October through December, 2011
This page lists our postings
from all of October through December, 2011
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
For links to earlier archive pages,
to all of you at this time of Christ's birth --
remember and celebration the human manifestation of God's love among
us, may we remember that it was (and is) an event for all
so may it transform our lives and our world, bringing peace and
justice to reality for the millions who lives are now shadowed by
conflict and poverty and powerlessness.
from Doug King, for Presbyterian Voices for Justice
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MORE LIGHT PRESBYTERIANS
We wish for you and the whole world experiences of
Advent and Christmas that inspire the gifts of hope, joy and peace.
As you explore the mystery of Advent and the wonder of Christmas:
Take a quiet moment during this busy season...
Light a candle,
say a prayer,
We are on
a spiritual journey.
Remember the sacred
underlying the mundane
in this season of lights.
is about to be born
In the dark lay possibilities:
the seed in the ground,
the seed in the womb,
the seed in our souls.
The deepest desires
of our heart and soul
lead us toward God,
toward the world...
A way is being prepared
in the wilderness of our lives.
Hope starts small
and overtakes us,
stretching the borders
of what we have known.
Merry Christmas from More Light Presbyterians
Note: Special thanks to Rev. Jan L.
Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent
and Christmas and Rev. Nanette Sawyer and Wicker Park Grace,
Chicago for the inspiration and source of the poetry for this
Advent and Christmas prayer.
And we invite you to take a look at the helpful,
meaningful, and/or quotable Christmas thoughts from ...
Do you have Christmas thoughts to share?
Please send a
note, and we'll add them here!
And how about Occupy Wall Street??
A poem by your WebWeaver's brother, Jack King,
Gravy Train." It includes the lines:
in dining cars, lounge cars,
cars of luxury suites,
gravy train passengers know little
of scenes outside.
in window glass
they see nothing but themselves.
these rolling revelries have gone on for
but tonight’s may be the last.
Desmond Tutu urges Trinity Church to allow
Occupy protester camp
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
has waded into an ecclesiastical row over a New York church's
refusal to allow protesters from Occupy Wall Street to camp on a
vacant lot it owns.
The 'New Nixon'
Berry Craig reflects on Newt
Gingrich as an interesting example of the strange connections
between right-wing conservatives and evangelical Christianity, along
with extra-marital adventurism and fierce defenses of "traditional
marriage." And their strong support of military adventurism is
combined in many cases with a certain reluctance to take part
themselves in military service. He begins:
Double-divorced draft evader Newt Gingrich tossed
a big chunk of red meat to Christian conservatives at the
“Thanksgiving Family Forum” GOP presidential candidate debate in
The former House speaker is still
the leading anti-Romney candidate in the polls. Feeling feisty
among friends, he dissed the Occupy Wall Street movement,
claiming it shows “how the left has collapsed as a moral
system.” Gingrich followed up with a sound bite old Spiro Agnew
would have loved, admonishing the protestors to “go get a job
right after you take a bath.”
Presbyterian Voices For Justice is opening
a new website!
Vicki Moss, who has been named by the PVJ
coordinating team as our new Communications Coordinator and
Webweaver, is in the first stages of setting up a new website, which
you’ll find at
www.presbyvoicesforjustice.org. She will be
replacing Doug King, who is slowly retiring from his role as creator
and manager of our old site, at
(That site will be left intact for a while, at least, and you may be
able to jump to it through various links on the new site.)
We (including Doug
King) believe this new site will reflect a more casual and
interactive style than our older one, and we hope you will join in
on it – contributing your own news and views, and stopping by often
to see what’s there.
Vicki hopes you’ll be
patient while she continues to learn the software she’s using, and
to build a variety of links.
To introduce Vicki --
many of you know her from her role as our booth coordinator at every
GA, where she provides not only a warm welcome, but those wonderful
and often funny buttons. She will continue to serve as booth
coordinator at GA.
