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Archive for June, 2011

This page lists our postings from all of June, 2011

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

May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010

August, 2010
July, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010

April, 2010
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January, 2010

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

6/28/2011
Stated clerk speaks out against Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Parsons urges Obama to address human rights abuses before proceeding

by Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is adding his voice to those of Presbyterians in the United States and Colombia opposing the passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

In a letter to President Obama, the Rev. Gradye Parsons says, “Real, substantial, and lasting efforts must be made to address the serious displacement crisis and the violations of human rights and labor rights in Colombia before a trade agreement should move forward.”

Presbyterians in both countries have been speaking out against the CFTA in recent weeks, thorough fasting, a call-in campaign and a prayer breakfast.

For the rest of this report, and the full text of Parsons’ letter >>

For our earlier posts on Colombia >>

Here’s help in following immigration legislation in various states

The Office of Immigration Issues of the PC(USA) sent this helpful note (and links to more!) on June 22, 2011:

There has been recent activity at the state level on immigration legislation. South Carolina passed legislation yesterday and a couple weeks ago Alabama adopted a bill that would require law enforcement to check the immigration status of a person if there was reasonable suspicion that person was in the US without authorization. The Alabama bill also presents issues for those who assist people who are undocumented. Our office is currently reviewing the South Carolina legislation. Here is an article from a local paper in SC:

As part of our efforts to keep Presbyterians informed about immigration issues in their area, we’ve created a spreadsheet that tracks state immigration legislation along with links to the text of the bill, voting history, and a recent local article on the legislation. It is posted on our website. The spreadsheet is updated every few weeks so if you’re relying on the information in the spreadsheet for anything, please call our office for the most up-to-date information as we may be a little behind posting changes. I can tell you that we’ve not updated the SC legislation.  Follow this link to learn more.

Thanks for your time and your ministry.

Peace,

Melissa

Melissa Davis Gee
Advocacy and Legal Services Coordinator
Office of Immigration Issues
Presbyterian Church (USA)
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Phone: 502-569-5007
Fax: 502-569-8822

www.pcusa.org/immigration

For our earlier posts on immigration concerns >>

6/24/2011
New York gay marriage bill passes

As one who grew up in New York State (Albany, to be fairly precise), I'm delighted to share this news.  Doug King, your WebWeaver.  Here's the beginning of the report from Politico.com

Striking what advocates believe is a historic victory for gay rights, the New York state senate Friday approved same-sex marriage, bringing New York a promised governor’s signature away from being the sixth and largest state to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

The 33-29 vote is an enormous victory for first-year Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who pledged during last fall’s campaign to push for gay marriage. It comes after an intense public and private lobbying campaign from a wide cast of politicians, celebrities and athletes, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Bill Clinton.

Cuomo, whose two daughters attended the vote in the senate gallery, is expected to sign the bill. The bill will become law 30 days after Cuomo signs it, and when it does, it will double the population of Americans to whom same-sex marriage is legal.   More >>

Stand Up for Health Care!

This Action Alert, dated June 22, 2011, comes to us from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care. For over 50 years, Medicare and Medicaid have provided coverage for millions of elderly, poor, and disabled persons in our country. Today, nearly 1 in 3 Americans depends on these public health insurance programs to meet their basic health needs. 

In the current debate over the federal budget, some members of Congress have proposed making drastic cuts to both Medicare and Medicaid. If successful, these cuts would result in both decreases in enrollment and reductions in coverage. Millions of Americans would not receive the health services they desperately need. 

Recognizing the importance of these programs for our country’s well-being, we cannot afford to let Congress cut health care for vulnerable populations. Click here to contact your members of Congress today and tell them not to cut Medicare and Medicaid! 

As Reformed Christians, we believe that God desires shalom – wholeness and healing – for every person, not just for those who can afford it. Jesus’ command to love our neighbor requires persons with plentiful resources both to comprehend the condition of those persons without basic health care and to share the means to health. 

