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the 219th General Assembly
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WITNESS IN WASHINGTON
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Office of Public
November 29, 2010
This week's messages are:
Obama signs order to reform faith-based office
Religion News Service reports on November 19:
President Obama signed an executive order Nov.
17 that reforms the White House’s faith-based office in a bid to
improve transparency and clarify rules for religious groups that
receive federal grants.
The nine-page order reflects numerous
recommendations made more than six months ago by a blue-ribbon
advisory council charged with streamlining and reforming the
office created under former President George W. Bush.
“The recommendations that they’ve put forth
make really concrete and tangible improvements to the
government’s relationship with faith-based organizations,” said
Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith-based
and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The executive order, however, does not address
controversial questions of whether grant recipients can hire and
fire based on religion. Administration officials have said those
questions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Godspeed and thanks to Molly
We are pleased to
announce that the Rev. Molly Casteel, who has served on the
Board of Presbyterian Voices for Justice since 2009, has been
appointed to a four-year term as Assistant Stated Clerk of the
General Assembly, with responsibility for Representation and
Inclusiveness Services. Because of her new position, she has
submitted her resignation from the PVJ board.
During her time on our board,
Molly served briefly as Co-Moderator. And more than that, she
has consistently contributed to our work through her broad and
deep understanding of the Presbyterian Church (USA), her
commitment to fair representation and involvement of all the
different groups within the church’s membership, and her joy in
the life of following Jesus.
We are sorry to lose her
contributions, but we rejoice that they will continue to be at
the service of our church as a whole. We wish her Godspeed.
invite you to CELEBRATE
the holy season of the coming of the Prince of Peace
with a special gift
to strengthen the work and witness of
Presbyterian Voices for Justice!
You can help us build our outreach, our programs, and our
Just click here >>
not-too-pious thoughts for Advent and Christmas
People can't concentrate properly on blowing
other people to pieces if their minds are poisoned by thoughts
suitable to the twenty-fifth of December. ~Ogden Nash
It was the day after Christmas at a church in
San Francisco. The pastor of the church was looking over the
cradle when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from
among the figures of the nativity set. Immediately he turned and
went outside and saw a little boy with a red wagon, and in the
wagon was the figure of the little infant, Jesus. So he walked
up to the boy and said, "Well, where did you get Him, my fine
The little boy replied, "I got him from the
"And why did you take him?"
The boy said, "Well, about a week before
Christmas I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and I told him if he
would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give him a ride
around the block in it."
While working as a mall Santa, I had many
children ask for electric trains. "If you get a train," I would
tell each one, "you know your dad is going to want to play with
it too. Is that okay?" The usual answer was a quick yes, but
after I asked one boy this question, he became very quiet.
Trying to move the conversation along, I asked what else he
would like Santa to bring him. He promptly replied, "Another
from Everything Is Connected -
John Jackson's Email
Express Scripts vs. workers (the Service Employees Union
struggle which we reported a few days ago is continuing, as
union members seek ways to get Express Scripts not to close its
order fulfillment facility in Bensalem, PA. I have not been able
to get in touch directly with anyone from the SEIU, but it
appears that Express Scripts suspended without pay a few of the
workers who were involved in the union protests. They were
charged with communicating with ESI clients, which apparently
meant specifically the Presbyterian Church (USA).
For a bit more from the union’s perspective,
click here and scroll down a bit, to the second headline.
One Presbyterian minister sent this note in
response to our earlier report:
I wrote the Board of
Pensions – I am very troubled by Express Scripts wanting
$8million in concessions from its workers in Bensalem or
they will close the plants there. Especially since George
Paz, the CEO, makes about $8 million a year. How about he
gives up a year's salary? I don't want to save money through
Express Scripts at the expense of these workers and for
management's benefit. The Board of Pensions should get
involved in this and threaten to go elsewhere for
Lake Luzerne, NY
Have you done anything in response to this
issue? Or do you have any information to add to our slender
supply of news?
send a note, to be shared here!
