Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

NOTE:  This site is being retired. 
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Thanks for visiting with us! 
We offer news and views
from a progressive perspective.

We'd like to hear from you! 
Please send us your comments and suggestions.

      Click here for the official PC(USA) web site.

Please visit PVJ's new website!

The Rev. Vicki Moss is now managing a livelier and less formal site at  That is now the official site of Presbyterian Voices for Justice!  She'd be happy to receive your comments and suggestions, and things you can offer for posting on that site.
Just send her a note at

This old site is being kept online as an archive,
with very occasional changes
by your old WebWeaver, Doug King


Please contact me with any concerns or comments.
And thanks for a great time together!

                                                        Doug King

Another comment on the subject of "flags in church"

This long-running conversation still draws interest, and you can click here for the latest contribution.

From your WebWeaver ...

A parting word of thanks and farewell —

At the request of the Moderator of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, I am taking down this old PVJ website, beginning today.

The PVJ coordinating team is concerned that there has been some confusion with PVJ’s current two websites – this old one, and the new site being developed and managed by Vicki Moss. That kind of confusion is not helpful, so I’ll be removing this old site as quickly as possible. For now, I’m leaving this home page, just so anybody who visits this site will know where they should look now:

But before I go, I do want to say a very warm word of thanks to all of you who have supported this effort over the past twelve years:
bulletthe Witherspoon Society board and members, and now the folks of PVJ, who have supported and encouraged my efforts in creating and maintaining this site;
bulletthe countless people who have contributed news and reflections on all sorts of subjects – from General Assembly deliberations to the struggle for justice and full inclusion of LGBT members of the Presbyterian Church; from thoughts about the display of flags in church sanctuaries (which got very busy in the first couple years after 9/11) to the interplay between prayer and action for peace and justice;
bulletthe sister organizations with whom we have worked, and which have helped inform our postings in many ways;
bulletstaff members of various General Assembly agencies, particularly the Presbyterian News Service, who have provided so much information and assistance;
bulletthe many of you who have kept our site busy (still receiving over 6000 visits last month), and have provided your WebWeaver with lots of helpful and encouraging comments, opinions and suggestions;
bulletand finally, and most warmly, my spouse Kim, who has had to put up with a husband who spent many hours hunched over a keyboard, doing his “web work.” But she has also provided invaluable ideas and inspiration.

These years have been greatly enriched for me by this experience – by trying to learn to communicate in a new and rapidly changing medium, and by enjoying rich friendships both in person (especially at each GA) and online.

For all of this, and so much more,I thank you all.

But as you might guess, I can’t resist the temptation to offer a few parting thoughts:

Our Presbyterian Church has been through some momentous struggles over the past couple decades, and we can rejoice that some major turning points have been reached, especially in the move toward full inclusion of LGBT people in ordination. Now if we can take the second step in making that turn, to honor their committed relationships as marriages, that will be a blessing to all of us.

But there are still plenty of other challenges. Just for example, I think many of us are just becoming aware of how profoundly our culture has been changing over the past couple decades, as increasing numbers of younger people view religion in a very different way from earlier generations. (If you have children who are now in their 20s or 30s, or if you work with people of those ages as a pastor or teacher or colleague, I think you’ll know what I mean.)

When religious faith becomes a matter of “spirituality” and life-style choices, rather than an affirmation of a particular doctrinal system, the life of institutional churches will be deeply challenged. It will be challenged, amazingly, to return to the kind of faith-as-life that Jesus taught about and demonstrated. Not such a bad change, I think, but not an easy shift for many of us and our institutions. It is, however, a shift that is deeply consistent with the work of the Witherspoon Society, and Voices of Sophia, and now Presbyterian Voices for Justice, over the past 39 years.

I wish you all well – for peace and justice, and for joy in the lives that God has given us.

Your old WebWeaver,

Doug King

And if you ever want to get in touch, I’ll still be at, and available by phone at (952) 423-2827. I’ll always be glad to hear from you!

