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Archives:   August 2003

Reports from the 215th General Assembly are indexed on another page.

Reports from July are listed on the July archive page.

All our reports from June are indexed on the June archive page.

Check earlier months through the general archive page.

8/30/03
Jensen suit against former Moderator Abu-Akel dismissed by California court

The Orange County (California) Superior Court has ruled in favor of the Reverend Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel, Moderator of the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The court dismissed the slander lawsuit brought against him by Paul Rolf Jensen, for lack of "subject matter jurisdiction over the allegations of the complaint."

Details from Presbyterian News Service

"Holy Land" - What is it and who owns it? A Christian transformation of the question

Land - "holy land" - and who owns it is at the center of the terrible, seemingly endless conflict in Israel/Palestine.

The Rev. Thomas C. Davis, pastor of Hanover Street Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, decided to preach two sermons exploring the notion of holy land in the Hebrew scriptures, and its radical transformation in the New Testament. In the first sermon, "God's Abode," he points to Jesus' insistence that God's presence was now to be found not in a place - the Temple or the Land - but in the Person of Jesus (the Way), and thus in all persons.

And in the second sermon, "Everywhere Lies Holy Ground," he traces the pattern of "ethnic cleansing" from the ancient Hebrews' conquest of the Promised Land, through their Puritan descendants' conquest and extermination of the native peoples of North America, to the apartheid system in South Africa. He shows how, again, Jesus overturns the idea of a "holy land" as the property of one people; now all land is holy, for God moves among all peoples.

"The Jews can't lay exclusive claim to [the Holy Land] any more than they can to holy ground. Everywhere lies holy ground, because the spirit blows where it wills." And so, he concludes, "Christianity, in Luke's view, is not tied to any specific land. It''\s mission is to the ends of the earth."

Note:  Both sermons are posted on the same page; the link above will take you there.

Oct. 26 designated Bread for the World Sunday

Anti-hunger group offers free worship resources

Bread for the World, a Christian anti-hunger group, has produced a new worship resource to help congregations renew their commitment to fighting hunger during an annual day of observance called "Bread for the World Sunday."

Most observances this year will take place on Oct. 26, although congregations are encouraged to choose any Sunday between World Food Day (Oct. 16) and Thanksgiving (Nov. 27).

Rosemary Radford Ruether calls for a healthier sexual ethic, partly to replace the Administration's "puritan" ethic being forced on African nations in the fight against AIDS

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, calls for a new sexual ethic that contrasts radically with the neo-Puritan ethic being demanded by President Bush - even in Africa, where it will harm rather than help efforts to combat the rising incidence of AIDS.

What's needed, she says, is not merely sexual freedom, but an end to "sexual illiteracy," which can come only by replacing the still-current "male ethic of sexual exploitation" with a truly egalitarian sexual ethic, which allows learning through experience - but experience in stages of growing maturity and responsibility.

Her essay is published in Conscience, the "newsjournal" published by Catholics for a Free Choice.

8/27/03
Teaching on the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are a pretty big deal these days. But they've been around for a while, and may not evaporate with their removal from a governmental display of them.

A couple years ago we posted a helpful essay by the Rev. Bruce Gillette on "teaching the Ten Commandments, which includes a list of good resources.

If you have other good material, or thoughts of your own on this issue, please send us a note to be shared here!

A Witherspoon chapter has just been formed in Montana

The Rev. John Shuck, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Billings, Montana, reports:

Witherspoon-Montana has now been formed and about 45 folks (so far all in Yellowstone Presbytery--but we know some Glacier Presbytery folks will hop aboard, too) have signed on to participate in conversation, education, action and dancing regarding social justice issues in Montana in church and society. We hope to have some programs and speakers, BBQ's, talent shows, and what all to show that social justice and inclusiveness can be fun as well as important especially when we do it together!

And he invites you to visit their very own website!  

And click here for more information about forming your own chapter.

