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A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

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Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

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Here are news stories (and links to longer stories) posted between the summer of 2000 and December, 2000.

Questioning the stated clerks' analysis of Amendment A

Janet Tadano Arbesman, a minister member of the Presbytery of Grand Canyon, raises questions about the supposedly neutral comments on Amendment A, offered by some of the Stated Clerks. It is less than objective, she suggests, and ignores the realities of our history. Their interpretation would thus strike another blow against any progress toward becoming a truly inclusive church.

PC(USA) is one of 15 denominations in Ecumenical Christian coalition organizing prayer campaign for peace in the Middle East
The Heartland Presbytery has voted NOT to concur with Overture O 116 to 127.  They also voted not to concur with a local overture from the Gashland Church to permit "Gracious and Amicable Separation." 
Baltimore Presbytery passes Overture to Delete B.13. (Demonstration Ban)
Attorney Doug Nave offers reasoned arguments for rejecting Amendment O
Synod judicial decision upholds installation of gay elder in Connecticut
An appeal to the top ecclesiastical court is under way
General Assembly Council chair Peter Pizor has announced he will delay his plan to appoint a conference-planning-review task force
Clinton signs "Jubilee" debt relief measure, notes influence of religious communities.  
Elenora Giddings Ivory of PCUSA Washington Office is there.
Advocacy Committee on Women's Concerns urges opposition to Amendment A
Brian Blount calls for attention to the "Living Word," which is never the "last word."  
With apologies for the delay, here is our summary report on the third of the major addresses at the Covenant Network conference.
Executive presbyter Dennis Maher raises questions about Detterick statements

Former Witherspoon president Rod Martin comments, praises Peacemaking Conference

Research released from a Princeton University study of mainline Protestants shows overwhelming support for denominational lobbying in Washington, even though most pastors have little or no contact with their church's capital offices.
Synod of Northeast PJC rules in favor of ordination of gay elder first First Church Stamford (CT). Appeal is planned to GA PJC. That All May Freely Serve has a report, plus the full text of the decision.  [11/11/00]
Board member tells Coalition to face the fact that divisions in PC(USA) are deep and lasting

But most evangelicals reject calls for leaving the denomination

from PNS, 11-7-00

For the latest on the controversy, over Dirk Ficca's talk at the Peacemaking Conference, and GAC Executive Director John Detterick's statement to the Presbyterian Coalition, click here.
Gene TeSelle offers some thoughts on dealing with Amendment O in our presbyteries
Covenant Network draws nearly 600 to ponder Biblical authority and current tensions in the church

"Biblical Authority and the Church" is theme

bulleta summary report
bulleta report on Walter Brueggemann's talk
bulleta report on William Placher's presentation on "Struggling with Scripture"
bulletthe worship services and sermons
bulleta workshop offered practical guidance on preparing for holy unions
bulletCome back for more reports soon!
The General Assembly Council's Executive Committee has issued a letter, dated Oct. 25, 2000, responding to the conservative criticisms of the presentation by Dr. Dirk Ficca at the Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference this summer.  They affirm the denomination's tradition position on the Lordship of Jesus Christ, while also affirming Ficca's right to hold and express his views. 
Union Seminary symposium looks at the challenge to mainline Christianity
10-26-00
The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) is sending to synods a draft policy statement on domestic violence, suggesting that the church become a "responsive church community" in dealing with issues of violence among its own members. Studies on Africa and on the changing family are also in process.
[10-26-00]
Presbyterian United Nations Office hosts seminar on Gender Justice as follow-up to Beijing conference.  UN Office staffer Jennifer Butler sees proclamation of the Gospel as an integral part of work with the UN.
Detroit congregations cross racial barriers through Bible study and frank discussions of racism
10-26-00
Howard Rice, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and professor at San Francisco Theological Seminary, shares his dreams for our church -- and challenges us to act together with courage to face the challenges of this year.
Jane Hanna, Witherspoon's new President, reflects on the Society's past and present commitment to a vision of the Gospel as calling us to work for the common welfare -- for justice -- as well as for personal freedom and happiness.
Are we becoming The Incredible Shrinking Church?

In the latest issue of Presbyterian Outlook, the Rev. John Wimberly, of Washington, DC, warns that our Presbyterian Church is may drive away many of our new members, by imposing forms of narrow moralism that make no sense to them.
Highland Park session says the PC(USA) is "delinquent" and must affirm "Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Lord."
A Princeton Seminary alumnus notes that, for all the right-wing attacks on the National Council of Churches, two Princeton alumni have been elected as officers.
Members of GAC express concerns about the ranking of church's mission work.   Click here.
People have asked for thoughts about Amendments A and O, coming to presbyteries soon.
A series of consultations on the doctrine of the Trinity, open to all, is still going on.  You may want to join one and make your witness for a progressive view of a traditional and vital doctrine.  An additional East Coast event has been added for Philadelphia, Nov. 28.
David Bos at Downtown Church, Rochester, calls for church progressives to issue another 'Auburn Affirmation'
The whole Gospel ...