Well, I'm trying to quit messing with this old website, but it's hard to give it up!  So here are a few items I just have to share with you today.  And if you missed it, or forgot, please take a look at our appeal for funds for our activities at General Assembly, and give whatever support you can!

Doug King

Prophets, Not Profits

By Al Lewis – a columnist for Dow Jones Newswires in Denver

I don’t usually look to The Wall Street Journal for guidance in the area of economic justice and Jesus’ teachings on the subject. But a very nice column turned up there the other day, and I just have to share it. Here are a few snippets:

God does not want you to be rich.

Every so often, he raises up a prophet to teach wayward profiteers about the sacrifice he demands.

Ephren W. Taylor II, who called himself "the Social Capitalist," may be one such prophet.

This son of a preacherman sold investment schemes at megachurches from Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta to Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged Mr. Taylor with running a Ponzi scheme. His victims are now congregating in a class-action lawsuit. (Read more about Mr. Taylor on my blog,

"There's more fraud in the name of God than anything else," says Ole Anthony, president of the Trinity Foundation, which has been investigating religious fraud since 1987. ...

But the "Prosperity Gospel" has made Christians especially vulnerable. Plant a seed, reap a harvest: Many preachers and televangelists promise a hundred-fold blessing for every dollar donated to them—something not even the Prince of Darkness, Bernie Madoff, had dared.  .....

I have taken the liberty of actually reading the Bible throughout my life for those who will not. Here's what it says: Love of money is the root of all evil. Blessed are the poor. Store your treasure in heaven. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Hand over your possessions to the poor and follow. Love your enemy. Turn the other cheek. Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal. Don't hit up your neighbor's wife. And my favorite: It is easier to shove a Fat Cat through the eye of a needle than it is for a camel to go to heaven—or something like that.

Jesus was not a capitalist. When he turned water into wine, he did not open a liquor store. When he multiplied loaves and fishes, he did not establish Wal-Mart. When he miraculously healed the sick, he did not bill Medicare or start an HMO. Somehow, profiting richly from the sick and infirm was considered unjust back in those days. ...

More >>

GAPJC decision gives unanimous support to Lisa Larges’ ordination 

This message was issued yesterday by More Light Presbyterians:

We give thanks to God for the unanimous decision by the General Assembly's Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) to support the ordination of Lisa Larges. "Persons that take the time to know Lisa recognize her deep faith, call and gifts for ministry. Now more than ever, our hurting world needs to have as many caring, called and qualified persons serving in ministry. This is a new day in the PCUSA," said Michael Adee, Executive Director and Field Organizer.  More >>

A statement from the Covenant Network adds this:

The Board of Covenant Network is deeply gratified that the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission today upheld the decision of the Presbytery of San Francisco to ordain Lisa Larges as a Teaching Elder in the church. This decision brings to a final conclusion roughly four years of litigation over the presbytery's authority to find Lisa fit for ordained service after she declared her conscientious objections to former G-6.0106b (the "fidelity and chastity" rule) and similarly exclusionary interpretations of Scripture and the confessions.

In its decision, which was issued without any dissent, the GAPJC acknowledged that there is significant diversity around the church in the interpretation of what Scripture and the confessions teach about human sexuality. The GAPJC affirmed that "[s]uch thoughtful disagreement among reasonable and faithful Presbyterians is itself an important and faithful part of the Reformed tradition." Given this, the GAPJC affirmed that the Presbytery of San Francisco "properly exercised its prerogative" in determining that Lisa did not depart from essentials of Reformed faith and polity.

The board understands that, during the period this case was under review, Lisa discerned that she has fulfilled her call to the position that was validated as the basis for ordination, and that she now intends to seek ordination to a new call in another presbytery. We are deeply grateful to Lisa for her courageous and persistent witness throughout this process, and know that the church will be greatly blessed by her ministry in coming years.   More >>

Here is Lisa Larges' statement about the decision >>

And here is the PJC decision in pdf format >>
Register now for the 2012 Peacemaking Conference

JULY 11-15, 2012

This announcement comes from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program

Join us in the sacred space of Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico as peacemakers gather to explore the vision of God’s community in Isaiah 58. Together we will engage in contextual bible study and small group reflections, gather for prayer and worship, take part in peace advocacy and training workshops, hear briefings and experience hands-on expressions of peace. For a complete conference brochure, schedule, leader list, housing information and registration link, please visit the Peacemaking Conference web pages.

