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Archive for October, 2009

This page lists our postings from all of October, 2009

For an index to all our reports
from the 218th General Assembly

For an index to all our reports from the
Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice >>

Earlier in April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
December, 2009
November, 2009
September, 2009
August, 2009
July, 2009
June, 2009
May, 2009
April, 2009
March, 2009

February, 2009
January, 2009
December, 2008
November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

10/30/09
Honduras crisis may be coming to resolution

A quick -- and more hopeful -- follow-up on yesterday's report.

The Christian Science Monitor, along with other media, is reporting that an agreement has been reached by which ousted President Manuel Zelaya will be (or may be?) allowed to return to office for the remaining three months of his term. “The deal would include the creation of a powersharing government and the promise on both sides that presidential elections slated for Nov. 29 will be respected. It also would establish a truth commission and signal an end to international sanctions - slapped on Honduras by countries, including the US -in protest of Zelaya's removal from office.”

For a number of reports from the Christian Science Monitor, gathered by Truthout.com >>

The New York Times report >>

Our earlier reports on the Honduras crisis >>

We are hoping to hear more from sources such as Witness for Peace, and will pass their reports along as soon as possible.

Late update:

A recent AP report posted by iGoogle offers more detail about U.S. involvement in the settlement.  Huh - imagine that -- the U.S. helping achieve a settlement instead of ... like, invading something!

10/29/09
Beyond the Hate Crimes Prevention Act ...

Sharon Groves of the Human Rights Campaign marked the signing into law of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by President Obama by posting thoughts from the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, associate professor of practical theology at Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas. He has been researching LGBT hate crimes for anthology of stories for his upcoming book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memory of LGBT Hate Crimes Murder Victims.

His concluding lines are worth posting here on our “front page.”

The LGBTQ community will be challenged to mature and take their place among communities of survivors, witnesses who understand that it takes hard work to make hope become real for everyone. At the stroke of a pen, the entire LGBTQ community will experience the greatest lift since the Stonewall Rebellion forty years ago. But that will not be all. The America I know and love will encounter change on the day the Shepard Act becomes law, too. Summoned by the angel of justice, the American people will face the challenge to make the promise of the Constitution come true for their transgender, gay, bi, and lesbian neighbors and friends.

Passage and signing the Matthew Shepard Act into law will not magically stop the killing. Record numbers of LGBTQ Americans, especially young transgender people of color, are dying violently all across the land. But the high water mark of hatred has been scotched with the stroke of a pen with President Obama’s signature on this historic bill. The end of the beginning of full equality for my people has come. And we who believe in the fullness of justice will not rest until it comes continue to preach, to pray, and to advocate until all of us our free to love without the threat of violence.

Click here for the full essay, posted by John Shuck on his blog, Shuck and Jive.

Farm Worker Ministry urges opposition to nomination of chemical lobbyist as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator.

This call for action comes to us from National Farm Worker Ministry. We present it here in slightly edited form.

The Farmworker Association of Florida has asked the National Farm Worker Ministry to alert our supporters to the White House's nomination of Islam Siddiqui, current vice president for science and regulatory affairs, and formerly a lobbyist, with CropLife America, which represents the chemical pesticide industry. He is being nominated to the critical post of U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Farmworker groups fighting for years to regulate pesticide use are disappointed by the White House’s action.

The Farmworker Association of Florida, which represents 6,700 farm worker families working in the tomato and citrus industries, remains disturbed by the appointment. "Siddiqui's role at USTR will not be about promoting organic products, but eliminating trade barriers for developing countries to accept toxic chemicals and pesticides," said Tirso Moreno, general coordinator for FWAF. "That is CropLife America's agenda. They continue to try to stop any international attempts to help us regulate pesticide uses. Farmworkers have the highest rate of chemical-related illnesses of any occupational group. Our community suffers from nausea, liver damage, birth defects, and cancer as a result of exposure to these poisons. For the health of farmworkers around the world, we urge that his nomination be rejected."

Click HERE to sign the petition to President Obama urging that he withdraw the nomination of Siddiqui.

