|Here are the items we published
during July, 2001.
see Amendment A from the perspective of someone who is personally
involved in the issue of ordination, and who was a commissioner at the
213th General Assembly, look at a sermon preached by the Rev. Tammy
Lindahl the week after the Assembly, entitled "Mountain
the beginning of the 213th General Assembly, 6
gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender commissioners and one advisory delegate
offered a prayer for the Assembly.
It seems appropriate as a prayer for our whole church during the
decisive months ahead.
2001 Peacemaking Conferences
have provided both a celebration of diversity and exercises in doing
diversity. Here's the PNS report on the conference in Estes
Park, Colorado, July 21-25.
Justice Mobilizations planned for Sept. 25 - Oct. 4 in Washington,
A wide variety of progressive groups are planning a
series of conferences, demonstrations, lobbying, and more, "for all
activists who oppose corporate globalization, US imperialism, and Bush's
right-wing political agenda."
Sunday, Sept. 30 will include a rally protesting the
World Bank/IMF meeting and demanding unconditional cancellation of debt
for poor countries, and will kick off a week of protests and actions
during the World Bank/IMF meetings. Sponsoring coalition: Mobilization
for Global Justice including member groups of the Alliance for Global
Justice: 50 Years Is Enough Network, Campaign for Labor Rights, ACERCA,
Mexico Solidarity Network, and Nicaragua Network.
For more info:
about our great
Does this tell us something about our own society?
Some Canadian parents may seek religious asylum in the United States
because they want freedom to spank their children, and the Canadian
government is contesting that freedom.
Thanks to onReligion.com
on the Genoa G8 meeting
The G8 summit meeting in Genoa, Italy, with the
battles in the streets and George Bush's steadfast (to use a polite
word) insistence that the US will do things its own way, needs more
reflection after the event. Here
are two reports that have been flagged by Utne
Coalition is ordered to stop retaliation against four employees who
have sued the group for racial discrimination.
This follows up on an
earlier report on this case.
US is intensifying its threats to stay away from the
racism conference, and progressive groups are urging messages of
are being introduced in Congress which would strengthen policies
against racial profiling.
will feature a new documentary, "In
the Light of Reverence," on Native American struggles to
protect landscapes of spiritual significance.
energy plan heading for Congressional debate. Presbyterians
for Restoring Creation urges communicating with congress people.
bishop feels disillusioned by Bush "faith-based
"There is open conflict between what's being said and what's
being done," he says.
cell research is a big issue today in Washington -- but the PC(USA)
has already done good thinking on the questions, specifically in an
overture approved by the 213th General Assembly.
Clarkson describes continuing activities of the "Religious
Researcher Fred Clarkson analyzes the continuing
activities of the "Christian Right" in a new study, "The
Culture Wars are Not Over: The Institutionalization of the Christian
Right." He sees the relatively quiet role of conservative
religious groups in the recent elections as balanced by their growing
power in the administration. He looks also at growing efforts by
conservatives to gain power in local governments and in the churches -
including the PC(USA).
Rainforest Action Network -- an
activist environmental group -- is being challenged by the conservative
Frontier Freedom Foundation (FFF) - heavily supported by tobacco, oil,
and timber money.
this week when even U.S. Senators worry about America's
"arrogance" in the world of nations, it might help us to be
aware that the U.S. is not entirely perfect -- even relatively. A
recent survey of national levels of corruption
may help remind us.
Travel Seminar to Mexico has been
announced, with theme, "Through Farmworkers' Eyes:
Richness and Realities of the Heritage of Mexican Immigrants."
Co-sponsored by the Oregon Farm Worker Ministry and the Episcopal
Hispanic/Farmworker Ministries of North Carolina, and led by the highly
respected Center for Global Education. Oct 27 - Nov 4
Fellowship of Reconciliation is seeking a national
joining Witherspoon -- help strengthen
progressive voices in the Presbyterian Church.
official text of Amendment 01-A is available
Overture 01-08, as approved by the 213th
General Assembly, has now received its official name for the coming
year: Amendment 01-A. Ordination Standards - On Amending G-6.0106
The Office of the General Assembly has
published the full official list of
constitutional amendments that will be sent to the presbyteries for
their votes during the coming year.
Virginia Presbytery has sent "an open letter to a confessing
church," which affirms the whole church
story behind the GA "statement of faith"
The Rev. Malcolm Brownlee played a vital but
unexpected role at the 213th General Assembly. He was the
commissioner who proposed a statement of faith which sought to affirm
the lordship of Christ without fencing in the grace of God.
Cary McMullen, religion editor of the Lakeland
(Florida) Ledger, fills in some details about Brownlee, and
hears from him what he intended by offering his statement for approval
by the Assembly.
Jubilee 2000 -- the world-wide movement to cancel the
debts of the poorest countries -- achieved major progress last year in
getting debt relief on the agenda of the world economic agencies.
