March 10, 2016
In This Issue
Holy Oils:  Blessing, Anointing, Burning

In preparation for the Chrism Mass on March 22, the Rev. Laura Howell, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, writes about the blessing, anointing, and burning of sacred oils. At the Chrism Mass, Bishop Sean will bless oil for every parish in the diocese.

You walk into a quiet, peaceful room.  A friend is lying in bed, propped up on pillows, comfortable under a colorful hand-made quilt.  "He's going to need surgery for that leg," says his daughter, rising from the rocking chair next to the bed.  "Our parish priest will be coming to anoint him and offer prayers for healing before we go to the hospital."  The priest enters, and you all gather round to hold hands and say the Lord's Prayer together. Then, she pulls out a small silver vial, dips her thumb into it and makes the sign of the cross on your friend's forehead with Oil of the Sick.  Leaning over she places her hands gently on top of his head, praying that he will have strength and courage during the surgery and recovery; for wisdom and skill for the medical staff; and that the Great Physician will attend him and provide healing.

Chrism Mass on March 22
Join Bishop Sean and the clergy and people of the diocese in Holy Week for the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, March 22 at 11 am at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. People in healing ministry, including nurses and physicians, are especially encouraged to attend. Clergy will renew their ordination vows, the bishop will bless sacred oil, and lunch will follow the service.

Regional Leadership Training on April 9
This spring, clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Bethlehem can participate in workshops designed for church leaders. Register now for workshops on Saturday, April 9 at St. Gabriel's, Douglassville, including:

Benedictine Spirituality for Leadership, led by Laura Howell
Worship Leader Training, led by Anne Kitch
Leadership for Wardens & Vestry, led by Rick Cluett
Best Practices for Parish Finance, led by Charlie Barebo
Making Your Church a Community, led by the Diocesan Stewardship Committee

Learn more and register online for April 9.
Adaptive Leadership Training on April 30
Hugh O'Doherty, our 2015 diocesan convention speaker, returns to the Diocese of Bethlehem for a day-long training that will further our work in adaptive leadership. 

Clergy are expected to attend along with key elected lay leaders from each congregation, including those who exercise leadership but may not serve on the vestry. 

Register online now for the training that takes place on April 30, 9:30 am-4 pm at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity.
 Regional Pilgrimage Gatherings this Spring

In April and May, pilgrimage leaders will meet in regional gatherings for conversations that will help shape a set of common values for the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Congregations are asked to send clergy, a warden, the congregational pilgrimage shepherd, and a young person to consider:
  • What do our congregations value about their life together in Christ?
  • What do our congregations do in Christ's name that their neighborhood/communities and our diocese could not live without?
  • What one hope or aspiration do our congregations have for their congregation and our diocese?
2015 Reports Due
As your congregation completes its annual meeting, please remember that three annual reports are due:

2015 Parochial Reports have been mailed to each parish and should be completed and approved by vestries by March 1, 2016. If you have not received your reminder with account and password, or have any questions about completing this annual report online, please call Bruce Reiner at 610-691-5655 or review the parochial report webpage for instructions.

Download the workbook for page 2:  membership, attendance and services

Download the workbook for page 3:  stewardship and financial information

Parish Officials Report: Please use this form on this page of the website to update the diocese on your leadership teams, including vestry and staff.

Lay Convention Delegates Form: As you select and vote on your lay delegates for our annual convention in Reading on October 7 and 8, please use the appropriate form on this page of the website to submit those names. The deadline is June 7.
 Regional Confirmation in May
This spring, Bishop Sean will hold a regional confirmation on Sunday, May 1 at 5 pm at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in WhitehallIf your parish would like to participate in this service, please email the Rev. Jonathan Mayo to tell him the names of your participants and the number of people you are expecting.
Christophany Youth Retreat:  April 22-24 at Bear Creek Camp
2016 Christophany logo
The Diocese of Bethlehem's youth event for 6-12th graders, called Christophany, takes place from April 22-24 at Bear Creek Camp

Registration for $125 is now open, and scholarships are available. Email Canon Anne Kitch for scholarship information.
 Enriching Your Retirement on April 6

Enriching Your Retirement, a program of the Church Pension Group, will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at Trinity, Mount Pocono. Registration by March 18 is required.

This presentation for beneficiaries of The Church Pension Fund includes information on pension and medical benefits in retirement, financial and estate planning, being your own healthcare advocate, and programs and services that can support you in staying healthy.

Lunch is provided, and spouses and partners are encouraged to attend. Call Jo Trepagnier at 610-691-5655 with questions.
Pilgrimage Resources for Congregations
The Diocese of Bethlehem's pilgrimage began on January 6. In his video pilgrimage message, Bishop Sean says, "The Diocese of Bethlehem has been bold in conceiving its future ... This planning process is deeply rooted in both what is personal to us, and what is good for our entire diocese and our entire region."

Staying Connected to the Pilgrimage
The pilgrimage page on the website is updated regularly--you can find it under "Congregational Resources" on the menu--and our newsletters will feature pilgrimage information and news each month. 

Anyone can sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter and/or our monthly Leadership News, and back issues are available on the website. Please share these links with members of your congregation, encourage them to visit the website and sign up for the newsletter list, and share pilgrimage news and articles in your congregation's newsletter and bulletin.

The Bethlehem Episcopalians Facebook group will also be home to ongoing pilgrimage discussion. Find the group on Facebook and request membership to join the conversation.
Safeguarding God's Children 
All clergy, lay employees, and lay people who work with children are required to complete the Safeguarding God's Children training program offered by the Church Pension Group. Those who need to receive this training may register by following a link at the bottom of the Safe Church page on the diocesan website, where you can also find diocesan policies and a field guide to their application.
People of Bethlehem
Members of the Bethlehem Interfaith Refugee committee, which includes representatives from Trinity Episcopal Church Bethlehem, gathered at the Allentown airport on March 8 to welcome a family of Syrian refugees at the end of their 22-hour journey from Turkey.

Leaders from across the diocese gathered at the cathedral on March 5 for Leadership Learning Days.

The Rev. Paul Towers, rector of St. Paul's, Montrose, has begun a sabbatical that will end with his retirement in May 2016. He celebrated his last service at St. Paul's on Sunday, March 6.

Resources and Reminders
Vestry Papers:  Conflict

The March 2016 issue of Vestry Papers addresses issues of conflict in the church. Visit the website for articles on leadership, finances and more. Find Vestry Papers online.

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 2 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.
Upcoming Diocesan Events
Tuesday, June 7, 9:30 am-3 pm, Cathedral Church of the Nativity
Boundaries, Responsibility, and Accountability: Pastoral and Practical Issues with Canon Scott Slater from the Diocese of Maryland.

Tuesday, March 22, 11 am
Cathedral Church of the Nativity
Saturday, April 30, 9:30 am-4 pm
Cathedral Church of the Nativity

Christophany Youth Retreat Weekend:  April 22-24, Bear Creek Camp
Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting:  May 11, Kirby House
Youth Mission Trip:  June 26-July 2, Grace Mountain, VA

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