For more on this problematic nomination >>

The Coup in Honduras: US regresses, Hondurans march

Witness for Peace provides a good update on the situation in Honduras

It begins:

As the coup regime in Honduras continues to cling to power, attacks on Hondurans' human rights continue to mount. Meanwhile, the U.S. response remains sluggish and two-faced. In late July, the State Department finally revoked the diplomatic visas of four coup-plotters. But just one week later, the same State Department sent a contradictory letter to Senator Lugar. After "energetically condemning" the coup against Honduran President Zelaya, the letter incredibly named Zelaya, not the coup-plotters, as responsible for his own ouster. The U.S. response to the coup should not be a matter of supporting or rejecting the prior actions of Manuel Zelaya; it’s a matter of supporting or rejecting the flagrant usurpation of Hondurans’ right to exercise their democratic will.

The illegitimate coup merits clear, consistent condemnation from the U.S., not the schizophrenic response seen thus far. To demonstrate unequivocal (if not expedient) support for Hondurans’ self-determination, the U.S. should revoke U.S. visas for the many untouched coup-plotters, freeze their U.S.-held assets, and cease U.S. military operations at the still-active Palmerola base near the Honduran capital.

The rest of the article, plus suggestions for action >>

More of our posts on Honduras >>

10/26/09
More Light Presbyterians celebrate passage of Hate Crimes Act.

From More Light Presbyterians

The National Board of Directors and Staff of More Light Presbyterians are grateful that the Senate passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act today by a vote of 68-29. President Obama has promised to sign this act which has already been passed by the House of Representatives.  

"It is difficult to imagine how any Senator or U.S. Representative could have found moral, ethical, religious or legal grounds to oppose the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. As decent human beings, caring American citizens and particularly as Christians, we are to seek protection from harm for every person regardless of human difference in our communities, nation and world. Having lobbied in Washington, DC for this hate crime act alongside faithful Presbyterians and clergy from other faith traditions, I rejoice that justice was done today in our Nation's capital," said Michael J. Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer. 

We want to thank the thousands of Presbyterians who have supported including sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability to hate crimes law by writing letters, calling your members of Congress, by making lobbying visits and through your prayers. ...

with hope and gratitude,
Michael

Michael J. Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians
(505) 820-7082, michaeladee@aol.com,
www.mlp.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Interfaith Alliance suggests a note to Senators acknowledging the importance of their action.

Great news! The hate crimes prevention legislation you've been helping Interfaith Alliance work toward for more than a decade has passed both houses of Congress! And once President Obama signs the bill, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will officially become law.

To celebrate this victory, will you take a moment today to tell your Senators how much this bill's passage means to you?  Click here to send a note >>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Conservatives say their rights are threatened – but others disagree

A report from Religion News Service notes that, while progressive religious leaders have hailed the passage of the bill, “conservative Christian leaders criticized the bill, saying that it might limit the rights of clergy to speak against homosexuality.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a quoted as saying: “This hate crimes provision is part of a radical social agenda that could ultimately silence Christians and use the force of government to marginalize anyone whose faith is at odds with homosexuality.”

On the other hand, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is quoted as saying: “This carefully crafted law will not infringe on any individual’s First Amendment rights. ... It addresses violent acts and no person, whether a faith leader or otherwise, will be prosecuted for their thoughts, words, or beliefs.”

Same-gender marriage? Let the GA Special Committee hear about it!   

The Special Committee on Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage says the PCUSA can’t agree on marriage and holy unions. Pam Byers, executive director of Covenant Network, suggests we let them hear some clear affirmations and examples of what marriage can and does (or might!) mean for many same-gender couples.

Her note to Covenant Network members >>

For more news and commentary on the struggle for marriage equality >>

Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) seeks nominations to recognize ministries of social justice

The Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) is seeking nominations for five awards that will be celebrated during the 219th General Assembly in Minneapolis, MN on July 5, 2010.

PHEWA, part of the Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry of the General Assembly Mission Council, is a voluntary membership organization dedicated to social welfare and justice ministries. Ten networks are a part of PHEWA, organized for grassroots implementation of General Assembly policies in the areas of community ministries and faith-based community organizing, addictions, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive options, specialized pastoral ministries, child advocacy, disabilities, health and wholeness, and serious mental illness.  More >>

UN expert: Governments failing indigenous declaration

U.S. signals willingness to sign agreement it previously rejected

Inter Press Service, distributed by the Caribbean and Latin American Communication Agency, reports that a top U.N. expert on human rights law called last week for governments to match their words with deeds and make good on promises to respect indigenous communities’ right to live as they wish. “The indigenous peoples are suffering everywhere,” James Anaya, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights of indigenous peoples, told a news conference after submitting a comprehensive report to the General Assembly.