This summer, as Congress debates various budget proposals, the Office of Public Witness urges you to contact your members of Congress and urge them not to cut Medicare and Medicaid. Cuts to these programs would only shift financial costs to older adults and poor people who depend on these programs for their survival. 

General Assembly Guidance:

The 214th (2002) General Assembly directed the Presbyterian Washington Office (PWO) to encourage members of the Congress to recognize the importance of universal health care – that is, equal, accessible, affordable, and high-quality health care for all persons residing in our nation.

The 217th (2006) General Assembly approved actions to call on the president and Congress to provide adequate funding for the preservation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs as the health-care safety-net programs for elderly, poor, and disabled populations.

More on the crisis in health care --
and efforts to respond to it.

Presbyterian leaders offer a call to prayer for Sudan

Bolbach, Parsons, and Valentine urge Peace as July 9 independence nears

by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – June 22, 2011 – With violence flaring up in Sudan as the July 9 independence of South Sudan nears, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders have called on all Presbyterians to pray for peace in the east African country.

The call was issued by General Assembly Moderator Cynthia Bolbach, General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and General Assembly Mission Council Executive Director Linda Valentine.

After decades of civil war between the Khartoum-based Islamist government of Sudan and the mainly Christian and animist south, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005. The agreement called for a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January of this year, with overwhelming support for independence, which is scheduled to take place July 9.

For the full text of the call to prayer >>

For our earlier posts on Sudan >>

6/21/2011
Presbyterian Voices for Justice wants your views

The PVJ Coordinating Team would really like to know your thoughts and suggestions about what we’re doing together to witness in the PC(USA) to God’s calling to all of us, to do justice in God’s world and within the church.

So we’re asking you to take a short survey to tell us what you think, what your interests are, and what suggestions you can offer as we shape plans and programs for the next few years.

Most of the 12 questions simply ask you to make choices or rank alternatives, but a few offer you a space to share your own thoughts and concerns with us. And the last few ask you to tell us a little about yourself, if you’re willing, and (also if you’re willing!) to tell us how to get in touch with you if we want to follow up on something you’ve said.

One important thing: When you get to the end of the survey, you’ll find a button that says “SUBMIT.” We’re not echoing Paul’s suggestion to wives! It’s just the way the form works, and we can’t figure out a way to change. So please just grit your teeth, friends, and click on that button, or we’ll never see what you’ve said.

In due time we’ll report to you on the results – without identifying any of the respondents, of course.

JUST CLICK HERE for the survey >>

And in advance, we thank you!

A PVJ member comments on Mark Sandlin’s “Death Throes of Fundamentalism” essay –

Lee Lybarger, of Delaware, Ohio, has sent this comment on an essay we noted on June 18, about the future of the PC(USA), and the challenges faced by its more conservative people in light of the denomination's move toward more full acceptance of LGBT members as candidates for ordination.

Editor:

It would be nice to think that Mark Sandlin's prognosis for a more prophetic denomination will result given the fall-off of fundamentalist-oriented congregations, but I am afraid that it does not square with reality. Mark forgets that our churches are institutionally conservative, [so that among their primary purposes are] self-preservation and the focus on personal needs. Hence they will continue to be socially conservative, given that the average age of many Presbyterians is 60 years +/-.   The rest of Lybarger's note >>

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

A hymn on welcoming the prophets among us,
and welcoming God's call to all of us as prophets
   

We're happy to share with you a new hymn by the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, who with her husband, the Rev. Bruce Gillette, serves as co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

6/18/2011
"The Death Throes of Fundamentalism in a Thinking Church"
This thoughtful comment was posted on the PVJ Facebook page by the Rev. Mark Sandlin, who currently serves as the minister at Vandalia Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. He offers a critical reflection on the reasons given by one minister on the Presbyterian Right for his call for separating from the denomination.

