Archives: January 2003
Some friends have been distressed at our posting yesterday of
Jeff McDonald's strong
criticism of "liberal Presbyterians." We posted it not because
we agree with it, but because we believe strongly that all voices should
be heard, within the limits of general decency.
Mr. McDonald has added another thought to his earlier
statement, assuming he will be accused of
saying that Christians must be intolerant "of deviant theological views."
And another comment has come from
Tom McKnight, offering some
loving reflections on
"liberal vs. conservative." So, he wonders, "Is turning the
other cheek liberal or conservative? ... Is not throwing the first stone
liberal or conservative? ... Is loving your neighbor liberal or
And in supportive response to the
action of the Presbytery of the
Palisades comes this note from a commissioner to th4e 214th General
Call for support
Dear friends in Christ,
As a Presbyterian and a GA commissioner I completely
support the Moderator Fahed Abu Akel and the Stated Clerk Clifton
Kirkpatrick. I trust completely in their judgement on the issue of
recalling the GA. I am absolutely sure that they thoroughly understand the
Book of Order and are doing their utmost to uphold it. Furthermore having
met both of these men, I believe them to be fine and upstanding Christians
that try their best to follow the Bible's teachings.
I urge all 214th GA Commissioners to express their
support for these good leaders of our church. It is past time that the
commissioners to the 214th GA stood up and spoke out for the decisions we
made at the General Assembly! We must stand up to this conspiracy being
orchestrated by Metherell, Jensen, and their Layman cronies.
In the Messiah's service,
Presbytery of Santa Fe
214th General Assembly
threat of war against Iraq
|What to do about military service?
During the Viet Nam war the Presbyterian Church
prepared a resource for people considering the questions raised for
them by the military draft and other issues surrounding service in
the armed forces. The Peacemaking Program has done a new edition of
that very helpful resource, Presbyterians and Military Service.
It is available online in PDF format.
Witherspoon board members have added
reflections on the question of military service
What are your thoughts and
concerns about military service in the present situation?
Please send a note, and
we'll share it here!
|Theologian George Hunsinger
speaks against the war on Iraq
George Hunsinger has published an
article on pre-emptive war in Presbyterian Outlook. He
traces the conflicts and vacillations within the Bush administration
(this was before the State of the Union speech), concerns raised by
many others about a war which seems clearly not to be an act of last
resort, and the incalculable costs to the US and Iraq and the rest
of the world.
He sums up:
"I have argued that the 'pre-emptive' war proposed
against Iraq would not be a last resort, that it would lack a
sufficient cause, making it little more than a war of aggression,
that it would not be a success in any meaningful sense of the term,
and finally that it would wreak havoc on a civilian population
already tortured by war and sanctions. In particular, I have
stressed that the doctrine of pre-emption, if activated, portends a
descent into international barbarism."
And he closes with "a final word from the
Autobiography of John Adams: 'This is the established Order of
Things, when a Nation has grown to such an height of Power as to
become dangerous to Mankind, she never fails to loose her Wisdom,
her Justice and her Moderation, and with these she never fails to
loose her Power; which however returns again, if those Virtues
return.' (Autobiography, IV, 158)."
Thanks to Dr. Thomas W. Blair,
pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hendersonville, NC.
Let's pay attention to "the common good"
Jane Hanna reminds us of a concept rooted deeply in the
Biblical faith and in American history: the common good. Our
society's growing focus on private gain poses a threat to us as a nation,
and even as individuals. And certainly it's a threat to the rest of
Jensen reasserts charges of conspiracy, rejects the response by church
Paul Rolf Jensen is back in (church) court again,
renewing his claims on behalf of Westminster Presbyterian Church of
Canton, Ohio, that Moderator Fahed Abu-Akel and Stated Clerk Clifton
Kirkpatrick, along with the General Assembly Council and various other
offices of the church have "engaged in a conspiracy to subvert the
constitution." He adds accusations that the accused officers engaged in
acts of forgery and other deceptions.
The full text of
his response is also available.
