Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

Welcome to news and networking for progressive Presbyterians 

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

What's Where

Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

About us

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

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

News of the Society
How to join us



Coming events calendar 

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

Go to


NEWS of the Presbyterian Church

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


Archive for September, 2010

This page lists our postings from earlier in September, 2010

For an index to all our reports and analyses
on the 219th General Assembly

For links to all our archive pages, listed by months, click here.

Drone Warfare on Trial

Robert Koehler reports on the recent trial of the “Creech Air Force Base 14,” which included Father John Dear, Kathy Kelly, Father Steve Kelly, Sister Megan Rice, Brian Terrell, Father Louis Vitale and Father Jerry Zawada.

A year and a half ago, they were part of a 10-day vigil outside the base in Indian Springs, Nev. (about 35 miles from Las Vegas), protesting the Predator and Reaper drone flights over Afghanistan and Pakistan that are remotely piloted from the base. At the end of the vigil, these 14 activists entered the base illegally, carrying a letter, according to Kathy Kelly of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence, “we wanted to circulate among the base personnel, describing our opposition to a massive targeted assassination program.” They were arrested and charged with trespassing.

What happened at their trial in Las Vegas two weeks ago may turn the incident into more than simply a symbolic protest. What was supposed to be a cut-and-dried trespassing trial — a crime’s a crime, the law’s the law — ended up being something far larger than that.

One of the signs that protestors outside the courthouse were carrying as the trial began bore the words: “Put Drone Warfare on Trial.” And that may be what happened.

More >>

Thanks to Elizabeth Sarfaty

“No More Deaths” –

Leaving water for immigrants entering from Mexico is ruled not to be the crime of littering

The New York Times reported on Sept. 27 that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Daniel J. Millis and another volunteer with No More Deaths were not guilty of littering, as they had been charged, because of leaving gallon jugs of water in the Arizona desert to help passing immigrants from Mexico to avoid dying of thirst.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit weighed in on Mr. Millis’s appeal this month, ruling that it was “ambiguous as to whether purified water in a sealed bottle intended for human consumption meets the definition of ‘garbage.’ ” Voting 2-to-1, a three-judge panel overturned Mr. Millis’s conviction.

The issue remains far from settled, though.     More >>

Click here for the earlier Presbyterian News Service report.

From the Fellowship of Reconciliation:

Protect democracy from FBI raids on activist homes

The FBI raided homes and confiscated papers, computers, phones and CDs of peace and rights activists in Minnesota and Chicago in the early morning of Friday, September 24, in what agents said was part of a counterterrorism investigation. The Fellowship of Reconciliation urges our members and other concerned citizens to contact Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 to call for an end to actions targeting legitimate dissent, and to participate in protests of these actions in your area. ...

The raids come in the context of the Supreme Court decision in June on the Humanitarian Law Project, which broadly interprets assistance to terrorism to include nonviolent engagement with armed groups, such as conflict resolution training and legal advice. The federal law upheld by the court decision and cited in the search warrants prohibits, "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations." ... 

"Humanitarian and peace organizations say their direct interaction with violent or terrorist groups is vital to intervention efforts," the Christian Science Monitor reported. "The Supreme Court decision means they do it at their peril." Last week's raids are evidence of that. "Training groups to pursue peaceful resolution of their disputes should be encouraged, not made criminal," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel with the Constitution Center.

The raids come on the heels of a Justice Department probe that found the FBI improperly monitored activist groups and individuals from 2001 to 2006. Among the groups investigated were Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Catholic Worker and the Thomas Merton Center, a pacifist group based in Pittsburgh.

More on protest actions, on the FOR website

From the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship: 

Jewish boat to Gaza arrives in Israel

Many of you know that PPF was supportive of the Jewish Boat to Gaza, a nonviolent action taking symbolic aid to Gaza. We wanted to let you know the latest news about this effort.

The boat set sail from Cyprus on September 26 and was boarded today by Israeli forces and taken to Israel in the custody of the Israeli navy.

The Israeli citizens of the boat have mostly been released, while the foreign nationals remain in custody.

Follow latest updates here >>

See the New York Times report >>

And the BBC report >>

Synod court upholds presbytery's approval of Lisa Larges' scruple

Divided PJC allows active lesbian to proceed closer to ordination

In a 5-4 decision, the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Pacific has ruled that the Presbytery of San Francisco acted properly when it allowed Lisa Larges to declare a conscientious objection to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s ordination standards regarding sexual practice. Leslie Scanlon reports for The Presbyterian Outlook.