Anaya, a law professor who teaches at Harvard University and the University of Arizona, said many governments were failing to abide by the principles laid out in the historic — though non-binding — U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

U.N. figures show there are more than 370 million indigenous peoples in the world. Scientists say their role in the fight against climate change and preservation of biodiversity is vital because they live in close proximity to nature. Though indigenous activists have participated in major U.N. conferences for more than a decade, they never had a say in official discussions on climate change and biodiversity.

The full news report >>

Life is a mystery, right?

Click here for a few of the more mysterious questions in life, just to give you something to ponder.

10/20/09
Celebrating the life of Virginia “Ginny” Davidson

Virginia Davidson, who gave much of her life to helping the Presbyterian Church become the joyful, loving, and inclusive community that God intends it to be, died on Monday afternoon, October 19.

The pastor of Downtown Presbyterian Church in Rochester, N.Y., the Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, sent this early notice to her wide, wide circle of friends:

Dear Friends,

Our treasured friend and companion in faith, Virginia Davidson, passed peacefully into the light of God's eternal love early on this beautiful October afternoon. She spent the last few days at home, surrounded by loved ones.

A memorial service in witness to the resurrection and in loving celebration of Virginia's life will be held in the Downtown Presbyterian Church sanctuary at 2pm this coming Saturday, October 24th, with a reception to follow in the Hallock Lounge.

In these sacred days of sorrow, remembrance, and thanksgiving, may we be especially alert to the movement of God's Spirit among us to comfort and inspire.

May the grace and peace of God be with us all,

Pat

The Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, Ph.D., Pastor
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Rochester, New York

More from That All May Freely Serve, and More Light Presbyterians >>

Nov. 20-22 – Vigil to close “School of the Americas
This comes to us from Marilyn White, for the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

On November 20-22, thousands of people will converge on Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia to pressure Congress and the White House to close the "School of Americas" training facility, end military aid to Mexico and Colombia, and support the return of the elected democratic government of Honduras.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship will be there! Plan to join us for educational (and fun!) workshops and the deeply moving Sunday morning vigil. We have reserved a block of rooms, and are arranging transportation from the Atlanta airport for those arriving Friday morning and leaving Monday afternoon.

Plan to attend the Presbyterian Breakfast on Saturday, November 21, from 7 - 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn North, where we will celebrate PPF's 65th birthday with our executive director, Rick Ufford-Chase; honor prisoners of conscience and accompaniment program volunteers; hear updates on PPF projects; and enjoy the fellowship of 60-80 Presbyterians! The cost is $10 for a full breakfast, and reservations are required.

After the Sunday morning vigil, meet at the PPF information table to walk together to the gate for a brief prayer and communion service.

For more information about housing or transportation, or for breakfast reservations, contact Marilyn White at marwhite@igc.org or 512-450-2766.

Tres Rios Presbytery celebrates Calvin’s advocacy for immigrants
This note comes from the Rev. Jose Luis Casal, General Missioner of Tres Rios Presbytery

Tres Rios Presbytery 86th Stated Meeting of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was celebrated with an opening Worship Service and Communion dedicated to Immigration as part of our celebrations on the 500 Anniversary of John Calvin.

John Calvin’s support to refugees and his commitment to transform Geneva into a welcoming city for persecuted Christians in West Europe on 16th Century were the motivations to celebrate this service in Trinity Presbyterian Church in El Paso, Texas, a border city where more than 80% of the population is Hispanic. The worship conducted by Rev. Patty Lane, pastor of Trinity church had the participation of reverends Rebecca Whitaker, John Nelsen, Jose Luis Casal who shared with the participants his latest composition, the song “Holy Immigrant.” The Rev. Tim Davenport-Herbst challenged the audience in his sermon to speak about the controversial issues because the Lord always finds ways to lead us to a middle ground in which we learn to respect others and live with our disagreements and differences.