A reaction to "liberal Presbyterians" and
the decision not to hold a special
How can we respect a
moderator and a stated clerk that break procedural rules? As a member of
the PC (USA) I would like to call on all Presbyterians to call for the
removal of liberal church officers. J. Gresham Machen of Princeton
Seminary once said that, "it isn't that liberals aren't Christians it is
that liberalism is not Christianity." The Presbyterian Church (USA) is
being attacked from within by a movement (liberalism) that is
anti-Christian to the core. Presbyterian church history confirms this sad
Mr. McDonald has sent us
a longer exposition of his views,
which you may want to read as well.
We hope you'll share your comments on
this statement. Just send a note
and we'll post it here!
Witherspooner Ann Euston reports on the 2003 PHEWA conference:
Exploring a multiethnic church in good company
Presbyterians sentenced for
protest at School of the Americas
Clifford Frasier, elder Ann Huntwork
of Portland, OR, and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Co-Moderator
Marilyn White have been sentenced in
Columbus, GA, for crossing the line into Fort Benning, site of the School
of the Americas, long accused of training military personnel from Latin
America for the abuse of human rights in the cause of US interests.
|The State of the Union: "The Emperor
The Progressive's editor
Editor Matthew Rothschild comments on the State of the Union speech under
the heading, "The
Emperor Has Spoken." He concludes with an insightful analysis of the
President's marriage of piety and patriotism - what one German commentator
called "religious hubris." Rothschild writes:
Bush seems to believe that he and the United States
are carrying out God's will. "We Americans have faith in ourselves but
not in ourselves alone," he said. "We do not claim to know all the ways
of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the
loving God behind all of life, and all of history." So here we have a
single man, unconstrained by Congress, contemptuous of the United
Nations, backed by the strongest military ever assembled, and emboldened
by the notion of divine will, plunging the United States into an
unnecessary and extraordinarily hazardous war.
Thanks to Bruce Gillette for pointing
us to this.
|Presbytery of the
Palisades affirms support for the Moderator and Stated Clerk
The resolution, approved at the presbytery's January 28th
stated meeting, acknowledges the "intense theological discussion and
conflict" within the church, calls for "a time of prayer, repentance and
reconciliation," and "objects to the tactics of personal attack and
disinformation used by some to discredit the leadership of the Moderator and
In addition, the presbytery "call[s] for an end to the
attempts to force them to act outside the boundaries of their offices and
apart from the polity established by the Constitution that guides
all governing bodies and leaders in our church."
NOTE: The board of the Witherspoon Society agrees
wholeheartedly with the views expressed in this resolution.
And in contrast ...
Aha - a conspiracy in Louisville!
Allan Poindexter, of Socorro, New Mexico, has sent
a letter to PresbyWeb announcing his intention to bring suit against
Moderator Fahed Abu-Akel and Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick. He states,
"If Kentucky law supports it I will be filing criminal complaints with the
Louisville District Attorney stipulating fraud (or whatever charge is
appropriate under Kentucky law). I will be willing to refrain from this if
Kirkpatrick and Abu-Akel have resigned their ordinations by 31 January 2003.
I will also file under RICO to root out the other conspirators in the
national office (or elsewhere) that have contributed to this corruption."
AN UPDATE ON THE EVENING OF 1/29/03
Allan Poindexter has followed up his letter announcing his
plan to file criminal complaints against the Moderator and Stated Clerk.
He now apologizes for the tone of his letter, but doesn't really
withdraw his threat to file suit - if some attorney in Kentucky can be found
to do it.
Call for a special session of GA
Who's in charge here?
board member Barbara Kellam-Scott comments on the call for a special
session as an indication of our differing ways of dealing with
frustrations, and of conflicting views of the church's life and
mission -- as calling people out of "the world" into righteousness,
or as reaching out to the world in love and service for the sake of
justice. We need to get beyond that false split, she urges.
affirms its respect for Moderator
Call for a special session of GA
|There will be no
special meeting of the 214th General Assembly.
carefully worded Jan. 24 letter to all 554 commissioners to last year's
Assembly, moderator the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel said that a petition submitted
to him Jan. 14 by Alex Metherell, a Presbyterian elder in Laguna Beach, CA,
does not contain enough signatures to force the calling of an unprecedented
special meeting of the 214th General Assembly.
