November 19, 2015
In This Issue
Called to Curiosity, Called to Discovery:  COM Chair Jane Williams 
Jane Williams, the recently appointed chair of the diocese's Commission on Ministry, has a lot of experience listening for the spirit.
Ordained in 1982 as a pastor in the United Methodist Church, Williams worked as a pastoral counselor and therapist at several local schools and agencies before earning her PhD in counseling psychology at Lehigh University in 1994.
Along the way, she discerned a call to the Episcopal priesthood. "It took quite a long time," she said, because her life as a young widow and single mother made it impossible to relocate for the courses in Anglican studies typically required of clergy seeking to transfer their ordinations to the Episcopal Church.
Finally, after preparing through independent study, Williams was ordained in the Diocese of Bethlehem in 1998 and served as priest associate at Christ Church, Reading until 2005, when she become senior chaplain and chair of religious studies at St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis, Tennessee.
She returned to the diocese in 2010, and today is associate professor of pastoral counseling and chair of the master of arts in clinical counseling program at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem. Last month, Bishop Sean Rowe appointed her to a one-year term as chair of the Commission on Ministry. 

Letter from the Audit Committee:  2012 Audit Released
Libby House, chair of the Diocese of Bethlehem's Audit Committee, has released this letter and the 2012 audit report to the people of the diocese:

November 17, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Our Diocese:
We are attaching the final audit reportsummary report, and communications letters regarding the financial statements of the Diocese of Bethlehem for the year ending December 2012. These reports represent the fifth completed audit of the finances of the diocese of six financial audits (2008 - 2013) Bishop Sean and the Standing Committee hired the accounting firm of Campbell Rappold & Yurasits to undertake in March 2014.

These are the complete reports as presented to the Audit Committee. No information has been left out. These audit reports and letters indicate the firm has found no malfeasance or misuse of funds in the years that have been examined. However, as with the previous three reports, the auditors have pointed out a number of weaknesses and deficiencies to be addressed and which we began to address as of the 2014 fiscal year.

New Policy on Marriage and Blessing Liturgies
At the 78th General Convention, which met in Salt Lake City from June 25 through July 3, 2015, two resolutions were adopted regarding marriage and blessing liturgies. Following their adoption, the House of Bishops approved a Mind of the House Resolution to clarify how these rites are to be used in the dioceses of The Episcopal Church.

Two new rites are authorized for trial use. They are The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage, and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2.  These rites may be used by all couples beginning on the first Sunday of Advent (November 29), 2015. They are available from Church Publishing Incorporated or in the format passed by General Convention on the blog of Dean Brian Baker, deputy chair of the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage at General Convention.
The 1979 Book of Common Prayer rites for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, The Blessing of a Civil Marriage and An Order for Marriage remain in use for opposite-sex couples.

Read the entire policy now in effect for the Diocese of Bethlehem and the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Congregational Renewal Grant Applications Now Available
Applications for Congregational Renewal Grants from the Diocese of Bethlehem will be accepted until December 15. Grants, which can range from $1000-$15,000, are provided to:
  • Develop and support new congregations in their growth
  • Provide short-term financial support during a period of transitions for congregations that have undergone change (e.g. fire, flood, rapid growth)
  • Provide financial support for congregations who are not self-sufficient to enable ministry in places where there is a viable witness to Jesus Christ.
Funding for grants comes from $60,000 in funds allocated in the 2016 diocesan budget that was approved by diocesan convention in October. Grants will be made by Diocesan Council in February 2016.

Members of the Diocesan Council committee that will review the grants and make funding recommendations are:

The Rev. Rodney Conn, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Deacon
Jan Charney, Trinity Church, Easton
The Rev. David Green, St. Gabriel's Church, Douglassville
Linda K. Rogers, Church of the Epiphany, Clark Summit, Chair

Diocesan Staff:
The Ven. Richard Cluett
The Rev. Canon Anne Kitch

Please email Jo Trepagnier for an application form or to learn more.
Advent Resources and Pilgrimage Blog
photo by Kit Fish
Advent begins November 29 this year, so now is the last chance to order Advent meditations, liturgical resources, and children's materials. Visit the website for a list of Advent resources curated by the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch.

