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News of the PC(USA) -- 
archive for 2007

Click here for all the more recent stories on the PC(USA).

Earlier stories are indexed:

bullet June - December 2008
bullet January - June, 2008
bulletAll of 2006
bulletAll of 2005
bulletJuly - December, 2004
bulletJanuary - June, 2004
bulletJune - December 2003
bulletJanuary - May 2003
bulletJuly through December, 2002
bulletJanuary - June, 2002
bulletApril through December, 2001
bulletDecember '00 through March '01
bulletJuly through December, 2000
PHEWA seeks ministry award nominees   [12-19-07]

The Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) is seeking nominations for four ministry awards that will be celebrated during the social welfare ministries group’s reception at the 218th General Assembly in San Jose, CA, next June.

The groups offering awards are Presbyterians for Addiction Action (PAA), the Presbyterian Association for Community Transformation (PACT), Presbyterians for Disability Concerns (PDC), and the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network (PSMIN).

Deadline for nominations is Feb. 15, 2008. Nominations must include the name of person/congregation being nominated, the contact person for the nominee with addresses and phone numbers for both, and a two page description of the ministry, including why they are deserving of this recognition.

Nominations should be mailed to: PHEWA, 100 Witherspoon St., Rm. 3226, Louisville, KY 40202-1396.

For more details >>

Form of Government Task Force revises documents based on denomination-wide comments

Separate recommendations will address Chapters 1-4 and the rest of The Book of Order

by Toya Richards Hill, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – December 6, 2007 -- Based largely on denomination-wide feedback, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Form of Government Task Force (FOGTF) has voted to present the two key parts of its work to the 218th General Assembly (GA) in separate recommendations.

The nine-member task force, charged by the 217th General Assembly (2006) with reorganizing the denomination’s Form of Government, voted during a meeting here Nov. 29-Dec.1 to recommend that the Book of Order:

be amended by striking the text of Chapters I-IV of the current “Form of Government” and inserting a new section entitled, “Foundations of Presbyterian Polity,” and

be amended by striking the text of Chapters V-XVIII of the current “Form of Government” and inserting a new “Form of Government.”

The “Foundations of Presbyterian Polity” document “incorporates the vast majority of the text of the first four chapters of the current Form of Government, while improving the organization, logic, and flow of our foundational polity,” the task force said in the cover letter that will accompany its work.

The new Form of Government document “seeks to return the Form of Government to its original intent — a Constitution for our church that sets out the overarching standards that govern us as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), rather than a manual of operations that imposes a ‘one size fits all’ set of procedures and rules,” the letter goes on to say.

The task force’s decision to present the two sections to the GA in separate recommendations came following a period of denomination-wide review of the group’s work. Individuals, sessions, presbyteries, synods, committees, and other groups weighed in, resulting in the final revisions agreed upon during the task force’s meeting.

“We’re officially done. We’re releasing this,” said Cynthia J. Bolbach, FOGTF co-moderator.

Yet concerns were raised by task force member Rev. James H.Y. Kim, who along the way has continually been the voice of the more conservative evangelical side of the denomination. He said that wing will take issue with changes to the Book of Order, particularly Chapters I-IV.

“I’ve been hearing from people saying, ‘leave them alone,’” he said of Chapters I-IV.

Kim unsuccessfully advocated for including wording in the task force’s recommendation on the “Foundations” document that said if the recommendation failed, the current first four chapters would remain in place — a move he said would have provided opponents a choice.

The task force did agree, however, to include in its rationale acknowledgement that it received considerable comments on the “depth of affection” for the current Chapters I-IV.

The FOGTF will also submit to the GA a recommendation to “commend to the councils of the church an ‘Advisory Handbook for Councils for the Development of Policies and Procedures Required by the Form of Government’.”

Creation of such a handbook was included in the FOGTF’s charge. The handbook is to include a checklist of policies and procedure that synods, presbyteries and sessions need to have in place to do their work.

And, in another recommendation, the task force dealt with other issues the GA might want to consider as possible amendments if the Book of Order is changed to substitute the new Form of Government as proposed (striking the current text of Chapters V-XVIII and inserting new language).

Included in those was the dropping of a proposal contained in the revised Form of Government that would have allowed an associate pastor to become the next installed pastor of a congregation with a three-fourths affirmative vote by the presbytery.