She adds that “In my
other life I am pastor of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church in NYC
and also starring on Broadway as Director of Children's Ministry @
Broadway United Church of Christ.”
She also wants to let
you know that she would welcome your contributions of news and
reflections for the new website. You can contact her at
New online journal blends information, action
‘Unbound’ seeks to appeal to social justice academics
by Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – Nov. 28, 2011 – The new social
justice journal from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
is aiming to be more than just that.
Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice
launched last month as an online source of information for academics
and advocates alike.
“We are doing
something potentially unprecedented in trying to be both journal and
community organizer,” said Patrick David Heery, managing editor.
Unbound has two
target audiences: people who loved ACSWP’s former print journal,
Church & Society, and who are active in social justice ministries;
and people of all backgrounds who are interested in the connection
between justice and Jesus.
“We want to witness
to this other side of Christianity that often doesn’t get a lot of
traction in the media,” Heery said.
The online journal is
interactive, inviting users to comment on posts; submit articles,
photos, art and poetry; and participate in forums and polls. The
site also provides action alerts and information on ways to get
involved in justice campaigns.
click here for our earlier introduction
of this exciting new social-justice publication from the PC(USA).
The Fall 2011 issue of Network News is here.
The first issue of Network News to
be published since the Winter issue, published in March
2011, will soon be in the mail to our members (except for
those of you who have indicated that you'll save trees and
money by getting your copy in PDF format online).
For the high-resolution version, which takes
longer to download but looks better,
For the everyday version, a faster download,
PVJ Takes a
Look at the "Occupy Wall Street" Movement (pages 5 - 8)
The Moderator’s Column (p. 2 - 3)
Network News going on-line only (4 and 9)
Struggling in Sudan and South Sudan (11 - 12)
How Holy is the Holy Land? (13 - 15)
"Thanks to PVJ Friends" ... from More Light Presbyterians (16
St. Mark’s, Tucson, Celebrates the Yes vote on 10A, by
Sylvia Thorson-Smith (18 - 19)
Immigration, by Lorelei Hillman (20 - 23)
Book Review: Marcus Borg’s Putting Away Childish
Things, by Doug King (24 - 25)
PVJ plans for the 2012 General Assembly (26)
Network News going on-line only
This is the last Network News that will be
published in print on paper, with one exception.
From now on Network News will be found here,
on the Presbyterian
Voices for Justice website
The one exception will be the Spring issue
just prior to each meeting of the General Assembly. That issue will
carry discussion of issues coming before the Assembly and will be
sent to all of the Commissioners and Advisory Delegates, in addition
to the PVJ membership.
Whenever a new issue of Network News goes on the
website, an email will be sent out notifying the membership. If you
are not on the PVJ email list, and would like to be, please send
your email address to Vicki Moss, our Communications Coordinator at
We apologize for missing the Spring and Summer
issues for this year, and for our inability to continue producing
this newsletter in print.
If you have had a library subscription, or a group membership,
please contact our Membership Coordinator to request a refund.
He is Jeremiah Rosario; email at
firstname.lastname@example.org, phone at (646) 675-7029. Mail: 230
East 87th Street, Apt. 2C, New York, NY 10128
takes a look at the “Occupy Wall Street” movement
Thorson-Smith, a member of the PVJ Coordinating Team, has gathered
reports from Vicki Moss in New York, Bill Dummer in Milwaukee, and
Sarah McKasson in Tucson.
For other perspectives on this potentially
transformative movement in the never-ending struggle for
justice, you might take a look at these sources:
Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social
on-line successor of the much-respected Church &
Society, produced by the Advisory Commission for Social
Witness Policy of the PC(USA) focuses its first issue on
The Dark Night of the
American Economy: On economic crisis and
injustice. It presents an excellent variety of
analysis, from the perspectives of church policy
statements, theological and Biblical reflection, and
economics. It even offers some suggestions of visions
for the future of this movement for justice, which many
have seen as one of the crucial weaknesses of the Occupy
for a full list of the contents of this great new
The Occupiers are striking a responsive chord
Robert Reich, writing for Huffington Post, argues that
the Occupy movement is already having a real impact on
“the public debate in America.” He says that “for the
first time in more than half a century, a broad
cross-section of the American public is talking about
the concentration of income, wealth, and political power
at the top.”