Keep Space for Peace Week: International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space, slated for October 4-11, 2003 is being publicized by The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Houston pastor is 1st candidate for moderator

The Rev. David Garth McKechnie, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX, has become the first candidate for moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Presbytery of New Covenant voted unanimously to endorse his candidacy on Aug. 23. His presenter, the Rev. Gerald Hurst, pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Missouri City, TX, called McKechnie "one who will work with both sides of the aisle toward the peace, unity and purity of the church ... (and) the healing and reconciliation of the church."

Check out the Presbyterian News Service report.

"Be Doers of the Word of God"

Carolyn Gillette's hymn for this Sunday (August 31st) and September 7th is "Be Doers of the Word of God." Built on texts from James 1, Ephesians, and 1 John 3, it is posted on the Church World Service website.

Email: Bruce.Gillette@ecunet.org

8/25/03
Washington Office urges participation in Witness for Civil Liberties Weekend, October 24-26, 2003

October 26, 2003 is the two-year anniversary of the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and the last day before the Muslim holiday Ramadan. The weekend is a fitting time for people of all faith traditions to affirm and celebrate fundamental freedoms. Through education, worship, and community action, participating congregations can help to ensure that freedom in the United States is truly for all people. -- regardless of citizenship, nationality, race, or religion.

For a complete list of the national religious groups sponsoring Witness for Civil Liberties Weekend, see: www.witnessforcivilliberties.org

New Resource: Transgender, Intersex and the Church 

Made in God's Image: A Resource for Dialogue about the Church and Gender Differences is a groundbreaking educational booklet combining valuable information, personal sharing, and resources. A perfect starting place for any congregation, family, or individual.

Erin Swenson, a transgender Presbyterian minister, recommends this booklet as a resource for anyone seeking more understanding of transgender issues, and for use in helping any congregation discuss those issues.

8/23/03
Two very different sources welcome the Episcopal Church's decision to confirm a gay priest as Bishop.

One, an honorary canon at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, responds to Katherine Kersten's widely note attack on the decision as substituting a "gospel of inclusion" for the true demands of scripture.

The other, a gay man who grew up with no faith and now is seeking a grounding in the Christian community, finds he is at last made to feel welcome by the affirmation of a gay man as bishop.

8/21/03

TURN BACK:
HOPES AND FEARS FOR THE PRESBYTERIAN FUTURE

Barbara Wheeler, President of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, joined with the Rev. Jack Haberer, pastor of Clear Lake Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX, and current member of the Board for Presbyterians for Renewal, in a conversation for the Semper Reformanda gathering at the beginning of the General Assembly in Denver, on May 23, 2003.

The participants engaged in a free-flowing conversation, but each of them provided written texts from earlier presentations as helpful background.

Ms. Wheeler provided an address she gave at Fuller Seminary on January 21, 2003.  We posted the text of that address during General Assembly, but have just discovered that we posted only part of the full text.

The Presbyterian Layman Online has recently published an article quoting extensively from Ms. Wheeler's writing, and we have been asked to be sure that the full text is made available here.  We apologize for an incomplete publication in the past, and appreciate Ms. Wheeler's help in providing -- at last -- the full text.

8/20/03

A call to the March on Washington
40th Anniversary -- August 21-24, 2003

This week the SCLC, the NAACP, the Urban League and many of faith groups including the National Council of Churches will convene a march to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

The National Council of Churches has sent out a message from Martin Luther King, III president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a detailed list of events.

Presbyterian Resources for Worker Justice

The National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, with headquarters in Chicago, encourages interfaith action to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.

NICWJ has just published a twelve-page booklet entitled "Presbyterian Resources for Worker Justice." Mark Wendorf traces the Reformed heritage, Richard Poethig reminds Presbyterians how they dealt with industrial change in the twentieth century, and Noelle Damico writes about the Taco Bell boycott. Presbyterian statements about labor rights are quoted, and a timeline highlights major turning points. There are a reproducible "labor litany" and "labor prayer."

