Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

Welcome to news and networking for progressive Presbyterians 

Home page Marriage Equality Global & Social concerns    
News of the PC(USA) Immigrant rights Israel & Palestine
U S Politics, 2010-11 Inclusive ordination Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
The Tucson shootings The Economic Crisis Other churches, other faiths
     About us         Join us! Health Care Reform Archive
Just for fun Confronting torture Notes from your WebWeaver

What's Where

Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

About us

The Winter 2011 issue of
Network News
is posted here
- in Adobe PDF format.

Click here for earlier issues
Adobe PDF  Click here to download (free!) Adobe Reader software to view this and all PDF files.

News of Presbyterian Voices for Justice
How to join us


Coming events calendar 

Do you want to announce an event?
Please send a note!
Food for the spirit
Book notes

Go to


NEWS of the Presbyterian Church

Got news??
Send us a note!
Social and global concerns
The U.S. political scene, 2010-11
The Middle East conflict
Uprising in Egypt
The Economic Crisis
Health Care Reform
Working for inclusive ordination
Peacemaking & international concerns
The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
Israel, Palestine, and Gaza
U. S. Politics
Election 2008
Economic justice
Fair Food Campaign
Labor rights
Women's Concerns
Sexual justice
Marriage Equality
Caring for the environment
Immigrant rights
Racial concerns
Church & State
The death penalty
The media
Other churches, other faiths
Do you want regular e-mail updates when stories are added to our web site?
Just send a note!
The WebWeaver's Space
Want books?
Search Now:


Christmas in Bethlehem

A call for prayer

Reflecting on Palestine and the PC(USA), the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, Moderator of the 214th General Assembly (2002), calls for prayer for Palestinians and Israelis, and for the PC(USA).  [12-11-02]

This Christmas ... plenty of room in the inn

The inns are empty, but they couldn't get into the town because Israel has closed it to all visitors. 


Witherspooners Darrel and Sue Yeaney share this picture of "the little town of Bethlehem" at the season of Christmas, 2002. The author is a Palestinian Christian who visited the Yeaneys in Iowa, and who arranged home stays for them in 1998.

Plenty of Room in the Inn


In a few weeks we will remember that Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

If Mary and Joseph were carrying the pre-born Jesus to Bethlehem today, they would find that there would be plenty of room in the inn, but they wouldn't be able to get into Bethlehem, because it would be under military closure and curfew. And if, by good luck and sheer determination, they were able to skirt around the military checkpoints and roadblocks by climbing over hills and through fields, they would find the inn closed - not full, but closed for lack of visitors.

Christmas Eve will be a silent night, but not a holy night. All is not calm; all is not bright in the not-so-little town of Bethlehem. It hasn't been for a couple years. The city of the birth of the Prince of Peace is abandoned and tense. War and violence hover over the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherd's Field like the heavenly host of angels once did.

The Christian Palestinians in Bethlehem, and in the surrounding villages of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, might be allowed out of their homes for a couple hours to walk to church on Christmas, en sha'allah (God willing), but they most certainly will not be joined by any Christians who live outside the immediate Bethlehem area. The few Christians who still live in Palestine (or the West Bank or the occupied territories or Samaria and Judea, depending on your political persuasion and who drew the map that you are using) are separated and isolated, divided by Israeli settlements and by-pass roads, and thus are kept from moving about freely. An image that helps me understand this is that of a piece of "swiss cheese." Bethlehem, Taybeh, Bir Zeit and the other towns and villages in which there are Christians, are like the holes in the swiss cheese that are kept from connecting with one another. Even the Christians who live in Jerusalem, just a few miles from Bethlehem, will not get to Bethlehem for Christmas, as the Christians who live in Bethlehem were not able to get to Jerusalem for Easter.

May the Prince of Peace, himself born in the town when it was under military occupation, be born anew in Bethlehem at Christmas, so that his presence - along with our concern for the believers and our efforts on their behalf - will bring peace through justice in the land where Jesus first cried, where the angels first sang, where the shepherds were first struck with great fear, and where Christians first believed.

May there be good news of great joy for all people, and on earth peace to those on whom God's favor rests!

Wisam T. salsaa
P.O.Box 366

Tel-Fax:+972 2 277 3672 -Mobile:052 357 498



GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries, confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

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

Our three areas of primary interest have been:

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

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.  Disapproved, because as an amendment to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not receive that.

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

If you like what you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and growing!

Please consider making a special contribution -- large or small -- to help us continue and improve this service.

Click here to send a gift online, using your credit card, through PayPal.

Or send your check, made out to "Presbyterian Voices for Justice" and marked "web site," to our PVJ Treasurer:

Darcy Hawk
4007 Gibsonia Road
Gibsonia, PA  15044-8312


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!


To top

© 2011 by Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  All material on this site is the responsibility of the WebWeaver unless other sources are acknowledged.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this site may be copied for personal use and sharing in small groups.  For permission to reproduce material for wider publication, please contact the WebWeaver, Doug King.  Any material reached by links on this site is outside the control and responsibility of the WebWeaver and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  Questions or comments?  Please send a note!