A printed version of the task force’s work is in development, with the hopes of having a copy in every congregation by the first week of January. The documents are already posted on the Web:


The Foundations of Presbyterian Policy (8 pages)


The Form of Government (35 pages)

Whatever proposed amendments to the Book of Order the GA agrees on during its summer 2008 meeting in San Jose, CA, will ultimately be sent on via the stated clerk to the denomination’s presbyteries for votes. A majority of the 173 presbyteries must ratify proposed changes to the Book of Order.

Stated clerk nominations accepted until Dec. 23

Committee has begun receiving applications   [11-27-07]

The Stated Clerk Nomination Committee (SCNC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received several applications for the top ecclesiastical post in the 2.3 million-member denomination. 

Next summer’s 218th General Assembly will elect the successor to the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, who announced earlier this year that he will not seek a fourth four-year term.

Prospective candidates have until Dec. 23, 2007 — 180 days before the convening of the Assembly in San Jose, CA, to submit their applications.

Further information, including job description and application form, are available on the Stated Clerk Nominations Committee’s Web site.

Information is also available in written form from the SCNC staff resource person Rev. Carol McDonald, Synod of Lincoln Trails, 1100 W. 42nd Street, Suite 125, Indianapolis, IN 46208. She can be contacted by phone at 800-566-5996, or by email.

For the full Presbyterian News Service report >>

Presbyterian Center email addresses changed is now     [10-25-07]

Presbyterian News Service reports that the domain name for all email addresses of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national staff members has changed from to Also, the individual inbox protocol has been changed from first initial-last name (e.g., jvanmart) to first name.last name (e.g., jerry.vanmarter).

General Assembly Council Executive Director Linda Valentine said, "We want to make it easier for constituents to contact us, so we are moving to a simpler firstname/lastname address, and the simpler format."

More >>

Catholic seminary presents Dignitas Humana Award to Rick Ufford-Chase     [10-16-07]

St. John’s School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, MN, has awarded its annual Dignitas Humana Award to Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the PC(USA), co-founder and former director of BorderLinks, and current executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

The award is given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of human dignity in the United States and around the world. It was to be presented to Ufford-Chase in an Oct. 17 ceremony.

Read the story from Presbyterian News Service, Oct. 16, 2007

Consultation on ecumenical relations outlines ‘bold’ themes

Statement on PC(USA)’s ecumenical position going to ’08 General Assembly

by Toya Richards Hill, Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – October 8, 2007 – A consultation designed to help frame the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s stance on ecumenical relations has outlined what it says are bold themes for the committee that ultimately will submit language to the 2008 General Assembly (GA).

A widely diverse group of people, taking part in the first Ecumenical Consultation for the PC(USA) since Presbyterian reunion in 1983, met here Sept. 27-29 to help craft the denomination’s position on ecumenism. One of the results was a 21-page document, which after analysis was revised to include several overarching themes. The final recommendation to the Assembly will come from the GA Committee on Ecumenical Relations (CER), which also took part in the consultation and is chaired by Elder Edward Chan.

Agreed upon by the group, which included the Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the National Council of Churches (U.S.A.); the Rev. Anna Case-Winters, professor of theology at McCormick Theological Seminary; and former PC(USA) moderator the Rev. Syngman Rhee, was a commitment by the denomination to:

• Reclaim its historic ecumenical commitment to do all things together, except those things that because of conscience it needs to do separately;

• Engage in new dialogue between its core ecumenical commitments and emerging forms of church life;

• Engage in dialogue and cooperation with people of other faiths; Emphasize a commitment to justice in the economy and the earth;

• and Celebrate ecumenism on the local level.

"I think we’ve learned several things from this consultation," said the Rev. Jane Dempsey Douglass, who led the group in its final phase of work on what it handed over to the CER. Dempsey Douglass is professor emerita of Princeton Theological Seminary and a former president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Being proactive rather than reactive, the realities of a changing religious landscape in America, and building close personal relationships out of which close ecumenical relationships grow were part of the consultation discussions.

The group’s conclusions stemmed from a desire by many participants to create a "bold" document for the denomination that speaks in language understandable outside the PC(USA).

"It’s all the same old stuff," the Rev. Jack Baca said after reading the initial document. What would be bold is to find ways to talk to the various faith communities now part of the religious landscape and "invite them into the conversation," he said. "If the denomination just keeps talking to itself, we’ll just keep getting what we’ve gotten," said Baca, senior pastor of Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. "We need to reach out into all different kinds of theological directions."