Growing out of the recent Witherspoon executive committee meeting -- and the GAC decision to give priority to "evangelism and discipleship" -- is a new Witherspoon commitment to discerning the meaning the "the whole Gospel" and how it can be lived out in our churches and our lives.

Former president Gene TeSelle offers some first thoughts on what promises to occupy us for some time to come.  Click here.

An overture has been passed by the Presbytery of New York City, seeking to reverse our denomination's prohibition on ordained service by gay and lesbian persons.
Kent Winters-Hazelton preached on Sunday, Sept. 24, reflecting on the new list of GAC priorities in light of Mark's account of the Transfiguration and what followed it. The Gospel, he suggests, is not about "Me," but about welcoming the Other.  Click here for "The Road Less Traveled."
Suzanne Souder offers one commissioner's view of the politics of GA, suggesting the pressures were not as great as some have thought.
The GAC in a 4-hour meeting on Friday, Sept. 22, ranked its programs on the basis of a scale valuing evangelism and discipleship above social and justice concerns.  This will help guide 2002 mission budget.
Toward more democracy in our church and in our government
Chris Iosso looks at the implications of the action of the 2000 GA approving a program of voluntary funding disclosure by groups relating to the PC(USA).
An inner-city pastor challenges well-off evangelical suburban churches to partner with inner-city churches and service agencies.
Martha Juillerat, director of the Stoles Project, preaches on why she is not giving up on the PC(USA), in a sermon on I Cor. 12 entitled "Next Year's T-shirt"
Former General Assembly moderator and stated clerk William P. Thompson and his wife, Mary, have been honored by the establishment of an ecumenical scholarship fund in their names.
John Detterick, Executive Director of the GAC, has now confirmed his plans to shift funding priorities to a major emphasis on evangelism and church growth.

Click here for his statement.

And here for an updated commentary by outgoing Witherspoon president GeneTeSelle.  [9/12/00]

Witherspooner Jean Rodenbough adds a comment from her experience in social ministry.

Lew Daly, the author of A Moment to Decide, has prepared a careful analysis of the 212th General Assembly which applies the analysis of the book to our latest national meeting.  [added 9/11/00]
Ten Presbyterians, from right and left sides of the spectrum, joined for a weekend of Bible study in search of a basis for unity.  Click here for the PNS report.  [9/12/00]
Unity, diversity, and boundaries ... all of them are needed, but how do we define them?
Gene TeSelle offers some thoughts.  
[added 9/6/00]
The state of the PC(USA) -- It's all just a "power play"
Sam Lanham, a retired pastor living in Fredericksburg, Texas, sends this comment on the state of the PC(USA). We share it here with his permission.  [added 9/6/00]
For reports on the controversy over the recent Peacemaking Conference and statements by speaker Dirk Ficca, click here.
Gene TeSelle offers theological reflections on the openness of true orthodoxy.
The chair of GAC and its Executive Director issue a strong statement in favor of theological openness.
Williamsport, PA session calls for a "season of prayer and fasting" to repent of the "Particularist-Pluralistic Dynamic" advanced by Dirk Ficca in his presentation at the Peacemaking Conference. [added 9/11/00]
Recent Presbyterian News reports of interest to Witherspoon folk -- added on 9/2/00
Advocacy committees join to affirm the unity of justice and evangelism
Peace activists do jubilee -- helping set a prisoner free
James Emerson named interim president of SFTS

For reports and comments on the
212th General Assembly
click here

Other news of the PC(USA)

The Women's Gathering in Louisville -- 
a progressive perspective


Your WebWeaver wasn't there, alas -- but if you haven't already found reports from the Women's Gathering in Louisville, click here for links to some of the reports, and for a personal report from Witherspoon officer and college chaplain Vicki Moss

Voices of Orthodox Women now regrets that "GAC [broke] the rules" to extend its review of the Women's Ministry Program Area

But of course, they were just doing what VOW demanded

Click here for a comment by Doug King

The Office of Environmental Justice in Louisville will pay for the training of new Restoring Creation Enablers.  If your presbytery acts to name such a person, they will be eligible for a training program next May.
GA PJC issues decision in Northern New England case -- says presbytery may not remain silent when a congregation intends to disregard the constitution
A minister gives up his ordination because he is gay -- and explains why.

And one church session explains why they think it's a good thing.

The Washington Office -- the best-kept secret in the PC(USA)?
How to make use of it!
 
 

GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

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

Our three areas of primary interest are:

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

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

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

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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

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

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

 

Voices of Sophia blog

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

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

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

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

 

John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

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

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

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

 

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