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Archives for January, 2009

This page lists our postings from all of January

For an index to all our reports
from the 218th General Assembly

For an index to all our reports from the
Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice >>

Earlier in April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
December, 2009
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009

August, 2009
July, 2009
June. 2009
May, 2009

April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009

December, 2008

November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse approves Ordination Amendment 08-B.

Today, January 31, the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse voted in favor of Amendment 08-B by a vote of 33 in favor and 12 against, according to information from Kathleen Waters, Stated Clerk.

And Western North Carolina is the first presbytery to shift from opposing inclusive ordination to support 08-B.

They voted by 144-108-1 in favor of amending G-6.0106b.

The Rev. John Harris, a member of the Witherspoon board, adds this note on his blog, SummitToShore:

Western North Carolina Presbytery is the presbytery in which Parker T. Williamson, editor emeritus of The Layman, resides and is a member.  My hunch is that he would have been present for this historic vote.

Can anyone else hear the shackles of years of injustice been loosened?

Resources for discernment and debate on 08-B:

More Light Presbyterians has gathered a strong collection of resources for those wanting to support Amendment 08-B. Click here for their Answering God’s Call to Serve! Resource list.

The Covenant Network also provides a brief list of resources.

Two other organizations committed to inclusive ordination, Presbyterian Welcome and That All May Freely Serve have launched, “a grassroots effort to get the church talking,” by encouraging church members to have a conversation about ordination and Amendment 08-B with another church member or a member of their Presbytery whom they do not know well, or whose theological views may be different than their own.

For more on Amendment 08-B, the proposal to amend G-6.0106b >>

ACSWP ponders impact of Obama’s election on church’s social witness ... and a long list of issues to consider

Expects PC(USA)’s voice to be better heard by new administration

Presbyterian News Service reports on the recent meeting in Berkeley, Cal., of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP). Jerry Van Marter begins:

With the new administration of Barack Obama seeking more counsel from mainline denominations than its predecessor, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) approached its lengthy agenda with renewed vigor here Jan. 22-25.

On issues ranging from human rights to immigration to the Iraq war, the committee seemed convinced that the PC(USA)’s voice will be now be heard more clearly in Washington than at any time in recent memory.

The question, of course ― in Washington and Louisville ― is what can be done on a number of fronts in light of the global economic meltdown.

Issues on which ACSWP will be working, mostly in response to mandates from the 2008 General Assembly, include HIV/AIDS, gun violence, a theology of compensation, immigration and detention, and “The Nature and Value of Human Life.”

Most of these projects and others may be hindered by recent budget and staff reductions in the General Assembly offices in Louisville.

The full story >>

"Roberta's Rules of Order":
Helping Progressive Presbyterians Be More Progressive in group Meetings and Decision-Making


Last October we posted a book review essay by Witherspooner Sue Spencer, recommending Roberta's Rules of Order as a valuable alternative to the formalities of Robert's Rules for running many of the meetings which Presbyterians love so dearly.

Now the author of that book, Alice Collier Cochran, has sent a brief essay of her own, describing her book and linking to her website.  She describes some of the resources in the book, including a template of rules you can adopt for smaller decision-making groups. She has also just completed a QuickStart Guide to help customize these meeting rules using larger templates.   More >>

Reflections from the SOA Vigil, November 2008

David McPhail has made the journey to Ft. Benning, GA, before, and returned in November of 2008 to join again in the continuing effort to move the US military establishment to close the School of the Americas, now renamed with the catchy acronym WHINSEC.

He notes the roots of the SOA vigil in the non-violent civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, when people went to jail to make known their demands for racial justice. This leads to thoughts about the spiritual roots of civil disobedience, and then to the growing numbers of Latinos in the vigils, lending new dimensions to the concerns for U.S. involvement in torture, violence, and oppression in Latin America. And the poverty in Latin America is being lifted up as an increasing concern.

It is time, he concludes, for U.S. policy to be shaped significantly by the realities of life in Latin America, and not simply by perceived U.S. self-interest defined simply as “security.” And he sees hope in the growing presence of younger people in the vigil, many of them moved deeply by Barack Obama’s call for the “audacity of hope.”

