This page lists our postings
from earlier in April, 2011
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
from earlier in June, 2011
For links to earlier archive pages,
Two more presbyteries vote YES on Amendment A, for a more
just and inclusive church!
(Tuesday, April 26) Lehigh Presbytery continued its support for
Amendment A, by 68-48-1.
And the Presbytery of Florida switched to vote
Yes, by 49-36! It is the 17th presbytery to make that
great shift for justice.
The count of presbytery voting is now 82-59.
Five more Yes votes are needed to move the
PC(USA) a giant step forward.
Here is the remaining schedule >>
blogger the Rev. John
Shuck, and to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
Covenant Network National Organizer.
Celebrate Multicultural Church
This announcement comes from the
General Assembly Mission Council, Presbyterian Church (USA)
“The water flows out of the temple, becoming
deeper and wider as it spreads … it is a source of healing and
health, life flourishing” (Ezekiel 47)
Celebrate Multicultural Church Sunday
Church Sunday, May 15, offers congregations all across the
PC(USA) an opportunity to celebrate the Biblical vision of a
united community, which welcomes, celebrates, and incorporates
God’s people of all cultures and languages in one place.
Click here for tools and ideas to help your congregation
live out our church-wide calling to Grow Christ’s Church Deep
and Wide in diversity.
An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church from one of your
from Michael J. Adee, Executive
Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians
April 25, 2011
Grace and peace to all of you. I was baptized
as an infant at First Presbyterian Church, Billings, Montana. I
was taught faith, Scripture, the good news of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and confirmed at Westminster Presbyterian Church,
Sulphur, Louisiana. As a kid and teenager, I loved going to
church and being part of a church family. I sang in our church
choir with my Dad, loved our youth group of four and the
all-church potluck dinners. I had Jesus' bumper stickers on my
1963 VW bug when I was in high school. I probably annoyed some
of my friends in high school and college with my Christian zeal.
When I affirmed being gay in my late twenties,
the Church was no longer a safe or loving place for me, so I
left the Church. I give thanks to God for being loved back to
faith by Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. I
was ordained and installed as an Elder there. I've served as an
Elder at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati and First
Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I began serving as a volunteer with More Light
Presbyterians in 1991 and on staff since 1999. I would not be in
the Presbyterian Church, or in any church, if not for Mount
Auburn Presbyterian Church and their unconditional welcome and
invitation to serve God with them.
I believe the 219th General Assembly's
Ordination Amendment 10-A offers this kind of unconditional
welcome and invitation to faith, grace, salvation, church
membership and ministry to all of God's children, not just some.
The rest of Adee's open letter,
including his Top Ten Reasons for supporting Amendment 10-A
The Religious Right stands up for bullies
This message (slightly edited here) comes
from People for the American Way, on April 26, 2011
As states and school districts work to stem a
tide of anti-gay bullying in American schools, believe it or not
a powerful group is actually out to stop them. Many in the
radical Religious Right have been leading a concerted effort to
stop programs that seek to protect LGBT youth from bullying and
to deny that the problem of anti-gay bullying exists.
Check out our new report, "Big Bullies: How the Religious
Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and
Dangerous for Gay Kids."
The report has already been promoted by
influential blogs and news sites like Dan Savage's The Stranger,
JoeMyGod, TruthOut and the Miami Herald's LGBT blog, to name
just a few. Please take a moment to read it and share it with
others using the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the top of the
report and by forwarding this report.
The anti-anti-bullying movement sounds like a
joke, but it's frighteningly real. The Religious Right is
desperately trying to protect bullies and further marginalize
gay and gay-perceived kids by stopping efforts to make schools
safe for every child.
The Right's anti-anti-bullying effort relies
on four central strategies, according to the report:
1. The Indoctrination Myth: Religious Right
activists claim that anti-bullying policies will result in
"homosexual indoctrination" in schools.
2. The "Special Rights" Smear: Opponents claim
that recognizing and confronting the problem of anti-gay
bullying amounts to granting "special rights" to LGBT kids.
