). Featured will be the Institute's orchestral and choral ensembles, directed by Paul Hostetter (Music Director of the Colonial Symphony based in Morristown, New Jersey, and Director of Orchestral Studies at Montclair State University) and John Vaida(Chairman of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Wyoming Seminary). I'm delighted and honored to be joining these marvelous musicians in their performance as guest organist!

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