|Redstone Presbytery approves
overture on constitutional authority
Clerk says it would accomplish same purpose as a
Redstone Presbytery has adopted an overture to the 215th
General Assembly that it says addresses the same issues raised in a
petition calling for a special session of the 214th General Assembly and
therefore the unprecedented special session is not needed.
threat of war against Iraq
As threats of war grow louder
The Executive Committee of the Witherspoon
Society has approved a brief statement as an expression of our concern and
It is with saddened and troubled hearts that we issue
this plea to you from the thousands in the Christian community: please
reconsider this venture in light of Biblical teaching and Christ's
message of peace.
Teams report from Iraq
Witherspoon member Alyssa Burgin has shared with us some
informative e-mails from Charlie Jackson, a delegate in a Christian
Peacemaker Team currently in Baghdad, Iraq. His notes give glimpses
of life "on the ground" in Iraq today.
The Presbytery of Baltimore has acted to concur with
Des Moines' proposal on removing G6-0106(b)
from the Book of Order. A second motion, to name the Rev. Don Stroud
as overture advocate, has been referred to the Presbytery Council for
|Let us help
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threat of war against Iraq
Council of Churches calls for a day of
prayer and fasting for peace in Iraq, on Monday, January 27, 2003
A very peaceful form of protest:
Send rice to the
President, a symbol of nurturing rather than destroying.
Anti-war protests are having an effect
Anti-war protests have already had an effect in slowing
George Bush's rush to war. And they are growing stronger, and may have a
real chance of stopping the planned invasion of Iraq.
So writes Stephen Zunes, editor of Foreign Policy in
Focus (FPIF), a project of The Progressive Response. You'll find their
current online newsletter at
Zunes observes that "The anti-war movement is strong and
is growing. Already, the demonstrations against a U.S. invasion of Iraq -
which hasn't yet happened - have been larger than those against the
Vietnam War during the first three years of heavy fighting by American
He adds that "today's anti-war movement is far more
diverse in terms of women and people of color in positions of leadership.
Increasing numbers of poor and working class people are becoming involved
in anti-war activities ..."
text of his analysis.
Call for a special session of GA
|Metherell threatens to bring suit
against Moderator Abu-Akel to force reconvening of 214th
Presbyterian Outlook's Leslie Scanlon reports that
Dr. Alex Metherell, in pursuit of his demand for a special session of
the 2002 General Assembly, presented a letter to Moderator Fahed Abu-Akel,
with the threat that he will file suit in a secular court if the
moderator does not immediately announce that he will recall the
Assembly. He gives the Moderator a deadline of January 27.
Four former moderators have written in an open
letter, "... That any Moderator
would be so treated is unthinkable. Our Moderator has followed the
procedures laid out in the Constitution..." The
signers are Robert Lamar, Price H. Gwynn III, Douglas Oldenburg and
The Outlook article will link you also to the full
text of Metherell's letter, and that of the
open letter from the
A personal sidelight on Dr. Metherell, from Los Angeles:
The LA Times has a fairly extensive article
(though not terribly well informed about the niceties of Presbyterian
polity and politics) on Metherell, which notes that Presbyterians on
both the left and the right are objecting to what he is doing.
The reporter adds that "even Metherell's pastor --
conservative John A. Huffman Jr. of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
in Newport Beach -- put out a statement saying a Special Assembly 'is
not only unwise but could be counterproductive to our constitutional
Call for a special session of GA
OGA answers special General Assembly questions; Ohio
session files complaint
Presbyterian News Service reports on a complaint
from a church in Canton, Ohio, charging that denominational officials
have violated The Book of Order by not calling the special session.
And the Office of the General Assembly has issued
responses to a number of "frequently asked questions" about the
|For an account of this conflict in
the secular press, you may want to look at the AP report carried in
Cleveland Plain Dealer.
dealing with gender identity, and getting beyond "male or female"
The Rev. Erin K. Swenson, the first
transgender minister in the PC(USA), spoke to the Presbytery of San
Francisco on January 14, 2003
Churches go green
congregations are seeking ways to make their buildings more energy
efficient - both as an expression of their stewardship of the environment,
and to save money.