Watch a CBS News
report tonight on the Campaign for Fair Food
CBS Evening News
will broadcast a report this evening, on 50th anniversary of
Harvest of Shame, CIW's Campaign for Fair Food!
tonight's CBS Evening News, as the network that produced the
seminal documentary Harvest of Shame returns to Immokalee for a
look at conditions in the fields 50 years later and the
for Fair Food. The PC(USA)’s involvement in the Campaign may
The show airs at
6:30 p.m. EST, and the story on Immokalee should run around the
mid-way mark in the show (but the story's time slot could
change, so it would be best to tune in at 6:30 and wait for
Psalm 24 reminds
us that “the earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the
world and those who live within it.” As we celebrate
Thanksgiving, let us remember God’s good intention that the
earth and all people thrive.
for Fair Food
Thousands Converge at the gates of Fort Benning for 20th
Anniversary of November Vigil to Close the SOA
26 PEOPLE ARRESTED AND HELD IN THE COUNTY JAIL ON
Nonviolent civil disobedience action was
followed by indiscriminate arrests and targeting of journalists.
Among those arrested by Columbus police were three journalists,
including TV news crew from RT America and unrelated bystanders.
Farmworkers and Florida Growers
Sign Fair Food Agreement!
This past Tuesday (November 16,
2010), history was made as the
Coalition of Immokalee
Florida Tomato Growers Exchange signed an agreement to extend
CIW’s fair food principles across over 90% of the Florida tomato
immediately, participating FTGE members will pass on the
penny-per-pound from retailers to farmworkers and cooperate with
a financial audit of the penny-per-pound.
They will also
adopt the Fair Food Code of Conduct – including a
worker-to-worker education process, a cooperative complaint
resolution system, and a participatory health and safety program
– with a goal of full implementation by the 2011-2012 season.
The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly and the Executive
Director of the General Assembly Mission Council lauded the
CIW-FTGE accord in a public statement.
A Season of Prayer with the
People of Sudan
The Rev. W. Mark Koenig,
Director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Prayers are always in order for the people of
Sudan. Prayers are particularly in order as January, 2011 draws
on self-determination for the people of South Sudan is
scheduled for January 9. On that same day, a referendum
is also scheduled for the Abyei region of Sudan where
the people will vote on the question of whether to retain
Abyei's special administrative status in the north or become
part of Southern Sudan.
Our sisters and brothers in Sudan are in prayer now and will
continue in prayer until, through, and after the referendum. We
have a number of opportunities to join them. The World
Evangelical Alliance has called for a Global
Day of Prayer on December 5. Prayer vigils are being
scheduled in a number of locations.
In Sudan and in the
United States, a number of faith communities will come together
in a Season
of Prayer in
the month before the election.
Thanks to the Rev. Diane Monger
Network News is here!
The Fall 2010 issue of Network News, the
newsletter of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, is now at the
printer and will soon be in the mail. In the meantime,
it's all here in PDF format. You can download it in
for a better appearance, or in
lower resolution for a
On religion and politics:
The Editor’s Spot: Religion – dividing or
healing? page 2
Putting Hussein in Christmas, by Rita Nakashima Brock
Resources for issues coming to presbyteries:
Amendment 10-A – GLBTQ ordination
Amendment 10-2 – the Belhar Confession
Amendment 10-1 – new Form of Government
A report from our Summer 2010 seminar
Two seminars for 2011:
A Faithful Response to Immigration
Sex, Faith and Culture
Is our PC(USA) supporting union busting?
SEIU challenges Express Scripts layoffs
The Editor’s Spot
... by Doug King
Mount Merapi, seen
from the Buddhist temple of Borobudur
dividing or healing?
The recent eruptions
of Mount Merapi on the island of Java (the photo on the front
cover shows an earlier, gentler eruption) have brought back many
memories for me. The clouds over the mountain carry a majestic
beauty – along with the terrible destruction they bring to so
many people. I lived for ten years within sight of that
beautiful volcano, as a Presbyterian fraternal worker (now
called a “mission co-worker” I guess) teaching at Satya Wacana
Like many who go to places and
people that are strange to them, I learned far more in those ten
years than I ever expected. One thing I learned was to respect
and learn from a huge variety of religious beliefs and
practices. While most of our neighbors in the small city of
Salatiga were nominally Muslim, many of them were also members
or supporters of the Communist Party, until it was outlawed
after a purported coup attempt in 1965. Many were also deeply
influenced by the worldviews of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths
that had dominated Central Java centuries earlier.
So our city contained mosques,
Protestant and Catholic churches, Buddhist temples, little
neighborhood shrines to various local spirits, floral sacrifices
to gain fertility for the rice fields, and more. A couple hours’
driving took us around Mount Merapi to the ancient Hindu temple
of Prambanan; a little further brought us to the Buddhist temple
of Borobudur. ...