If you're looking for accessible Advent meditations for a general audience in booklet format, Living Compass offers "Practicing Patience with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind."

"In a culture that glorifies immediate gratification, learning to wait is counter-cultural," writes the Rev. Scott Stoner, founder of Living Compass, in the booklet's introduction. "The emphasis on immediate gratification increases tenfold as we rush full-speed ahead into the Christmas season. We are encouraged to give into our impulses to eat more, do more, drink more, and buy more this time of year. The season of Advent ... provides us with the support we need to slow down so we can make counter-cultural choices, choices that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Christmas." Learn more.

Pilgrimage Blog
At diocesan convention in October, Bishop Sean called the people of the diocese to a pilgrimage beginning on Epiphany. During Advent, Kitch will begin a daily blog about preparing spiritually and practically for pilgrimage. Watch for more detail coming soon, and find the meditations on Facebook each day during Advent.
Open Enrollment Period Ends November 20
The open enrollment period for 2016 medical insurance ends on Friday, November 20The Anthem High Opt PPO plan and the Anthem PPO 80/60 plan will continue to be offered in 2016.  If you are currently enrolled in any other plan, you must select a new plan for 2016.
There are two new plans that will be available for 2016,  CIGNA Open Access Plus and United Healthcare Choice Plus.
If you did not receive open enrollment instructions from the Medical Trust or you did not receive an email from Cindy Dougan explaining your options, please contact Cindy at 814-456-4203 or via email.
2016 Lay License Request Forms Due November 29
In the Diocese of Bethlehem, confirmed communicants in good standing, 16 years or older, may be licensed to serve as Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors and/or Worship Leaders. The form requesting 2016 licenses should be completed and returned to the Diocesan office by November 29, 2015. Find detailed instructions online and download the form.
State of the Diocese 2014 Report Now Online
The Diocese of Bethlehem's State of the Diocese report for 2014, prepared for the Standing Committee according to the Constitution of the Diocese of Bethlehem, is now online. The report, prepared by Canon Bob Wilkins, a former treasurer of the diocese and a past president of the Incorporated Trustees, details the membership, attendance, finances, stewardship and clergy deployment of congregations in the diocese. Read the report.
People of Bethlehem
The Rev. Glenn Mahaffey, rector of The Church of the Epiphany in Sayre retired on November 1. Mahaffey arrived at Redeemer in October 2012, after serving in the Dioceses of Maine, New York, Nebraska and Colorado. He and his family are retiring to New York state.

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gerns, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton, has been named to the slate of nominees to be the eighth bishop of Northern Indiana. The election will take place on February 6, 2016. Learn more.

Last weekend, youth of the diocese gathered at Kirby House for CONNECT, a youth event planned by youth for youth.

Resources and Reminders
CROSSROADS at Moravian Theological Seminary is a lay leadership program designed for active laypeople who wants to discover their sense of call, deepening their spirituality, and learn skills for congregational life and mission. The next information session is December 5. Learn more.
ECF Vital Practices

Looking for leadership resources? ECF Vital Practices from the Episcopal Church Foundation offers online articles, discussions, and tools. Browse the Vestry Papers archive.

Stewardship Resources
Visit the stewardship website for resources to help with evaluation and all other aspects of the annual financial stewardship campaign. The stewardship committee offers 52 short reflections based on the Sunday lectionary reading that are appropriate for bulletins and newsletters. Year C reflections are available now
The Diocese of Bethlehem newSpin Blog
newSpin is Bill Lewellis' eclectic sampling of religion news from around the Episcopal Church and beyond.  Read the November 12 issue.
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 new Trinity Bethlehem website.
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