A peacemaking perspective on Pres. Obama’s address from Afghanistan

This thoughtful comment comes from the American Friends Service Committee

In his televised address from Afghanistan last night, President Obama announced the signing of a pact with the government of Afghanistan to extend the U.S. presence for 10 years beyond the scheduled removal of foreign troops in 2014.

It is a vision backed up by a pledge to continue creating a powerful and outsized Afghan security force to be financially, technically, and physically trained by the international community. The president also pledged to designate Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally. This effectively puts the country under the umbrella of the NATO military alliance.

After three decades of deadly violence Afghans want an end to these wars. Soviet troops, warlords, Mujahideen armies, Taliban forces, and the armies of NATO have all attempted to rule through force. Another military alliance is not the solution.

Thirty years of fighting has led to one of the largest and most protracted refugee crises in the world, huge numbers of traumatized people, and untold deaths. It has also led to the belief that uniforms do not matter. People with guns continue to terrorize Afghanistan.

Help us raise a challenge to this vision by sending a letter to the editor of your local paper. The people of Afghanistan and of the United States deserve better.

For the full comment on the AFSC website >>

We need your support for our presence and events at General Assembly

A letter will be in the mail to our current and recent members within the next few days, telling you about our plans for GA, and asking your financial support for the costs for our Coordinating Team’s presence and witness there.

About our planned events, Moderator Bill Dummer has said this in his letter to members:

We will be presenting three events carrying our name. The first will be the Awards Luncheon and membership meeting on Sunday, July 1. It will be held at the socially active East Liberty Church, and our keynote speaker will be the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, Director of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. Right now, we are pondering who might be the most appropriate recipients of our awards to a congregation and to an individual for their work for justice. We’d welcome your suggestions! Then, on Tuesday morning will be our Voices (of Sophia) Breakfast, featuring none other than our own Sylvia Thorson-Smith (whose feminist credentials are impeccable). And that evening will be the famous Dance Party as the Assembly takes an evening off.

If you’d like to make a gift (and maybe even renew your membership) without waiting for the letter to find you, you can do it right here online, using PayPal and your credit card. We hope you’ll join in supporting this effort!

Click here to renew your membership and/or send your extra support! 

Or click here if you simply want to send a contribution.  (Hey, that's OK too!)


The Nominating Committee of PV4J is looking for the next class of Coordinating Team members, to be elected at the membership meeting on July 1 in Pittsburgh. Suggestions should be sent to the Moderator of the committee, Bill Dummer, at People may suggest themselves. The committee will be looking for persons with experience/skill in editing/publishing, database management, and financial development, as well as planning and leadership in general.  Job descriptions will be provided along with the invitation to serve.

from Vicki Moss, on our pv4j website

Three helpful looks at the Middle East crises

Len Bjorkman has sent us three very helpful looks at the current crises in the Middle East.  The first is a report from a three-day conference of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches.  Then there are two recent articles that help show some of the complexity of the current crisis in Syria, which have been forwarded to him by a staff person of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches.


Middle East Evangelical Churches call for “a Middle East that enjoys peace based on justice, freedom and the respect and preservation of human rights.”

The Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (Lutheran – Anglican – Reformed) held its first international conference on “Evangelical and Christian Presence in the Middle East,” on February 13 - 15 in Beirut, Lebanon.

They issued a Final Communiqué which includes this brief summary of their conclusions:

An invitation was issued to all our regional and international partners and friends, inviting them to conduct a serious investigation into the truth of what is in fact happening in the different countries of the Middle East; and which differ from one country to another. Having done so, it becomes incumbent on all to inform the international community of these facts and to respond accordingly. It is our hope that this response shall be inspired by the Biblical principles upon which the Evangelical Reformation was based centuries ago. To us this means to uphold justice and truth and repudiate the violence that now so sadly prevails in the Middle East region – violence that comes from all sides and parties involved.