He concludes:

It is clear from their positioning and trajectory that many will leave the PCUSA and that will cull the membership of the denomination. The long term effect will be the closing of some churches and, along with that, many ordained ministers will be out of work. The denomination itself, however, will not die. It will grow leaner, more focused, more prophetic. Perhaps as some of the more “conservative elements of the denomination” choose to leave, the denomination will stop with its unnecessary infighting and rise again, living into the biblical realities of love, forgiveness, acceptance and grace.

We invite you to take a look at his comments, and share your own thoughts with us here. Just send a note!

A call for church-wide celebrations & stories for July 10

Michael Adee, National Organizer of More Light Presbyterians, has sent out this interesting suggestion for marking the date when Amendment 10-A goes into effect, for the full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians in the leadership of the PC(USA):

Grace and peace. Amendment 10-A goes into effect on July 10 because of its ratification on May 10 in Minneapolis. We give thanks to God that the Presbyterian Church (USA) enters a new era of equality on July 10. ...

Today, all of us have another opportunity to be part of transformation in our Church and world by creating celebrations and using the tools of media that help us tell the story to everyone. When we tell our stories through media, people around the world who are moving toward full equality find support. Our stories give them hope! Let’s tell our stories about the moral and spiritual equality of LGBT people.

The end of the vote and the implementation of the new policy on July 10 is a vital moment and we need your help to get this good news out there. Here is what you can do.

Create a Celebration on Sunday, July 10. The Presbyterian Church (USA) passed Amendment 10-A which removes barriers to ordination for LGBT people. Mark this historic moment in the life of the Church and your local congregation by opening your service with a celebration. This can be a procession or a "minute for mission" where congregants share the importance of this Presbyterian action and what it means to you. Work with us to generate interest among journalists so the stories get out to the whole world. Consider a procession of rainbow banners, scarves or balloons at the start of the worship service so the reporter can get a photo and not disturb the rest of the service. Interviews can be held at another time. We will provide you with a template for a media alert that you can send to the religion reporter from your local newspaper. Just register your celebration below and we will be in touch!

Michael Adee

He offers other good ideas, too. For more information, contact Michael at michael@mlp.org

Are Saudi Women Next?

Mai Yamani, of Project Syndicate, and author of Cradle of Islam, writes” "The unexpected visibility and assertiveness of women in the revolutions unfolding across the Arab world – in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and elsewhere – has helped propel what has become variously known as the 'Arab awakening' or 'Arab Spring.' Major changes have occurred in the minds and lives of women, helping them to break through the shackles of the past, and to demand their freedom and dignity." Read the article >>

Thinking theologically about technology

Union Theological Seminary launches new media project website

from Presbyterian News Service

NEW YORK – June 17, 2011 – Union Theological Seminary in New York has announced the launch of NewMediaProjectAtUnion.org, the website and blog of the New Media Project funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

In the midst of the massive shifts occurring in digital communication today, the New Media Project explores how pastors and lay leaders might employ new technologies to strengthen their communities.

“Pastors need more than the technical know-how required to build websites and use social media,” says New Media Project Director Verity Jones. “They also need broader, theologically grounded reflection on the lasting effect these technologies will have on the church and its global ministries.”

Follow the project on Facebook  and Twitter, or sign up for the e-newsletter on the bottom right column of the website to receive bi-weekly updates.

More >>

6/15/2011
Now’s the time to register for our PVJ Ghost Ranch seminars!  

We are co-sponsoring two seminars at Ghost Ranch this summer, both of them promising to be challenging and enjoyable, and a chance to spend a week in a beautiful high-desert spot with great people.

Need a little help from your friends?

We have received some gifts in response to our plea for help, so we can now provide a bit of financial help for at least one or two people who want to attend one of these great seminars, but can't quite manage the full cost.  To check out the possibilities, send an email to Sylvia Thorson-Smith.