Now, why am I dredging up all these ancient
memories? The cloud from Merapi’s eruption is just part of the
reason. I’ve been thinking of
how deeply our society is becoming divided, not by religion
itself, but by the ways religion is being used. People
have been using religion to throw the mantle of holiness over
one political cause or another, and to condemn as evil the
people and groups that they see as “different from us,” and
beyond the limits of our tolerance.
Right now it seems urgent for a group like
ours, committed to a faith-based progressive vision for our
church and our society, to offer some response to the damage
being wrought in the name of religion.
What can we say,
how can we act, to be a voice for reason and reconciliation in
this deeply divided and fearful world?
Two more presbyteries approve 10-A. Others, still
rejecting it, do so by shrinking margins
Albany increased its traditionally
strong support for inclusiveness with a tally of 83-15-4, up
from 78-25-2 on 08-B. Despite ample opportunity, there was no
The Palisades (New Jersey) tallied
32-14, also a larger margin of approval than last time
(35-20-2), with minimal debate.
Water from wells
A poem by the Rev. Bobbie McGarey, based on one
of the lectionary readings for today, Isaiah 12.
2 Surely God
is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the
Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my
salvation. 3 With joy you will draw water from the
wells of salvation.
The water in the old well was sweet and pure
I remember it from childhood
The heat of the summer the cool of the water
Nothing else could slake my thirst
So going home grown up I went to the well
Not used since the water came through the pipes
I almost couldn’t see it with the roses climbing over
But there it was. I thirst.
I opened the cover and looked in surprised
No water was to be found
The old faithful well was dry
I went to my father almost in tears
Tell me why the water is gone
Oh easy my child he said to me
No one used it and it went dry
I didn’t understand not used should mean full
No, he said lovingly
When a well is not used the little rivers that
feed in it go dry
You and I must dip into the soul-well
That waters our Spirits
So we will be full when someone comes to us
Bobbie G McGarey 11.09.10
The Rev. Bobbie McGarey is living in
Albuquerque, NM, as the Designated Pastor of New Life
You're invited to come and read
Bobbie's almost daily musings
Here’s another view of the
workers’ struggle for justice at Express Scripts
Corporate Greed as a Family Value? Express Scripts' New War
on Union Workers
by Mike Doyle, Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 05:16:17 PM
This should be the story of a win-win
situation. In the middle of the Great Recession, a nationally
prominent mega-corporation manages to achieve phenomenal
profitability and decides to share its good fortune with the
wage workers who helped make that profit possible. All of that
happens to be true about Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX), the
nation’s second-largest pharmacy benefits manager--all except
for the decision about how to thank its workers. To show their
gratitude, Express Scripts managers went in a different
direction. First, they publicly lauded union workers at their
most efficient processing plant. Then they told them they were
losing their jobs. Sometimes corporate America’s capacity to
stick it to the little guy is so astounding, you can’t help but
feel impressed by the chutzpah.
The full article >>
[If you read this article, don’t miss the
our PC(USA) supporting union busting?
For some time now, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania,
a branch of the Service Employees International Union, has been
calling on Express Scripts to cancel its plan to close its
prescription shipping facility in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, which
would put 365 people out of work, many of whom are low wage
workers with families.
prepared by Doug King
The union workers
have offered $8 million in wage and benefit concessions to help
keep the plant open. Even though these concessions included
giving in to the company’s demand that workers give up their
pension plan, so far the company management has been unwilling
with the union, which unites 20,000 health care workers from all
areas of the health care industry in Pennsylvania.
Now the union is approaching a number of
organizations that have sizable contracts with Express Scripts
for mail-order prescription medicine, asking their support. One
of those customers just happens to be the Presbyterian Church
(USA). So a few days ago, a delegation of Express Scripts
workers, who are union members, went to the main office of the
Presbyterian Board of Pensions, seeking to make the church aware
of the issue. No one at the Board of Pensions would meet
with them, and no one has responded to their letters.
We’re one of Express Scripts’ clients, since
over 120,000 people with medical coverage under the Board of
Presbyterians have their prescriptions filled by the company.
The union believes this puts the Board of Pensions among the top
25% of Express Scripts’ largest clients.
Our church’s social policies clearly support
workers’ rights, just wages, and the principle of labor unions
as a means to achieving justice.