Click here for the full statement >>


Assad won't be leaving soon

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent, in the United Kingdom, warns that “President Bashar al-Assad [of Syria] is not about to go. Not yet. Not, maybe, for quite a long time.” Fisk argues that Assad has strong support from its immediate neighbors: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, all of which will refuse to support sanctions, and will continue to provide significant support in economic and other ways.   More >>


Syria's 'Arab Spring': failed or hijacked?

Fiona Hill, an Australian with a PhD in anthropology, reports on a visit to Syria where she became aware of the complexities of the opposition to Assad’s government. She heard from many people their “disgust” at the “poor governance” they have endured for too long, even as they were equally aware of the divisions among the opposition groups, and their willingness to use inhumane tactics themselves. Read her report from ABC News (which is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) >>

Crossing religious barriers:

An invitation to conversation

by Doug King, your WebWeaver

Click here for a longer version of these meandering thoughts >>

A lot of our lives are shaped by lines – the lines we draw (“in the sand,” for instance), the lines we follow (party lines, maybe?), the lines we cross, the lines we use to connect us with others. We draw lines, delineating and defending boundaries, to protect ourselves – as individuals, as nations, as religious communities – from being attacked or diluted or weakened by those who are different from us.

So lines may protect us, may guide us, but they may also exclude us, limit our own freedom of thinking and acting and associating with others.

Jesus drew lines, too. I’m impressed though, that he seemed more interested in drawing lines that included, rather than those that excluded. In his living and his teaching, he seemed interested in crossing lines and breaking barriers, more than in defining and defending them. So he associated often and warmly with people whom most good Jews of his time wanted to exclude – the poor, the prostitutes, the servants of the Roman occupation power.

And when Jesus did draw lines, they tended to be to protect people from the moralists, the pious, and the rich. For instance, consider Matthew’s reports of his harsh warnings to the Pharisees, as in Matthew 23.23. Or of course there’s Jesus’ sharp contrast between the widow giving her two pennies at the temple, and the wealthy donors showing off their generosity as they made their gifts.

So Jesus did cross some very important lines, and drew some others – and was put to death for his willingness to do that.

And he invites us to follow him, I believe, in crossing lines – loving and serving and simply being friends with the outcasts, the unclean, the “sinners.” (For more thoughts about the drawing and crossing of lines >)

One vital line Jesus calls us to cross is the line that we draw so often, to divide one religion from another, one faith from another. The line Jesus himself struggled with was the one between Jews and gentiles, or within the Jewish religious community – the line between those who observed the Law and those who were, for whatever reasons, lax in their observance.

My own very unspectacular career has in many ways been a matter of crossing lines: national and cultural (for 10 years of teaching in Indonesia), religious (in teaching and providing pastoral care to people of various faiths), and more. (Click here if you’d like to see more about my own line-crossing adventures.)

Why am I going on about all this? I’m looking for a few folks who’d like to join in a conversation about our various experiences of crossing religious lines. I’m long retired, but still shaped by my own past, and by all that I gained from crossing those lines so long ago. And now I find myself drawn to crossing religious lines again, but in a deeper, more personal way. So I’m simply seeking to gain some wisdom and comfort and strength for myself, and to expand the horizons of my spiritual world.

Specifically, I’m drawn to various voices speaking out of contemporary Buddhist thought and practice, especially in what is often called “mindfulness.” On this little quest, I’ve been drawn to sages and writers including Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and many others.

As I wander down these deeply enriching spiritual paths, I’m looking for others who are on the same journey – crossing lines, especially religious lines, whether to enrich their own lives, or to gain understanding of others outside the Christian circle. 


So – what are your experiences in line-crossing?

bulletHow have those ventures enriched you?
bulletWhat kinds of concerns and problems have you encountered?
bulletWhat would you like to share with other seekers?
bulletAnd what would you like to hear from them?