3. Playing the Victim: The Religious Right has
tried to turn the realities of school bullying on their head,
claiming that anti-gay bullies are the real victims, and gay
rights groups the real bullies.
4. Blaming the Victim: In the crudest part of
the anti-anti-bullying effort, Religious Right activists are
trying to blame the gay rights movement and gay kids themselves
for anti-gay bullying.
It seems unimaginable that there could
actually be a pro-bullying movement, but it just goes to show
the depths to which the Religious Right is willing to sink to
stop the recognition and acceptance of gay people at every level
of society, and to paint themselves as the victims of the gay
rights movement. In the end, the real bullies are the adults who
are willing to hurt kids in order to push a political agenda of
intolerance and exclusion.
Please check out this important report and help to spread it
– Michael Keegan, President, People for the
of our reports on our discussions of justice for LGBTs >>
Community Church, recipient of PVJ's Whole Gospel Congregation
award at the 2010 General Assembly, offers a radical new
ministry of welcome to women in the sex trade
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, in its
Sunday, April 24 edition, published a lengthy feature story
reporting that “starting this week, Kwanzaa Community Church,
where [the Rev. Alika] Galloway is co-pastor with her husband,
is giving over use of its 100-year-old building to women and
girls involved in prostitution. The building ... is envisioned
as a place to rest and reflect, have a meal, shower and perhaps
make connections to a healthier lifestyle. The congregation
relocated last fall.”
Click here for the full story >>
Save the Date!
World Student Christian Federation
North American Regional Assembly (NARA)
Oct 14-18, 2011
A message from Luciano Kovacs, North
America Regional Secretary 0f the World Student Christian
Dear students, friends, partners,
The World Student Christian Federation-North
America is planning its first North American Regional Assembly,
to be held in Chicago, USA on October 14-18, 2011. This event
will be tackling the 2011 Federation's theme "Overcoming
Violence" and will be an opportunity for the region to plan its
future activities. Inputs, workshops, worship and bible study,
exposure in the Chicago area will be part of the conference.
Please, spread the word and save the date.
Attached please find poster to be widely distributed. A concept
paper and a registration form will soon follow.
North America Regional Secretary
World Student Christian Federation
here for more details >>
here for a poster (in PDF format) that you’re encouraged to
reproduce and share widely >>
-- Good Friday
Good Friday Reflections for
Presbyterians – and the Death Penalty
By the Rev.
Co-Pastor, Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington,
In 1959 our 171st Presbyterian General
Assembly said “believing that capital punishment cannot be
condoned by an interpretation of the Bible based upon the
revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ,” called on Christians
to “seek the redemption of evil doers and not their death” and
noted that “the use of the death penalty tends to brutalize the
society that condones it.” In 1978 the General Assembly went on
record as saying, “Capital
punishment is an expression of vengeance which contradicts the
justice of God on the cross.” More of our Presbyterian
Church (USA)’s teaching on the death penalty is found at
This Good Friday I
am including those Presbyterian statements along with more
reflections, in a worship bulletin insert for people to take home and ponder.
here for the full text of Bruce Gillette's reflections
And here's one more thing to do:
A call to speak out against the execution of Troy Davis, by
the state of Georgia
This comes to us from
via PVJ member Elizabeth Sarfaty. We have edited it
slightly.In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a
white police officer. Though there's major evidence that Davis
didn't commit the crime, Georgia is prepared to put him to
death. We have a good chance of stopping this – but only if we
speak up now.
The fact is, no physical
evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original
nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony
was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining
witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the
actual culprit in the officer's murder.
Now, despite these and other facts, the state
of Georgia has taken the first steps toward Davis' execution –
and only the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole stands between
Davis and the lethal injection chamber.
Georgia may be about to kill an innocent man.
That's not justice. Please join our friends at ColorOfChange.org
in asking the Georgia Parole Board to spare Troy Davis' life,
before it's too late:
views on “flags in church”
about the display of American flags in church sanctuaries began
on this website almost ten years ago, in the wake of the
passions aroused by the terrorist actions of 9/11.
And the discussion continues!