So ... how might the PC(USA) respond to this
conflict between management and labor? What does God's
call to "do justice" mean for us in this situation?
more of the story, and the questions and possibilities for us >>
A mosque in Mayfield, Kentucky?
A "good sign" for Mayfield, by Berry Craig
Mayfield, Ky., my hometown, will have a Muslim
prayer space after all.
The city Board of Zoning Adjustments recently
reversed itself and approved a Somali man's request for such a
space, which the media and many townsfolk have been calling a
“This is a good-hearted town,” Tom Waldrop, a
former city council member, told the Louisville
Courier-Journal after the vote. “This is not a mean
In August, the board voted to grant the
permit, then reconvened and voted it down.
The rest of his
Aung San Suu Kyi was freed today!
This good news comes from
Suu Kyi, a human rights and pro-democracy leader who has been
held in detention or house arrest in Myanmar for 15 of the last
21 years, spoke with a crowd of supporters outside her home
shortly after her release.
Amnesty International has been advocating for this Nobel
Laureate over the course of two decades. Although she was
recently barred from participating in the first elections her
country has held in 20 years, we welcome the news of her freedom
Hank Bremer, former Witherspoon treasurer, has died
The Rev. Hank Bremer, who served for some years
as treasurer of the Witherspoon Society, died last Monday. He
had been in failing health during the last year, with numerous
stays in the hospital. A memorial service will be held at First
Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, NM, on Saturday, November 27,
at 11 a.m.
The leadership of PVJ joins many others in
mourning his loss, and we extend our sympathy to his widow,
Teresa Bremer. She can be reached at 1075 Calle Largo, Santa Fe,
Start planning now ---
We're happy to announce that we will be
sponsoring (or co-sponsoring) two very special seminars at Ghost
Ranch next summer. Click below to check out the
descriptions and leaders:
Faith, and Culture:
Understanding the Mix in our Lives and Society
July 25-31, 2011
RESPONSE TO IMMIGRATION
August 1-7, 2011
Ghost Ranch website for more information.
We will provide links their 2011 catalogue and
reservation information as soon as they are posted.
Drone Warfare on
Robert C. Koehler – an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist
and nationally syndicated writer.
Here's the opening of a report published at
the end of September on the use of drone attack planes by
the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As new
reports come out on this fearsome new tactic, here’s some
helpful background. We posted this on Sept. 30, but
since the issue is back in the news, we'll tell you about it
Drone warfare —
assassination by unmanned aircraft — is arguably one of the most
hellish spawns of the modern military-industrial era, and its
use is becoming routine in the Af-Pak war, yet (what else is
new?) there’s no debate about it at the level of national
policy, just a shrug and a void.
future is itself on a sort of autopilot. It belongs to the
market forces, in tandem with the reckless, short-term strategic
interests of the Pentagon and the politics of empire. There’s no
moral voice at the core of this system — not even, any longer, a
voice of common sense. We live in a spectator democracy: Our
role is to gape at the spectacle. The news cycle runs 24/7 and
tells us nothing, if the act of “telling” includes in its
meaning an invitation to participate.
Like the students
who sat in at segregated lunch counters and otherwise disrupted
the nation’s Jim Crow status quo nearly half a century ago, we
have to find a way to interrupt the false consensus of
military-industrial America at the level at which it wages war
and engages with the rest of the planet. Doing so takes
persistence and courage — and sometimes a breakthrough occurs.
I bring you the
Creech Air Force Base 14: Father John Dear, Dennis DuVall, Renee
Espeland, Judy Homanich, Kathy Kelly, Father Steve Kelly, Mariah
Klusmire, Brad Lyttle, Libby Pappalardo, Sister Megan Rice,
Brian Terrell, Eve Tetaz, Father Louis Vitale and Father Jerry
Two more presbyteries reject Amendment 10-A
MLP reports that on Wednesday, Nov. 10, two more
presbyteries refused to approve Amendment 10-A, which would
remove the explicit ban on ordination of people who are lesbian,
gay, bisexual or transgender. Santa Barbara Presbytery, arguably
one of the most conservative in the denomination, voted 25 for,
69 against. But two years ago their vote was 20 to 85 – so
perhaps there’s a little shift there. And Shenandoah Presbytery
voted 93 to 106 against the change, with the margin a bit
narrower than two years ago, when it was 82 to 112.