But Witherspoon president Jane Hanna points to how much remains to be
done, as the recently concluded meeting in Genoa, Italy, has made very
Mount, professor of religion at Centre College in Kentucky, reflects
on the Assembly's action on Overture 8 and the new task force on the
peace of the church. He deals with some of the debates on the
place of conscience in the church, on the meaning of connectionalism, on
the role of scripture and the confessions, and on what it means to take
Stated Clerk has issued a "polity
reflection note," clarifying what would (and would not!) be
the consequences of approval of Amendment A -- overture 8 from New York
Office offers update on late changes in Faith
Based Initiatives bill, being debated today..
Recent changes make it more threatening than ever
to church-state separation. A response is given to administration
claims that the Clinton administration supported "charitable
withdraws invitation to Moderator
The Presbytery of Pittsburgh, through its Presbytery
Council, recently withdrew on invitation to GA Moderator Jack Rogers to
address their December meeting. As reported
in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with a number of
congregations in the presbytery supporting the conservative Confessing
Church Movement, some felt that Roger's presence, given his openness to
the ordination of gay and lesbian people, would not be proper at the
session when they will be voting on Amendment A.
As the reporter notes, "Whether the decision to
change the invitation was a slam on Rogers or a reasonable attempt to
maintain civility is a matter of opinion." But Presbytery Executive
the Rev. James Mead observed the depth of conflict in the presbytery,
adding that "there is an earnestness of talk about division that I
have not heard before."
for slavery gains support from Disciples
of Christ. Assembly calls for national apology.
And the Wall Street Journal reports one case of
where reparations seem very appropriate.
Justice and Peace Ministry provides a brief call for action to resist
new increases in military spending, while budgets for social needs
are being cut.
|Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Bob
Graham (D-FL), have introduced S. 955, the "Immigration
Fairness Restoration Act of 2001," a bill that seeks to
roll back the remaining inequities of the 1996 laws.
a redemptive use for your tax rebate check [7-18-01]
If you find the so-called tax rebate being touted by
the Bush administration morally offensive in a society where social
needs are being shoved aside while rewards to the rich are being
multiplied, consider a redemptive option for using your rebate check.
Give the money to the justice ministry to which you are most committed,
or to a group or agency being hit most severely by the budget cuts.
The alternative news source AlterNet
reports on this initiative (another kind of charitable choice??),
which was launched on a web site, RejectTheRebate.com,
hosted by the nonprofit group United for a Fair Economy.
Thanks to Utne
Reader Web Watch
Ideas, comments? Let
us hear from you!
finance reform still has a chance ... but action is needed
The Presbyterian Washington Office has sent this
urgent note: Contact your member of the House and ask that they not
allow procedural maneuvering to keep them from a vote on this crucial
A full report from
Common Cause details recent maneuvers in the House.
Presbyterian has written to express his concern about the Layman's
charge that the General Assembly was "apostate."
of Sophia offers reflections on the General Assembly, by Sylvia
Presbyterian Washington Office reports on juvenile
justice legislation just introduced in the Senate
'faith-based' initiative clears House Ways and Means Committee
Americans United sees
the measure as a "battering ram" aimed at the separation
of church and state.
are wary of White House efforts on Faith-Based Initiative politics.
FINANCE REFORM - LAST CHANCE?
Date: 7/12/01 -- posted here on 7-13-01
from the Presbyterian Washington Office
I am sure that you are aware that the House is debating Campaign Finance
Reform this week. [And on Thursday the House acted to put the bill
aside, although some hope to bring it to the floor again. Your WebWeaver.]
Watch your news broadcast to see when the vote has actually taken place.
In the meantime, call your member of the House and
urge him or her to vote for CFR. The Capitol Hill Switchboard number is
Remember that CFR would mean that issues coming before
the House and the Senate would be less dependent upon who gave the
highest contribution to a particular elected official. Advocacy on
issues of health care, environment, civil rights, reproductive choices,
foreign aid and others are currently influenced by campaign
contributions and media ads.
This is has been our best chance in a long
time to get something done. It may be our only chance for a long time. Act
United for Separation of Church and State says even without
the possible "deal" with the Salvation Army, the proposed
"faith-based initiative" would still permit discrimination by
constitutional amendment defining
A coalition of conservative religious groups plans to
propose an amendment to the US Constitution to define marriage as
between a man and a woman. An interfaith group in the Philadelphia area
has issued a statement critical of the idea, calling it "a
desperate and completely pointless attempt to settle questions of
religious debate and local governance through the US
Society annual report
By action of the 212th General Assembly, the Stated
Clerk asks each "affinity group" related to the Presbyterian
Church to submit an annual report of its purposes, activities, funding,
and so on. Among the minority of groups to send such a report was
the Witherspoon Society, and we share our report here.
The list of groups which have and have not responded
to the request is interesting.
Culture, and Family Project at University of Chicago urges a combined
60-hour work week for couples with children.
The Salvation Army and subsidiarity
(and what?? Read on!)
The recent claim by the
Salvation Army of an agreement by President Bush to exempt religious
groups from local and state civil rights laws affirming equal right for
gay and lesbian people is just the most current example of how important
the old notion of "the principle of
subsidiarity" can be even today.