Science Monitor article describes specific efforts, and points to
sources of information and financial help.
information about how to encourage energy efficiency at your church,
contact the PC(USA)'s Enough for
Everyone Program, and its
Electric Stewardship project.
Top ten religion news stories for 2002
John Rakestraw, proprietor of the very useful website
onReligion.com, was asked to
assemble one of those new-year favorite's,
a "top-ten" list of
religion stories for the year 2002.
The top three were
|Clergy sexual abuse
scandal in the Catholic Church.|
itself for the modern world. |
authority and traditional structures in the Catholic Church.|
|Number 10 was "Religious
response to proposed US/UN invasion of Iraq."|
Check out the rest of them, and his reasons for choosing
Administration policies still reflect racism in America
Triangle Foundation of Michigan points to continuing
problems of racism (and more) in our society, reflected in recent actions
by the President of the United States.
GAC approves a positive review of the
work of PHEWA (the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare
Chris Glaser, who will be
the preacher at the Witherspoon Society's 30th
Anniversary Conference and Celebration in Louisville, March 6 - 8,
2003, writes about Presbyterian participation
in last June's Gay Pride march in Atlanta.
Overture to delete G-6.0106(b) passed by Des Moines
The Presbytery of Des Moines today
passed the same overture on which no action was taken a week ago by
the Presbytery of the Twin Cities
Area. The vote was 47 to 32 in favor of adoption.
Any presbyteries meeting in the next week might want to
consider a motion to join in supporting the Des Moines action, or
submitting a similar overture.
You may want to look at
the text of the overture as
proposed in Twin Cities.
|Jan. 22 marks 30th
anniversary of Roe v. Wade
The Rev. Jake Young, of First Presbyterian Church, Springfield, IL,
reminds us that January 22 marks the 30th anniversary of the Roe v.
Wade decision "that gave women rights that should never have been
denied them in the first place. Unfortunately, the current Executive
in Washington -- ironically appointed by the same body (different
members of course) that gave us the Roe decision -- is doing
everything possible to take this basic right away from women.
Perhaps the Witherspoon page could link to this informative and
entertaining PPFA page" - which brings you
"The No-Choice Blues," performed by a new virtual blues band
including George W. Bush, Orin Hatch, Johnnie Ashcroft, and
"Billy-Boy" Rehnquist. [NOTE: This is a
big file with graphics and music, so it will take a while to
If you're looking for information rather than
Young continues: "Pro choice is, after all, an
official position of the PC(USA) General Assembly. A position which
has been attacked every year since it was made over 20 (25?) years
ago. Strange, it seems some affinity group was telling another one
recently that GLBT ordination debates are over and done with and we
should get used to it. Why doesn't that same logic apply to much
older debates about women's rights in the PC(USA)?"
decades after Roe v. Wade we still face
the Name of the Lord"
An article by Frederick Clarkson in
MS. Magazine reminds us that "While the world lives in fear of
international terrorism, the terrorists in our own backyards seem
almost forgotten But we must not underestimate anti-abortion
extremists - a small army of zealots ready, willing, even eager to
rekindle strikes on doctors and clinics across the nation if court
actions and rulings start to go their way in 2003. Three decades
after Roe v. Wade was won, extreme anti-abortion groups continue to
celebrate violence as a justifiable means to make legal abortions
impossible to obtain."
threat of war against Iraq
Human rights a victim of "war on terror"
The Human Rights Watch annual report criticizes China's
persecution of religious groups, and US "willingness to compromise human
rights to fight terrorism."
British author describes American "madness"
John le Carre writes in The Times (UK) that
"The United States of America has gone mad"
The author begins: "America has entered one of its
periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse
than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term
potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.
"The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped
for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have
made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The
combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once
more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town
square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press."
