Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

Welcome to news and networking for progressive Presbyterians 

Home page Marriage Equality Global & Social concerns    
News of the PC(USA) Immigrant rights Israel & Palestine
U S Politics, 2010-11 Inclusive ordination Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
The Tucson shootings The Economic Crisis Other churches, other faiths
     About us         Join us! Health Care Reform Archive
Just for fun Confronting torture Notes from your WebWeaver

What's Where

Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

About us

The Winter 2011 issue of
Network News
is posted here
- in Adobe PDF format.

Click here for earlier issues
Adobe PDF  Click here to download (free!) Adobe Reader software to view this and all PDF files.

News of Presbyterian Voices for Justice
How to join us


Coming events calendar 

Do you want to announce an event?
Please send a note!
Food for the spirit
Book notes

Go to


NEWS of the Presbyterian Church

Got news??
Send us a note!
Social and global concerns
The U.S. political scene, 2010-11
The Middle East conflict
Uprising in Egypt
The Economic Crisis
Health Care Reform
Working for inclusive ordination
Peacemaking & international concerns
The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
Israel, Palestine, and Gaza
U. S. Politics
Election 2008
Economic justice
Fair Food Campaign
Labor rights
Women's Concerns
Sexual justice
Marriage Equality
Caring for the environment
Immigrant rights
Racial concerns
Church & State
The death penalty
The media
Other churches, other faiths
Do you want regular e-mail updates when stories are added to our web site?
Just send a note!
The WebWeaver's Space
Want books?
Search Now:


Report from a
Delegation to Colombia

Presbyterians Concerned about Colombia invite you to join a new delegation to Colombia, May 17-29, 2004.    [2-20-04]

Stand with Colombian Presbyterians living through a time of great violence, and learn about their churches' courageous response to threats.

Our Money, Their Lives

a special report from Jane Hanna, former president of the Witherspoon Society  [5-5-03]

We have already posted one report [just below] from the Witness for Peace delegation - co-sponsored by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and the Witherspoon Society - that visited war-torn Colombia in March of 2003. Jane Hanna, former Witherspoon president, adds details to our understanding of the impact of the U.S. "war on drugs," now morphed into the "war on terrorism," on the ordinary people whose livelihoods - and lives - are increasingly threatened.


Presbyterian delegation returns from Colombia   [4-2-03]

A special report from Malissa Haslam, Santa Fe

A Witness for Peace delegation sponsored by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Witherspoon Society returned home this weekend from Colombia, South America, where the group spent ten dramatic and emotion-filled days hearing about and seeing first hand the devastating results of the US Government's Plan Colombia (now called, we were told by US Embassy diplomats, The Andean Regional Initiative).

During the delegation's final debriefing process, we were asked to write an answer to the inevitable question we would all be asked, "How was your trip?" My answer follows.

"So just how was your trip?" I am asked lovingly and excitedly as I'm hugged by these beloved people who prayerfully supported - though not always in agreement with the purpose - my going to this war-torn country. Although they all know that I was not taking a pleasurable vacation, they will not be prepared for my somber reflections, sharing of difficult memories, nor for the sudden, powerful emotions that overflow. "Mind-boggling," I say, or simply "Incredible."

Overwhelmed at what I've seen and heard these past two weeks, I realize that I must sort through this kaleidoscope of feelings for the sake of my own sanity and emotional health. Even now, being home less than twenty-four hours, much of the experience already seems ethereal. In the mass e-mail I'd sent just prior to departure, I'd asked prayer not only for safety but specifically for the ability to understand the situations as best I could, so that upon my return I would be able to communicate honestly and clearly what I learned. And so amidst this wide range of emotions, I begin to try to answer.

"Filled with amazement," I respond, "at the courage, strength, and endurance of the human spirit shown by the reintegrated guerillas as they willingly, under pseudonyms, shared their stories. Heart-rending pain at the sight of children's naturally dark hair turned much lighter because of severe malnutrition, as well as bewilderment at the slight glimmer of hope reflected in the occasional flowers planted in the cement-like soil at Kilometer Seven, one of the displaced persons' encampments and the only home many of these children have ever known. Astonishment, awe for those brave activists in the social, labor union, and pastoral segments whose lives and those of their families are regularly threatened because of their continued efforts in demanding justice, decency, and equality. Envy at the Colombians' love of country despite the corruption of its officials and the hardships imposed through collaborations with the US. Anxious, unsettled at the huge anti-war protest at the US Embassy in Bogota (in which we did not participate but somewhat witnessed), yet, gladness. For to me this event was symbolic: there are indeed millions of people around the world - despite the fact that most US citizens are oblivious - who understand and see clearly the US Government's ultimate goal of world domination.