Click here for the MLP listing of presbytery actions >>
here for our earlier reports on presbytery actions >>
The Rev. Evlyn
Fulton has died at age 87
Former Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery Executive advocated for
women’s rights, mission, and more
by Jerry L. Van
Presbyterian News Service
service was held Oct. 31 in St. Louis for the Rev. Evlyn Wehling
Fulton, executive presbyter of Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery
during the crucial years before and after Presbyterian reunion
in 1983 and a tireless advocate for mission, ecumenical
cooperation, women's rights, and gender equality during her
entire 60-year career in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She
died Sept. 19 in St. Louis at age 87.
Born in Bellevue,
Pa., Fulton graduated from Chatham College (1944); Carnegie
Mellon University (1946); and Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological
Seminary (1949), seven years before the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) began ordaining women. She was finally ordained in
Fulton served in
a variety of church posts, visiting more than 40 countries
during her years of ministry. She served Giddings-Lovejoy
Presbytery from 1979-1988 — she was named executive presbyter
emeriti when she retired — and then moved to the
newly-established PC(USA) national office in Louisville as
coordinator of middle governing body relations. At the
Presbyterian Center she was also trusted friend and valuable
mentor to this reporter.
"retirement" in 1997, Fulton served two years as temporary
pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, and
continued worshiping there until her death. Her memorial service
was held at Northminster Church.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will not see another like
Evelyn Fulton again.
Here are thoughts
of Evlyn from people who have known and worked with her over the
years, in Voices of Sophia and elsewhere:
such a tough and talented role model for women -- stood her
ground on issues but with compassion for adversaries.
patriarchal society of the church and the world, Evlyn dared
to climb the stairs that would open the door for many women.
Evlyn was on
the front lines of the march for women's rights in the 70s
and 80s; many women and men joined the ranks because of her
leadership, passion, humor, and deep caring.
Evlyn was a true
grandmother for justice.
Pam Byers to retire from Covenant Network
Jerry L. Van Marter, for Presbyterian News
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians has
announced that its executive director, Pamela Byers, will retire
in summer 2011. Byers has held the position since the founding
of the Covenant Network in 1997.
Byers is an elder at Old First Presbyterian
Church in San Francisco and is actively involved in her
presbytery. A graduate of Wellesley College, she earned a Master
of Arts in Theological Studies degree from the San Francisco
Theological Seminary in 2009.
An initial celebration of her leadership was
part of the Covenant Network's Nov. 4-6 conference in Houston.
Boston Presbytery approves Amendment 10-A
More Light Presbyterians is maintaining
a table with the results of voting on 10-A in the
On November 1, the Presbytery of Boston became
the first to approve Amendment 10-1, by a vote of 53-30. Boston,
which sent the overture originating Amendment 08-B in 2008, had
approved that version by 54-42. [Thanks to Tricia
Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this
So far three presbyteries (Alaska, voting 9
for, 20 against, and 2 abstentions; Mississippi, 11 for and 47
against; The Presbytery of the James, 152 to 152, with a tie
vote meaning the motion was defeated) have voted to reject the
amendment. This follows the pattern of recent years, in which a
number of conservative presbyteries have apparently chosen to
vote early, with the hope of setting an example for others.
For details on each vote, go to the
MLP table and click on the link for each presbytery
More on Amendment 10-A, to remove the ban on ordination of LGBT
Cleaner, Leaner Form of Government for Presbyterians
Here’s one interesting and very positive take on
the proposed new Form of Government, by Talitha Phillips, a
student at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She wrote it
while attending the 219th General Assembly.
More on the new
Economic and Peace studies seeking volunteers
We have received this notice from the
members and staff of the
Committee on Social Witness Policy.
The General Assembly has authorized two new
studies that will involve the Advisory Committee on Social
Witness Policy (ACSWP). One is about the economic crisis and the
other is about the peacemaking witness. We are providing links
to brief prospectuses (work outlines) and nomination forms for
those who want to be considered for work on these issues. Along
with paid and volunteer consultant writers, the ACSWP and its
predecessors have depended upon dedicated church members with
particular expertise in the areas under consideration to serve
on teams that define the work, contribute to it, and evaluate
its adequacy. This letter is to invite your consideration of
service on one of the two studies.