Albany Presbytery passed a
resolution on US-Iraqi relations, reflecting the Christian calling to
Another conference coming up:
March 28-30, 2003,
Saint Louis, Missouri
JusticeWorks: Renewing the Church's Social Witness
First National Conference convened by Protestant Justice Action
Co-sponsored by Eden Theological Seminary and Equal Partners in Faith
Speaker is The Reverend Gregory
Dell, serving once again as pastor of Broadway United Methodist
Church in Chicago, Illinois after conducting a Service of Holy Union for
two gay men. During his suspension, he was director of "In All Thins
Charity," a national movement within the United Methodist Church working
to end the denomination's discriminatory policies against gays and
is Alvin O'neal Jackson, M.Div., D.Min., Senior Pastor
of National City Christian Church - Washington, D.C., currently serving
as moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).|
Leader is The Reverend Mari Castellanos,
Justice Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ - Washington,
D.C. She is a pastor, theologian, teacher and a Cuban American with a
deep commitment to God's creation.|
|Metherell petitions for
special session of General Assembly
Elder Alex Metherell has presented the Moderator the
required number of petitions for the convening of a second session of the
214th General Assembly. Presbyterian News Service has reported
Baldwin, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, argues that
the petition is not a call for legitimate Assembly business, and therefore
does not deserve a positive response.
The time is drawing nigh!!
THE CALL FROM
in the Third Millennium
A major conference on the future
of the progressive witness in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
March 6 - 8, 2003
The Witherspoon Society invites you to celebrate its 30-year witness
to peace, justice, and inclusiveness and to interpret the Biblical and
confessional richness of our denomination in light of God's challenges
|Discuss the future of progressive Presbyterianism
in the current climate of conflict.|
|Worship and Pray together.|
|Witness through demonstration and proclamation
the radical gospel of God's love.|
|Jack Rogers, moderator of 213th PC(USA)
|Mary Fulkerson, Vanderbilt Divinity School|
|Joseph Hough, President, Union Seminary, NY|
|Doug Ottati, Union Seminary/PSCE|
|Worship Leader, Chris Glaser with musician Chris
WITH WENDELL BERRY
prize-winning author and farmer
out the details, and register on-line
for a roommate?
E-mail or call Ann Euston (firstname.lastname@example.org;
School of the Americas Watch update:
86 human rights activists face
trials in Columbus, GA; volunteers sought for supporting actions
Teacher is fired for being
imprisoned for protesting against the SOA - seeks rehiring
Some activists to
be released; how to contact those still incarcerated
The latest tax cuts: faith-based economics?
The latest issue of The New Yorker offers a nice
comment on the President's "economic stimulus package." Hendrik
Hertzberg suggests that in this as in all things, George W. Bush is
operating out of his "faith-based" perspective. But he may be using
slightly revised versions of scripture, such as:
|He that hath pity upon the rich lendeth unto the
LORD; and that which he hath given will pay him again. (Proverbs 19:17)
|Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and
sell what thou hast, and give to the rich, and thou shalt have treasure
in heaven. (Matthew 19:21) |
|For the love of money is the root of all good. (I
Timothy 6:10) |
Call for a fast at Taco
The Presbyterian Church
has endorsed a consumer boycott of Taco Bell restaurants, in support of
efforts by Florida tomato growers to gain better wages and working/living
Taco Bell Boycott Resource Office of the PC(USA) is now
encouraging Presbyterians to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in a
hunger fast at the doorstep of Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine,
California, beginning on Monday, Feb. 24. The fast calls upon Taco Bell to
take responsibility for the sweatshop conditions in the fields where its
tomatoes are picked.
We have reported on the decision of
the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area not to approve a proposed
overture to delete G-6.0106b from the Book of Order.
There was a
brighter side to the meeting, as the Presbytery voted not
to remove a man from the roll of candidates for ministry on the basis of
A group at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX,
invites people to join in
a workshop on non-violent resistance in GLBT issues
And they'll provide housing and local transportation for
out-of-town guests at the March event!