The price is $1 each for 1-20 (plus $3 shipping and handling), 50 cents each for 21-50 (plus $5), and 25 cents for 50-100 (plus $7). You can phone them at (773) 728-8400, or go to their web site, www.nicwj.org/pages/materials.Presbyterian.html.

Thanks to Gene TeSelle

After the big blackout ... what about energy?

TomPaine.com is an excellent source for news and opinion with a progressive perspective. They have just posted a very helpful list of resources on the energy crisis that didn't just happen last week.  They call it An Energy Solutions Reader

Another take on right-wing efforts to gain control of the United Methodist Church

The political right wing, operating through a number of so-called "renewal groups," particularly one named the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), has acquired the money and political will to target three mainline American denominations: The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the Episcopal Church.

Gene TeSelle recently noted the publication of United Methodism @ Risk: A Wake Up Call by Leon Howell. Andrew J. Weaver, a United Methodist pastor and a clinical psychologist, has recently published another review (entitled "The Fighting Methodists" ) on Martin Marty's website version of his newsletter, Sightings.

Following a fairly heated response from Mark Tooley, who directs the United Methodist committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), Dr. Marty offered his thoughts on the rhetoric involved, drawing two conclusions:

First, infighting within denominations inspires inflaming rhetoric unmatched by most of that in politics. Somehow, when people invoke the name or cause of God they tend to demonize "the other" more readily than they do in the affairs of the republic. On such premises, for instance, discuss stem cell research or homosexuality or policies toward Israel, and soon you will be debating what God had in mind back in creation or has in mind with the second coming of Christ to Israel. Pity would-be reconcilers on such fronts.

Second, such rhetoric points to the fact that the "day of denominations" is not over. People fight fiercely over their fates and meager spoils. And we see that denominations do not belong simply to the private sphere but they lead public lives and what they say and do has a bearing on the cultural and social worlds.

Thanks to Bruce Gillette

8/16/03
What's the role of religious beliefs in a civil society? 

A recent article by syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg, published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, posed the interesting (and currently pressing) question: "Should judges be disqualified if their religious beliefs impact their votes?" Goldberg suggests - or even asserts - that it is religious prejudice to object to Supreme Court nominees who take strong positions on the basis of their faith.

This is an issue of great concern to many conservative Presbyterians (among lots of others), as evidenced by its inclusion in the PresbyWeb listings for Thursday, August 14, 2003.

Witherspoon Issues Analyst Gene TeSelle offers some thoughts on various ways our society and our theologians have tried to define a proper - and properly limited - role for religious faith in political discourse.

Take a look, and send us your comments!

For another take on this question try:
"America is a religion"

For another perspective on religion and politics in America, you might consider a provocative essay in The Guardian, by George Monbiot.

To explain why the Bush administration is so selective in its "intelligence" about the world, and specifically about Iraq, he says that

The United States is no longer just a nation. It is now a religion. Its soldiers have entered Iraq to liberate its people not only from their dictator, their oil and their sovereignty, but also from their darkness. As George Bush told his troops on the day he announced victory, "wherever you go, you carry a message of hope - a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, "come out," and to those in darkness, "be free."

So American soldiers are no longer merely terrestrial combatants; they have become missionaries. They are no longer simply killing enemies; they are casting out demons.

He concludes:

The dangers of national divinity scarcely require explanation. Japan went to war in the 1930s convinced, like George Bush, that it possessed a heaven-sent mission to "liberate" Asia and extend the realm of its divine imperium. It would, the fascist theoretician Kita Ikki predicted, "light the darkness of the entire world". Those who seek to drag heaven down to earth are destined only to engineer a hell.

The full text of this article is available on Monbiot's own website and on The Guardian's site.

Who is this man Monbiot? You can check the "Who I am" page on his website.  When you finish you may wonder what he does for adventure. 

Go see for yourself.

Are you one of those good Presbyterians who worries that our church is too committed to 'DIVERSITY'?