We’ve received two more comments within the
past few days, and are happy to share them
you’d like to add your own reflections, just send a note, and
we’ll post it here.
Resources for Torture Awareness Month – which is coming in
from the National Religious
Campaign Against Torture, sent on April 14, 2011
We are pleased to announce that NRCAT has
developed these additional resources for congregations to use
for education and advocacy:
You’ll find more information about these and other resources on
Torture Awareness Month webpage.
Please use this
brief form to tell us about your plans and how we can better
support your local efforts during June.
Thank you for helping to raise awareness of
this important issue in your congregation and community.
Linda Gustitus, President
Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director
Questions? Please email
Campaign Against Torture
Presbyterian David McPhail reports on his witness against
School of the Americas -- and his arrest
April 15, 2011
Dear Friends and Family:
I am writing to let you know that I have
returned safe and sound from my journey into the belly of the
beast – Washington D.C.
I was arrested on Friday at the Pentagon with
24 others and again on Sunday evening with 26 others in front of
the White House.
In between I attended the Latin American
Solidarity conference, hearing reports from the front lines
about many “hot spots” in Latin America – Honduras, Haiti,
Colombia Guatemala, Mexico. Generally folks felt that there had
been a set back for the progressive forces, following the coup
in Honduras, which had been on the ascent. One can pick the
countries with the worst human rights records by seeing which
countries receive the most military aid from us. Another common
theme is that those with the worst records will usually be
sending the most candidates to the SOA/WHINSEC for training in
the art of counter insurgency warfare. IMPUNITY, whether in the
US or in Latin America, is another sign of demonic forces at
SOAWatch supporter Representative Jim McGovern
(D) of Massachusetts is submitting a DEAR COLLEGUE letter to
Obama requesting the school be closed by executive order. Please
write your representative and urge them to sign on to this
letter even if you know they will.
Thank you again for your support, your
thoughts and prayers this past week.
Seeking to say Yes to Life,
Click here for the report from SOAWatch >>
Click here for videos of the SOAWatch march to the White House
More on the
campaign to close the School of the Americas >>
De Cristo Presbytery switches to reject Amendment 10-A
Seven more Yes votes needed
From John Shuck, on April 17
The Presbytery of De Cristo voted 62-62 on
Amendment A. In this business a tie means NO. This vote, sadly,
is a switch in the wrong direction. Last time around De Cristo
voted YES 59-48. Three presbyteries that have previously voted
YES for equality have switched their vote this time to no.
Compare that to 16 presbyteries that have flipped to YES from
The reckoning is 80-59 and we need seven more
presbyteries to vote YES to make this important change this
year. If it doesn't pass, then we do this all again in two
the presbyteries yet to vote. Their vote last time is in
parentheses followed by what we hope will happen!
We need seven YESes.
Posted By John Shuck to
Shuck and Jive at 4/17/2011 06:11:00 PM
More on Amendment 10-A >>
San Francisco Presbytery supports Amendment 10-A for
John Shuck reported on the voting last night in his blog
[slightly edited here]:
Congratulations to the presbytery San
Francisco who voted in favor of amendment A Tuesday,
198-143. Strange to call San Francisco a flip, but last time
around they voted against equality 167-177-4.
Also, the Presbytery of Northern Kansas
continued its support of equality and approved "A today,
69-20. Nicely done.
The reckoning is 80-58.
Celebration Without Apology
Also yesterday, the busy John Shuck posted
this commentary on the state of the voting on Amendment 10-A.
This posting does not necessarily represent the official views
of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, but your WebWeaver believes
it expresses some very important convictions that many of us
would share. He begins:
When we get to 87 I am going to celebrate.
Let there be no doubt. I am happy that the
PC(USA) is on the verge of changing its harmful,
discriminatory, bad, mean, ignorant and abusive policy. I
have been an advocate for change in this denomination since
I first entered seminary 22 years ago joining a struggle--a
battle--a fight--for equality and dignity that started long
before I was conceived.
Oh yes, I am going to celebrate.