Form of Government going to presbyteries for action
The General Assembly voted to
recommend a revised Form of Government to the presbyteries by a
vote of 468 in favor, 204 against, and 6 abstentions — a 70%-30%
margin. The new Form of Government includes:
• Foundations of Presbyterian
Polity — the principles that are foundational to government,
worship, and discipline for the PC(USA) — preserves the vast
majority of the material in the first four chapters of the
current Form of Government.
• Form of Government — in six
chapters, which spells out the constitutional framework for
government of the PC(USA) as it seeks to respond to God’s call
to life in mission.
• Advisory Handbook for
Councils for the Development of Policies and Procedures —
required by the Form of Government as an aid to councils
(governing bodies) of the church for developing the policies and
procedures to carry out their mission.
Nothing will actually be
changed until a majority of presbyteries vote to approve this
new Form of Government. Voting must be completed by July 10,
2011, and if affirmative, the new Book of Order would take
effect the next day.
We're offering some resources (and hope to add
more very soon!!) to aid individuals, congregations, and other
groups in preparing to give this very important change the
thoughtful consideration it deserves.
Something to pass the time on this long election day —
For those of us who may find this election day
rather long, the Rev. Bruce Gillette has created
puzzle to keep us occupied. Its theme is no less exalted
Presbyterians and Politics. It’s posted here in PDF
format, so you can print it out and carry it to your polling
place, or hold it through the long evening of election results.
WARNING: Page 3 contains the solution. Don’t
A new resource on
Amendment 10-A -- inclusive ordination
The Revs. Doug Hagler and Aric Clark have completed an LGBTQ
Ordination Resource that they hope to distribute to every
presbytery for the upcoming debates on 10-A. It is a 4page
document responding to common arguments against LGBTQ inclusion
and making our own in favor.
We aimed to be comprehensive (though not
exhaustive) in a pithy, quick and dirty and to the point
kind of way. We have included many people in the editing
process to help cover our blind spots. We hope we have
produced something useful to complement the other resources
We hope you will read this reflect on it
and share it with friends. The most important help you can
give us though, is helping us distribute this. ...
We have created two layouts of the
document for ease of use. One is a
format. The other is a
format. In the coming weeks we will be doing a detailed
breakdown of the arguments at
http://twofriarsandafool.blogspot.com/ with citations to
support every point, so this resource will only grow and
improve over time.
Here is hoping we are in a more just and
inclusive church in the near future.
Doug Hagler & Aric Clark
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the School of the
This announcement comes from
School of the Americas Watch
November 19-21, Vigil to Shut Down the SOA
Gather at the
gates of Ft. Benning in nonviolent resistance to let our voices
This year there
will be different ways for people to be involved in the Saturday
action including crossing the line of the base of Fort Benning
which risks federal arrest, or a city side action, outside the
permitted area. But note that you may also participate without
risking arrest. SOA Watch has permits for the activities in
front of the base, and the acts of civil disobedience for those
risking arrest will be clearly marked.
Due to our
presence at the gates of Fort Benning every year, SOA Watch has
become known as one of the largest, grassroots movements in the
U.S. We gather in the diverse traditions of nonviolence of those
who walk before us. It is one of our strongest strategies of
defiance to U.S. militarism that is increasing throughout the
Americas. This direct action is also what keeps pressure on the
Department of Defense and Congress to SHUT DOWN THE SOA/WHINSEC.
See you at the
gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!
more information >>
Office of Public Witness revamps internship program
Interns will gain experience, discernment
from Presbyterian News Service
When the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson took the reins
as director at the Washington-based Office of Public Witness in
May, he made clear the importance of involving young adults in
the work of the Washington-based office.
Now, with a revived internship program, OPW is
taking a step to provide work and guidance for those seeking
“experience and vocational discernment in the church and in the
public square,” according to the internship posting.
“It stems from (Nelson’s) commitment to young
people and providing opportunities for education and discernment
and also developing a network of folks who know and love this
office,” said Leslie Woods, OPW’s representative for domestic
poverty and environmental issues.
Although the office has had interns before,
Woods said she didn’t know of a formal internship program.
According to the position description, interns
will be assigned a public policy issue to follow through the
political and decision-making process. This task might include
compiling news reports, communicating General Assembly positions
to Congress, attending hearings and producing resources. Other
tasks will include outreach, communication or event planning.
For a full position description and application instructions >>
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
GA actions going
to the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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Some blogs worth visiting
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
John Harris’ Summit to
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
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!