More on immigrant rights >>

10/14/09
Nobel Peace Prize 2009 – decided by a “left-leaning” panel?

by Bill Peach  

There have been 120 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize – 97 individuals and 23 organizations. The selection is made by a member panel appointed by the Norwegian Parliament. Several news stories referred to the panel as “left-leaning.”

I would encourage you to read the history of the Nobel Peace Prize. The first irony is that it is named after the person who invented dynamite. Go figure. One of the most interesting recipients was in 1960 when the Albert John Lutuli, a Zulu Warrior, won the prize, for his peaceful resistance to apartheid. Consider 1973, when Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho shared the prize, and the Vietnamese negotiator refused. Americans have fared well historically: George C. Marshall, Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, and Al Gore.   More >>

For more on the Peace Prize award >>

Same-gender marriage as an issue of religious freedom - from The Interfaith Alliance

The Interfaith Alliance looks at same-gender marriage through a focus on religious freedom, and calls for "quiet conversations" about the issue, seeking ways for people with differing beliefs, values, and opinions to live together in a democracy. 

To read the paper >>

To download the same paper in PDF format >>

Thanks to Gene TeSelle

10/12/09
Progressive clergy affirm abortion as a moral health care choice for women

Frederick Clarkson, an independent journalist, author and lecturer who has written about politics and religion for twenty-five years, with much of his work focusing on the Christian Right, has posted a lengthy note reporting on pro-choice religious perspectives.

Among other things he discusses a recent Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as Moral Decision, issued by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing.

He also reports on a recent poll which shows that “Catholics support both a public option in healthcare reform and a plan that would include funding for abortion.”

National Equality March expresses LGBT witness for equality

Obama's speech offers support

A report from Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians.

Washington, DC. (October 11, 2009) Today thousands of people marched on Washington for LGBT equality. More Light Presbyterians supported this historic moment of national grassroots organizing by: serving as one of the national pro-LGBT faith organizations to support the March by officially endorsing it; by having a group of More Light Presbyterians march; and through the witness of Rev. Ruth Hamilton, co-pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., a welcoming and affirming More Light church, and Michael J. Adee, standing with two dozen faith leaders on the stage in front of the Capitol with Rev. Troy Perry as he offered the invocation at the rally.

The rest of the report >>

Presbyterian Coalition protests that proposed new Form of Government offers “more harm than help”

The Presbyterian Coalition has issued a statement criticizing the proposed new Form of Government for, among other things:

•           “demoting” the authority of Scripture

•           imposing “Radical Inclusiveness Without Boundaries”

•           giving excessive power to presbyteries in matters such as dissolving pastoral relationships, appointing commissions to deal with problems in pastoral relationships, etc.

•           allowing presbyteries and GA to require payment of per capita assessments by congregations

•           removing many provisions now in the Constitution, reducing their weight to mere statements in manuals of the various bodies, thereby reducing their authority and creating a “denial of minority rights.”

These, they say, are “reasons to vote No on nFOG”

Their full statement >>

A Witherspoon note:
We have reported concerns of our own about the FOG report. As you might suspect, they differ a bit from those put forth by the Coalition.

It is published in the Summer 2009 Network News, starting on page 25But now it's right here, too, in HTML.

10/10/09
Nobel Peace Prize to Obama – an honor, an error, or maybe a call?

The selection of President Barack Obama as the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize seems to have surprised almost everybody, even in the White House. It’s interesting that there have been few responses of enthusiastic approval, even from people and groups that are strong supporters of Obama and his policies.

Reuters news service has compiled a helpful survey of brief comments from around the world, ranging from praise to outrage. Here’s a sample of three of them:

In Indonesia, Masdar Mas'udi, deputy head of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization Nahdatul Ulama, said: "I think it's a good thing. I think it's appropriate because he is the only American president who has reached out to us in peace. On the issues of race, religion, skin color, he has an open attitude." 

In Pakistan, Liaqat Baluch, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a conservative religious party, said: "It's a joke. How embarrassing for those who awarded it to him because he's done nothing for peace. What change has he brought in Iraq, the Middle East or Afghanistan?" 

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, awarded the prize himself in 1984, hailed the award as "a magnificent endorsement for the first African American president in history."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon, offers a nicely balanced comment.