A bequest and a legacy

Kwanzaa Community Church builds on past into community

At the PVJ Awards Luncheon during the 219th General Assembly in Minneapolis, the group’s Whole Gospel Congregation award was presented to Kwanzaa Community Church, which carries on a varied, creative, and strong ministry in a sometimes troubled area of Minneapolis.

Now Presbyterian News Service has reported on how this dynamic congregation came into being through the good will of the members of Highland Park Presbyterian Church, an aging congregation in a changing neighborhood. They, with assistance from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and the General Assembly, enabled a new, primarily African-American congregation to come into being.

The PNS story mentions the PVJ award as well. Click here to see a little more of the history of Kwanzaa Church, and how one congregation left what the Rev. Alika Galloway calls “a bequest and a legacy” that live on powerfully today.

Mark Koenig named director of Presbyterian ministry at the UN

The General Assembly Mission Council has announced that the Rev. Mark Koenig has been selected as the new director of Presbyterian ministry at the United Nations. Koenig brings 30 years of experience in ministry, serving congregations, the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, and the General Assembly Mission Council. He has been on the staff of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, since 2002, and has served as its coordinator since 2007.

"Mark brings many gifts to this ministry," said Sara Lisherness, director of Compassion Peace and Justice for the General Assembly Mission Council. "He is deeply committed to a ministry of presence in the church, connecting with and listening to the church. He values Presbyterian polity and works faithfully to interpret and implement the social witness policies adopted by the General Assembly. He is a pastor, an educator and most of all a faithful servant to the ministry of Jesus Christ."       More>>

Lucius Walker, Baptist pastor, champion of justice and founder of Pastors for Peace, dies at 80

The New York Times reported on September 11 that the Rev. Lucius Walker, a Baptist minister who gained national attention with calls for reparations for the descendants of slaves and with repeated violations of the United States embargo of Cuba through caravans of humanitarian aid, died on Tuesday at his home in Demarest, N.J. He was 80.

Mr. Walker’s life was transformed on Aug. 2, 1988, as he led a delegation on a fact-finding trip to Nicaragua, where rebels were battling the American-backed government. Their riverboat was attacked by government soldiers, and Mr. Walker was one of 29 wounded. Two were killed.

Mr. Walker’s first thought, he said, was that he was hit by a bullet paid for by his own country. He called his second thought a prophetic vision: he would form an organization of pastors to fight, or at least clean up after, what he called American imperialism.

That organization, Pastors for Peace, has now sent hundreds of tons of aid, including medical gear and roofing material, to Latin American countries. Of its 40 missions so far, 21 have been to Cuba, which under a 1963 law is off-limits to American trade.

Click here for the full article >>

See also the Washington Post report>>

First, a note of apology:

Our website hosting service had some server problems last week, apparently due to a hacker's attack.  That left our site unavailable for some time -- but we're back now, and trying to catch up.

The Word and the World


Bruce and Carolyn Gillette reflect on our calling as Christians to live out our faith in the world -- and how urgent that calling is today, as the world grows increasingly divided between those growing more and more wealthy, and those whose poverty is growing worse year by year.


They begin by referring to the funeral today in the First Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, Arkansas, for a 91-year-old Presbyterian elder named Frances Paschal Landers.  The Presbyterian Outlook reported how her life was changed at age 58 when she and her husband went on the first of what would be 24 mission trips in Haiti.


They also link to other articles, and hymns by Carolyn Gillette.  All of this relates to this Sunday’s lectionary gospel lesson. Luke 16:19-31, Jesus’ parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus. 

October 11, 2010:
Day of Action to Confront U.S. Militarism
Organize an event or protest in your community and mobilize for the November Vigil and Action in Georgia.
As part of the Latin America Solidarity Coalition, SOA Watch invites you to join the National Day of Action to Confront US Militarism in the Americas. October 11 is the day the United States "celebrates" the beginning of the European invasion of the Americas and indigenous peoples mark as the 518th year of resistance to invasion and colonialism.

The November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning is less than 2 months away and local events like the October 11 Day of Action are a great opportunity to mobilize your community to arrange car shares or bus trips to the vigil in Georgia. 

