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:


Protestant Justice Action:
JusticeWorks Conference
March 28-30. 2003

Protestant justice groups proclaim "JusticeWorks" as they explore ways of renewing the churches' social witness

a special report from Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon Society Issues Analyst, with assistance from Len Bjorkman of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship    [3-31-03]

Michael Kinnamon's listing of seven "key assumptions" of the gathering fills out this report.

"JusticeWorks: Renewing the Church's Social Witness" was the theme of the first major conference of Protestant Justice Action. Held in the Union Avenue Christian Church, St. Louis, on March 28-30, the conference was co-sponsored by Eden Theological Seminary and Equal Partners in Faith.

Protestant Justice Action includes the non-official justice organizations of the mainline Protestant denominations: the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the oldest of these groups; Christians for Justice Action (UCC); Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ); Lutheran Human Relations Association (ELCA); Baptist Peace Fellowship (American Baptists, Alliance of Baptists, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship); and Witherspoon.

The conference had more than 300 registered participants, including more than 100 seminary and college students from 32 institutions. The person who kept motivation alive and planning on course was Fred Tilinski, a UCC layperson and airplane mechanic with a long-time commitment to social justice. Nancy Engel and Becky Carr, students at Eden Seminary, took care of publicity, registration, printing, and all sorts of details. Michael Kinnamon, a leader in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who is now teaching at Eden, was probably the key person in drawing together an impressive cast of speakers and workshop leaders.

Bible study was led each morning by the Rev. Mari Castallanos, a Cuban American who is on the Washington staff for the UCC. The opening preacher was United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, an advocate for justice not only in race but in issues of sexual orientation.

The keynote speaker was the Rev. Gregory Dell of Chicago, back in his pulpit after being removed by the United Methodists because of his advocacy of gay and lesbian rights.

The last night saw an impressive interfaith panel including the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United, the Rev. Carlton Veazey of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, a leader in the St. Louis Jewish community.

The conference opened with a reminder that it was meeting in the state of John Ashcroft and of Richard Gephardt. It needed no reminder that it was meeting at a time of a stagnant economy, tax cuts for the rich, and budget deficits at the federal, state, and local levels. And it needed no reminder that it was meeting during the first week of the Iraq War, which was not going according to plan; the Iraqi army was not disintegrating, and the first news out of the campaign involved a "fragging" by a soldier in the 101st and the taking of several U.S. prisoners.

Opening worship included a dramatization of Job in the role of a wearied reformer, a man who had received adulation for his integrity, advocacy of justice, and freeing of captives, but now has become a byword, mocked for his loss of status, with his counselors suggesting that all of this must be in punishment for his wrong deeds. One could not help being reminded of the gloating in the conservative press that "the mainline is being sidelined" and accusations from religious conservatives that advocates of justice have been unfaithful to the Christian heritage. Lest progressive Christians engage in too much self-pity, however, Bishop Talbert recalled the story of Puccini's opera Turandot: in its premier performance Arturo Toscanini stopped the performance, saying, "The master wrote thus far," and stopped; but in later performances he continued with the sections completed by disciples. In other words, the ministry of reconciliation, which was his text (2 Cor 5:16-21), must continue.

No self-pity was expressed in the twelve workshops, which dealt with the priorities set by Protestant Justice Action: church and state, public education, the "criminal justice" system and the death penalty, disabilities, racism and reparations, economic and environmental justice, health care, justice for GLBT persons in church and society, peace in the Middle East, peace advocacy in the churches, and amplifying our social witness voice in Washington. Each workshop had four or five resource persons as well as a range of experienced people who are on the front lines, so discussion was lively.

Elenora Giddings Ivory, Director of the PC(USA) Washington Office, provided leadership in the workshop, "Amplifying Our Social Witness Policy," which covered the church's witness to government officials in Washington. One new feature of the office's work is the opportunity for Presbyterians to send e-mails directly to Members of Congress through the 10 advocacy networks and the link to CapWiz.

Elenora also rounded out a panel on Saturday afternoon as members discussed various aspects of renewing our social-justice witness.  During that panel, Bishop Talbert briefly described the ecumenical leaders' solidarity trip to Baghdad in early January, as part of the NCCC's strenuous efforts to prevent the war.

Another national staff person, Mark Koenig of the Peacemaking Program, had expected to be there, but a family death prevented his attending. Presbyterians were well represented by Elenora, as well as by Witherspoon and the Peace Fellowship, along with at least two participants from St. Louis. We hoped for more of a Presbyterian presence, since this promises to a significant effort in promoting social justice. Social-justice minded seminarians would have found it especially informative to be among the articulate seminarians there, and to share in planning for renewal of the church's witness in this ecumenical context.

The conference intentionally moved toward a conclusion of two sorts: a statement that is being drawn up from comments that emerged from the workshops, and a public act of witness (something that has become a trademark of all Protestant Justice Action gatherings). On Sunday afternoon, participants joined in vigil called "Four Corners for Peace" at Union Avenue and Delmar, then streamed to the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park, meeting six other streams, for a peace rally of thousands.


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.

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!