ACSWP seeks moral voice in economic reconstruction

Fledgling “Global Oikonomics Project” aims at ‘well-being of all’

As the world struggles with the current economic crisis, the Presbyterian Church, through its Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), is beginning to add a moral and ethical dimension – a concern for justice – to the concern for economic recovery.

“There needs to be a moral, justice-seeking dimension to this work and above all an acute sense of its likely impact on the poor,” retired San Francisco Theological Seminary dean Lewis Mudge told his fellow members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) at their recent meeting in Berkeley, CA.

The full story >>

Souper Bowl of Caring celebrates 20 years of service

Presbyterian News Service reports on the upcoming Souper Bowl of Caring, which celebrates the annual football Super Bowl by gathering contributions of canned goods and money to feed the hungry.

Begun 20 years ago by a seminary intern at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, the Souper Bowl of Caring spread across the nation and is observed in many denominations. It has raised more than $50 million, transforming professional football’s biggest weekend into a the nation’s largest youth-led weekend of giving and serving.

It’s as simple as holding soup pots at church doors following worship on Super Bowl Sunday and asking worshippers to drop in a dollar to help those who are hungry. Each group then donates their collection directly to the charity of their choice — no money is sent to Souper Bowl of Caring headquarters. Organizers simply ask that groups report their collection amount so a national total can be determined.

More >>

"SOA 6" sentenced to federal prison for nonviolent direct action to close the SOA/ WHINSEC

On January 26, six human rights advocates appeared in a federal courthouse in Georgia. The "SOA 6," ranging in age from 21 to 68, were found "guilty" of carrying the protest against the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning military base. The six were among the thousands who gathered on November 22 and 23, 2008 outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a change in U.S. policy towards Latin America and the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.

The "SOA 6" spoke out clearly and powerful in court, making a compelling case for the closure of the school and creation of a culture of justice and peace, where there is no place for the SOA mindset that promotes military "solutions" to social and economic problems. The six spent the weekend preparing for their trials with a team of lawyers, legal workers and volunteers, and today they stood up for all of us working for a more just world.

The "SOA 6" included:

bulletFather Luis Barrios, 56, from North Bergen, NJ, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and a $250 fine
bulletTheresa Cusimano, 40, Denver, Colorado, found guilty and awaiting sentencing
bulletKristin Holm, from Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and a $250 fine
bulletSr. Diane Pinchot, OSU, 63, from Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
bulletAl Simmons, 64, from Richmond, Virginia, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
bulletLouis Wolf, 68, from Washington, DC, found guilty and awaiting sentencing

More >>

Background on the School of the Americas and the many vigils and other actions to close it down >>

More on Amendment 08-B


New Castle Presbytery approves Ordination Amendment 08-B

On January 24, New Castle Presbytery, which includes Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, voted to affirm Ordination Amendment 08-B by a vote of 82 YES, 48 NO.


Area Presbyterians vote Yes on gay clergy

That All May Freely Serve (TAMFS) offers a brief, helpful analysis of the current state of voting on Amendment 08-B.

It begins:

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is six steps closer to making a dramatic change after over 30 years of debating gay and lesbian ordination. Over the last week, six Presbyteries voted yes on a constitutional amendment that allows gay and lesbian people to be ordained whether or not they are in a partnered relationship.

On January 17, Des Moines, Northern Kansas, and Newton (NJ) voted yes and on January 24, Baltimore, Albany and New Castle (DE), voted yes.

Coming up! On January 27, five more presbyteries will vote: Utica (NY), Carlisle (PA), Palisades (NJ), Donegal (PA), and San Fernando (CA) and, on January 31, four more will cast their ballots: Southern Kansas, Western North Carolina, Huntingdon (PA), and Cayuga-Syracuse (NY).  

More >>


Reflecting on allies

The Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, an out gay man now serving as an ordained Presbyterian minister, has shared a note of appreciation for “allies” in the struggle of lgbt Presbyterian for a full place in the PC(USA).

His full blog/note >>

More on Amendment 08-B >>

Travel to Latin America with Witness for Peace in 2009

This announcement comes from Witness for Peace

Open doors to education and empowerment. At this dynamic time for Latin America and the United States, travel with Witness for Peace in 2009. Your "witness" – the true stories about the people you meet on a Witness for Peace delegation – will have the power to touch others and transform policy.