Click here for the SOA Watch website >>

Thanks to Gene TeSelle

A call for prayers for the September 23rd trial about the ordination of Lisa Larges

from More Light Presbyterians

The National Board of Directors and staff of More Light Presbyterians stand in solidarity with Lisa Larges and wholeheartedly support her gifts, preparation and call to ministry. Lisa serves as Minister Coordinator, That All May Freely Serve, and her home congregation is Noe Valley Ministry, a welcoming and affirming More Light Presbyterian church in San Francisco, CA. Rev. Keenan C. Kelsey serves as pastor at Noe Valley Ministry.  

Lisa has been seeking to be ordained since 1986. In 2009, the Presbytery of San Francisco approved Lisa for ordination and TAMFS as a validated ministry. However, an anti-LGBT minority continue to oppose Lisa's ordination and filed remedial charges against the presbytery. Their action has prevented Lisa's ordination. It has not stopped her ministry of love, justice and reconciliation.   More>>

“We’re All in This Together: Confronting the Structures of Injustice” —

A second report on the PVJ/Peace Fellowship Ghost Ranch seminar is provided by the Rev. Schaunel Steinnagel, Hunger Action Enabler, Presbytery of Philadelphia

She describes the week as a "revival."  He recounts Dr. Grace Kao's compelling presentation on some of the theological questions that arose after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech by Seung-Hui Cho, on April 16, 2007, where she was on the staff at the time.  She describes more briefly Dr. Gary Dorrien's discussion of U.S. foreign policy, and the need for greater economic democracy. She also deals with Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty discussion on women's issues, starting from Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Finally, he lists a number of excellent progressive organizations and .resources.

More >>


This week’s Witness in Washington update from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, dated September 17, 2010, provides some very helpful information and calls to express concerns to our legislators in Washington.

Download the full newsletter in PDF format >>

Among them:

START Treaty needs support in Senate

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a treaty that will make all of us safer. The Committee voted to approve the New START Treaty with Russia and send the treaty to the full Senate for a vote. But the tight Senate schedule means that unless Senators from both major political parties publicly call for an up-or-down vote on this treaty in the next two weeks, the Treaty may not be ratified this year. 

Please ask your senators to vote “yes” on the New START Treaty.


DREAM with Immigrant Children this School Year!

At the end of this new school year, approximately 2.8 million students will graduate from United States High Schools. Among them, a group of approximately 65,000 will not attend college, enlist in the armed forces, get a decent job, or otherwise have opportunity, not because they lack motivation, but because of the status passed on to them by their parents. These young men and women grew up on American soil and respect the laws of this country, yet they bear the inherited title of “illegal immigrant.”

The DREAM Act, introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), is legislation that would help to answer this growing problem. It will provide certain undocumented students with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status if they came to the United States as children and five years prior to the enactment of the bill, have good moral character, finish high school or obtain a G.E.D., and complete two years of college or military service. The DREAM Act has the potential to provide nearly one million youth who have grown up in the U.S. with improved access to higher education and an earned pathway to U.S. citizenship. This is the opportunity of which immigrant families DREAM.

On September 14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced plans to bring the DREAM Act (S. 729) up for a vote as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill. It is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate as early as next week – Congress needs to hear support for this important legislation!

Contact your Senators and ask them to support the Dream Act.

Congregations caring for creation

New program provides suggestions for earth care, certifies PC(USA) congregations that take action

From Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News Service:

According to the EPA's Energy Star for Congregations program, if America's more than 370,000 houses of worship cut their energy use by 10 percent, they would prevent more than 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

And now the more than 10,000 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations can take additional steps to do their part, with the help of a new program from Environmental Ministries.

Earth Care Congregations is a program that encourages churches to care for God's earth and celebrates those that have committed to this mission. The program takes a holistic approach to earth care, incorporating worship, education, facilities and outreach.     More >>


Today -- call Senators to support National Criminal Justice Commission Act

This call for action comes from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Please call your Senators!  Today, Wednesday, September 15, NRCAT is participating in a nation-wide call-in day to encourage the Senate to pass the National Criminal Justice Commission Act.

Please call your Senators today, and tell them that you would like them to pass the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (H.R. 5143/S. 714) as soon as possible.