I am aware of the advice from other
advocates for change that some of us should be less
competitive or less obviously joyful about the change that
is coming. We are reminded that there aren't winners and
losers. We are all one in Jesus and so forth. We need to be
gracious to those who are saddened about this change. We
want to extend the arms of welcome to them. We shouldn't be
like the "secular" world in terms of how it handles
politics. We should be more Jesus like, I guess.
For my LGBTQ friends and allies who are
excited about the change that is coming:
A little spark of justice is on its way,
my friends. You don't have to be one bit apologetic for
celebrating its arrival.
Two more presbyteries approve Amendment 10-A
Here's the latest news (and
commentary!) from John Shuck, on his blog,
Shuck and Jive:
news regarding equality. Two more presbyteries approved
Amendment A today. Salem in North Carolina approved the
amendment, 186-107-2 and Eastern Oregon voted YES 18-9.
is now 78-58.
37 presbyteries are left to vote. Of those 37, if nine vote YES,
then "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is outta here and the Presbyterian
Church (USA) will finally put an end to its discriminatory
policy against non-married people.
CovNet reminds us
that 78 yes votes is a milestone. The vote
chart from 2008-2009 shows
that 78 were all the yeses we received last time the PC (USA)
had a chance to do the right thing. We are in much better shape
this time and we need to follow the example of good folks all
over the country from Carolina to Oregon.
I have four more good resources on the sidebar to help you make
the case in your presbytery.
Rev. Mark Sandlin: Honestly, We
Already Ordain Homosexuals
Brian Spolarich: What Will
Amendment 10A Mean If Passed?
Katie Turpin: When Exclusions and Fears Disappear, the
Fruits of the Spirit Are Planted
Rev. Janet Edwards: It Is My Joy to Introduce You to My
|Northern Kansas (YES
last time 71-23)|
|San Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)|
|De Cristo (YES last time
We should get
three YESes from that bunch including a flip from San Francisco.
Life is good.
Big Tent location
up in the air
Proposed Indiana immigration law might mean event has to
relocate; decision will be made May 2
by Bethany Furkin,
Presbyterian News Service
Despite concerns about a proposed Indiana immigration law that
may necessitate a change of location, plans are underway for
this year’s Big Tent event, scheduled to meet June 30-July 2 in
urging Presbyterians to register for the event but to delay
making travel arrangements until May 2, when the final location
will be determined.
legislature is considering Senate Bill 590, which many describe
as “Arizona-type” legislation. The bill would allow law
enforcement officials to check a person’s immigration status in
some situations, make the harboring or transport of an
undocumented immigrant illegal in some cases and require that
all communication by the state and its employees be in English.
Last year’s 219th
General Assembly voted to “refrain from holding national
meetings at hotels in those states where travel by immigrant
Presbyterians or Presbyterians of color or Hispanic ancestry
might subject them to harassment due to legislation similar to
Arizona Law SB 1070/HB2162.”
“We really see it
as an issue of hospitality,” said Kerry Rice, manager of General
Assembly Meeting Services. He added that the church can’t hold
an event where its guests will be subject to possible detention
or harassment. “We need to stand in solidarity.”
The rest of the story >>
For a news release from the General Assembly Mission Council,
with links to helpful background material >>
New hymn written for Family Promise homeless ministry
The Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written, "O
God, You Give Welcome," a hymn dedicated to Family Promise, an
interfaith program of hospitality and assistance for low-income
families. Beginning with the opening lines, “O God, you give
welcome; you care and provide. You cherish each person with love
reaching wide,” the hymn goes on to bless the work Family
Promise does and the families they serve. Many PCUSA
congregations are involved in the Family Promise homeless
here for the words of the hymn >>
For more about Carolyn Gillette and the hymn >>
Both music and lyrics are available for download here >>
Thanks to the Rev. Bruce Gillette.