Shame for my own country because I have seen the glaring results of its policies towards Colombia and know these same kinds of policies and practices are being carried out elsewhere many times over. Anger for the lies we've been handed by our government officials. Disbelief and sadness that the country I love and call my home, the country I have until recent years unquestionably respected, has lost, over many years - for no administration escapes responsibility - its moral soul and has itself stooped to such low, inhumane levels of greed, hatefulness, and horrific acts of oppression and terrorism. Stark realization that the US has become what it's always said it hated and opposed. Dread and fear that my country may soon become the object of horrendous violence, the likes of which it has never experienced.

Yet, there is hope. Hope that the commitment and compassion exemplified by the young adult International Team who so competently led our delegation following the Witness for Peace principles of nonviolence to which we all committed (as other untold numbers of people have similarly done), may yet be the "subversive seeds" that bring to fruition the belief that another world is indeed possible. Humbly grateful, because as we were reminded by one delegate's morning reflection, "God does not call me to be successful. God only calls me to be faithful". . . in my efforts to inform and educate. I can trust God for the results.

Malissa Haslam
Santa Fe, NM
April 2, 2003

Malissa Haslam is an elder at First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, where she teaches the three and four year olds.  For many years she directed an early childhood program at a Santa Fe preschool that stressed conflict resolution methods.

Presbyterians Concerned about Colombia

Sponsored by
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
The Witherspoon Society


Impact of U.S. Aid in Colombia

Under the auspices of Witness for Peace

Delegation to Colombia 
March 17-29, 2003

Colombia has endured almost four decades of brutal armed conflict between the national army, leftist guerrilla movements, and right-wing paramilitary forces. Overwhelmingly, the victims of this conflict have been civilians -- primarily community and church leaders, human rights workers, and local labor organizers. Into this situation, the U.S. Congress has approved several billion in mostly military aid -- ostensibly to fight the "war on drugs" but in fact to expand our military influence.


bulletMeet with a wide range of experts to hear analyses of the impact of U.S. policy in Colombia
bulletHear personal testimonies from displaced people and others directly affected by the conflict
bulletTravel outside Bogotá to see the impact of military assistance on farmers and other civilians
bulletMeet with Presbyterians and hear their stories about the effects of US policy on civilians
bulletGather tools and skills needed to educate and influence U.S. policy makers

Estimated Cost: $1,400 plus airfare. This includes all meals, accommodations, translation and transportation in Colombia (including in-country airfare). Your fee also covers briefing materials and extensive training in Miami. Scholarship funds are limited, but fundraising consultation is available. Past delegates have a very successful track record of raising the needed funds.

Applications: Due February 15, 2003 with a $100 deposit. Space for 20 participants

For an application and more information, contact:

Betty Kersting (505) 982-4548
Anne Barstow (212) 662-8209



GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries, confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We provided resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest have been:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which  removes the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.  Approved!

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.  Disapproved, because as an amendment to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not receive that.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which  adopts the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.   Approved.

If you like what you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and growing!

Please consider making a special contribution -- large or small -- to help us continue and improve this service.

Click here to send a gift online, using your credit card, through PayPal.

Or send your check, made out to "Presbyterian Voices for Justice" and marked "web site," to our PVJ Treasurer:

Darcy Hawk
4007 Gibsonia Road
Gibsonia, PA  15044-8312


Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.


Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.


John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


To top

© 2011 by Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  All material on this site is the responsibility of the WebWeaver unless other sources are acknowledged.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this site may be copied for personal use and sharing in small groups.  For permission to reproduce material for wider publication, please contact the WebWeaver, Doug King.  Any material reached by links on this site is outside the control and responsibility of the WebWeaver and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  Questions or comments?  Please send a note!