He begins:

When I saw this morning's top New York Times headline – "Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize" – I had the same immediate reaction which I'm certain many others had: this was some kind of bizarre Onion gag that got accidentally transposed onto the wrong website, that it was just some sort of strange joke someone was playing. Upon further reflection, that isn't all that far from the reaction I still have. And I say that despite my belief that – as critical as I've been of the Obama presidency regarding civil liberties and Terrorism – foreign affairs is actually one area where he's shown genuine potential for some constructive "change" and has, on occasion, merited real praise for taking steps in the general "peace" direction which this Prize is meant to honor.

He lists some examples: Obama’s changing the tone of U.S. dealings with other nations, and especially with the Muslim world; his efforts to deal with Iran by negotiation rather than threat; his break from George Bush’s “full-scale subservience to Israel,” and more. For all these shifts, there are few concrete accomplishments so far – but the shifts are certainly welcome.

Even so, Greenwald voices serious concerns: Obama’s continuing escalation of the war in Afghanistan – with the possibility of much more to come; increasing U.S. airstrikes that have killed more hundreds of Afghan civilians; little if any reduction in the U.S. military presence in Iraq; no criticism of Israel’s invasion of the Gaza territory early this year ... and much more.

The author:

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York, and is now a writer, including two New York Times bestselling books: How Would a Patriot Act?, a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, and A Tragic Legacy, which examines the Bush legacy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One Presbyterian writes to the President:

Many progressives are responding to the award by communicating with the White House just what it might mean for the President to follow the high calling which seems to be implied by the Peace Prize.

For instance, the Rev. Dr. Ralph Clingan has sent this letter to the President:

Dear Mr. President, 

Congratulations on receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace. The nomination and selection, like your election, grew out of the positions you took during your campaign. I travel to Korea sometimes twice a year and know how optimistic they were about your help in bringing about Korean reconciliation. I am involved as a Theologian in West Asian Peace efforts and thank you for opposing illegal Israeli settlements and the terror war they waged in Gaza. 

Universal health care also was one of your often stated hopes for the nation and now, with Senator Baucus' Senate Bill, it is about to go down to ignominious defeat. The profiteers of Wall Street who control all banking will control all health care except that of old people on Medicare like me. What a shame. As Mark Twain used to say, "We have the best Congress money can buy." 

The people who profit from illness spent $380 million to buy Baucus and his pals who will not make a lack of buying a Wall Street profiteering policy a crime. That is pure, simple Fascism/Nazism. I have supported and will continue to support universal health care through the Single Payer Option, which would make Medicare/Medicaid available to all on the same basis as it is made available to you, your family and the people and families who work for the people in our Nation's Capitol.     

May God bless and keep you as you strive every day to fulfill the promises you made in your book and speeches which motivated the Nobel Committee to give you the privilege, task and duty of making peace on Earth. If I can be of help, just call me.

Micah preached:
Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Ralph G. Clingan, PhD

Website: www.actionpreaching.com


The author:

Dr. Clingan is a Presbyterian minister, now retired. From 1980 to 1988 he taught preaching in The Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia, and later at Princeton's Continuing Education Center in Ontario. He has written an intellectual biography of Clayton Powell and An Action Preaching Manual, in Korean.

What do you think?
If you'd like to share your thoughts
about this remarkable development,
please send a note,
to posted here.

An added comment

A very positive comment on Obama's Nobel Prize:

"Obama’s words, his calm, his vision, his integrity, his smile, his brilliance, his good heart unleashed something in the world that is loose among us."

The Rev. Michael E. Livingston, Executive Director of the International Council of Community Churches, has written this for the ICCC newspaper.  He is also a past president of the National Council of Churches, and is a Presbyterian minister and a former member of the Witherspoon Society board.  He read our earlier post, and immediately offered to share his thoughts with us here. 

The essay by Livingston >>

Overture on same sex marriage proposed in Baltimore Presbytery

From Don Stroud on behalf of the eleven sessions and That All May Freely Serve: Baltimore

At the September 24, 2009, Stated Meeting of Baltimore Presbytery eleven sessions of churches in Baltimore Presbytery introduced for a first reading with the final debate and vote to take place at the November 19, 2009, Stated Meeting a motion THAT, the Presbytery of Baltimore approve a proposed overture to the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): That the Directory For Worship be amended in (W-4.9001; W-4.9002; W-4.9004; W-4.9006) to make the section on marriage inclusive of same gender couples.  More >>

Click here for the text of the Marriage Overture in a more generic form so that other presbyteries that will do so might introduce a similar overture in their own judicatories, along with more information about the proposed overture.