Are you interested in joining the conversation?

Please just send a note – and let me know whether you’d like the conversation to be private (in an email list I’ll set up) or public (by posting your note here).  NOTE:  If the email link just above doesn't work (ah, the mysteries of the Web!), just send your note to

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Religion – dividing or healing?

Here’s another essay I posted a little over a year ago, trying to articulate what I find a helpful way of understanding religion itself.

Words to remember – and to live! – from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr. (and lots of others, too) are gathered on the ProgressiveValues website of Phyllis Stenerson, of Minneapolis, MN  Many thanks, Phyllis!


"We must move forward in the days ahead with audacious faith. The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice."


"A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world....

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us....

We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves in the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world...."

from "Beyond Vietnam" - an address delivered to the Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, at Riverside Church, New York City on April 4, 1967

For more quotations from King >>

Economic equality was a part of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream

Martin Luther King is remembered and celebrated most as the great leader of the movement for civil rights.  But a number of writers and commentators are minding us today that King was killed in Memphis, where he was supporting the labor struggle of black sanitation workers to move into the middle class.  And he saw economic justice for all as a vital part of his concern for making U.S. society a better place.

The perils of public piety

by Berry Craig

We'll have to wait until next year to find out if a Tim Tebow Super Bowl win will inspire some evangelical Christians to torch Muslim houses of worship and make other mischief in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Tebow, a hero – and martyr – to a multitude of Christian conservatives, quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to a 45-10 playoff loss to the New England Patriots Saturday night.

To be sure, Tebow and the Broncos had beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers in the "Mile High Miracle" to advance to the game against the Patriots. But Tebow also grabbed headlines all season for frequently kneeling in prayer on the football field. Somebody dubbed it "tebowing."

Christian conservatives love it. But a lot of people, including this lifelong Kentuckian whose Presbyterian roots go back to Scotland of old, are uncomfortable with ostentatious public piety, which, after all, gets bad press in the Good Book. In Matthew 6:5, Christ admonishes: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward."

More >>

1/10/2012  ... and a belated Happy New Year!
An important event coming soon:

Consultation on Criminal Justice
Stony Point Center
February 17 – 19, 2012

·  Over 2,300,000 adults are incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails
·  Approximately 15 – 20% of inmates suffer from chronic mental illness
·  From 1990 to 2009, the private prison population grew by 1600
·  Companies and government agencies are replacing workers with contract prison labor
·  Persons of color are more likely to be arrested, convicted, sent to prison and receive the death penalty but less likely to receive pardons or commutations.
·  363,000 non-violent, undocumented immigrants are incarcerated every year

Is this what the Lord requires of us?

As people of faith and conscience, we know the answer.
We know that we are commanded to “do justice and love mercy.”

Be part of the solution. Join us at Stony Point Conference Center, February 17 – 19, 2012, for a time of strategic visioning. Participants representing every aspect and area of criminal justice are coming together to share their experience and best practices in order to create a Criminal Justice Network with the capacity to educate, organize, and mobilize faith communities and persons of faith to do the work of justice and mercy.

Confirmed presenters include:

* Laura Markle Downton, Criminal Justice Reform Grassroots Coordinator, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
* Mr. Alex Friedmann, Associate Editor of Prison Legal News
* Mr. Hans Hallundbaek, Hudson River Prison Partnership Coordinator
* Mr. Glen Martin, vice president of the Fortune Society
* Rev. Sala Nolan, Minister for Justice Ministries and Human Rights, United Church of Christ
* Mr. Robert Sloan, prison labor activist, blogger for “Daily Kos
* T. Richard Snyder, former dean of New York Theological Seminary and author of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Punishment

COST: $230.00 per person (shared room) for full conference (single room: $310.00) Commuter rate (meals only): $170.00

Register online today: or by phone: 845-786-5674 ext. 101

For more information contact Rev. Trina Zelle at 602-796-7477 or

Download this brochure in easy-to-print PDF format >>

TAMFS plans to wrap up its activities this year

In a note to their friends dated December 30th, Lisa Largess and the Board of That All May Freely Serve have informed us that they have decided to “consolidate our movement for equality and welcome in the Presbyterian Church and, therefore, to draw to a close the work of TAMFS in 2012.” This is partly in recognition of the great step forward the was taken by the ratification of presbyteries of the action of the 2010 General Assembly, allowing the ordination of LGBT Presbyterians.