Asians in America are experiencing religious change
The Washington Post has published two articles on
religious changes in Asian-American communities. One reports on the
growing number of
Chinese Americans who are becoming Christian, and another surveys
Korean Americans, many of them intensely loyal members of Korean
Christian churches, who are now becoming more assimilated, and entering
into interracial marriages and joining non-Korean churches.
onReligion.com - a great source for all kinds of news on religion in
the United States and around the world|
As budgets shrink,
more federal money is going to faith-based groups for work with the
The US Department of Veterans Affairs
has announced that 40% of the groups receiving federal grant funds to
support work with the homeless are religious groups. This means that
nonreligious groups that have received funds in the past are receiving
less money this year, and will have to cut the number of beds they offer
to homeless people. Both religious and nonreligious groups say that it
appears to them that the religious groups received special treatment in
the award process.
No action for an inclusive church
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, in assembly on
January 11, 2003, approved a motion by the Rev. Tim Hart-Andersen to take
no action on a proposed overture that would call for the deletion of
G-6.0106b from the Presbyterian Book of Order.
MoveOn.org provides an update
on anti-war actions in the coming crucial weeks -- with links to more
information on various actions on Jan. 18 and at other times. They
also point to a couple good articles on the arms inspections.
threat of war against Iraq
is not enough
Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
and Pusey Minister at The Memorial Church of Harvard University, has
published a thoughtful essay (adapted from a sermon given on October 6,
2002), in which he notes how deeply concerned are Christians in
mid-America about the impending war. "They love their country, and
they love their God; and what do you do when your country is headed
where you think your faith and your God don't want you to go? ..."
"This is a frightening time, and if one cannot
speak out of Christian conscience and conviction now, come what may,
then we are forever consigned to moral silence. We hear much talk of
'moral clarity,' but it sounds more to me like moral arrogance, and it
must not be met with moral silence. Anthony Lewis, formerly of The
New York Times, said recently that if the purpose of the terrorists
of Sept. 11, 2001, was to destroy our confidence in our own American
values, then, he feared, they had succeeded. In the name of fighting
terror both abroad and at home, our government - particularly through
the attorney general, together with a culture of patriotic intimidation
- has suspended our constitutional liberties, stifled dissent, and
defined a good American as one who goes along with the powers-that-be,
in a 'my way or the highway' mentality. When patriotism is defined in
this narrow, partisan, opportunistic, jingoistic way, then perhaps that
old cynic Dr. Samuel Johnson was right when he defined patriotism as the
'last refuge of a scoundrel.'"
full essay is on sojo.net
Thanks to Rev. Bruce Gillette for suggesting this.
war looms, here are thoughts to ponder
- quotations about war from sources as varied as Ben Franklin to
Margaret Mead to Herbert Hoover to Henry Miller. (How's that for a
These were circulating on the Internet some time ago,
and we posted them on 10-9-02. But a friend just reminded us of them,
and we think they're worth another look.
groups watch with wary eye as Congress opens
Religion News Service story details the varied concerns of different
religious groups as Congress reconvenes under the cloud of war (and its
assorted high costs) and a new Republican dominance.
The Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the
World, speaks for many of the groups when he says, ""Money is
disappearing by the hundreds of billions into the tax cut and then the
war. The political situation
for poor people this year is pretty grim."
Christian Coalition is on the job, pushing to make elements of President
Bush's earlier tax cuts permanent.
|Higher fuel costs will offer challenges
and teachable moments to congregations
The Rev. Bruce Gillette, of First Presbyterian Church, Pitman NJ,
sends this observation and suggests resources for the rising cost of
|Reductions sought in
Criticizing Bush, Senators McCain and Lieberman
would set deadlines
an update from the Washington Post on current efforts in
Congress to press for more responsible action on greenhouse gases. A
number of senators want to seek mandatory limits on carbon dioxide and
other heat-trapping gases, while the administration continues to oppose
such action, wanting only voluntary measures - and those only after
"more study." A number of Republicans are looking for stronger
action, as well.
report shows new low in public view of organized religion
Religion News Service reports that the Gallup Index of
Leading Religious Indicators has reached its lowest level ever,
revealing the public's most negative overall rating for organized
religion since the index began in 1940.
Researchers attribute the decrease to the sex abuse
scandals in the Catholic Church.