Read about our exciting upcoming delegations. Join us!

There will be delegations to places including Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Colombia.

For more information >>

A comment on the Israel/Palestine conflict:

I am an African, I have friends from all nations. The real problems must be confronted, the killings must stop. The area will be a great place if the people can live together.

The author of this note identifies herself as Lydia Daniels, a Liberian, now a Swedish citizen for over 20 years, living in Sweden and the UK, and working as a nurse.

See our earlier reports and comments on the Israeli attacks on Gaza >>

Albany presbytery votes for Amendment 08-B

In stated meeting today (January 24) the Presbytery of Albany voted in favor of Amendment 08-B by a tally of 78 yes, 25 no, 2 abstentions.

A previous [motion] to postpone indefinitely (i.e., “No Action”) was defeated by a tally of 27 yes, 76 no. Most of the debate centered on the No Action option, and after that was decided the meeting moved very quickly to vote on the Amendment itself.

The debate during the afternoon was preceded by a 75 minute session in the morning devoted to statements by panelists representing different positions, small group discussion, and Question/Answer. Interestingly, the two panelists representing the positions “for” and “against” started from the same Scripture passage: Matthew 22:34-40 (“Which is the greatest commandment?”). The historical occasion of President Obama’s inauguration last Tuesday was much in the air, and cited by both liberals and conservatives. God is working God’s purpose out!

Terry Diggory
Communications “Hub” for Presbyterian Rainbow
(LGBT advocacy group in Albany Presbytery)

More on the voting on Amendment 08-B >>

Urgent Request Concerning Human Rights in the Philippines

from the Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines


We urgently need your help to restrict Foreign Military Aid to the Philippines, to be voted on by Congress in only a few weeks.

This message has come to us from the Rev. Larry Emery, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Walnut Grove, CA.

Once again I am asking my fellow Pastors in the Presbyterian Church to join me in a campaign on behalf of human rights in the Philippines.  As most of you already know, there has been a marked rise in human rights abuses in the Philippines since Gloria Arroyo became the President of that country in 2001.  Hundreds have been killed, abducted, or arrested on fabricated charges. 

The victims come from all sectors of society –  journalists, labor organizers, lawyers, community activists, leaders of indigenous peoples and others. This includes over 30 pastors or certified church workers who have been killed or abducted, mostly from the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, a partner church of the Presbyterian Church USA. These are all people who have in some way or another questioned or opposed the government’s political, economic and social policies. In the case of the Pastors and church workers, they have done so based on the understanding that the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to stand on the side of the poor and the oppressed.

Several church and human rights groups around the world have issued reports about these abuses and have identified as elements in the Philippine military as those responsible. These groups include Amnesty International, Human Rights Now, and a special UN Commission on Human Rights Investigator. 

Attached, you will find a Letter of Concern that is addressed to all members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate asking them to hold the Philippine government accountable concerning extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations against civil society groups in the Philippines.

With the support from you and many others, The Ecumenical Advocacy Network was able to obtain over 300 signatures on a Letter of Concern in 2007, which urged attaching Human Rights conditions and funding restrictions to US military aid to the Philippines. We were able to get these conditions and restrictions in the bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.

While deaths and disappearances have been reduced, the original conditions of the military aid package for FY 2008 were not met by the Philippine government. Human rights abuses continue. With the arrival of the new administration in Washington, we have a new opportunity to obtain implementation of the original conditions and additional restrictions on military aid.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be conducting a campaign to accomplish those goals. The first step is to send the Letter of Concern to the House and Senate membership, and we need your help. 

More information, and links to add your name in support of the Letter of Concern >>

Obama to the Nation: “Grow up!”

In his inaugural address, President Obama had a lot to say, most of it pretty sober. There have been many commentaries on his speech, but E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post has given one that I find very helpful. (That’s partly because it’s close to what I’ve been thinking myself.) He begins: 

President Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. He wants America to lead the world, but as much by example as by force.

And in trying to do all these things, he will confuse a lot of people.