It has been 40 years since our nation last undertook a comprehensive review of our criminal justice system. After all that time, such a review is sorely needed. Recently, the House passed a bill, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (H.R. 5143/S. 714), that would create a bipartisan panel to review all aspects of our criminal justice system. Importantly, this panel would have the authority to review the conditions of confinement for all prisoners in our criminal justice system. As such, the panel could issue recommendations for preventing the torture and abuse of prisoners.

The bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and has passed the House. Now it is time for the full Senate to vote on it.

Please call your Senators! 

You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak with your Senators, or you can use this link to find contact information for them:

You can use this script while on the phone:

"Hello, my name is _________, and, as a person of faith, I am calling to ask the Senator to work for the immediate passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act."

Thank you for your help. Passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act could be an important step toward ending the use of extensive isolation in prisons, which is a form of torture. 


Linda Gustitus, President
Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director, NRCAT

Moderator Bolbach appoints Middle East Monitoring Group

LOUISVILLE — Elder Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008), have named the Monitoring Group on the Middle East.

Acting on authorization by the 219th General Assembly (2010), Bolbach and Reyes-Chow selected seven individuals who the assembly said need to have "demonstrated experience with and knowledge of the complex dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the larger concerns of the Middle East, and shall together comprise an authentic balance representing the fullness of the spectrum of commitments within the PC(USA) toward the people and issues in the region."

The rest of the story >>

Another reflection on 9/11

"Redeeming the Time"

The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, Kansas, and former president of the Witherspoon Society, has shared with us a thoughtful sermon he preached on August 29, noting the rising hostility toward Islam during those weeks approaching the anniversary of 9/11.  He reflects on Paul's call to the people of Colossae to "conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time."  Or in the words of the KJV, "redeeming the time," which means acting with love and respect toward all our neighbors as "God's people."

More on 9/11 and current "Islamophobia" >>

Conference on “Discerning Justice & Taking Action on America's Death Penalty”

Thanks to People of Faith Against the Death Penalty for this announcement.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty is an interfaith national nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and mobilize faith communities to act to abolish the death penalty in the United States. They are organizing an upcoming national conference in Atlanta on November 16 & 17 called Kairos Conference: Discerning Justice & Taking Action on America’s Death Penalty

They invite you to join conference chair and Dead Man Walking author Sr. Helen Prejean, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger, world-renowned speakers, and leaders of national, state, and local faith communities and groups for an inspirational and educational experience.

The conference will begin on Tuesday, November 16 at 9 a.m. , and is scheduled to conclude at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The Kairos Conference:
Discerning Justice & Taking Action on America's Death Penalty

Emory Conference Center, Atlanta, GA
November 16 & 17, 2010

Details and registration >>

Late news

"Don't ask, don't tell" declared unconstitutional

California judge declares 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy banning gays from serving in the US military to be unconstitutional

In a blockbuster legal decision, a California judge last night declared the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that bars gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the US military to be unconstitutional, saying the ban violated the first amendment rights of homosexuals and harmed the effectiveness of the armed forces.

The decision comes as the Obama administration is in the middle of a cautious and drawn-out attempt to lift the ban of homosexuals in the US services, which has been proceeding slowly with the co-operation of most of the military leadership.

The full Guardian (UK) report >>

Court overturns border volunteer's 'littering' conviction

Appeals court says drinking water set out for migrants is not 'garbage'

Jerry L. Van Marter of Presbyterian News Service reports:

The United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of a humanitarian activist for "littering" near the U.S. border with Mexico, stating that the clean bottles of drinking water placed on known migrant trails could not be considered "garbage" due to their intended purpose of preventing death-by-exposure.

Dan Millis, a volunteer with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-backed faith-based organization No More Deaths, had been convicted in September 2008 for placing bottles of drinking water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR) in the middle of one of the most-traveled corridors for migrants along the Arizona border.    The rest of the story >>

More help for becoming an AIDS Competent church

Yesterday we posted a brief note about a new resource for churches that are following the urging of our General Assembly to become “AIDS Competent.” Ann Hayman immediately responded by recommending another very helpful resource – this one from the World Council of Churches. Its title is Beacons of Hope – HIV Competent Churches: A Framework for Action, and it too is available online, in PDF format.

Thanks to Ann Hayman!