What do you think? Do you see this shift in
attitudes toward religious institutions? Should church leaders be
concerned about this? Please share
your thoughts in a little note!
Theology Conference will focus on "We Believe in One God"
The Theology and Worship Office of the PC(USA) is
planning the 3rd Churchwide Theology Convocation, to be held
in Pittsburgh on April 23-26, 2003.
The theme is "We Believe in One God."
Speakers will include Ellen Charry, Princeton
Seminary; S. Mark Heim, Andover Newton; Marianne Meye Thompson, Fuller
Seminary; Colin Gunton, Kings College, London; Mark Labberton, First
Church, Berkeley, California.
information is available on the PC(USA) web site (but only in PDF
format!). Or call Nohra Carrillo at 1-888-728-7228, ext. 5335. Or e-mail
Program Coordinator Dale Jackson.
liberal listens and reflects at the
Celebrate! student conference
Witherspoon staffer Ann Euston attended the
recent quadrennial ecumenical student conference in Albuquerque. She
reports on the excitement of the event, and reflects on the challenge
that concerned students present to older progressives today, to
"Help us to do right in a world forever doing wrong."
for a roommate for Witherspoon's Call from
E-mail or call Ann Euston (email@example.com;
505 296-4885). She'll be acting as a clearinghouse to try to help people
match up. In registering at the Downtown Holiday Inn if you want a
roommate she'd recommend reserving as a double. The price is the same
and it will hold open options for locating someone to share with.
threat of war against Iraq
of a 9/11 victim is visiting Iraq with other members of September
11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Scholar and author Diana Eck has passed along a
press release from Terry Rockefeller, who is a producer in public
television, having worked earlier for the Pluralism Project.
We note this visit as one of the creative and
healing ventures to stand against the war, and for peace in Iraq.
comments on amendments soon to be voted on by presbyteries
The 214th General Assembly (2002) of the Presbyterian
Church (USA) approved 13 amendments to the Book of Order and
recommended them to the 173 presbyteries for ratification.
Do you have comments on any of these proposed
amendments? Please send a
note and we'll share it here!
a live town meeting on TV this Thursday
from the Presbyterian Washington Office
Thursday on PBS (9 pm. ET), Ted Koppel will anchor
AMERICA IN BLACK AND WHITE: JASPER, TEXAS, a live town meeting on race
in America from Jasper, Texas. The 90-minute town meeting will be
broadcast live and in its entirety on PBS at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local
listings). ABC News "Nightline" will broadcast one hour of the
town meeting beginning at 11:35 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network.
The town hall meeting will be held with the citizens
of Jasper, many of whom were interviewed for the documentary.
|Bush tolerance of air
pollution will be challenged in Senate
The Presbyterian Washington Office notes that Senators
McCain and Lieberman plan to unveil a plan this week to require all U.S.
power plants and industries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases, setting the stage for a conflict with the
Bush administration and the new chairman of the Senate Environment and
Public Works Committee.
report is in The Washington Post.
threat of war against Iraq
the White House about the war
We've received two notes from Witherspooners urging
people to call the White House to give their views on the war with Iraq.
President Bush's White House Opinion Line:
202-456-1111 Please make a call if you have a minute.
|NCC-led religious leaders report
on mission to Iraq
A delegation of 13 US religious leaders, under
the aegis of the National Council of Churches, returned from a mission
to Iraq on January 3, after witnessing the 20-year legacy of suffering
of Iraqi civilians -- especially children -- and burdened with the
knowledge that war would further deepen that suffering.
preemptive war immoral, illegal and theologically illegitimate, the
group contends that a war against Iraq would result in widespread
suffering and death for innocent people and would make the U.S. less
secure, not more secure.
here for the full text of their statement.
difficulties? You bet!
Start your New Year right with a new flash animation
that will make you laugh, and make you want to try harder to change the
way our nation is headed. It's called "Technical
Difficulties," and is brought to us by MoveOn.org, an online
advocacy network that we've linked to before.