One of the wondrous aspects of Obama's inaugural address is the extent to which those on the left and those on the right both claimed our new president as their own.

He goes on to list the values that Obama proclaimed: "honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism." Nothing very far out there, is there? (Well, tolerance and curiosity might be a little on the edge.) But there’s nothing about the radical “I’ll get mine” ethic that has undergirded much of the economic and social individualism of recent decades; nothing about the superiority of U.S. interests over other nations’.

This is more than just a break from the presidency of George W. Bush.  Dionne suggests that Obama is making a sharp break with the “Reagan revolution” which held that government is bad, or at least dangerous unless strictly limited. In its stead, Obama is calling this nation (which he refers to, bless him, as “the United States,” rather than “America”) to recover our commitment to the common welfare, the community, which is a part of our traditional values that has been sorely missed over the past few years. And that is not something to blame on Bush; he used our radical individualism for his own purposes, but he did not create it. We asked for it. We got it. And now we the people seem to have decided it’s time for a change.

But the real change, as Obama keeps reminding us, must come from all of us. Obama and Washington can’t do that big a job. But Yes, just maybe, we can.

Dionne’s article >>

[You may be asked to register to access this on the Washington Post website -- but it's free.]

Inauguration Journal: Scattered Thoughts Over Four Days of History -- by Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis of Soujourners writes thankful reflections on the Inauguration, as one of the numerous members of faith communities who were invited into many parts of the transition and celebration.

He begins: “It’s a better country than I thought it was. I honestly wouldn’t have thought this possible. I guess I would have agreed with the older generation of African Americans in my neighborhood: This day would never come in our lifetimes—but here it is.”   More >>

George McGovern urges calling a time out in Afghanistan

George McGovern, former senator from South Dakota, and the Democratic nominee for president in 1972, writes in The Washington Post:

As you settle into the Oval Office, Mr. President, may I offer a suggestion? Please do not try to put Afghanistan aright with the US military. To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.

The full article >>                       

A view from Great Britain:

'War on terror' was wrong

The phrase gives a false idea of a unified global enemy, and encourages a primarily military reply

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband writes in The Guardian, UK:

Seven years on from 9/11 it is clear that we need to take a fundamental look at our efforts to prevent extremism and its terrible offspring, terrorist violence. ... But ultimately, the notion is misleading and mistaken. The issue is not whether we need to attack the use of terror at its roots, with all the tools available. We must. The question is how. ...   More >>

Pres. Obama orders closing of Guantánamo, end of torture

We don’t need to tell you again this good news. But there’s more to be said and done.

The National Religious Coalition Against Torture wrote to its membership list yesterday, encouraging people to contact the White House to thank President Obama for his action today and to urge him to ensure that any additional interrogation techniques recommended by the Special Task Force comply with the principle of the "Golden Rule" – that we will use only those interrogation techniques that would be considered moral and legal if used upon a captured American.    Click here to email the White House.

The complete NRCAT note >>


And from No2Torture ...

Also, the Rev. Carol Wickersham of Presbyterian-based No2 Torture has written to her organization with thanksgiving for the President's executive orders for the closure of Guantanamo and the cessation of the use of torture, but also a reminder of the need for continued vigilance.

Click here for her note >>

"Prayers for Bobby" film premieres this Saturday and Sunday on Lifetime Cable Channel

MLP suggests gatherings with family, friends & church

This Saturday and Sunday evenings, January 24 and January 25, the Lifetime Cable Channel premieres the long awaited film version of the powerful book by Leroy Aarons, Prayers for Bobby. Sigourney Weaver plays Bobby's Mother, Mary Griffith and Ryan Kelley plays Bobby.

We encourage you to gather family and friends from your church to watch this poignant and powerful film together. We encourage you to get your church's youth group, campus ministry or seminary community together to watch this film.

Why? It's a true story. It's a family story. And, it's a Presbyterian story. This story and film has much to teach us in this moment as the Presbyterian Church (USA) is considering the removal of prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in the ratification process of Ordination Amendment 08-B.   More >>

How can our churches be welcoming for 20- to 30-year-olds?