Gene TeSelle explores how this concept is
used both to justify and to limit an active role of central governments
in local matters.
He also considers its application in the development
of European Union policies.
For the first report in the Washington Post of
the Salvation Army statement, click
here. And for the Post's report on White House denials
of such a "deal," click
And for other points of view:
Partners in Faith issued a statement on July 10, opposing the use
of government funding to permit discrimination.
Today sees the Salvation Army as victims of attacks, rather
than as perpetrators of discrimination.
of the Cascades grants will help Oregon farm workers organize.
Justice and Peace Ministry points to a Congressional move to help
victims of violence
sends pastoral letter
As requested by the General Assembly, Moderator Jack Rogers has send a
pastoral letter to the church interpreting the Assembly's action in
sending to the presbyteries an the amendment which would delete
G-6.0106b from the Book of Order. The full
text of the letter is here.
world of concerns
The Worldwide Ministries Division hosted a gathering
just before and after General Assembly, with over 50 ecumenical guests
from 27 countries sharing a wide variety of concerns (religious
persecution, the imposition of American military presence, exploitation
by foreign oil companies, the US rejection of the Kyoto global warming
treaty, and much more), and explored the meaning of partnership between
the PC(USA) and their own churches.
Nancy Maffett has sent a
comment on our report about the Confessing
Church Movement, asking that we report more fully her views as
expressed at the General Assembly.
Rev. Hugh Nevin has suggested that we add to our report of the work of
the Rev. Jerry Andrews
as moderator of the Committee on Theological Issues.
Capital overture 01-56: issues still
Overture 56, from National Capital Presbytery, sought
a study of inconsistencies in our constitution, and ways to avoid them
in the future. Gene TeSelle sorts through some of the complexities of
this issue - one, he notes, that perhaps "only a polity wonk can
received a note a few days ago asking for reflections from people whose
churches have been considering the possibility of joining the
"Confessing Church Movement." You may want to look at some
of the responses. And add your own??
visitor questions one statement in our recent survey of developments
in the Confessing Church Movement. She seems to be raising a fair
question. What do you think?
United for Separation of Church and State calls for action
on "Charitable Choice" proposal in House of
Partners in Faith publishes The
Religious Progressive newsletter.
sermon on freedom by Kent Winters-Hazelton (on the Sunday before
July 4th) reflects on Paul's ringing proclamation of Christian freedom,
and the recent action of our General Assembly.
Lewis Wilkins opines that Overture 8 is the only way our church can
escape our impasse, and move forward with the task force on peace,
purity and unity of the church.
member Alan Pickering offers calm, clear thoughts, and a
"cautious" response to the Confessing Church movement
Confessing Church Movement seems to be experiencing some strains along
with its apparent gains in support. Here's a
brief update from your WebWeaver and others.
|"The Problematic of Belief"
The Rev. Byron Bangert, who lives in Bloomington, Indiana,
has been moved by the current emphasis on right belief in certain parts
of the Presbyterian Church to ponder what it means to
believe something. He explores three basic theses:
1) For the most part, we do not choose to believe what we believe.
2) However necessary beliefs may be, they invariably tend to be
3) Although Christian faith surely involves beliefs about certain
matters (e.g., God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, salvation), faith is
fundamentally a matter of trusting relationship rather than cognitive
churches take an open attitude toward gay/lesbian ordination
A special visiting reporter with Presbyterian News
Service writes on the very different attitudes in European churches
toward gay ordination. While conservatives have pointed to relations
with former "mission churches" - especially in Korea and parts
of Latin America - as a reason to resist changes in the church's
attitude toward glbt members, this report suggests that other sister
churches have much more open attitudes and policies.
you like to receive e-mail notes whenever anything is added to this
site? Just send us a note.
Please be sure to give the e-mail address you want us to use.
visitor to this site is trying to think through the implications of his
church's joining the "confessing
church movement." He asks for help from
others who have considered the possibility. Please take a minute
to read more, and respond if you can.
the Fast Track and onto the Right Track
A Tennessee group sets forth a clear statement on President Bush's
proposals for the restoration of "fast track" for
international trade deals. They call especially for rethinking the
proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
excluded from global decision-making
Ecumenical consultation on economic
globalization in central and eastern Europe asks churches in the west to persuade decision-makers to stop
the exploitation and exclusion of the majority of countries from
July 10 has been set as Campaign Finance Reform
National Phone-in Day
Stone responds to Reggie Gates' note asking "where is the
middle ground" in the Assembly's approval of Overture 8
received a comment by a visitor who
was "offended" by Buz Myers' presentation on the Bible and
sexuality, at the Witherspoon pre-Assembly orientation.
|Do you want to go
back in time??
To wander through earlier headlines and
|from January, 2001, click
| from all of December, 2000, click
| from November 2000|
including reports on
| articles from
the Spring 2000 issue of Network News|
| from mid-September through October, click
| from July through mid-September, click
| from January through June 2000, click
find what you want? Click here to run a