The Rev. Eileen Lindner, deputy general secretary for research and planning for the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, outlined four "adaptive patterns of emerging ecclesiologies" that are now features on the American religious landscape.

Megachurches, theological affinity groups, the broadening role of parachurch organizations and the emergent church "have been selected because each, it will be argued, has implications for how the quest for Christian unity is perceived and the ecumenical calling lived out," she said in her paper, "Issues of Post-denominational Identities and Emerging Ecclesiologies."

Lindner said a "recalibration" in the way the PC(USA) and other communions have historically engaged in ecumenism might be necessary in light of the emerging patterns.

"Will persons we see as ‘other’ have a place among us only if they become one of us?" the Rev. Jay Rock, the PC(USA)’s coordinator of interfaith relations, asked in his paper, "Is Christian Unity a Catalyst for Human Community? Interfaith Relations and the Ecumenical Movement."

"Can we learn to be guests in the house of others? Can we and those ‘others’ learn to be guests together in the world house?" continued Rock.

Bishop Earl McCloud Jr., ecumenical affairs officer for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, cautioned the group during a panel discussion on perspectives from outside the PC(USA) that before the denomination takes its message ecumenically, "you must be clear about that ecumenical message yourself."

The other panelists joining McCloud were Mercy Oduyoye, director of the Institute of African Women in Religion and Culture at Trinity Theological Seminary in Ghana, and the Rev. Kim Yong Bok of the Presbyterian Church of Korea.

McCloud stressed understanding what "undergirds" the ecumenical stances of the Presbyterian Church, and challenged the denomination to stand firm in that so "a little wind does not blow your foundation completely away."

"You must stand for justice in God’s word," McCloud said. "And in standing, you must speak truth to power." Simultaneously, McCloud encouraged the formation of close individual relationships in order to ultimately form close ecumenical relationships. He explained that people want to know first and foremost "that you care," and then they can take seriously the things you care about. "The church is at its best," he added, "when we walk together ... and don’t get weary."


Kirkpatrick lauded for leadership as he decides not to seek another term at Presbyterian Church (USA)

World Alliance of Reformed Churches News Release
11 September 2007

Clifton Kirkpatrick was praised as a leader of vision and courage following his announcement that he would not seek a fourth term as stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA). His current term ends in June 2008.

Kirkpatrick made his plans known this week, saying he wanted to spend quality time with his family and devote more energy to his role as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC).

Setri Nyomi, general secretary of WARC, said in a 11 September letter to Kirkpatrick that the Reformed family worldwide is grateful for his ministry at the Presbyterian Church (USA), WARC and in the wider ecumenical movement.

"I have experienced you as a person of deep faith, biblical and theological depth of understanding, vision, courage and leadership skills. I have personally been inspired in my ministry by how these values have been combined in you to give expression to your leadership.

"This has been a great gift, not only for the Presbyterian Church (USA), but also for WARC and the ecumenical movement as a whole (including the World Council of Churches and your time on its Central and Executive committees).

"Your years as a member of WARC's Executive Committee, and since 2004 as our president, have been a blessing for the Alliance. Your visionary leadership and pastoral care for those who serve the Alliance continue to move us in our commitment to being God's instruments spiritually for the transformation of the world.

"We thank God for your continuing leadership," Nyomi said.

In his announcement, Kirkpatrick said serving as the stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has offered him an opportunity to use his gifts and passion for a church he loves on important issues.

"It has been a tremendous privilege to give voice to the witness of our church to the gospel and to justice and peace in the world, to be a leader in the ecumenical movement, to guide the church (even in our contentions) toward unity in diversity, to uphold our Constitution, and to pioneer in new ways to express old truth as we seek to discern the mind of Christ and develop a polity and a church for the 21st century."


The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) brings together 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries - united in their commitment to making a difference in a troubled world. The WARC general secretary is Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. WARC's secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.   More about WARC >>

Clifton Kirkpatrick will not seek fourth term as Stated Clerk    [9-10-07]

The Office of the General Assembly has announced that the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has decided not to seek another term as stated clerk.

Kirkpatrick's current term will conclude at the end of the 218th General Assembly (2008) in San Jose, CA, next June.