Presbyterian pastor Carol Howard Merritt has written Tribal Church to help our churches understand and relate to the generation of people age 20 to 30. John Shuck summarizes it thus:

With insight, compassion and first-hand knowledge she is helping the church understand the unique situation this generation is facing.

This generation has been dismissed as materialistic which is a far cry from the truth. In her third chapter which we will discuss today, she shows how this generation is facing serious economic struggles. They work harder for less pay with huge educational debt, large mortgages (if they can get one), and few career prospects. Often they feel badly about it, thinking it is their own fault.


If your congregation is anxious to attract “more young people,” this book might offer real (and surprising) help.

From John Shuck’s blog, Shuck and Jive >>

And see Carol Howard Merritt’s web page >>

And you can order the book from Amazon, using the box to the right

Another vote for Amendment 08-B

Baltimore Presbytery voted strongly yesterday (106-38) in favor of amending the provision in the Book of Order which in effect bans the ordination of lgbt Presbyterians..

More on the voting on Amendment 08-B >>


Violence strikes again at Virginia Tech University

A female graduate student from China was murdered Wednesday night at Virginia Tech University, in Blacksburg, VA, site of the mass killing of students in 2007.

Police on Thursday identified the victim of the Wednesday night stabbing as 22-year-old Xin Yang, who had arrived on the Blacksburg campus from Beijing on Jan. 8 to begin her studies in accounting.  According to campus police, her body had been decapitated.

The Rev. Catherine Snyder, a member of the Witherspoon Board, is one of the numerous campus ministers serving that campus. 

Let us all pray for the students there, and Catherine and other chaplains who will have to deal with this terrible reminder of how close violence is in their lives.

More on this sad event >>

Thanks to Mitch Trigger

More on voting on Amendment 08-B:

How the discernment process worked in Newton Presbytery  

The Rev. Mitch Trigger, who is Witherspoon’s Secretary/Communicator and co-pastor with his wife, Sue, of First Presbyterian Church of Rockaway, New Jersey, provides this account of the process by which Newton Presbytery came to its action on Jan. 13.   More >>

Presbyterians and others address the new Administration with an Interfaith Platform on Humane Immigration Reform

Julia Thorne, who is Manager for Immigration Issues in the Office of the General Assembly, also participates in an Interfaith Immigration Group in Washington, which met with President Obama’s transition team in December. The group has prepared a document expressing their call for “humane immigration reform,” to be presented to the new Administration.

They are encouraging pastors and other people of faith who share these concerns to sign on to the statement. If you are interested in signing on please send Julia your name and the church where you are a pastor. If you are working in a validated ministry, or are honorably retired, feel free to sign on as well. Elders can also sign if they can also state that they are Moderator of Session, Chair of Peacemaking Committee, or some such thing to show religious leadership.

You can send your name and the name of your congregation to Julia Thorne, at She will be happy to add your name to the list.  If you have questions, Julia invites you contact her.

The group already has around 500 signatures, and is hoping to add many more by the middle of February.

Click here for the full text of the Platform (in html)

Click here for the Platform, along with the list of groups and individual signers (in PDF) 

Could this be the start of somethin' great?
So what’s been happening today?

You may have had your fill of reporters and pundits today, and I will certainly not try to rival them.

But if you want to read a reflection that has depth and passion and humor and insight, take a look at this essay by bestselling author William Rivers Pitt, whose latest book House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation.

Here’s his opening paragraph:

The cover of the newest Nation Magazine depicts a painting of Obama's inauguration rendered and submitted by a member of the online web forum DailyKos. The painting is in no way historically accurate, as Thurgood Marshall is depicted delivering the oath, but in every meaningful way, the artwork is spot-on truth. Susan B. Anthony is there, and here, as is Nelson Mandela, and Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Jordan, and Malcolm X, and Henry David Thoreau, and Gandhi, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and down at the front by the rail, there and here are four little girls from Birmingham who died in fire long ago. They are all on that podium today. We were all on that podium today.

He proceeds to offer his own thoughts, mingled with intriguing observations from others.

Read it on >>

A new day – and a warning

A new beginning for America, a new day for the world.
Let not our hopes grow too large or our expectations too grand,
the challenges are many and the way is long, but let us move forward together.

