Protestant Justice Action
|"Public Protestants" deplore
public housing in Chicago
Press release from Protestant Justice Action, dated
September 17, 2001, posted here on 9-20-01
Representatives of a national group of religious leaders concerned about
public issues criticized severely Chicago's public housing authorities.
The group, meeting in Chicago at Hyde Park's University Church September
7-9, investigated and toured Chicago's public housing and expressed
their Christian concern for Chicago's poor whom they find are being
ignored and left homeless by officials.
Protestant Justice Action (PJA), a network of
Protestant public activists from seven mainline denominations was
shocked to learn of the present policies of the Chicago Housing
Authority (CHA) which destroys problem buildings, but offers far too few
alternative shelters. Thousands are left to wander. Women are forced to
move from place to place, ever enrolling their children in strange new
Reporting to the representative assembly were Daniel
Romero, Community Renewal Society; May Lord, member of PJA and the
Coalition to Protect Public Housing., and Don Coleman, co-pastor of
University Church. "While we understand and agree that many units
of public housing must be demolished or rehabilitated, we are appalled
that no previous provision has been made to provide prompt and
sufficient replacement housing for the thousands of people who are
displaced by the current plan," according to David Nickell of
Oklahoma City, a Disciples of Christ elder who chaired the meeting.
Since January 2001, thousands of units have been
demolished, and many more are scheduled to close. As a result, families
are moved from place to place, some as many as three and four times.
"We know that each time children change schools, they lose 4-6
months of academic development," explained Romero. "Yet no
clear housing or school policy exists to ease the transition of
displaced students. There is no transportation assistance to help
families keep children in their former CHA-area schools."
While 1,662 CHA families are currently waiting for
Section-8 housing, dozens of upscale rehabilitated apartments have been
sitting vacant for more than 8 months, as if being held for middle class
purchasers. Necessary support services are weak and inadequate.
PJA delegates agreed that many of their home cities
share Chicago's dilemma, due to the 1996 federal legislation requiring
that decaying public housing units be demolished. The federal
legislation failed to include sufficient provision for replacement.
Contractors and developers have benefited from this legislation, while
low-income residents have been deprived of a decent place to live.
"This is a moral issue," said Rev. Coleman. "It is unjust
that families are losing their homes with little prospect that they will
be able to return to their neighborhoods or find other appropriate
housing. We call on all people of faith to insist that their city
governments provide decent affordable housing for displaced individuals
and families. This must happen before any more buildings are
Protestant Justice Action is a coalition of the
following denominationally-based public action organizations: the
Witherspoon Society (Presbyterian Church), the Baptist Peace Fellowship
of North America, Christians for Justice Action (United Church of
Christ), Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ),
Episcopal Peace Fellowship (Episcopal Church, USA), Lutheran Human
Relations Association (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the
Methodist Federation for Social Action (United Methodist Church).
For more information, contact May Sweet Lord, at
773-285-3249, fax 773-285-2748, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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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.
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
John Harris’ Summit to
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
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!