OCCUPY the USA
by Sylvia Thorson-Smith
’Tis the season to re-imagine☺the
60s. For some of us who lived through those times, the Occupy Wall
Street movement brings back memories of social activism and
solidarity of purpose that has little been seen since then. The
movements are vastly different – now being less interested in
“dropping out” of the establishment than dropping into a more
egalitarian society with jobs and basic security for all.
Rich, in the October 31 issue of New York magazine,
compares “the death throes of Herbert Hoover’s presidency in June
1932” with some of the events occurring today. In his article, “The
Class War Has Begun,” he reminds readers that Congress bailed out
“greedy bankers and financiers” while failing to pay a modest bonus
promised to veterans of WWI. A “motley assemblage” of up to 20,000
middle-class men who couldn’t find jobs staged a massive vigil on
the lawn of the US capitol, keeping their “improvised hovels clean
and maintaining small gardens.”
This is the stuff of social movements; we may rarely see them
coming, but once they are upon us, there’s no turning back until
society confronts the issues that have ignited collective protest.
Several board members of Presbyterian Voices for Justice have
submitted reports about the Occupy Wall Street movement that is
spreading across America. We want to share them with you in the hope
of making connections and forging links of solidarity that include a
witness by Presbyterians and other people of faith.
Vikki Moss reports that she and her husband John Harris were
in Zucotti Park (in the Wall Street area) as the police kept
people moving so the sidewalk wouldn’t be blocked. She writes “that
there were so many different people there. A girl with pink hair,
youngish people handing out Occupy Wall Street newspapers, people in
costumes (one as Uncle Sam), lots of signs, a guy with a mask
dressed in a suit, a family with kids holding signs talking to the
media about their concern for their hamsters if they run out of
money or lose their house, people of all ages. The crowd was very
low key and peaceful. I didn’t hear the human microphone but
drumming was going on at the south end of the park. There were lots
of police all over the financial district, not just around the park.
Most of them seemed relaxed and casual about the whole situation.”
Bill Dummer, PVJ Moderator, writes of attending Occupy
Milwaukee for two of their actions:
The first day of action of the movement in Milwaukee was scheduled
for October 15. The e-mail information I received said to meet for a
rally at Zeidler Union Square. It was not only strategically located
but symbolic in its name. Frank Zeidler was the beloved socialist
mayor of Milwaukee in the 40s and 50s. It is a small, half-block
square park. The information said there would be a rally at 11:00
before a march. So I headed to the park about that time. However,
when I got there, I learned that the plans had changed. There were
people of all ages there, some with signs, some without. One that
caught my eye early read “Keep your corporate hands off my
government.” There were a lot of younger people with signs about
student loans. The media were there, interviewing some of the people
who were gathering. I recognized some of the faces from previous
anti-war rallies and such. But I found it curious that I did not see
any of the regulars I see when I go to the Milwaukee County
Democratic Party meetings. While we waited, little clusters of
people would begin chants. The most popular one was from the
protests in Madison in February and March, “This is what democracy
A variety of interest groups had set up booths to provide
information on their angle of the cause. The information sheet that
was passed out to people indicated that the march would begin at
noon. It would go to the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Water
Street, which is the location of several big banks, namely J P
Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Associated. At each of these banks
yellow crime scene tape would be put on the entrances. The rally
would begin there with the first of the “We Are the 99%” speakers.
Then the crowd would move a half block north to M & I Bank (which
recently became part of Canadian BMO Bank). The same scenario would
be repeated there. The march went back to Wisconsin & Water where a
teach-in was conducted on the role of non-violent civil disobedience
in movements for social change. The march then returned the five
blocks to Zeidler Park.
