December 3, 2015
In This Issue
Holy People Move:  Pilgrimage Blog Launches for Advent
On November 30, the first Sunday in Advent, a new blog debuted on the Diocese of Bethlehem's website. The project, headed by the Rev. Canon Anne Kitch and the Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit, will feature daily posts during Advent, Christmas, and each day of the diocese's 2016 spiritual pilgrimage that begins on Epiphany.

"As we enter into this time of pilgrimage, both the images of picking up our feet and going somewhere--setting out on a journey of faith--and dwelling in a place where we may not be entirely at home, can speak to us in our diocese," writes Tjeltveit in the blog's inaugural post. "The Rev. John Peterson, when he was dean of St. George's College, Jerusalem, said, 'Holy people move.' We think of Abraham who began the pilgrimage of faith when God told him to go where God would show him. Our pilgrimage of faith is also leading us to a place where we do not know, but pray that God will show us."

Kitch is writing daily posts for Advent that are available on the blog and on Facebook, and Anna Thomas, a member of the Cathedral of the Nativity and a sophomore at Wellesley College, will blog for the twelve days of Christmas. Other members of the diocese will blog during Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, and Pentecost.

Kitch hopes that the blog helps readers both learn more about the breadth of the diocese and experience the upcoming diocesan pilgrimage as a new beginning.

"Advent is here," she wrote in her post for December 1. "I cannot possibly attend to this journey with my heart and head already full. Now is the moment I need to set aside old assumptions, mistaken ideas, and worthless burdens I have been carrying. If I do not make space for the light in my life, I may find myself lost and with no room to welcome the dawn and greet with joy the Morning Star."

We Have to Try and See:  Bishop Sean's Convention Address in NWPA
Last month, Bishop Sean gave his annual address to the 105th convention of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. "We have to try it and see," he says of the diocese's mission strategy. "...There is an innovative spirit that is taking place here because we are willing to sit down with each other and talk about how it's not working and how it is. And that's exciting."

Gifts for Life:  Episcopal Relief & Development's Christmas Catalog
For 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working to fight poverty, hunger, and disease all over the world. This year, its 2015 Christmas Catalog offers tax-deductible gifts from a $12 mosquito net that comes with training and follow-up to prevent malaria to a $5,000 village well that gives an entire community access to clean, safe water.

The Gifts for Life catalog is available online, and last-minute shoppers can send personalized e-cards to let family and friends know a gift has been given in their honor.

News of the Diocese

The confirmation class at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Emmaus.

Hazel Mayo (center) with family gathered to celebrate the new ministry of the Rev. Jonathan Mayo, vicar of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Whitehall.

Congregational Renewal Grant Applications Due December 15

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.
2016 Lay License Forms Due Now

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 as soon as possible. Find detailed instructions online and download the form.
Safeguarding God's Children
Congregation leaders, church school teachers, youth group leaders and all other volunteers who work with children must meet both Pennsylvania and Episcopal Church requirements for training, background checks and clearances. Find Safeguarding God's Children details on the website. All leaders must be in compliance with these policies by the end of 2015.

In September, Bishop Sean wrote to leaders of the diocese about safe church training:  "I write on a matter that will not be new to any of you, but about which I feel some urgency. We have a duty as Christian ministers to do everything in our power to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in our congregations." Read Bishop Sean's entire letter.
Pilgrimage Shepherds Needed
The Very Rev. Tony Pompa and the Rev. Charles Cesaretti, leaders of the upcoming diocesan pilgrimage, have asked each congregation to identify a layperson who will serve as pilgrimage shepherd. Shepherds will help invite their congregations to participate, help make pilgrimage activities and resources available in their congregations, and communicate about their congregation's activities to the wider diocese. Please email Jo Trepagnier to let her know who your congregation's shepherd will be.
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 25 issue and browse past issues. To be added to the new newSpin email distribution list, please email

Upcoming Diocesan Events
Visit the website calendar for a full list of upcoming events in the Diocese of Bethlehem.
Upcoming Parish and Community Events
St. Thomas Episcopal Church Celebrates 275th Anniversary
St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Morgantown will celebrate its 275th anniversary on Sunday, December 6 at 3 pm. Bishop Sean Rowe will preside and celebrate and the Rev. Megan Dembi will preach. For more information on St. Thomas, visit the website or order "St. Thomas Church, Morgantown, Pa: A Parish History" by Evans Goodling.
Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk at the Cathedral
On Sunday, December 6 at 4 pm, the duo of Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk will give a free concert at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Their blend of styles ranges from blues to rock and from fingerstyle to Celtic; listeners of all ages are welcome. A freewill offering to benefit the cathedral will be collected. Learn more.
1789 Book of Common Prayer Service
On Saturday, December 12 at 2 pm, the liturgy of The Holy Communion from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer will be celebrated at St. Mark's and St. John's in Jim Thorpe. The service will include music from the combined choirs of Trinity Church, Easton and St. Mark's and St. John's. The Rev. Canon Andrew Gerns of Trinity, Easton and the Rev. John Wagner of St. Mark's and St. John's will concelebrate.

Following the liturgy, there will be a High Tea (commonly known as coffee hour), during which the Trinity choir will offer seasonal music. Clergy are invited to vest in cassocks and surplices with purple stoles).
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