And it's not too late to offer a little more help!  Just click here >>

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Sex, Faith, and Culture:
Understanding the Mix in Our Lives and Society [G11S742]

July 25 - 31, 2011
led by Marvin M. Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith

Twenty years after the controversial report "Keeping Body and Soul Together: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice" was overwhelmingly rejected by the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1991, two of its primary authors will begin this seminar with a reflection on the development of the report and the firestorm that surrounded it. The conversation will then shift to address a variety of concerns on the "justice-love" agenda, including alternative reproductive technologies, comprehensive (vs. abstinence-only) sexuality education, equality for transgender and bisexual as well as lesbian and gay persons, same-sex marriage, the global HIV-AIDS pandemic, sexuality while living with Alzheimer's and other chronic illnesses, and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.  More on the seminar >>

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Issues: a Faithful Response to Immigration [G11PJ812]

August 1 - 7, 2011
led by Mark Adams, Jane Hanna, Miriam Maldonado Escobar, and Julia Thorne

Jane Hanna, seminar coordinator, writes: Discerning God's call to advocate for a just immigration system requires people of faith to have a knowledgeable understanding of the issues related to modern global migration. Julia Thorne will help us understand present immigration law, how detention and deportation policies impact both migrants and our communities. We will learn about Presbyterian policy on immigration reform. Mark Adams and Miriam Maldonado Escobar, PCUSA Mission co-workers, will share their experiences with the many players on the border (the undocumented, Border Patrol agents, faith communities, rich and poor, humanitarians, landowners and communities on both sides of the border.) As momentum builds to reform U.S. immigration, our voice as informed faith communities advocating just policies and practices is the challenge we face. Learning about the newcomers in our communities and how to create environments to serve everyone follows a biblical mandate to be church together      More on the seminar >>

 
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For the Ghost Ranch website home page >>

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For the whole summer catalog (in PDF) >>

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To view all the courses online >>

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For registration information >>

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Can you help support these great events?

Unfortunately, these experiences are expensive. We are sadly aware of that! But we would like to help people join in on them even if their funds are limited. Can you contribute a little to help someone else attend one of these seminars?

Just click here to send your gift via PayPal, using your credit card. Fill in the donation form, and in the :additional comments" box at the bottom, just write in "Ghost Ranch."  If you wish, you can designate your support for either of the seminars, or for a particular person whom you may want to encourage to attend. We thank you!

ACSWP Facebook page and naming contest
A message from Salt & Light, the newsletter of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy [somewhat condensed by your WebWeaver]

I am so excited to be working with you! Let me introduce myself: I am Patrick Heery, the new Media Fellow for ACSWP and managing editor of the justice journal we are creating and recreating.

We have a Facebook page!   Actually, this is our second page, because I can be, well let’s just say, rather over-zealous at times and may have overloaded the original page with content. Please become a “fan” and invite your friends and church members. This will be a site for conversation and greater connection, videos, photos, and more up-to-date information about what’s going on with ACSWP without replacing this Salt and Light email newsletter. The key way for you to help us is to mark “like” on the site – it is not as public as “friending,” but helps us build connections.

On that Facebook page, or through this link, you can be a part of the naming process for our new justice journal that will inherit the role of the print journal "Church and Society." We want you to help us create this journal - and what better way than to start with the name? So here's the deal: you propose a name and provide an explanation of why you think it would be a good name and why it is important to you and perhaps young folk. Then, at the Big Tent at the end of June, we will lift up and test a select number of proposed names. We will select a name based on the conversations at the Big Tent, among our advisors, and in ACSWP. ...

I also encourage all who can to attend the Big Tent beginning June 30 and concluding July 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can find out more information and register here.

Be sure to look for our workshop, “Economic Crisis & Social Creed: prophetic vision and moral formation for the lean years,” led by Ethics Professor Gloria Albrecht & Development Specialist Bill Saint, formerly of the World Bank. Also, check out the events on gun violence and immigrant rights, such as the workshop hosted by James Atwood, Katie Day Bryan Miller and Rick Ufford-Chase: “Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call.”

Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned, though, because we have a lot of exciting opportunities coming up!

Peace and blessings to you,
Patrick David Heery
(502) 569-5000, x5813 | Email
patrick.heery@pcusa.org

PC(USA) presses Obama on human rights in Colombia

Interfaith community seeks protections as part of Free Trade Agreement

PC(USA) Office of Public Witness/Presbyterian News Service, by Ginna Irby and Jerry L. Van Marter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 15, 2011 – This morning (June 15), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders joined ecumenical and interfaith colleagues here in a prayer breakfast on human rights in Colombia. The interfaith community called on Congress not to pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) until major improvements are made to labor and human rights conditions in Colombia.

The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness helped plan and participate in the Congressional Prayer Breakfast, hosted by the Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment. Featured speakers included Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) and the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, the PC(USA)’s director of Public Witness.

Colombia suffers from the world’s worst displacement crisis – more than 5 million people, most of whom are indigenous small-scale farmers, have been forced off their land by paramilitary and guerilla groups, who sell the land for large-scale commercial farming, mining, and other extractive industries.

Colombia is also home to the most violence against labor unionists in the world. Between 2005 and 2009, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia than in the rest of the world combined. ....

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship organized a fast last week in collaboration with the Presbyterian Church in Colombia. Presbyterians in both countries fasted from sunrise to sunset to express their concern about the livelihood and safety of Colombians if the CFTA is passed.

The PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness is also launching a call-in campaign today (June 15) in which Presbyterians around the country are calling President Obama to remind him of his campaign promise and the need for improvement in the human rights situation in Colombia before introducing the CFTA to Congress. ....

To participate in the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness ministry concerning the CFTA and other domestic and international issues, visit the Office of Public Witness website.

For the full article >>

Collaborating community

SDOP hears about need for connections in Detroit

by Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News Service

DETROIT – June 9, 2011– At the their meeting here last month, members of Self-Development of People’s National Committee heard from three activists working for justice and community development in the bruised city.

Collaboration and a sense of community are essential in Detroit, which — like many American cities — has seen white flight to the suburbs, a decline in urban services and a hit to its main industry, the speakers said.   More >>

One more presbytery steps toward justice, approving Amendment 10-A

Providence Presbytery celebrated Pentecost (on Sunday, June 12, 2011) by approving Amendment 10-A, 48-44-1, thus becoming the first presbytery in South Carolina to make the great step forward. They are the 23rd presbytery to take that step toward justice in the voting this year.

As expected, Hanmi Presbytery voted against 10-A, by 0-39.

The tally is now 97-75.

Kiskiminetas is the last presbytery to vote on June 28th.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer,and John Shuck, blogger of Shuck and Jive.

For more news and comments on Amendment 10-A

6/11/2011
Renewal and witness at the heart of Pentecost

Pentecost message from the presidents of the World Council of Churches

The eight presidents of the World Council of Churches, in their annual Pentecost message, write that this holy day “offers a new opportunity to each church community and to each of us” to celebrate “the advent and gift of the Holy Spirit, to renew our trust in the Spirit’s power.”

They invite us to pray for grace to become witnesses to Christ’s cross and resurrection as well as “to justice, peace and hope” in the world.

In 2011, Pentecost falls on Sunday 12 June. The day occurs fifty days after Easter and marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the church. The biblical description of the event appears in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

For the full text of the message >>

6/8/2011
10-A and the future of the PC(USA)

David True, an associate professor of religion at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., has published a thoughtful commentary on the various responses among Presbyterians to the ratification of Amendment 10-A. He begins:

Reactions to the passage of Amendment 10-A have in large part reflected the division of the vote. Many have cheered its passage, while others have bemoaned it. What is interesting and somewhat surprising is that the debate appears not to have boiled over, at least not yet. To be sure, feelings are running high, but so far both sides have acted with considerable restraint. Supporters of 10-A have spoken graciously about their hopes that those on the other side will stay, and opponents have not, at least not yet, headed for the door en masse. What should we make of this? Is it a hopeful sign of a new day or are Presbyterians simply acting pragmatically?