For the full announcement and Kirkpatrick’s own statement >>

Jim Wallis to Presbyterian evangelism conference:

Spiritual renewal can and must lead to social transformation    [9-5-07]

Wallis, president and executive director of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, said that "spiritual activity doesn't mean revival until it changes something in society. Conversely, we won't get to social justice in America and the world unless and until we have a revival of faith."

The full report >>



by Gene TeSelle, Witherspoon Issues Analyst

We are fast approaching the hundredth anniversary of the so-called Social Creed of the Churches, adopted in 1908 at the founding of the Federal Council of Churches. It was a dramatic statement by what we have come to call "the public church." Currently the Methodists and the Presbyterians, as well as the National Council of Churches, are looking ahead to an appropriate commemoration.

We cannot help noting the similarities between 1908 and 2008. Inequalities of income and wealth in the U.S. are now greater than they have been since the "Gilded Age" of the late nineteenth century. Corporate and government scandals are approaching the same level, too. Many of the principles enunciated in the Social Creed and in the general mood of the Progressive Era, such as a "living wage" sufficient to support a family, are being reasserted; but they are also regarded as unfeasible by many shapers of public opinion today.

There are also significant differences. The problems addressed by the Social Creed were national in scope; because these problems could not be addressed adequately at the local or state level, new kinds of federal legislation were advocated and eventually adopted. In our own day we see a further broadening of scope as the much-celebrated globalization of the economy brings all the workers of the world into potential competition with each other and requires a new kind of global response.     The rest of this essay >>
More perspectives on Vatican declaration on doctrine of the church    [7-21-07]

Witherspooner Nancy Weatherwax has sent a note suggesting two other views to complement the statement given last week by Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick.

She writes:

I suggest that you add a link to the excellent Catholic News Service article on this issue that will provide readers with a fuller understanding of the Catholic position, especially Cardinal Kasper's statement that "one should not skim over what the declaration affirms in a positive way about the Protestant churches, and that is that Jesus Christ is effectively present in them for the salvation
of their members." The article, by Cindy Wooden, is entitled "Protestant groups dismayed at new document on identity of 'church'."

There are also some perceptive and helpful brief comments from Ann Riggs, National Council of Churches Associate General Secretary for Faith and Order.



Nancy Weatherwax is currently living in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Remembering and celebrating the life of Presbyterian theologian Letty Russell


The Rev. Letty Mandeville Russell, one of the world's foremost feminist theologians and longtime member of the Yale Divinity School faculty, died July 12 at her home in Guilford, CT. She was 77.

Russell was one of the first women ordained in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and served the East Harlem Protestant Parish in New York City from 1952-68, including 10 years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Ascension. She joined the faculty of Yale Divinity School in 1974 and served there until her retirement in 2001. In retirement, she continued to teach some courses at Yale Divinity School as a visiting professor.
The rest of the report from Presbyterian News Service >>

More Light Presbyterians issued this statement on July 13, 2007:

Celebrating the Life, Ministry & Legacy of Letty Russell

Yesterday we lost one of the most valiant and thoughtful theologians, teachers, writers, visionaries and spirits of our generation, the beloved Letty Russell. More Light Presbyterians gives thanks for the life, ministry and legacy of Letty Russell, and we extend our condolence and prayers to her beloved partner Shannon Clarkson.

The full MLP statement >>

Stated Clerk issues statement to Presbyterians concerning latest Vatican declaration

Kirkpatrick says Catholic leadership has 'mischaracterized' faith

LouisvilleJuly 11, 2007 [posted here 7-18-07] – Clifton Kirkpatrick, General Assembly stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued an open letter to Presbyterians joining other churches and ecumenical groups in questioning a recent pronouncement by the Vatican that Protestant churches "are not churches in the proper sense."

Kirkpatrick said the July 10 statement, which the Vatican said was endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI, "mischaracterizes our faith" and "reopens questions of Christian unity…"

The full text of Kirkpatrick’s letter >> /10/07

Evangelical Presbyterian Church approves plan to welcome congregations leaving PC(USA)    [6-27-07]

The Presbyterian Layman reports:

In a series of stunning votes, commissioners to the 27th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Friday morning overwhelmingly approved a plan to create non-geographic, transitional presbyteries to receive congregations seeking to join the denomination.