I proudly supported President Obama, and I rejoice in his inauguration.
He is a bright man and has assembled an intelligent and experienced team.
However, knowledge and human intelligence alone will not save us.

Progress will take all of us working together for a better future –
for ourselves, for the world, and for our heirs.

In this time of exhilaration, I am reminded of the cautionary poem by Robert "Red Hawk" Moore:


    Easter Island is a remarkable place
    not only for its giant stone statues,
    one thousand of them, each weighing
    18 tons and standing 15 feet tall, but

    also for its fossil pollen record and
    what it tells us about Human Beings.
    Easter Island is completely treeless
    but the fossil pollen tells us that

    a fruit palm tree flourished on Easter Island
    for thousands of years and the decline of that species
    began about 1200 years ago and continued for
    several hundred years until the tree became extinct.

    1200 years ago is when the Humans came to Easter Island.
    If you stand on the island’s highest point
    you can see nearly the entire island so
    the people knew what they were doing:

    systematically they were destroying their paradise
    and the man who cut the last tree, the very thing
    he depended upon for his survival,
    knew it was the last tree standing and

    he cut it anyway.

My prayer is for President Obama and for this nation – that we will both know what is right, and that we will have the courage to do it – so that our Earthly paradise will survive and prosper.

We are ones we have been waiting for!


Arthur Fullerton is a good friend of Witherspoon, living in West Hollywood, California.
And there's more ...

The full text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address

The text of the Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction at the close of the Inauguration

Also, the White House website already has a lengthy list of "agenda" items from President Obama
bulletClick here for the whole website
bullet here for the agenda listing
bullethere for women's concerns
bulletand here for civil rights (and scroll down a bit for LGBT rights!)
And here's indefatigable blogger John Shuck's take on this day

The Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
January 19, 2009

This week’s messages are —

bullet Celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
bullet The 44th President of the United States is Sworn In
bullet A Prayer for Our Nation
Bishop Gene Robinson's prayer at the Opening Inaugural Event ... not to be missed

More on the Inauguration

Gay but Equal? 

Mary Frances Berry calls for a new way to justice and equality

Mary Frances Berry's opinion piece in the New York Times, "Gay But Equal?" offers a new way for us to think about and work for justice and equality for all persons. She suggests: “To help resolve the issue of gay rights, President-elect Obama should abolish the now moribund Commission on Civil Rights and replace it with a new commission that would address the rights of many groups, including gays.”


Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004, is the author of And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to non-discrimination in civil society for LGBT people. The 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) called for the end to discrimination against LGBT persons in our Church through Ordination Amendment 08-B. This article offers a wider context for our own Presbyterian struggles, and reminds us of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."  

May this be so in our Church, our country, and all of God's world.

The full article >>

Thanks to Michael Adee, of More Light Presbyterians

The Presbytery of Des Moines voted earlier today to approve Amendment 08-B

In so doing, the presbytery rejected the recommendation of their Bills and Overtures committee for "No action."

The vote was 52 for the amendment, 37 against, and 4 abstentions.  The recommendation for "No action" was defeated by a vote of 53 against, and 40 in favor.
With more details on the process by which the presbytery acted, the Rev. Bill LeMosy, of Des Moines, reports:

The arguments were standard fare on the amendment itself. What did in the “No Action” was the reality that it would have been a “No” vote in disguise. I’m thinking the vote on “No Action” was [as close as it was] because of fatigue with three decades of debate and out of a sense that a shift in perspective will take a least a couple more decades – kind of a Barbara Wheeler approach.

Our process included sitting at round tables, six per table, for the meeting itself and for small group discussion of what the “No Action” vote would mean. After that discussion format, we went back into plenary, had the usual three-minute speeches for alternating positions, voted down the “No Action” by written ballot, debated, and voted with another paper ballot. During discussion of the amendment itself we heard from a lesbian church member, a perhaps important and helpful three-minute presentation, had an applause outbreak that the moderator discouraged after the fact, then voted. Before each vote the moderator had us spend a minute of so in silent prayer.