NCC's Kinnamon joins with interfaith summit to address fear and intolerance toward Muslims

See a stream of the September 7 press conference on C-Span at

Washington, September 7, 2010 -- A high ranking group of U.S. interfaith leaders, including the general secretary of the National Council of Churches, assembled here today to condemn plans in Florida to burn the Holy Qu'ran on Saturday, and to decry incidents of violence committed against innocent Muslims.

The leaders noted the "anti-Muslim frenzy" that has existed in the U.S. since plans were announced to build an Islamic Community Center at the Park 51 site in Manhattan two blocks from the site of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

But the uproar over the Park 51 community center is only one aspect of the overall problem of anti-Islamic attitudes and actions across the country, the leaders said.

In a press conference at the National Press Club, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of America (ISNA), said Muslims in America report the highest degree of anxiety they have felt since September 11, 2001.   More >>

More on the approaching anniversary of 9/11 --
including anti-Muslim actions, burning of the Quran, and more.

Gay student suicides – three in one school district

This comes from, on Sept. 7, 2010

One suicide is one too many.

But three suicides in one year, within one school district, all by students who are gay or lesbian? That's nothing short of an epidemic, and it's the problem currently facing Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin school district.

The most recent incident occurred in July, when a 15-year-old student took his own life. A concert cello player in his school's orchestra, the student was incessantly bullied because of his sexual orientation.

"I'm not asking you to accept this as a lifestyle for you," his grieving mother recently said in testimony before the Anoka-Hennepin school board. "I'm only asking that you please make the school safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students still alive and in this district today."   More -- and a call to action >>

New tool available for developing an “AIDS Competent Church”

The 219th General Assembly acted to urge all of our churches to achieve critically important competency in dealing with AIDS awareness and prevention.

Churches United Against HIV & AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa has published a booklet that offers very helpful information for this purpose, called TOWARDS AN HIV AND AIDS COMPETENT CHURCH.

It’s a booklet, about 80 pages, and is posted here in PDF format.

Thanks to Ralph Clingan!

As the anniversary of 9/11 draws near, anti-Islamic rants are growing louder, and in some cases more threatening.  We will be posting a number of items on this page beginning with an impassioned reflection from blogger John Shuck.   

If you have thoughts to share --
or would like to point us to other readings,
please send a note!

Click here for some of our earlier posts on 9/11

John Shuck recounts "My 9/11 story ... so far ..."

The Rev. John Shuck, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee, commented on September 11, 2006 on the discussion then raging on our website (and many others) about charges that the attack on the World Trade Center and other targets was actually a "conspiracy" managed out of the Bush White House. 

On the morning of September 11th, my daughter who was in high school at the time called me at the church office and told me to turn on the television because the World Trade Center had been hit by airplanes. In the church kitchen the staff and I and others who happened to be in the church building that morning watched the television reports and saw both buildings collapse.

More >>

9/3/2010    Greetings for Labor Day!
Recipe for Slavery: Take US farm labor relations, add "guestworker" visas, and voila... Forced labor!

Federal prosecutors in Honolulu unseal indictment charging forced labor ring active in 13 states including – yet again – Florida;

Multi-state operation involves guestworker recruiting giant Global Horizons in what prosecutors are calling "the largest human trafficking case in US history"...

Labor Day weekend will be celebrated with a little more meaning this year by 400 farmworkers from around the country whose bosses were charged yesterday by Justice Department officials in Hawaii with "conspiracy to commit human trafficking."

The image above is from an excellent video by Honolulu's KITV on the news of yesterday's indictment. You can watch the video by clicking here.

Six people in the US were charged in the case, including four employees of Global Horizons Manpower, Inc, a labor recruiting company that specializes in the overseas recruitment of "guestworkers," foreign workers brought to the US to work in agriculture under an H2A visa for temporary employment in agriculture... 

For more on this story, go to the CIW website today,

An excellent video by Honolulu's KITV, on the news of yesterday's indictment, can be viewed by clicking here.

Thanks, and happy Labor Day!  

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

For more on labor justice issues >>

Celebrating the Youth Triennium – and a call to look ahead

by the Rev. Sue Trigger, co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Rockaway, N.J.

It had been a while since I’ve been to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, so I decided this was the year to round up a Presbytery delegation and head to Indiana. This was my fourth Triennium experience. It was at Triennium that I answered the call to ministry; and it was at Triennium 15 years later that I felt a powerful reaffirmation of that call.