Well, it seems that for one highly respected Presbyterian-related college, Davidson in North Carolina, DIVERSITY HAS ITS LIMITS.

Dean Leslie Marsicano, Director of Residence Life, is quoted in Newsweek on finding compatible roommates for new students:

"We had a match that seemed perfect, until we discovered that one was a cattle rancher's son and the other was a vegan."

"Saving" Liberia ...
with or without US troops?

As the Bush administration deals with a very different situation in Liberia from the most recent "crisis" in Iraq (or whatever you want to call it), it may be helpful to think beyond issues of military intervention.

Foreign Policy in Focus, a progressive "Think Tank without Walls," has posted a thorough analysis of the real needs in Liberia. They conclude that "If Liberia is to break its cycle of violence and decline, six major peace-building tasks will need to be undertaken - all of which would benefit from American financial and technical assistance: establishing a governing structure; enforcing peace; stemming the flow of weapons to the region; kick-starting the economy; and recovering looted assets."

Click here for a quick summary.

An Ounce of Precaution may equal a pound of environmental cures

In June, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-2 to adopt the Precautionary Principle, consolidating the city's environmental laws into a single code to "create and maintain a healthy, viable Bay Area environment for current and future generations," reports Rachel's Environment and Health News.

The study's findings concluded:

bulletEvery citizen has an inherent right to "live healthy, fulfilling. and dignified lives," with access to clean air, water, earth, and food.
bulletEnvironmentally harmful activities have historically been identified only after people and the environment have been harmed. To effectively repair the damage, the city must "[move] beyond finding cures for environmental ills to preventing the ills before they do harm."
bulletCitizens are equal partners in decisions affecting their environment.

The five elements needed for the Precautionary Principle to succeed are summarized on Utne's Webwatch.

Go to the full article in Rachel's Environment and Health News.

8/12/03
A new look at the real aims of the war in Iraq -- and their threat to what America really means

"We Stand Our Ground"

William Rivers Pitt, the Managing Editor of www.truthout.org, gave the keynote speech at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in San Francisco, earlier in August. He gave one of the most comprehensive surveys I've seen of America's shifting reasons for its war against Iraq and whoever else might turn up. The old reasons (weapons of mass destruction, support of al Qaeda, and all that) have faded into the mists of the falsehoods they were; the new reason, given by one administration aide, is "to see the spread of our values, and to understand that our values and our security are inextricably linked."

Theological Task Force convenes again
We offer links to a few of the reports
The Episcopal convention is over, but the effects are still being pondered.

We've excerpted and linked to more comments about the election of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.

Covenant Network announces plans for a Northwest Regional Conference, Oct. 11, 2003

What Do We Believe, Anyway?
Questions about
Scripture, Theology and Polity Facing our Church Today

Lots of other stories and comments about the confirmation of Gene Robinson are listed on another page.  Check it out!

We welcome your comments, to be shared here!
Just send a note!

For comments from others,
click here.

8/7/03
Conservative Episcopalians find shelter in a Presbyterian church

The New York Times reported this morning (August 7, 2003) on the variety of ways in which Episcopalians at the National Convention are expressing their objections to the Convention's action in confirming the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

One of the most conservative of the right-wing groups, Forward in Faith, is mentioned (though not by name) as meeting at Westminster Presbyterian Church, just a couple blocks from the Convention Center.

According to The Times, "A few blocks away, about 300 opponents of approving Bishop-elect Robinson, some 20 bishops among them, prayed together in a worship service at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In the pews, several people wept. Some spoke of the decision [to approve Robinson's election] as a death."

We contacted the pastor of Westminster, the Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen, to ask about this apparent support by a Presbyterian church for the far right of a sister denomination. He explained that Westminster was contacted by the organization months before the convention, and asked to rent their chapel to the group for daily morning worship. Westminster, said Hart-Andersen, agreed as a matter of simple hospitality, and without knowing much about the nature of the group.