As part of this transition, they are planning:

bullet“a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance to be held this spring at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church, and
bullet“A General Assembly “Happening” to share our history and our hope with our wider church family.”

Lisa Larges adds this update on her own situation:

At the end of April, the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Council will hear the case involving my ordination. It will be the third time that this case has been before them. Even though Amendment 10-A has passed, the complainants are arguing that the church should deny ordination to LGBT folks based on Scripture and the Confessions. A clear ruling from the PJC, acknowledging that faithful Presbyterians can disagree about the interpretation of Scripture and the Confessions, will go a long way toward cutting off other challenges to the ordination of other LGBT Presbyterians.

A little note from your WebWeaver:

On behalf of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, I want to acknowledge with deep gratitude the powerful and often costly witness that TAMFS has given within the PC(USA) over the years of struggle for ordination, and more broadly for justice and inclusion within our church. We trust they will continue to bear witness through whatever news channels they discern as most appropriate and effective.

May God’s peace and power continue to be with them and work through them all!

Doug King 

All of our posts from October through December are on their own archive page, but some of the most important ones are still shown below..

Posts from all of
September, 2011

August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011

May, 2011
April, 2011

March, 2011
February, 2011

January, 2011

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

For an index to our posts from the 219th General Assembly

Presbyterian Voices For Justice is opening a new website!     [12-7-11]

Vicki Moss, who has been named by the PVJ coordinating team as our new Communications Coordinator and Webweaver, is in the first stages of setting up a new website, which you’ll find at She will be replacing Doug King, who is slowly retiring from his role as creator and manager of our old site, at (That site will be left intact for a while, at least, and you may be able to jump to it through various links on the new site.)

We (including Doug King) believe this new site will reflect a more casual and interactive style than our older one, and we hope you will join in on it – contributing your own news and views, and stopping by often to see what’s there.

Vicki hopes you’ll be patient while she continues to learn the software she’s using, and to build a variety of links.

To introduce Vicki -- many of you know her from her role as our booth coordinator at every GA, where she provides not only a warm welcome, but those wonderful and often funny buttons. She will continue to serve as booth coordinator at GA.

She adds that “In my other life I am pastor of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church in NYC and also starring on Broadway as Director of Children's Ministry @ Broadway United Church of Christ.”

She also wants to let you know that she would welcome your contributions of news and reflections for the new website. You can contact her at  

New online journal blends information, action

‘Unbound’ seeks to appeal to social justice academics and advocates

by Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – Nov. 28, 2011 – The new social justice journal from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy is aiming to be more than just that.

Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice launched last month as an online source of information for academics and advocates alike.

“We are doing something potentially unprecedented in trying to be both journal and community organizer,” said Patrick David Heery, managing editor.

Unbound has two target audiences: people who loved ACSWP’s former print journal, Church & Society, and who are active in social justice ministries; and people of all backgrounds who are interested in the connection between justice and Jesus.

“We want to witness to this other side of Christianity that often doesn’t get a lot of traction in the media,” Heery said.

The online journal is interactive, inviting users to comment on posts; submit articles, photos, art and poetry; and participate in forums and polls. The site also provides action alerts and information on ways to get involved in justice campaigns. More >>

And click here for our earlier introduction of this exciting new social-justice publication from the PC(USA).

The Fall 2011 issue of Network News is here.   [11-17-11]

The first issue of Network News to be published since the Winter issue, published in March 2011, will soon be in the mail to our members (except for those of you who have indicated that you'll save trees and money by getting your copy in PDF format online).

For the high-resolution version, which takes longer to download but looks better, click here.