This amendment, if approved by a majority of the presbyteries, would revise G-6.0106b so it is not merely a ban on ordination of lgbt persons, but rather affirms that judgments about ordained service are to be based on the whole range of the ordination vows, not singling out the clause dealing with sexuality. 
For background and more discussion >>

Thanks to Bill LeMosy and to More Light Presbyterians

NOTE:  Des Moines is the second presbytery, along with Monmouth, to approve amendment 08-B, while some 13 presbyteries have so far voted against it.  Most of those have voted against every effort to move toward a more just and inclusive policy on ordination.  Clearly the voting in the other presbyteries will be very important, and we will bring you more information and resource material as soon as we can.

For the latest listing of presbytery votes, you might check on Presbyweb >>

If you have other results to report, or comments on the issue itself, please send us a note, to be shared here.

And now this:

North Kansas Presbytery also votes YES on Amendment 08-B

Just in from More Light Presbyterians

Today the Presbytery of North Kansas voted YES on the 218th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 08-B.  The vote was 71 to 23.

Special thanks to Kent Winters-Hazelton and others in the Presbytery of North Kansas who believe in and work for a Church for All God's Children.

For educational resources and information to use in your local church or presbytery about Amendment 08-B including MLP's new Resource Packet, go to

And this:

On January 13, the Presbytery of Newton (in New Jersey) voted YES on the 218th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 08-B.  The vote was 63-16.

A late addition

‘Vision, Virtue, and Vocation’

Authors of new Social Creed press social justice agenda with Obama

from Presbyterian News Service:

LOUISVILLE ― January 16, 2009 — Two primary authors of “A Social Creed for the 21st Century” have sent an open letter to President-elect Obama advocating the social policies outlined in the creed.

Speaking on behalf of the U.S. churches that have endorsed the creed, the Rev. Christian Iosso, coordinator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, and the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, wrote: “… we are ready to help you achieve great deeds that will bring positive change for the people of America and the world.”

The general assemblies of both the PC(USA) and the NCC, which represents 36 member churches, endorsed the Social Creed last year. The document, patterned after the Social Creed of 1908, addresses a number of social ills bedeviling U.S. society.

The full text of Iosso’s and Kinnamon’s message >>

and the Word became flesh

Presbyterian Health, Education & Welfare Association
Social Justice Biennial Conference

in the Big Tent

June 11 - 13, 2009
Atlanta, GA

Isaiah 54:2 says, "Enlarge the site of your tent…" Is our Tent large enough for those with no tent or those who stand outside, waiting for hospitality to be offered? Our participants will connect with those working at the grass- roots of our denomination in justice ministries. Listen, learn and share how congregations can be in ministry with persons and families affected by disabilities, mental illness, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, substance abuse, immigration, child welfare, health disparities… These are ministry, justice, and biblical imperatives! Atlanta, with its deep history of involvement in civil rights, is the perfect landscape to engage in this discussion.

The Big Tent is a celebration of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as 10 conferences of the Church come together in Atlanta. There are some common meal, worship and workshop times, as well as separate conference schedules.

Engage the Church in more diverse ways than ever before.

JUNE 11 – 13, 2009 • Atlanta, GA

Click here for the conference brochure, in PDF format

To register >>

To learn more about PHEWA >> 

Anti-abortion forces target Planned Parenthood

G. Jeffrey MacDonald, an independent journalist specializing in religion, ethics and ideas, writing for Religion News Service, begins his report:

Undeterred by solid Democratic gains in November’s national elections, religious conservatives who oppose abortion are going on the offensive with a new weapon: a sick economy.

In its largest-ever state-based initiative, the Family Research Council (FRC) is contacting every state lawmaker in the country with a plea to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s largest providers of family planning and abortion services.

Their argument is fairly simple: lots of organizations need public money now, but Planned Parenthood—with a $1 billion budget and a $114 million operating surplus—isn’t one of them.

“Planned Parenthood has proven that they don’t need federal or state handouts,” says Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Washington-based FRC. “During these economic times, when states are rethinking their investments, subsidizing abortion is probably not the kind of thing that they want to be known for.”

The full story >>

Study guide on immigration is recommended

The Rev. Eriberto (Eddie) Soto, Associate for Latin American Ministries in Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, has recommended Strangers in the Land, a study guide from the editors of Sojourners magazine.