The media reported that evening that the march included 3000 people.
The second action event of Occupy Wall Street Milwaukee took place
in a different location on October 29. It was billed as Occupy the
Hood, and its focus was the lack of jobs for people living in the
inner city. The staging area was Lincoln Park on the north side of
the city. The event began at Noon with a half hour performance of a
“drum line,” which put on a good show of African style drumming.
Then there was a series of speakers discussing the employment
situation in Milwaukee, particularly as it relates to inner-city
residents. Once again, there were people of all ages participating.
This time, however, there were more African-American young people.
Not everyone participated in the march as it would be about three
miles to the empty factory shell of A O Smith, which at one time
manufactured many things, including the chassis of almost all of the
It was good to get moving, in order to get warmed up. The escort of
about 10 officers on motorcycles (Harleys, of course), plus another
10 on bicycles cleared the two thoroughfares that we walked on,
creating quite the spectacle for the residents. Once again, there
were a variety of signs, but it seemed like the most were “Recall
Scott Walker” (the Republican Governor). We got to our destination
in about an hour. When we arrived at the first gate, the guard would
not let us on the factory grounds, so the leaders asked us to sit
down where we were (in a minor thoroughfare). Some more speeches
were made, calling attention to the fact that this factory at one
time employed a couple thousand people. Part of it is in operation,
as a Spanish company is using it to make high-speed rail cars.
However, it too will soon be moving, since the Governor rejected
federal money for high-speed rail in Wisconsin. I left to hike back
to my car in the park before the speeches were over. The news
reported that only about 300 people participated in this march.
Sarah McKasson, a member of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
in Tucson (where I’m also a member), writes of her participation
in Occupy Tucson:
My sister Molly and I followed Occupy Wall Street online and in the
papers. When we found out there was going to be an Occupy Tucson, we
agreed that we would be there on opening day. Molly and I made our
signs the night before – we were ready! The kick-off for Occupy
Tucson was held in a city park near the downtown area. Newspapers
estimated the crowd at 500 people. It was great to walk around and
read all the signs, mostly hand made. Some were “laugh out loud”
funny and many were very poignant. Molly and I stood with about
thirty other protesters in a corner of the park and waved our signs
at passing cars. Most of the drivers gave us thumbs up or peace
signs. It was a really hot day in Tucson, so we moved to a shady
area in the park and listened to some of the many speakers address
All in all, it was a very peaceful protest, except for one person
who walked through the crowd yelling “stop picnicking and get a
job.” A few of the protestors attempted to engage him in some
dialogue, but he just kept shouting and moving through the crowd.
Some of the peacekeepers from Occupy Tucson surrounded him for his
safety, even though no one was physically threatening him. That’s
the great thing about our country: everyone has the right of free
speech. Other than that one event, it was a very peaceful day. The
protesters were a very diverse group of ages, background and
ethnicity. The best part was the number of young people who were
there. It was so heartening to see them step up and participate in
Frank Rich has some analysis that seems worth including in this
story. “Politicians in either party, of course, never use the term
‘class warfare’ to describe what’s going on in America, unless it’s
Republican leaders accusing Obama of waging it every time he even
mildly asserts timeless liberal bromides about taxing the rich. Nor
do most politicians want to talk about the depth of the crisis in
present-day capitalism, since to acknowledge its scale would only
dramatize how little they intended to do about it. The whole system
is screwed up, and it’s not all Wall Street’s fault – or remotely in
the financial sector’s power alone to solve.”
We Christians are committed to serve a just and loving God who
strengthens us to confront the powers and principalities of
injustice, trusting that nothing can separate us from God’s love and
presence. As we watch and participate in these Occupation movements
across the country, may we work to fashion the society that we
pledge allegiance to in both church and nation, one that truly
institutionalizes “liberty and justice for all.”
