Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

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Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

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Iran Earthquake

Situation Report
Iran Earthquake

December 30, 2003   [posted here 1-5-04]

Click here for this article as posted on the PCUSA website.

With the Search and Rescue portion of the earthquake closing on Saturday, the relief work will begin in earnest. Relief agencies have been asked not to send any personnel into the region until all search and rescue efforts are brought to a close. The Iranian Red Crescent has completed initial assessment work in Bam and has issued a preliminary appeal to assist 200,000 beneficiaries for 6 months. All response agencies will be working under the coordination of, and in cooperation with, the Iranian Red Crescent.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is committing an initial $150,000 to the response. $50,000 will come from One Great Hour of Sharing funds, and $100,000 from designated funds in the General Relief Account. $10,000 is being immediately forwarded to the Middle East Council of Churches to supplement rapid response funds of $80,000 that they have already received. Committed funds will be sent as soon as the formal plans and budgets are received from the field.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be seconding Medhi Abhari, an Iranian, to the ACT alliance efforts in Iran. He will be there for six months assisting in every possible way. Mehdi brings special skills in care giving and in financial accounting, as well as being able to serve as a cultural broker and translator for the many specialists who will be posted to guide the relief efforts. Plans are also underway to prepare and send a psycho-social assessment team in cooperation with the Church of Sweden and with Norwegian Church Aid.

A letter of concern and support from the stated clerk is being sent to the Iranian section of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

Information from other ACT alliance members indicates that Norwegian Church Aid has a water sanitation team in route to begin work on water systems for the tent cities. They maintain specialized water engineers on call for this purpose. Diakonia from Germany has moved supplies including a large number of family tents into Iran from warehouses in Amman, Jordon. The Middle East Council of Churches has staff in Iran working and is providing tents and food.

Church World Service is currently in conversation with the U.S. State Department about shipping humanitarian supplies. In particular the Interchurch Medical Assistance medicine boxes are being prepared for shipment. We are thankful to Presbyterian Women who so faithfully assemble the medicine boxes that are of great value in emergency situations. Health kits and other supplies may also be sent. At the moment, the political situation does not allow for direct shipment to Iran from the United States.

We urge continued prayer for this situation. PDA will be engaged in this effort for months to come. The next critical steps will be to quickly provide survivors with a sense of control over their lives through organizing them to provide services within the tent city including restarting schools for children. This is a time of grief for the entire Iranian nation.

Financial donations can be directed to the designated account number #9-2000081 - Middle East relief - through normal mission giving channels. Gifts by credit card can be made by calling PresbyTel at (800) 872-3283 or online at; checks can also be mailed directly to:

Central Receiving Service
Section 300
Louisville, KY 40289

Bruce Gillette adds:

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been quick to join the ecumenical relief efforts following the massive earthquake in Iran on December 26; the latest reports are that as many as 50,000 people may have been killed. You can make a secure, online tax-deductible donation to support our church's relief work:

Presbyterian Women, Sunday School classes and youth groups are preparing Church World Service "Health Kits":

The Washington Post has a photo gallery display that could be used for a church bulletin board:



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.

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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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