I want to suggest that competing visions of the church forged in the debate over ordination are now informing the prevailing restraint. In the next months these visions will be tested and perhaps transformed, and in the process they may help remake the PC(USA) and perhaps American Protestantism more broadly. The competing ecclesiastical visions are 1) the church as a community of hospitality and 2) the church as the antithesis to the world. To see the power of these visions we need first return to their interpretations of 10-A, then to the current restraint, and finally to some future possibilities.

Read his full essay on the Presbyterian Outlook blogsite.

“Choose this day” – one clear example of choosing to stand “against the world”

As one example of his second group, those who see the church as called to stand against “the world,” the Presbyterian Layman is urging conservatives to sign on to its “I choose this day” letter, calling on their congregations to heed Joshua’ call to the people of Israel to “Choose you this day whom you will serve!” Thus they would “stand firm against a tide of cultural accommodation that is swamping the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Click here for the Layman’s call to “choose this day” >>

For the text of the “choose this day” petition >>

A very interesting list of “resources” on this project, including papers on how pastors can leave the denomination without losing their pension benefits; how congregations can leave and take their church property with them; a letter to a session conveying the call to consider “choosing”; a list of congregations that have left the denomination, and much more.

Please share your thoughts --
on David True's analysis,
or on the Layman's latest campaign to purify the church.
Just send a note
and let's talk about this!

More on Amendment 10-A

Presbyteries have approved a new Form of Government

Trinity Presbytery has become the 87th presbytery to approve the amendment

from the Office of the General Assembly, by Sharon Youngs, Communications Coordinator

LOUISVILLE – June 7, 2011 – While the Office of the General Assembly awaits official tallies, it appears that a majority of the 173 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have approved a new Form of Government.

At its meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, Trinity Presbytery became the 87th presbytery to approve an amendment that will replace the current 18-chapter Form of Government with a new version that is six chapters in length. The Form of Government is one section of the Book of Order, which is part of the PC(USA) Constitution.

Along with the new Form of Government will be a new section of the Book of Order entitled “Principles of Presbyterian Polity,” which contains a large majority of the content of the first four chapters of the current Form of Government.

The proposed new Form of Government (FOG) was approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the PC(USA). Two years earlier, a proposed revision had been presented to the 218th General Assembly (2008) by the FOG Task Force. That assembly reconstituted the task force and asked it to present a revised version to the 219th GA based on the feedback received at the 218th GA.     More >>

For our earlier posts on the new Form of Government >>

On LGBT ordination, the Church of Scotland ‘votes for more dialogue’   

On May 24, 2011, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted by 351 to 294 “to continue dialogue on same-sex relationships and the ministry, ... [an action] which means a move towards the acceptance for training, induction and ordination of those in same-sex relationships for the ministry.” Further, the Assembly voted “to allow ministers and deacons in same-sex relationships ordained before 2009 to be inducted into pastoral charges.”

Click here for the Church of Scotland news release >>

The Rev. Lindsay Biddle, a Minister Member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area of the Presbyterian Church (USA), is now living with her husband, the Rev. John Mann, in Glasgow, Scotland, where she is serving as an interim pastor, while her husband serves as pastor of another congregation.  She attended the recent General Assembly of the Church of Scotland as the delegate representing the PC(USA).

Click here for her report to the PC(USA) on the Edinburgh assembly.

Here is her own statement to the assembly, in their discussion of moving toward LGBT ordination.
 