A New Declaration of Independence
of the 1 Percent has become intolerable. How can we take our country
back? Alex Parene, writing for and with the staff of Salon.com, has
offered a draft of
“a new Declaration of Independence.” He begins:
Parene goes on to do something many observers have
been asking for: trying to make the Occupiers’ project more focused
by presenting a list of “demands,” which he presents as “the
beginning of a conversation, not a final product.” His main demands:
Here’s where we are in the course of human
events right now: 14 million Americans are jobless and millions
more are underemployed. Those still working have seen wages fall
after 30 years of stagnation. The 1 Percent of top wage earners
could buy and sell the rest of us without so much as a low
balance warning on their checking account apps. The tenth-of-1
Percent earns millions more every year in barely taxed capital
gains and derivatives while everyone else struggles to pay down
trillions of dollars of debt. Massive, growing income inequality
is now belatedly acknowledged by political and media elites, but
many of them seem befuddled as to its cause and importance.
It is our belief that many of the problems
facing Americans today can be directly connected to the
unchecked power and complete unaccountability of the 1 Percent,
a group that benefits from every unequal boom of the modern era
and escapes each disastrous bust unscathed. ...
What unites the outraged 99 Percent is that we
have all “played by the rules,” only to learn belatedly that the
game was rigged. Having been promised modest rewards for working
within the system, by taking on debt or voting the party line,
we find ourselves, bluntly, shit out of luck.
1. Debt relief
2. A substantial jobs program
3. A healthcare public option
4. Reregulate Wall Street
5. End the Global War on Terror and rein in the defense budget
6. Repeal the Patriot Act
7. Tackle climate change
8. Stop locking everyone up for everything and end the drug war
9. Full equality for the queer community
10. Fix the tax system
Long-Awaited Unbound Launches!
from Salt & Light,
On Thursday, October
20, 2011, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)
launched Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice
in Denver, Colorado. Unbound is the successor of the much-loved
Church & Society, the journal that, for 98 years (including its
predecessors), was a prophetic voice in the Presbyterian Church,
church classrooms, and households. Continuing that legacy, and
breaking new ground, Unbound is an online jour-nal and community
that examines, expresses, and provokes social justice as inspired by
the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Dark Night of the American Economy
Oct / Nov 2011 Issue: On economic crisis and injustice
Table of Contents
“How Dark an Economic Night Does It Have To Be?” Chris Iosso
“A Walk on the Economic Side, Looking for Power,” Patrick David
Invocation from the Presbyterian Church (USA)
“Living through Economic Crisis: The Church’s Witness in Troubled
Times,” Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
Life,” Emily Morgan
“New Brunswick: The Plight of the Poor,” Dawan Buie
“All about US,” a poem, Ariana SalazarNewton
“The Principles of Capitalism and Their Effects in the World,” Bill
“The American Covenant and the American Dream,” John Winfrey
“Will Corporations Serveor Exploitthe Human Family?” ed. John Cobb
“For Workers,” Elizabeth HinsonHasty
“Capitalism and Christianity: Compatible Worldviews?” Elisa Owen
Question of Inequality: Unchained Links
“Tomatoes of Wrath,” Chris Hedges
“Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs between Whites, Blacks,
Hispanics,” Pew Study (link)
“Stop Coddling the Super Rich,” Warren Buffet (link)
“Why Warren Buffet Is Wrong,” Jeffrey A. Miron (link)
“Too Much: An Online Weekly on Excess and Inequality,” Institute for
Policy Studies (link)
“Neither Poverty Nor Riches: Compensation, Equity, and the Unity of
the Church,” Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (link)
Christian Witness: Construction, Complicity, and Resistance
“Timeline of Social Policies,” Presbyterian Church (USA)
“Social Creed for the 21st century,” National Council of Churches &
“Searching for God’s Economy in Protestant Theology,” Robert C.