God's daily e-mail
Witherspooner Bruce Gillette reminds us of a helpful
service provided by our PC(USA):
An important New Year's resolution is to read the
Bible every day to discover anew God's love for you and call for you to
love. An easy way to encourage yourself to read the Bible is to have a
brief passage e-mailed to you each day. Our Presbyterian Church (USA)
provides this free service that encourages Christians around the world
to read the Bible. You can also read online daily updated teachings
about the faith from our Study Catechism and news about our church''s
work in the USA and overseas from our Mission Yearbook. Learn more about
these free services at http://horeb.pcusa.org/search/dailyreadings.htm
No Jobless Worker Behind
As Congress reconvenes, labor groups urge support for
meaningful help for jobless workers.
seeks nominees for social ministry awards
The Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare
Association (PHEWA) is seeking nominations for its six social welfare
ministry awards, which will be presented during next summer's 215th
General Assembly in Denver. Deadline for nominations is Feb. 14.
Africa and the
February 23-26, 2003
A number of church-related advocacy groups will hold an ecumenical gathering in Washington, DC,
beginning Sunday evening, February 23, and ending Wednesday afternoon, February 26.
There will be speakers, issue briefings, and advocacy training
workshops .. and then opportunities to speak with Senators and Representatives in the
U.S. Congress, or their key foreign policy staff, regarding Africa or
the Middle East.
report on Congressional action
The Presbyterian Washington Office provides a helpful
year-end wrap-up on Congressional action (and inaction) on issues on
which the PC(USA) has expressed interest.
conference will be held in March, 2003, with the theme, Encircling
Care: A New Vision for Congregational Care-Giving. Sponsored by
Health Ministries USA, a mission program of the National Ministries
Division and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, it will be
held in Louisville, Ky. Planned for clergy, specialized
ministers, parish nurses, pastoral counselors, church leaders,
seminarians and caregivers, it will cover mobility issues, Alzheimer's,
ADRD, frail elderly and aging.
gotta be Mary!"
Chris Glaser preached a delightful, witty, profound
sermon before Christmas at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati.
Likening the Presbyterian Church to a Christmas pageant (how's that for
an imaginative leap!), he suggests that nobody in the Presbyterian
throng would be willing to play Mary, since she was, after all, in
violation of G-6.0106b. But then, cried stage manager Gabriel, "No
Mary, no Jesus!"
Glaser talked also about all the support God has given
to GLBT Presbyterians like himself. He mentioned More Light
Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve, and the Shower of Stoles as
"kinswomen who tell us that what has been conceived within us is
blessed fruit." He spoke of Voices of Sophia as another sister, and
added: "We have a mother who sought justice for our cause and
welcomed us in her womb long before our sisters were born, the
Witherspoon Society." Covenant Network he likened to Joseph,
providing resources and a link to the establishment.
But we think you'll enjoy reading
the whole thing for yourself.
Thanks to Barbara Kellam Scott for leading us to this.
Many conservative Christians are becoming active
defenders (if that's the word) of the State of Israel these days. But in
case you've wondered, Christian antisemitism hasn't gone away.
One of the mixed blessings of managing a website is the
variety of people and groups who respond to it. And I've just received a
long e-mail from no less a figure than David Duke - former Ku Klux Klan
leader, Republican state legislator in Louisiana, presidential candidate
in 1992, and much more. In his Christmas e-mail he expounds on
"Jewish threat" to Christmas: "At this beautiful and
thoughtful time of year, it is good to reflect and contrast our highest
values to that of our traditional enemies. As all of you realize, the
most beautiful and sacred traditions of the West are under attack.
Jewish supremacists seek to use multiculturalism as a weapon to
undermine our sense of tradition and culture."
Your WebWeaver doesn't like to play censor, but we
won't post a link to Duke's web site, or to the site he recommends,
which is from the European-American Unity and Rights Organization
(EURO). He describes the group (of which he happens to be the
"National President") as "the leading organization
fighting against discrimination and for the rights and heritage of
The Anti-Defamation League has a
brief sketch of Duke's career, highlighting his current strategy of
using the Internet to "facilitate a world-wide revolution of White
Click here for a listing of
all 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!