There were many things about this Triennium that were fantastic: 5010 participants from all 50 states, a well organized event, great worship planning and keynote speakers, and more. It is far more than a great conference; it is an event that helps shape lives. It is an event that helps people encounter Christ in a bold, powerful way through Bible study, reflection, and a call to consider how God is working in their lives. It is able to reach people with an impact that few, if any, of our congregations are able to do.      For the rest of this report >>

PVJ elects officers, introduces our new members of Coordinating Team

Presbyterian Voices for Justice held our biennial membership meeting right after our Awards Luncheon at General Assembly.  Click here for a list of the current Coordinating Team members, and click here for brief introductions of the new ones.

Fellowship of Reconciliation invites people to speak out in support of genuine peace in Iraq.

We have received a letter sent out by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, responding to the President's address on the US troop reduction in Iraq, encouraging people who care about peace and justice to express their concern for the continuing US presence there.  We think you may be interested in joining in. 

Click here for the full text of the letter.

The War in Iraq: At What Cost?

Jim Wallis, pastor and “Christian leader for social change,” reflects on the same concern for Huffington Post. He confesses to hearing Obama’s Oval Office speech with great sadness at the high costs that have been paid by so many. And looking toward the near future he adds: 

I watched the arguments on the talk shows about the continuing political instability in Iraq, the lack of a functioning government six months after an election, the deep worries about continuing ethnic division and conflict. The president said it was up to the Iraqis now. The truth is that it always was up to the people – both in Iraq and Afghanistan – and the mistake of "empire" is the belief than endless war and occupation can change those political realities. Leading by example would have been better, offering a whole array of non-military help to Iraq and now Afghanistan would have been more effective – and so much less costly.

For Wallis’ full essay >>

Immokalee Workers reaches fair food agreement with food service provider Sodexo

This good news comes to us from the Rev. Noelle Damico, of the Campaign for Fair Food, PC(USA)   [9-2-10]

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has forged a fair food agreement with food service provider Sodexo!  Sodexo services a number of Presbyterian-affiliated colleges and is  the ninth food retailer to sign an agreement with the CIW.  Now the three largest food service providers in the nation (Compass, Aramark, Sodexo) are working together with the CIW and willing growers to improve wages and conditions

for Florida farmworkers.  Read the agreement in full.


This coming Sunday is a perfect time to celebrate the CIW’s recent agreement and to insist that supermarket leaders also do their part.  The Presbyterian Church

celebrates the Sunday before Labor Day as Vocation Sunday.  It’s a time to reflect upon how each of us is responding to God’s call and upon the church at work in the world.


+ Use the prayer resources for this Sunday


+ Drop off a manager’s letter to your local supermarket when you shop, encouraging the company to work with the CIW to end farmworker exploitation in the tomato fields.  [There are letters for Kroger, Publix, and Ahold as well as a general

manager’s letter]


We move forward celebrating God’s pledge to bring about a world of joy and justice as we remember and proclaim with the prophet Isaiah, “they shall not labor in vain!”



PC(USA) Campaign for Fair Food



The Rev. Noelle Damico

Campaign for Fair Food

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Christian leaders praise Obama's Middle East peace talks

PC(USA)'s Parsons joins Churches for Middle East Peace in statement

Jerry L. Van Marter of Presbyterian News Service reports:

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Gradye Parsons, General Assembly stated clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has joined nearly 30 other U.S. Christian leaders in welcoming the direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians being held this week in Washington.

In a letter to President Obama, the group — brought together by Churches for Middle East Peace, also noted the need for sustained U.S. cooperation with both parties if an agreement is to be reached and said the direct talks, backed by the U.S., provide a unique opportunity to resolve key issues that have been persistent barriers to peace.

"We are grateful for President Obama's tireless efforts for this hope," said Parsons. "The Presbyterian Church hopes that the talks will bring lasting peace for Israel and Palestine."

More – including the full text of the letter to the President >>

For an index to all our reports and analyses
on the 219th General Assembly

For links to all our archive pages, listed by months, click here.


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 of Order.

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

Our three areas of primary interest are:

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

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

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

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

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

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

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

Darcy Hawk
4007 Gibsonia Road
Gibsonia, PA  15044-8312


Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

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

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


Voices of Sophia blog

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

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


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

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


John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

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


Got more blogs to recommend?

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


To top

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