“Past and Present, The Church Speaks on Economic Matters and New
Challenges,” Chris Iosso
“Debtceiling Bill: Programs that Serve the Common Good Are Bearing
the Cost,” Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PC(USA)
“InterGenerational Justice, the Gospel, and One Presbyterian
Denomination’s Position,” Casey Jones
“Witness of These Things: Ecumenical Engagement in a New Era” (link)
“Accra Confession” (link)
“AGAPE Document” (link)
“Flourishing through Contrition: Hunger and Transformation,” Shannon
“Covenantal Economics: God’s Household,” Tim BeachVerhey
“Religious Action for Affordable Housing: Creating Community,” Nile
“The Divine Economy & A Theology of Debt,” James Noel
“Finishing the Unfinished Business of Dr. King,” Charlene Sinclair
and the Poverty Initiative
“Paul at Sea: A Seafaring Saga with Random Interruptions,” a sermon
by Lisa Larges
“Matthew 23:23,” NRSV
“Against Corporate Domination and American Indifference,” Darryl
“For Farmworkers Struggling for a Just Wage,” Francisca Cortes
So ... what's our response to the Occupy Wall Street movement?
This great comment comes from
John Shuck, pastor of
First Presbyterian Church
Elizabethton, Tennessee, and blogger extraordinaire.
An Open Letter to the Occupiers from a Veteran Troublemaker
The Rev. Jim Wallis offers appreciation of the way
the Occupiers’ movement is raising vital and long-neglected
questions, but also suggests the need for some proposals for action.
Among other things, he writes:
You are raising very basic questions about an
economy that has become increasingly unfair, unstable,
unsustainable, and unhappy for a growing number of people. Those
same questions are being asked by many others at the bottom, the
middle, and even some at the top of the economic pecking order.
There are ethics to be named here, and the
transition from the pseudo-ethic of endless growth to the moral
ethics of sustainability is a conversation occurring even now in
our nation's business schools (if, perhaps, secreted inside the
Keep pressing those values questions because
they will move people more than a set of demands or policy
suggestions. Those can and must come later.
Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering
Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of
Sojourners. He blogs at
After the Storm: The Instability of Inequality
As an economist, Nouriel Roubini offers a helpful
perspective on this remarkable movement of protest. He is Chairman
of Roubini Global Economics, Professor of Economics at the Stern
School of Business, New York University, and co-author of the book
Crisis Economics. He begins:
New York - This year has witnessed a global
wave of social and political turmoil and instability, with
masses of people pouring into the real and virtual streets: the
Arab Spring; riots in London; Israel’s middle-class protests
against high housing prices and an inflationary squeeze on
living standards; ... India’s movement against corruption;
mounting unhappiness with corruption and inequality in China;
and now the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across
the United States.
While these protests have no unified theme,
they express in different ways the serious concerns of the
world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the
face of the growing concentration of power among economic,
financial, and political elites. The causes of their concern are
clear enough: high unemployment and underemployment in advanced
and emerging economies; inadequate skills and education for
young people and workers to compete in a globalized world;
resentment against corruption, including legalized forms like
lobbying; and a sharp rise in income and wealth inequality in
advanced and fast-growing emerging-market economies.
What are your thoughts of
the Occupy Wall Street movement?
What are you doing about it?
What do you think PVJ should do about it?
send a note,
and we'll share it here.
Four more overtures submitted for the 2012 General Assembly
Two of the overtures --
005 from the
presbytery of Stockton and
006 from Central
Florida -- would restore the "chastity and fidelity"
requirement, in one form or another, to the ordination standards.
Overture 007, from the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky, would call on
MRTI (Mission Responsibility Through Investment) to review the
practices of a number of major health insurance companies, in light
of previous GA actions relating to fair health care for all.
Overture 008, from the Presbytery of Santa Fe, would revise the
new Form of Government to replace the terms "ruling elder" and
"teaching elder" with the former terms of "elder" and "minister of
Word and Sacrament."
