Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

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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A hymn celebrating God's gift of families

Sunday, May 9, is Mother's Day (just in case you hadn't noticed!) and marks the beginning of Christian Family Week in the Presbyterian calendar. To mark these occasions, we're happy to share with you a hymn celebrating God's gift of families, from the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.


A hymn celebrating God's gift of families:

You Formed Us in Your Image, Lord

GREENSLEEVES with refrain (PH # 33)

You formed us in your image, Lord;
You call us your own children.
In you, each one is loved, adored --
Unique among the millions.
Bless, Lord, the families
Who know the joy: Christ claims and frees!
Bless, too, the ones who weep,
Forgetting that you love them.

You made our homes to honor you
With love the strong foundation.
In serving God and neighbor too,
We find our life's vocation.
Bless families large and small
Who love and serve you when you call.
Bless, too, the ones who fear --
Whose trust and love are shattered.

Christ loved and honored family,
Yet showed us what is greater.
He taught a higher loyalty
To God our good Creator.
Bless, Lord, the ones who long
To build up homes where faith is strong.
Bless children, women, men
Who risk to serve your kingdom.

In home and church our faith is formed;
We learn your love and caring.
From here we're called to face the storm,
Your love and justice bearing.
Each day your Spirit sends!
We go to strangers, neighbors, friends.
Peace, justice, joy we bring
To all your human family.

Biblical Texts: Genesis 1:26-27; Galatians 3:26-27, 5:1; Acts 16:30-34; Ephesians 4:15; Mark 3:32-35; Matthew 6:33; 2 Timothy 1:5; and Acts 2.

Tune: English ballad, 16th century. Arr. Christmas Carols New and Old, 1871. ("What Child Is This")

Text: Copyright ©© 2004 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

305 South Broadway, Pitman, NJ 08071 Phone: (856)-589-8444 Email:

Please contact Carolyn for permission to use this hymn in worship services: Thank you.

This hymn was written for Carlisle Presbytery's March 6th Discover & Connect event on family ministries where Bruce & Carolyn Winfrey Gillette gave the keynote presentation and were workshop leaders. Carolyn found the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)'s 2004 report "Transforming Families" to be helpful for writing this hymn and for ministry with families.

Bruce and Carolyn are the parents of John (16), Catherine (13) and Sarah (11). They have been the co-pastors of the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman, NJ, since 1994. Bruce and Carolyn wrote the 2003 revision of Freda Gardner's church guide to the popular Active Parenting Now:

Carolyn is the author of Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship (Geneva Press, 2000). A complete list of her hymns can be found at

PCUSA Resources:

Christian Family Week resources from Family & Single Adults Office:

Office of Child Advocacy:



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.

If you like what you find here,
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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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