March 26, 2015
In This Issue
Creating and Recreating a Life Together:  A Message from Bishop Sean
photo credit:  Heather Prather

As the holy season of Lent draws to a close and we make our way closer to the cross, I find myself giving thanks for this season of self-examination and repentance. This surprises me because Lent is not my favorite season of the year. While I know that living a life centered in God requires a level of self-awareness that comes, in part, from the fruits of our Lenten observances, the prospect of exercising more discipline or getting 'real' about the ways in which my life does not align with the precepts of our faith is not always welcome. Yet, I have found over and over again that it is only through this discipline, only through this reality check, that we can move into the future that God wants for us.

We are in the process of creating and recreating a life together as a diocese. In moments such as these, we can feel God's imagination stirring in us and giving shape to a new common life. Our creativity and imagination, though, can become misshapen if we avoid the hard work of self-examination, if we are unaware of the internal forces that drive us. Our motives for seeking a particular direction or advocating a particular end are purest when they are grounded in our willingness to do the hard work of reconciling with those from whom we are alienated. We do ourselves less credit, and move away from God's preferred future, when we simply try to assuage our own pain.


Our upcoming engagement with Holy Week and the Easter season is an opportunity to reconcile ourselves to the God who call us, individually and as a diocese, to a new hope and a new future. We are invited to participate in creating that future. We are invited to engage the imagination of God. With the invitation comes a call to self-examination and a challenge to live a life centered in God.



Saying Yes:  Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering
Volunteers preparing dinner at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity

Bethlehem's emergency shelter program is a lifesaver - and not just for those who are  homeless.

"It transformed our congregation almost overnight," said the Rev. T. Scott Allen, rector of St. Andrew's, one of three Episcopal churches that helped found the emergency housing program for homeless people seven years ago. "It changed the way people related to each other. St. Andrew's just turned around. People asked what happened. But I think the simple fact was inviting the poor into the building was a game changer. "

At the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Dean Tony Pompa was equally impressed with his congregation's reaction to, and support of, the program, which started in the winter of 2009.

"It was a lovely gut-check here," said Pompa. "That's not to say there are no issues, but the beautiful organic piece of this was, in the very beginning, people just started showing up with blankets and sleeping bags. It was organic and wonderful."

Bethlehem's emergency shelter program started in January 2009 when seven churches came together to provide emergency shelter during the winter months to 75 homeless men, women and children. Each church opened its doors for one night a week and provided dinner and breakfast. 

Read more.
Cindy Dougan Joins Finance Team; Staff Restructuring Concludes

In a move that signals "the conclusion of the staff restructuring," Bishop Sean has announced that Cindy Dougan, canon for finance and administration in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, will act as the Diocese of Bethlehem's interim accounting manager for a year-long term beginning April 1. 


Dougan, who holds a BS in accounting from Gannon University, has 25 years of corporate accounting experience and has served the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania for five years. She and her husband, Norman, have been married for 30 years and have two grown children.


In her new position, Dougan will handle the Diocese of Bethlehem's day-to-day accounting and supervise Cindy Bakos, the diocese's bookkeeper. This will permit Bruce Reiner, comptroller, to focus on audits and related financial matters.


Cindy can be reached via email.

Go and Tell:  Christophany Youth Event

Go and tell, try, feel, be, see, pray and do.


That's the theme for Christophany 2015, the Diocese of Bethlehem's youth event, to be held April 24-26 at Bear Creek Camp in Wilkes-Barre. 

Middle and high school youth can explore where they find Christ in their lives by challenging themselves on high and low ropes courses, making new friends, and having fun.


The cost is $125, and scholarships are available. Talk with the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch.


Register online and download a poster.

The Diocese of Bethlehem in the News
Soup and Companionship in Wilkes-Barre on April 11
"Warming up NEPA, One Cup of Soup at a Time," an initiative of episcopalRELIEFnepa, was profiled this week in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Janine Ungvarsky, program missioner, says, "the mission of both the effort and the church is to warm people up "on the inside and the outside."
News of the Diocese


The Rev. Canon Michelle Moyer, the Rev. Canon Kim Reinholz, and the Very Rev. Tony Pompa before the Chrism Mass on March 19 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity

Parochial Reports Due Now
Treasurer Charlie Barebo writes:  

"In 2015 we will be moving back to the participative budget development format successfully used by our diocese in the past...In this way, we begin the process of returning to a transparent and inclusive manner of budget development that is in accordance with the Church Manual of Business Practice. Your support is invaluable."

Parochial reports were due March 1. If your report has not yet been submitted, please send it now.

Email Charlie Barebo with questions. 
The Diocese of Bethlehem newSpin Blog

newSpin is Bill Lewellis' eclectic sampling of religion news from around the Episcopal Church and beyond. Read the March 20, 2015 Edition. To be added to the new newSpin email distribution list, please email

People of Bethlehem

Charlie Barebo, treasurer of the diocese, chair of the New Hope campaign, and supporter of many diocesan ministries will be ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Sean at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity on April 19 at 4 pm.


The Rev. Canon Clifford B. Carr celebrates the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on March 27. He was ordained by the Rt. Rev. John Seville Higgins, bishop of Rhode Island, at the Cathedral of St. John in Providence.


In Memoriam

Dolores White Caskey, a longtime member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, community volunteer and civil rights activist, died on March 24. Read the obituary. May light perpetual shine upon her.

Upcoming Diocesan Events
Regional Confirmations

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 4 pm, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem 

Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 4 pm, St. Gabriel's, Douglassville 

Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 5 pm, St. Luke's, Scranton 


In preparation for the April events, parish leaders are asked to please let Jo Trepagnier know by April 2, your best estimate of:

  • how many people will be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed
  • how many people from your church will be attending 
  • the name and contact information of the person for further correspondence

Diocesan Stewardship and Evangelism Conference

Date: May 30, 2015

Time: 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Location: St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral

35 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
SpeakerCharles K. Robertson
Cost: TBD

Contact Dan Charney

Mission Trip for 9th - 12th Graders

Date: June 28 - July 5, 2015

Location: Grace Mountain House

5100 Pewter Drive
St. Paul, VA 24283

Contact The Rev. Doug Moyer

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