Speaking of religion
and "sexual purity" ...
Here's one humorous take on the subject, from PVJ
member and frequent contributor to this website, Berry Craig.
International peacemakers bring vital perspectives to the PC(USA)
Eleven international peacemakers from countries
around the world are visiting congregations and presbyteries of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 23-Oct. 18.
They are sharing their stories about church-based
ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue
peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international
peacemakers come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq,
Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and Sudan.
The International Peacemaker program is sponsored
by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
Here are a few samples, with thanks to
Presbyterian News Service:
‘Know justice, know peace; know peace, know justice’
Peace cannot be achieved in isolation from
justice, Indian peacemaker says
Neerja Rajeev Prasad
—Jerry L. Van Marter
Neerja Rajeev Prasad is secretary of the women’s fellowship for
Christian service at the synod and diocesan level of the Church of
North India in Nagpur.
Q: What is the
situation in your country that you will be addressing?
“I will be speaking about gender justice and
equality, corruption, interfaith relations (between Christians,
Hindus and Muslims), violence against women and the impact of
modernity on indigenous people. Of course, the biggest challenge is
Q: How are the faith
communities addressing this situation?
“The Church of North India is into gender justice,
sensitizing churches and communities. We stand firmly against
corruption because it has such harmful effects on all people.
“We are setting up dialogues among Christians,
Hindus and Muslims. This is very important because the Christian
church is isolated and fundamentalists are trying to drive us all
apart.” More than 120 Christian churches have been destroyed in
north India as a result of sectarian strife.
Q: What lessons from your situation are you
trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“These issues don’t have a particular religion or
country – they are common issues, so must all work together, join
hands, to address them.”
Q: What is the primary message you want to
communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“Peace is universal and cannot be built in
isolation from justice. Know justice, know peace and know peace,
To see this report on the PCUSA website >>
For brief notes on
the other international peacemakers on whom reports have been
Capital punishment – Why are we so quiet?
Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010),
responded thoughtfully to the recent execution of Troy Davis by the
state of Georgia.
She states a question first put to her by the
Reverend James Kim, of Lakewood, Washington: “Why don’t we as a
church mobilize on the issue of capital punishment the way we have
mobilized around the issues regarding the ordination of sexually
active gays and lesbians, or the way we have mobilized around the
issues of Israel and Palestine?”
Is it because Presbyterians are, in fact,
united in opposition to capital punishment, whereas we’re
divided on ordination standards and Israel/Palestine? And is it
because we’re divided that we spend our time and energy
persuading those within the church to agree with us – leaving us
with a lack of time and energy to speak to the rest of the world
on issues we do agree upon, like capital punishment?
Our prophetic witness on this issue is needed
now more than ever – a time when people cheer because Rick Perry
says he has no qualms about the number of persons executed in
If you have thoughts about this vital issue
(or about why we Presbyterians are so quiet about it)
send a note,
to be shared here.
our earlier posts on the death penalty >>
PHEWA seeks nominations for social justice ministries awards
Deadline Is Feb. 15 for awards to be celebrated at
GA 220 in Pittsburgh
Presbyterian News Service, by Jerry L. Van
The Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare
Association (PHEWA) is seeking nominations for seven ministry awards
that will be celebrated during the 220th General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Pittsburgh next July.
Seven awards will be presented by PHEWA, part of
the Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry of the General Assembly
Mission Council. PHEWA is a voluntary membership organization
dedicated to social welfare and justice ministries.
Ten networks are currently part of PHEWA,
organized for grassroots implementation of General Assembly policies
in the areas of community ministries and faith-based community
organizing, addictions, domestic violence, HIV and AIDS,
reproductive options, specialized pastoral ministries, child
advocacy, disabilities, health and wholeness, and serious mental
A little note: PVJ encourages you to
think of people who might be worthy of consideration for any of
these important awards, and then to nominate them.
Click here for details and how to submit nominations >>
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
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!