10-A voting continues – and support for passage must continue
John Shuck reports on
the current state of presbytery voting on Amendment 10-A, for
inclusive ordination. We are combining two of his reports, one
from earlier this morning, and one posted late this afternoon
with more good news:
The battle for
equality in the PC(USA) is tightening as is expected. Minnesota
Valleys [meeting on Saturday, April 2] became the second
presbytery to move from a pro-equality vote in 2008-09 to a no
this year, defeating Amendment A, 51-55.
negative switch earlier in the week, and no positive flips since
Donegal a few weeks ago, South Louisiana did justice up right by
voting in favor of Amendment A, 46-28! This is especially
interesting as South Louisiana was the clinching vote that
killed the equality vote last time around.
The tally is
So far, fifteen
presbyteries have flipped from a No vote in 2008-09 to a YES in
2010-11, while two have shifted in the other direction. This
could come down to one vote in one presbytery. It is that close.
Eleven more to
last time 25-34)|
Oregon (YES last time 22-6)|
last time 156-149-1)|
Kansas (YES last time 71-23)|
Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)|
(YES last time 59-48)|
We can do
Get out the vote.
Get to the meeting.
Make a phone call to friends.
Speak the truth!
For more on Amendment
David McPhail announces plan for civil disobedience to
challenge School of the Americas
received this note a few days ago, and what with one thing and
another (mainly unpacking after moving to a new home!), we’re
just now getting it posted:
March 28, 2011
On April 10 I will be taking part in
effort to close the School of the Americas and more broadly
to challenge our nation’s Imperial Foreign Policy. This will
include an act of civil disobedience at the White House front
gate. I am hoping you will join me by remembering to pray for
peace on April 10 and by giving me your name. I will take this
with me to remind me that I am not alone.
WHY I DO CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE – SAYING YES
In part I am doing this for my own self -
I need to find a way to say NO to the ever-increasing
militarization of our nation's foreign policy. I believe
that my country has drunk so deeply of the poison of
violence that we no longer recognize its consequences in our
own backyard. We cannot comprehend how it is undermining the
world we want our grandchildren to inhabit. For me civil
disobedience is being a part of the drip, drip, drip, that
erodes support for evil forces at work in the world. When
others in my family were discussing the futility of this
witness my 11 year old grandson said no, grandpa is showing
us all what to do. I do not see myself as being alone. On
good days, when I have eyes of faith, I see myself as being
a part of great cloud of witnesses, led by Jesus, the prince
of peace. Whatever guide you follow I ask that you join me
in pursuing and praying for peace, seeking new ways to stand
against our present destructive path.
More on the
campaign to close the School of the Americas >>
‘No other more important human issue’
Violence against women is ‘silent epidemic,’ says speaker at
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Bethany Furkin reported for
Presbyterian News Service on April 1, 2011:
Violence against women is a silent epidemic
that can cross generations, leaving lasting marks on families
and society. Ritu Sharma, president and co-founder of Women
Thrive Worldwide, knows this firsthand.
“I feel like doing this work was decided before I
was even born,” she said, speaking at Ecumenical Advocacy Days
here March 27. The theme of the annual conference and lobbying
effort was “Development, Security and Economic Justice: What’s
Gender Got to Do with It?”
Worldwide is a leading non-profit working to shape U.S. policy
that will help women in developing counties lift themselves out
In Sharma’s family, women across several
generations were affected by violence at the hands of family
If any other ill of society was as common as
violence against women, it would be plastered all over
newspapers, Sharma said. But because violence against women is
so often kept silent, it can be tempting to believe that it
isn’t widespread. We don’t talk about it, and we don’t get mad
There are some things that we’ve been told —
poverty will always exist, for example — that are simply not
true. Poverty is a political issue that is a result of factors
like corruption and lack of funding, Sharma said. ...
Violence against women relates to countless other
causes — such as HIV/AIDS and child health and welfare — and yet
violence is the most normalized evil in the world today.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days culminates with a
lobby day, during which participants visit with their
representatives to push for specific actions related to the
theme of the weekend.
Among other things, this year, participants
lobbied for the reauthorization and full funding of the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) and the co-sponsorship of the
International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) when it is
The full news report >>
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
from earlier in June, 2011
For links to earlier archive pages,
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.
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
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
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
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
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!