In case you're wondering, a quick search on the Web reveals that Forward in Faith is indeed pretty far to the right. They regard the American Anglican Council, which has led the fight against Robinson's confirmation, as a bit too far to the left. The Council, for instance, allows for the ordination of women, while Forward in Faith does not. In their efforts to restore true worship to their denomination, they use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

Hart-Andersen explained that the group has gathered at 9:30 each morning for "Mass," as they prefer to call it, with perhaps 100 people present. Wednesday morning there were far more there, with many in tears. Since they could not all fit in Westminster's chapel, they were invited to use the much larger sanctuary. They preferred to stay in the chapel, largely because it is "more Anglican" - with an altar rather than a communion table, and so on.

Lots of other stories and comments about the confirmation of Gene Robinson are listed on another page.  Check it out!

We welcome your comments, to be shared here!
Just send a note!

For comments from others,
click here.

8/6/03
On the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the first out gay bishop of the Episcopal Church

We offer some editorial reflections from your WebWeaver -- about how this momentous event came about and what it might mean for us in the Presbyterian Church

For a couple stories just reporting on the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune provides a fairly complete and informative report.

And the Episcopal News Service gives a shorter version

ENS has also posted a lengthy and interesting interview with Robinson, just after the bishops' vote, in which he "shares his spiritual journey and vision for the church."

Who's threatening to split the church?

We've noticed in many of the headlines over reports of this event the implication that the election of a gay bishop threatens to split the Episcopal Church. The New York Times, for instance, offers this headline:
Gay Bishop Wins in Episcopal Vote; Split Threatened
.

Some coverage carries the implication further, as in the headline on PresbyWeb's link to the Times story:

Gay bishop wins in Episcopal vote, threatening split
Conservatives: This body has divided itself

Let's be clear here: The schism, if it comes (and many suggest that while a number of individuals may leave the denomination, as happened with the ordination of women, and then the ordination of women as bishops), will be the choice of those who leave, not the main body of the church.

Not all African bishops are railing against the ordination of a gay bishop!

Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, in a lengthy and thoughtful statement commenting on the Episcopal convention in Minneapolis, said among other good things:

Dialogue, listening, sharing stories and experiences are the ways to understanding the complexities of our humanity. Adopting a hard-line stance does nothing to enhance church unity, which is, we understand, the desire of Christ for the church. The way of Jesus, on the other hand, seems to have been to listen and talk and include, rather than refuse to listen and exclude people. Indeed those deemed "other" in Jesus' own day were the very people Jesus seems to have sought out and included in his circle - women, lepers, Samaritans, tax collectors and other so-called undesirables were those to whom he showed love.

A comment from South Africa:

"Queer Church Logic"

Michael Worsnip, programme manager for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, takes "all this recent stuff in the news about gay bishops" in stride, saying that gay bishops are nothing new; it's the honesty and integrity that are new, and very welcome.

He adds:

Do you remember the big fuss about divorcees? Do you remember the big fuss about women priests? The church was wrong. And eventually (but after how long and after how much pain and undeserved suffering?) it changed the rules. I have no reason to believe that anything different is going to happen here. Eventually, dragged kicking and screaming by a prophetic society, rather than the other way around, the church will change the rules on this issue as well.

The Witherspoon Society continues to serve as the one independent voice in the Presbyterian Church offering a broad witness to our church's historic commitments to peace and justice -- in our church, our nation, our world.

We invite you to join your voice to that witness.
Please become a member!

8/5/03
7:00 PM CST:

The Rev. Gene Robinson has been confirmed by the Episcopal House of Bishops as the bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Robinson was confirmed early this evening by the Episcopal House of Bishops, by a vote of 62 for out of the 107 eligible to vote.

The charges against him were dismissed decisively a few hours earlier by the bishop named to investigate them, the Rev. Gordon Scruton of western Massachusetts.

Do you have comments to share? 
Please send a note and we'll post it here!