[From your WebWeaver:  We’re not quite sure what was "stunning" about the votes, but anyway ...]

The rest of the story >>

Here’s another report, from The Christian Post >>

A note from your WebWeaver:

This formation of a new "place to go" for congregations leaving the Presbyterian Church (USA) is regrettable in many ways, but it seems important that Presbyterians who are not involved in this exodus pay attention to it, and seek to understand it.

If you have first-hand observations or comments to share, or can suggest other reports that are worth reading, please send a note, to be shared here.

The polity struggles continue

Is some resolution emerging?

Witherspoon Issues Analyst Gene TeSelle recently surveyed some of the ways presbyteries have begun to defy the Authoritative Interpretation adopted by the 217th General Assembly last summer.

He predicted that the various Permanent Judicial Commissions would not look favorably on these attempts by presbyteries to create their own creeds, or make selective interpretations of the Constitution, or prejudge matters that call for subtle discernment in particular cases. Now two decisions by synod PJCs suggest that his prediction was accurate.

His new discussion of the issue and of the new decisions >>

A quick look at our Presbyterian "culture wars"    [6-23-07]

The Rev. John Shuck, whose always-interesting blog we’ve mentioned before, has just written a super-condensed survey of the state of the Presbyterian Church (USA), putting our current struggles in clear perspective.  John is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, TN.

He begins:

Here is a little introduction to church politics in the Presbyterian Church (USA). The so-called "Culture Wars" blaze through various church denominations. I thought I would take this time to introduce you to one of the movements in the Presbyterian Church. It has its cousins in other denominations such as the Methodist and Episcopal churches. On one hand, it is about internal denominational politics. But on the other hand, it is a larger part of a move toward theocracy in the United States.

The rest of his essay >>

Synod overturns Sacramento Presbytery effort to reverse GA’s Authoritative Interpretation   [6-22-07]

Presbyterian Outlook reports that efforts by the Presbytery of Sacramento to nullify the action of the 2006 General Assembly, which affirmed the right of conscience for candidates for ordination. The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Pacific ruled that all four policies adopted by the presbytery either violated the spirit of the Authoritative Interpretation adopted by the Assembly, or violated basic principles of Presbyterian Church such as connectionalism, respect for individual conscience and for the discernment exercised by individual congregations.

See the report on the Outlook website >>
Registration is required to see the complete story – but it’s free.

The full decision is posted on the Synod website >>

Letter, resource material to combat information from New Wineskins

Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – June 14, 2007 – In an effort to address material from the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC) that "mischaracterizes" the convictions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), top officials with the denomination have sent a letter and resource material out to middle governing body leadership.

General Assembly Council Executive Director Linda Valentine and stated clerk the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick jointly penned a letter to executive presbyters and stated clerks, available at, in an effort to deal with information presented by NWAC in its document, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: Report of the Strategy Team of the New Wineskins Association of Churches."

The rest of the report, and the letter >>

Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church dismissed to EPC

Tennessee congregation gets its property too in leaving PC(USA)    [6-4-07]

LOUISVILLE – June 1, 2007 – East Tennessee Presbytery has voted to dismiss Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church (SMPC) - property and all - from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), clearing the way for the large congregation to affiliate with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

Dismissal of the 1,800-member church in Signal Mountain, TN, was approved during a specially called presbytery meeting on Tuesday (May 29) at Farragut Presbyterian Church in Farragut, TN.

The full report from Presbyterian News Service >>

Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy sends new E-MEMO UPDATE

ACSWP is broadening its e-mailing list, and will be sending update notes on its work "several times a year." According to the Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso, Coordinator of the Advisory Committee, "We also welcome suggestions of topics or notice of developments [of] which reflective social justice practitioners should be apprised. We plan to communicate as well with past Church & Society Magazine subscribers on new ways to communicate the ethics work and thinking of the church."

This first memo includes notes on ACSWP’s report to GAC; current work on the new Social Creed; the Ghost Ranch Week for Peace and Justice; globalization; Iraq; the planned fall consultation on Peacemaking, Religion, Violence and Terrorism; environmental concerns; and energy.