Tension comes to the Church of Scotland, too, over the ordination question 

The Sunday Herald, of Glasgow, Scotland, carried a lengthy article looking at the tensions in the Church of Scotland around the question of ordination of LGBT members of the church – umm, kirk.   More >>

6/2/2011
Voting continues on 2010 GA proposals

While Amendment 10-A, giving congregations and presbyteries the right to do their own discernment about ordination of LGBT Presbyterians as elders, deacons, and ministers, and all the other amendments to the Book of Order, proposed by the 2010 General Assembly, have been approved by the presbyteries, two other major proposals by the Assembly have still not been decided.

According to the latest counts we can find, it appears that the addition of the Belhar Confession to the church’s Book of Confessions will not be approved, since it would only take 5 more NO votes to fail. There is speculation that some presbyteries may simply not vote on Belhar.

The proposed new Form of Government, otherwise known as nFOG, it needs 3 more votes to pass and there are 6 possible YES votes left. The last one, Detroit, votes on June 28 so it could come down to the last vote.

New Managing Editor for Internet Church & Society: Patrick Heery

This announcement, dated May 31, 2011, comes from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy

From the very strong field of candidates, ACSWP selected Mr. Patrick Heery, a recent honors graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, to serve as New Media Fellow, focusing on internet communication and the role of managing editor of an online justice journal.

In addition to very strong academic performance at Princeton and as an undergraduate at Ohio University, Mr. Heery distinguished himself as convener of Seminarians for Peace and Justice and leader of its subgroup on criminal justice. This subgroup worked on prison reform, abolition of the death penalty, reform of immigrant detention and the ending of torture, working with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Mr. Heery worked as a prison chaplain intern during part of his seminary years; he also integrated prison ministry into the “community mission” dimension of his field education assignment.

On the college level and since, Mr. Heery has helped set up forums for discussion of difficult issues, matters of human rights, including the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. As president of the Ohio University Amnesty International Chapter, he organized discussions of Darfur and Israel-Palestine; he was in Israel when the 2006 Hezbollah exchange with Israel occurred that led to the bombing of Lebanon. A member of the Student Senate, he served on various committees dealing with University policy toward students and student organizations.

Within the church, Mr. Heery has served as an elder in First Presbyterian Church, Athens, Ohio, and was active in campus chaplaincy programming. An outdoorsman as well, Mr. Heery is an Eagle Scout.

The cyber journal has carried the name Church & Society Internet Journal to suggest continuity with its print predecessor. The name, however, may be changed to better develop engagement with younger persons not entirely within the church.

Going to Big Tent?  Sign up for the ACSWP workshop on Friday morning — Economic Crisis and Social Creed: Prophetic Vision and Moral Formation for the Lean Years — Gloria Albrecht, Bill Saint.

People of faith fast to protest U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

JUNE 5-12 FAST WILL TAKE PLACE IN BOTH COUNTRIES

Special to Presbyterian News Service, by the Revs. Linda Eastwood and Shannan Vance-Ocampo

LOUISVILLE — Colombian and U.S. Presbyterians who have partnered for more than six years to protect human rights workers in Colombia are calling on their sisters and brothers in both countries to take accompaniment to the next level.

Leaders from the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia (IPC)  and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are asking all people of faith to join in a public fast June 5-12, 2011, to oppose the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“Our partners in Colombia are crystal clear that this trade agreement will mean greater disparity of wealth, greater insecurity across their country and the weakening of the fabric of civil society,” said Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the PC(USA)’s 216th General Assembly (2004) and director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

More than 160 Colombians have committed to the fast, and a growing number of U.S. Presbyterians are joining them. The fasters hope to send a message to President Obama, urging him not to send the US-Colombia FTA to Congress.

“It’s only when we call upon the Holy Spirit that we can effect great change against seemingly impossible odds,” Ufford-Chase said.

You can register for the fast at the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship website. 

More >>

And for our earlier reports on Colombia >>

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

May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010

August, 2010
July, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010

April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

 

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.

 

John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, 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.

 

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.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

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

 

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