July 2, 2015
In This Issue
Bishop Sean:  Looking Forward to the Future Church


In a video recorded earlier today, Bishop Sean reports on the debate about the structure of the church from the General Convention taking place now in Salt Lake City. 

General Convention Updates
Deputies from Bethlehem and Northwestern Pennsylvania with Bishop Sean at General Convention
The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church wraps up tomorrow in Salt Lake City. The General Convention, which meets every three years, is the governing authority of the Episcopal Church.

At this convention, bishops and deputies have voted for liturgical marriage equality, significant funding for racial reconciliation, and elected the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of North Carolina as the next presiding bishop. Curry will be the first African American to hold the job when he takes office on November 1.

The debate on the structure of the church continues today and tomorrow, as will the discussion of the churchwide budget for 2016-2018. The budget was presented to a joint session of bishops and deputies on Wednesday.

Last evening, Deputy Jim Steadman of Northwestern Pennsylvania was interviewed about the marriage equality vote on Fox13 in Salt Lake City.


Learn more about General Convention from Deputy News and Episcopal News Service.

Youth Mission Trip in Virginia
This week, our youth and their leader, the Rev. Doug Moyer, are on a mission trip at Grace Mountain House in Virginia. Please include them in your prayers.


Diocesan Convention: Nomination Deadline is July 15

Call for Nominations

In preparation for the 144th Convention of the Diocese of Bethlehem, October 2-3, 2015,  the Nominating Committee calls for nominations for the:

  • Commission on Ministry
  • Diocesan Council
  • Disciplinary Board
  • Incorporated Trustees
  • Standing Committee

Nomination forms are available on the Diocesan website. The deadline for nominations is July 15, 2015. The Nominating Committee includes Ray Arcario, Susan Boskett, the Rev. Lou Divis and the Rev. James Rinehart, chair. The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch is the staff liaison.


Call for Resolutions

Resolutions for the 144th Diocese of Bethlehem Convention are being accepted through August 2, 2015. Resolutions should be submitted in the following format


1.  Title of the resolution

2.  The full resolution beginning with "be it resolved

3.  The explanation of the resolution

4.  The names of those submitting the resolution (three (3) delegates or by a Committee or Commission.)


The resolution can be emailed, faxed to 610-691-1682, or mailed to Jo Trepagnier in the diocesan office.


The Certificate of Elections of Lay Delegates was emailed to each parish earlier this week and can be downloaded here.

Complying with New PA Child Protection Laws

Effective July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania law will have new requirements for the clearances necessary for employees and volunteers who work with or come into contact with children. The new law also requires that employees and volunteers are considered mandated reporters of suspected child abuse.


The diocese is asking that current clergy and employees come into compliance by December 31, 2015. Clearances need to be renewed every 36 months. Congregations are required to see original documentation and maintain records of their volunteers' and lay employees' compliance with these guidelines.


To assist with compliance, the diocesan office has made available for download information regarding the basics of clearances and traning as well as verification forms. Please find more information about Safe Church policies and procedures on our Safe Church page.


Read more.

Bishop Poggo Writes from Kajo-Keji

On June 20, Bishop Anthony Poggo of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church in Sudan and South Sudan wrote an update about the current situation in that country. "In short: the situation in the country as a whole is troubling but in Kajo-Keji area there is no direct impact of the conflict," he writes. 


He reports, however, that the price of commodities and fuel have risen, that development projects are stalled, and that diocesan staff have twice been robbed at gunpoint while traveling on the road from Kajo-Keji to Juba. Salaries paid to government workers in the diocese's schools have also been delayed.


Poggo asks the diocese's partners to pray and to support the next stage of school development and the construction of a primary health center. "We are really encouraging our partners to continue to support the development in areas where there is peace," he writes.


Read Bishop Poggo's letter.

Christian Formation Consultations Available

The Diocese of Bethlehem's Commission for Life Long Christian Formation offers consultations to assist congregations and regional groups of congregations seeking to explore new formation ministries and programs. 


Canon Anne Kitch writes, "Are you or your congregation wondering what the future of Christian formation will look like in your context? The Commission for Life Long Christian Formation can help you discern where the Spirit may be leading you. Is your parish looking at the upcoming season of Sunday school and wondering what to do next? Are you considering becoming a Sunday School teacher, youth mentor, or engaging in some other formation ministry, but just aren't sure if it's for you?"


To schedule a consultation, which can take place in the evening, in a day-long retreat, and even via Skype, email Canon Kitch.

Resources and Reminders
Stewardship Resources


"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Creator, who created all the lights in the heavens. God never changes or casts a shifting shadow"

James 1:17


This verse from James is the inspiration for this year's TENS stewardship resources. On the TENS website, you'll find an introduction to the theme; reflections written by generous stewards around the church for the Fall propers; letters for use by the rector/vicar; and a pledge card. To use these resources, visit the TENS website, click on member resources, insert the username "living" and password "generously" to download the editable materials.


Episcopal Church Foundation Webinars

The Episcopal Church Foundation offers webinars on stewardship, planned giving, capital campaigns, and more. Browse the list of upcoming events and the archive on the ECF website.

ECF Vital Practices

Looking for leadership resources? ECF Vital Practices from the Episcopal Church Foundation offers online articles, discussions, and tools. This month: Vision and Planning.

The Diocese of Bethlehem newSpin Blog
newSpin is Bill Lewellis' eclectic sampling of religion news from around the Episcopal Church and beyond. Read the June 11 issue.
SUMMA:  A Student Theological Debate Society at Sewanee 

This event from July 21-29 offers high school students tools for thinking, knowledge of the Christian theological tradition, skill in public speaking and debate, and a chance to study religion and science, social ethics, and interfaith relations. Learn more.

Godly Play Training, Conference at Sewanee in July

At the 2015 North American Godly Play Conference, July 20-August 1 at Sewanee's Beecken Center, leaders can participate in Core and Advanced Training and also attend keynote presentations and evening receptions. Learn more.

Prayers of the People and Jubilate Online
The Rev. Canon Cliff Carr, priest associate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, writes Prayers of the People for each week and prepares a list of hymn selections by season. Find those resources on the Trinity Bethlehem website.
Upcoming Diocesan Events

Diocesan Convention

Date: October 2-3, 2015

Location: Cathedral of the Nativity, Best Western Conference Center, Bethlehem, PA

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