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A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

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Support for Rev. Milton Mejía

Mission co-worker in Colombia urges support for Synod executive in Colombia, under threat for his defense of human rights


PCUSA mission co-worker Alice Winters calls our attention to serious threats against Milton Mejía, and offers specific information to help us contact the President of Colombia on his behalf.

See also the Presbyterian News Service report on threats against the Rev. Milton Mejía, and the "escape" from custody of the man who threatened him.

Dear friends,

Many of you have seen the article sent out by PCUSA NEWS entitled, "Man who threatened Colombian pastor escapes jail." We are grateful for the overwhelming response of so many who are asking, "What can we do?"

The pastor in question, Rev. Milton Mejía, is a former student of mine. He graduated from our seminary in the 80's and married a classmate, now the Rev. Adelaida Jiménez. They have two small children. Adelaida is pastor of the Ninth Presbyterian Church of Barranquilla as well as chaplain of the prestigious Colegio Americano ("American School"), one of a number of elementary-high school complexes operated by the Presbyterian Church of Colombia.

Milton is Moderator of the session of Fourth Church, but he serves principally as the Executive Secretary of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. He is also on the Board of the Reformed University where I serve. If you are one of those who have requested the video about our university, you will have seen Milton and heard him speak. (If you have not yet made your request, we still have copies available for the asking.)

During the past 20 years, as the violence in Colombia has increased, Milton Mejía has established a national and international reputation as a defender of human rights. He has developed and participated in the church's programs for displaced persons, and he constantly challenges other church groups and individuals to become involved. He has given leadership to several different organizations that work for peace and justice in Colombia, and he can tell you all kinds of statistics about the situation here, such as the number of labor leaders who have been assassinated. That number would astonish you - being a labor leader in Colombia can be dangerous for your health.

The thing is, being a defender of human rights can also be dangerous for your health. Last fall Milton began receiving telephone threats against his life and that of his family. He reported those threats, and the police traced the calls to a paramilitary leader who was arrested and held without bail. But while he was awaiting trial, something happened. This past week Milton learned that the man who threatened him was no longer in custody. Government officials say he escaped.

The Colombian church has sent letters to partner churches around the world asking them to uphold Milton and his family in prayer and to be ready to provide assistance should an emergency arise. You too can have a part in protecting Milton and his family:

1. Pray for him regularly and often.

2. Write a letter to the President of Colombia. It is important for the Colombian government to know that many Americans are aware of Milton's situation and concerned about what may happen. The President's address is as follows

Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez
Palacio de Nariño
Carrera 8 No.7-26,
Bogota, Colombia.

Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86

Here is a model letter, drawn up by Milton himself, which you may wish to follow.

Dear Mr. President:

We have learned that persons who have identified themselves as representatives of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - AUC - have been making calls to Milton Mejía Camargo, Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. These calls have tried to intimidate him and threatened both Mr. Mejía and his family if he failed to cooperate with them.

These calls were denounced to the proper authorities and on the 27th of November, 2003, a person was caught red handed in the act of making such calls. He was identified as Nicolás Alfonso Pezzano Bornacelly. However, at this time this individual is reported to have escaped from custody.

As a result, we are asking that special protection be guaranteed for Pastor Milton Mejía. We would also ask you to clarify the circumstances under which Nicolás Alfonso Pezzano Bornacelly left the District Jail of Barranquilla.

Sincerely yours,


It would be helpful if you would let me know when you have sent a letter to the President, and I would be happy to pass on to Milton any personal word you may wish to send assuring him of your support and concern at this difficult time. Blessings on you ...

Alice Winters
Please note my new email address

Easter greetings and thanks for solidarity, from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia


We recently posted an appeal for letters in support of the Rev. Milton Mejía, who currently serves as the Executive Secretary of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia

We've just received a letter of Easter greeting and thanks from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, via PC(USA) mission co-worker Alice Winters.

We encourage you to read this letter, and to see how important such Christian solidarity can be.

Para:    Iglesias Hermanas y Organismo Ecuménicos.
To:       Sister churches and ecumenical organizations

De:       Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia.
From:    Presbyterian Church of Colombia

Asunto:  Saludo de Pascua y agradecimiento.
Re:         Easter greetings and thanks

Fecha:    21 de abril de 2003
Date:       April 21, 2003

Estimados Hermanos y Hermanas.
Dear brothers and sisters

En estos días en los cuales hemos compartido con las Iglesias el sentido de la entrega y resurrección de Jesús, agradecemos por sus mensajes de solidaridad, sus oraciones y por el envió de una gran cantidad de cartas al presidentes de Colombia pidiendo la protección de nuestro hermano Milton Mejía.

In these days when we have shared with our churches the meaning of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, we thank you for your messages of solidarity, your prayers, and for the many letters that have been sent to the President of Colombia asking for protection for our brother Milton Mejía

Sentir la solidaridad de hermanos y hermanas en la distancia nos afirma que la resurrección de Jesús es un camino para afirmar que es posible resistir la impunidad que muchos colombianos y colombianas, están sufriendo a causa del compromiso por la defensa de la vida en estos momentos en que la situación de nuestro país se deteriora a causa de la violencia que nos imponen los actores del conflicto.

To feel the solidarity of brothers and sisters far away reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus affirms that it is possible to stand against the unpunished attacks that many Colombian men and women are suffering because of their commitment to defend life at this time when the situation of our country is worsening because of the violence being carried out by those who are carrying on the conflict.

Les mantendremos informados de la forma como avance el proceso y de las acciones que haya que realizar para garantizar la seguridad de nuestro hermano y para que este hecho no quede en la impunidad.

We will keep you informed as the case develops and of any additional actions that must be taken to guarantee the security of our brother so that these threats will not go unpunished.

Fraternalmente en nombre del resucitado.
With brotherly love in the name of the Risen One,

Rev. Diego Higuita .
Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia



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,
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.

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

Darcy Hawk
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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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