The latest from Minneapolis:

Episcopalians Schedule Vote on Bishop
Investigation Ends Day After Misconduct Allegations Emerge

The Washington Post reports that Episcopal Church officials have finished investigating last-minute allegations against the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, allowing senior bishops to debate and possibly vote today on whether to confirm his election as the church's first openly gay bishop, the presiding bishop said.

The story says that sources are implying that if the investigation had found anything true in the charges, the election would not have been allowed to proceed.

More on the challenge to a gay candidate for bishop in the Episcopal Church

Out of the many press reports on the events at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, here are two that seem to offer helpful background and analysis.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune also draws on wire service reports.

(You may be asked to register to access this page, but there's no charge, and it's pretty painless.)

The Boston Globe offers good information about Gene Robinson's accuser, and about the website which he is accused of supporting.

But also ...
We've seen this before

It's happened before that people opposed to a particular candidate for high office in a church - this time the Presbyterian Church (USA) - brought forth accusations at the last minute to derail the election of an apparently good candidate. In fact, there were not even accusations in this instance, but mere rumors. And they were enough to do the job. It happened at the 204th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Milwaukee.   Check out the rest of the story.

8/4/03
More from the Episcopal General Convention
Wouldn’cha know it?

At the last minute, one David Lewis of Manchester, Vt has charged that the Rev. Gene Robinson, now awaiting the last vote to confirm his as bishop of New Hampshire, "inappropriately touched" him "a couple of years ago."

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has appointed Bishop Gorton Scruton of Western Massachusetts to conduct an investigation.

Efforts by Episcopal News Service to reach Lewis by phone have been unsuccessful.

Does this sound familiar to Presbyterians?

Equal Partners in Faith says:
Same-sex marriage is a matter of equality 
The website tompaine.com offers a sharp analysis of plans by the Bush administration to use the gay marriage issue as a "wedge issue" to strengthen its hold on voters in a number of conservative states. 
A Work of Hospitality - a review  

Witherspooner Don Beisswenger reviews a new book offering some 90 short articles reflecting the remarkable mission of The Open Door community in Atlanta - a pioneering venture in hospitality and solidarity with the homeless and the imprisoned.

Are you wondering how much our little war in Iraq is costing?  Just go to our "War on Iraq" page and check out the counter near the top of the page.
From the Episcopal General Convention - doors may be opening!

Episcopal House of Deputies approves Gene Robinson as bishop

from Episcopal News Service, posted 8/3/2003

Gene Robinson's journey to becoming bishop of New Hampshire passed a crucial milestone Sunday afternoon when the House of Deputies voted to consent to his election as bishop coadjutor.

In a vote by orders on resolution C045, lay deputations voted 63 yes, 32 no, and 13 divided. Clergy deputations voted 65 yes, 31 no, and 12 divided. With the deputies' action, the final decision now rests with the House of Bishops, which will take up Robinson's consent at 2 p.m. Monday.


Ritual for same-sex blessings may be approved

Convention Daily. Posted 8/3/2003

The Episcopal General Convention's committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music offered a compromise resolution Sunday on preparing rites for same-sex blessings that would allow for local option.

The new resolution, which combines resolutions C005, B007, C022 and C051, directs the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music to prepare ""rites for possible inclusion in Enriching Our Worship by means of which support and blessing may be expressed for same-sex relationships with the permission of the ecclesiastical authority."

The resolution now goes to the House of Bishops for consideration.

For more news from the Episcopal Church's General Convention, click here.

And there's more:

If you're a perplexed Presbyterian trying to understand to voting system in the Episcopal Church, check out a report by Martha Sawyer Allen, religion reporter on the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

She also provides good glimpses of the arguments for and against the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay priest to be confirmed as a bishop in the Episcopal Church - or anywhere in the world-wide Anglican communion.

NOTE:  You need to register to access the Star Tribune website -- but it's free!

Reports from the 215th General Assembly are indexed on another page.

Reports from July are listed on the July archive page.

All our reports from June are indexed on the June archive page.

Check earlier months through the general archive page.

 

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.
 

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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!

 

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