10/5/09
Different ways of looking at change

On Sept. 29 we posted a short essay by your WebWeaver (that’s me) about some of the changes going on these days in our church and our society – and some of the different ways we seem to be dealing with them.

I focused partly on what seems to be the increasing pressure in our denomination, especially at the national level, to reduce our programs and staff in the areas of social ministries and justice concerns.

The essay stimulated two vigorous responses from our friends on the right side of the Presbyterian Church. Vigorous, but rather different in tone and style.

The first one came from the Rev. James Berkley, until recently the Director of Presbyterian Action, a part of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), and a frequent writer for the Presbyterian Layman.

He summarizes my thoughts thus: 

I find out from Doug King that his side of the Presbyterian world is feeling a little put-upon by change. Having received for years a disproportionate share of the spoils, now maybe that transfer of power, influence, and funds is drying up a little? Just maybe those of liberal persuasion will need to live more within what they contribute, rather than what all of us contribute but they use? Maybe the insider access to funding and positions and power just may shift a little, so that this small minority of the denomination (a fifth or fewer?) has funding and power and access more proportional to their numbers? King points out what many of us would call only fair.

He concludes by asking:

When will Doug King and others in his camp ever be able to attribute noble—if different—motivations to those whose Christian discernment lands in a different place than theirs? All their ideological opponents—in their eyes—must be bad people with venal motives, such as fear, obtuseness, power-madness, or racism. Not so! It is simply not so, Doug King.

For the full letter from James Berkley >>

A fair point, and if I implied assumptions about the motives of others in the church, I apologize. But to point to the dynamics of fear in our current struggles, it seems to me (having acknowledged my own anxieties on moving into a new place), seems to be legitimate.

But I would like to do just what James Berkley wants: to note with appreciation the character shown in a second note we’ve received – this one from the Rev. Robert G. Campbell, pastor of Tully Memorial Presbyterian Church in Sharon Hill, PA.

He begins by noting the common ground between us:

I think you would find that there are many Evangelicals also committed to justice. One of the problems I think we have is that we don’t all agree on how justice in a particular situation might best be achieved. An example: I believe that there must be healthcare for all, including undocumented aliens.

He’s clear about differences between the conservative and progressive sides of the church on issues such as abortion, but urges us all to work together where we can common ground. And then he offers a point worth serious attention from all of us: 

Finally, getting GA funding for one’s projects, while helpful, rarely trickles down to justice in communities or to the local church. If we want real racial justice in the PCUSA we have to work together at the local level.

The full note from Robert Campbell >>

So ... two very different responses, both critical, both making clear their differences from my little essay. But my, how different in tone.


If you’d like to offer your own comments, we’ll be glad to hear from you.

Just send a note,
to be shared here.

WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY

The Washington Office of the PC(USA) provides some very helpful insights and talking points on current issues in Congress, with background from Presbyterian Church policy statements, and more.

This week's messages are -- 
  • Urge Senators to Support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
  • Health Care Reform - The time for action is at hand
  • Jubilee Sunday / Stand Up Weekend: October 16-18
  • National Day of Action on Health Care: October 20
  • Esther 4:14 - A Leader is Challenged to Act for Her People
  • For an index to all our reports
    from the 218th General Assembly

    For an index to all our reports from the
    Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice >>

    Earlier in April, 2010
    March, 2010
    February, 2010
    January, 2010
    December, 2009
    November, 2009
    September, 2009
    August, 2009
    July, 2009
    June, 2009
    May, 2009
    April, 2009
    March, 2009

    February, 2009
    January, 2009
    December, 2008
    November, 2008
    October, 2008
    September, 2008
    August, 2008

    For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

    Some blogs worth visiting

     

    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.

     

    Witherspoon’s Facebook page

    Mitch Trigger, Witherspoon’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.

     

    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!

     

    Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch Seminar!

    GHOST RANCH SEMINAR

    July 26-August 1, 2010

    WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
    CONFRONTING THE STRUCTURES OF INJUSTICE

     

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    we hope you'll help us keep this website going ... and growing!

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