For the everyday version, a faster download, click here.

Contents include:

PVJ Takes a Look at the "Occupy Wall Street" Movement (pages 5 - 8)

The Moderator’s Column (p. 2 - 3)

Network News going on-line only (4 and 9)

Struggling in Sudan and South Sudan (11 - 12)

How Holy is the Holy Land?  (13 - 15)

"Thanks to PVJ Friends" ... from More Light Presbyterians (16 - 17)

St. Mark’s, Tucson, Celebrates the Yes vote on 10A, by Sylvia Thorson-Smith (18 - 19)

Immigration, by Lorelei Hillman (20 - 23)

Book Review: Marcus Borg’s Putting Away Childish Things, by Doug King  (24 - 25)

PVJ plans for the 2012 General Assembly (26)


Network News going on-line only

This is the last Network News that will be published in print on paper, with one exception.

From now on Network News will be found here, on the Presbyterian Voices for Justice website

 The one exception will be the Spring issue just prior to each meeting of the General Assembly. That issue will carry discussion of issues coming before the Assembly and will be sent to all of the Commissioners and Advisory Delegates, in addition to the PVJ membership.

Whenever a new issue of Network News goes on the website, an email will be sent out notifying the membership. If you are not on the PVJ email list, and would like to be, please send your email address to Vicki Moss, our Communications Coordinator at

We apologize for missing the Spring and Summer issues for this year, and for our inability to continue producing this newsletter in print.

If you have had a library subscription, or a group membership, please contact our Membership Coordinator to request a refund.  He is Jeremiah Rosario; email at, phone at (646) 675-7029.  Mail: 230 East 87th Street, Apt. 2C, New York, NY  10128

Four more overtures submitted for the 2012 General Assembly     [10-8-11]

Two of the overtures -- 005 from the presbytery of Stockton and 006 from Central Florida -- would restore the "chastity and fidelity" requirement, in one form or another, to the ordination standards.

Overture 007, from the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky, would call on MRTI (Mission Responsibility Through Investment) to review the practices of a number of major health insurance companies, in light of previous GA actions relating to fair health care for all.

Overture 008, from the Presbytery of Santa Fe, would revise the new Form of Government to replace the terms "ruling elder" and "teaching elder" with the former terms of "elder" and "minister of Word and Sacrament."

PHEWA seeks nominations for social justice ministries awards     [10-6-11]

Deadline Is Feb. 15 for awards to be celebrated at GA 220 in Pittsburgh

Presbyterian News Service, by Jerry L. Van Marter

The Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) is seeking nominations for seven ministry awards that will be celebrated during the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Pittsburgh next July.

Seven awards will be presented by PHEWA, part of the Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry of the General Assembly Mission Council. PHEWA is a voluntary membership organization dedicated to social welfare and justice ministries.

Ten networks are currently part of PHEWA, organized for grassroots implementation of General Assembly policies in the areas of community ministries and faith-based community organizing, addictions, domestic violence, HIV and AIDS, reproductive options, specialized pastoral ministries, child advocacy, disabilities, health and wholeness, and serious mental illness.

A little note: PVJ encourages you to think of people who might be worthy of consideration for any of these important awards, and then to nominate them.

Click here for details and how to submit nominations >>

"... today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice has been righted in our church."    [5-11-11]

A statement from Presbyterian Voices for Justice

For over thirty years, Presbyterians have debated the will of God and refused to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons to serve God in all ordained capacities in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whenever injustice is perpetuated, it feels like a recurrence of the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt. Like them, LGBT persons and their allies have cried to God for justice, and our prayers have been answered. The Holy Spirit has been praying with us in sighs too deep for words, and that Spirit has touched human hearts in a massive movement for change.

Praise be to God that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has taken a giant leap of freedom and removed a major barrier to equality among us. There is yet much to do to make the PC(USA) a fully just and egalitarian community for all of its members. But today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice has been righted in our church.

The Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Voices for Justice
May 11, 2011

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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.


John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, 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.


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.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


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