To join this e-list, send a blank e-mail message to

For more on the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, go to

Click here for the full E-Memo Update >>

More staff cuts in Louisville:|
Office of the General Assembly announces reorganization

Seven staff positions eliminated to ease 2008 budget shortfall  [5-27-07]

The Office of the General Assembly (OGA) announced plans today for a reorganization of the agency’s work, effective immediately. Cliff Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, made the announcement, which will involve the elimination of seven staff positions.   More >>

Suburban Chicago elder tapped as PC(USA)'s communication and funds-development officer

Senior GAC leadership complete with appointment of Karen Schmidt    [3-13-07]

The slate of top-level leaders in the newly-restructured Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Council (GAC) is now complete with the hiring of Elder Karen L. Schmidt as Deputy Executive Director for Communication and Funds Development.

Schmidt, a Presbyterian elder from Glen Ellyn, IL, has more than 25 years experience as a senior executive with Fortune 500 and other high-powered companies. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Glen Ellyn, IL, pastored by conservative evangelical leader the Rev. Jerry Andrews.

The full story from Presbyterian News Service >>

As some New Wineskins congregations move toward separation from the PC(USA) ...

This is obviously a development of concern to all of us in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and one which calls for thought and reflection on all sides.  We offer here, for starters, three essays on this movement for separation, along with a brief sketch of the background of the matter.

bulletGene TeSelle, Witherspoon's Issues Analyst, lays out the two options that seem to getting serious consideration among the conservative churches.
bulletTeSelle also gives a brief look at the background of these developments.
bulletNew Wineskins 2007, a member of the Witherspoon board, gives his personal view that the movement toward separation looks more like "whining" about things the conservatives don't like, than a real move for faithfulness.
bulletNew Wineskins 2007 views these developments through his knowledge of the Civil War, and says to those who would separate, "Leave if you must ... but not on my dime."
bulletFor more background, you might look at the Presbyterian News Service report on the New Wineskins conference in February.
bulletSee also our reports on the New Wineskins Convocation in 2005.

If you have comments of your own,
or would suggest other comments on this matter,
please send us a note,
to be shared here.

Presbytery and synod execs, facing difficult times, are encouraged to move from reactive space and to ask "adaptive" questions to solve problems    [2-23-07]

No quick-fix, technical outline for the future of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) synods and presbyteries was arrived at during a recent two-day meeting in Albuquerque, but that was precisely as the meeting's facilitator intended.

Coming to these gatherings looking for a solution assumes there is a technical solution, but "deep change requires adaptive work," said the Rev. Gilbert Rendle. Instead, we need to sit together "and ask better questions."

The full report from Presbyterian News Service >> 

"Formally engaged"

New Wineskins votes to move ahead with "marriage" to Evangelical Presbyterian Church

After a yearlong courtship, a formal engagement between the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) was agreed to on Friday, Feb. 9.

The NWAC, a group of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations unhappy with the state of the denomination, voted unanimously on Feb. 9 to petition the EPC to create a non-geographic, transitional New Wineskins presbytery (NWEPC) for those churches wishing to leave the PC(USA).

More >>

PC(USA) leadership writes to congregations about apparent intent of some congregations to leave the denomination    [2-3-07]

Clifton Kirkpatrick, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Linda Bryant Valentine, Executive Director, General Assembly Council, have sent a joint letter to all PC(USA) congregations, declaring their regret at the apparent intent of a few congregations to withdraw from the denomination, and affirming that "we are better together than we are apart."

Their cover letter to pastors >>
Their letter to all congregations >>

Analysis of proposed Constitutional Amendments    [1-2-07]

Bill Lancaster, associate for mission of Foothills presbytery in Greenville, S.C., is publishing in Outlook his analysis of the Constitutional Amendments that are going to the presbyteries for their consideration and action.

Only eight proposed amendments to the Constitution have been sent to the presbyteries for ratification, but one of them, called Amendments A, is a revision of the entire Chapter XIV of the Book of Order. The amendments booklet has been mailed to presbyteries and is available online at

Read Lancaster’s analysis >>

Click here for all the more recent stories on the PC(USA).

Earlier stories are indexed:

bullet June - December 2008
bullet January - June, 2008
bulletAll of 2006
bulletAll of 2005
bulletJuly - December, 2004
bulletJanuary - June, 2004
bulletJune - December 2003
bulletJanuary - May 2003
bulletJuly through December, 2002
bulletJanuary - June, 2002
bulletApril through December, 2001
bulletDecember '00 through March '01
bulletJuly through December, 2000

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,
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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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