Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

NOTE:  This site is being retired. 
Click here
for our new official website:

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
Occupy Wall Street 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:


From the Witherspoon president

The President's Corner

Ken Smith, President of the Witherspoon Society

From the Summer 2004 issue of Network News
Posted here on 9-4-04.

Let's get acquainted

by Ken Smith

The Witherspoon Society is an interesting organization. Although most readers of this issue know that I am the new President of Witherspoon, unless you regularly attend General Assembly you probably know very little else about me. My purpose in this initial column is to fill in that gap so that you will know the context out of which my leadership will be coming.

I was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. I grew up in the Congregational Church, which became part of the United Church of Christ while I was in college. I graduated from Carleton College in 1961 and enrolled in Chicago Theological Seminary. However, like our GA Moderator, I am a seminary dropout. I married Barbara Dreyer in 1962. We have two adult sons, one of whom is bisexual, and six grandchildren. We settled in Chicago and I began my pursuit of an actuarial career. This pursuit took us from Chicago to Cleveland and finally to Detroit, where we have lived since 1982. I took early retirement in 1991, but my work for social justice didn't wait until I retired. Early involvements included marching with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965 and being part of a congregation working on racial reconciliation in the Presbytery of the Western Reserve.

After I retired I became active at both presbytery and national levels. In the Presbytery of Detroit, I chaired both the Social Justice and Peacemaking and the Racial Ethnic Concerns Committees. I was part of a group that worked to create the Presbytery's Anti-Racism team, served as one of the initial co-chairs and continue as a member of the team today. I was elected as a Commissioner to the 1996 GA in Albuquerque. I was the Moderator of the Detroit Presbytery in 2003, which meant I was also a commissioner to the Denver GA that year.

My first involvement at the national level of the PC(USA) was using my actuarial skills to work on the issue of health care reform, working through the Interreligious Health Care Access Campaign and the Presbyterian Health Network, which I later moderated. This initial involvement got me to the 1993 GA in Orlando and suddenly the scope of my involvement dramatically broadened. I even got my picture in The Layman during a floor demonstration following the vote to make the 1978 Definitive Guidance an Authoritative Interpretation. I have attended every GA since, with the exception of 1995. I have served as the Moderator of Semper Reformanda and helped negotiate the merger of Semper and Witherspoon in 2001. I'm also a regular at the School of the Americas demonstration each November.

I hope this background information has been helpful. I'd love to hear from any of you (contact information on the back of Network News) who have thoughts about where we should be going as an organization. I'll end with a phrase that greets me as I shave each morning: justice and compassion for all.



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!


To top

© 2012 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!