A six-week guide on immigration, the church, and the bible, it is based on Old Testament scholar M. Daniel Carroll R.’s transformative 2008 book Christians at the Border. This six-week devotional and study guide provides the reader a daily excerpt from Christians at the Border, a scripture on the same theme, a provocative question, and a prayer. Every seventh day is arranged for use with a small group, including a story-based group organizing model, worship suggestion, stimulating discussion questions, and action suggestions. Price is $9.95.

For more information, and to order >>

As January 20th approaches ...

(A poem from a Witherspoon member)

            At almost 61 years I see the days ahead
with some amazing feelings of hope
and breath

            there are to be sure
many things that could hold us back
as a country, a people, a world.
           but it is my prayer
not to be one of those things –
not to be a stumbling block for anyone who wishes to
            serve or to learn or to live in this place of plenty
not to be one who says no you can't belong
            when you might try and belong
after all you were always rooted in the same ground.

            will we? after all this time? be ready to live
into the work God has for us? as individuals but even much more
importantly to live in community ... über community ...

as Nietzsche coined the term "übermensch" to describe the higher state to which he felt men (and women) might aspire.  

we shall see. and the good news that we live into
            is that God knows. Thanks be to God.

God abides

Bobbie G. McGarey
Interim Pastor, Lawton OK

For more comments and reflections since the election of Barack Obama >>

PC(USA) encourages participation in National Day of Service

Web site connects volunteers to events across the nation

by Susan Lindsey, Senior Communications Associate

LOUISVILLE ― January 15, 2008 — To commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others, in 1994 Congress transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday into a national day of community service. Presbyterians across the nation are encouraged to join in this day of service as individuals or in groups.

While anyone can organize an event that helps others, people can also participate by going to the Web site to find events already planned in their communities. Events are being held Jan. 17, 18 and 19.

The site features a broad range of activities, sponsored by such groups as the American Red Cross, the Urban League, Retired Senior Volunteers, college student associations, community centers, the NAACP, peace activists, homeless shelters, hunger programs, environmental organizations, Goodwill and a host of other associations and individuals.

This year, President-elect Barack Obama is calling on all Americans to offer more than a single day of service and instead make an ongoing commitment to serving our communities.

“Presbyterians engage in service in innumerable ways every day of every week, all year long,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Council. “We celebrate this initiative to encourage all people to join in service on Martin Luther King Day.”

For the National Day of Service website >>

Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb offers a different perspective on Israel’s attack on Gaza

Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem, in Israel/Palestine, offers a very helpful perspective on Israel’s military assault on Gaza. He was an ecumenical delegate to the PC(USA) General Assembly in 2004 GA in Richmond.

Here are some excerpts:

Gaza: A Different Perspective

Watching the news these days is not an easy task, especially if you switch between Arab channels like Al Jazeera on one hand, and Western channels like Fox on the other. The war on Gaza is portrayed so differently that one sometimes might wonder if these diverse narratives are actually dealing with the same conflict. ... The most important thing, I believe, is not what we are told and shown, but what this war is trying to hide. Here are some of the intentions as I see them:

1) The two-state solution is the intended victim of the war on Gaza.

Although Israel is aiming at destroying Hamas’ military capabilities (as primitive as they are), I believe that Israel’s real intention is to polish Hamas’ political image. This may seem an outlandish contradiction, but let’s look at what has been happening. While Israel can’t tolerate rockets falling into its territory, it is in its long-term strategic interest to have Hamas control the Gaza Strip. Why? For a simple reason: if Hamas controls Gaza and Fatah controls the West Bank, then the two-state solution is over. ...

2) Regional power struggles continue to be played out in Palestine.

The war on Gaza, although purely an Israeli decision, was also triggered also by some regional powers who were backing Hamas. ...

3) Gaza is the new poster-child for justifying humanitarian aid.

Gaza will now be marketed on a much wider scale as a severe humanitarian crisis. Disempowering aid, handouts and food supplies will start flowing into Gaza like never before. Yet Gaza’s problem is, fundamentally, a political one. What the people in Gaza really need is for the occupation to end, for the population to be able to live freely, to export and import, to fish and grow flowers. ...

More >>

Thanks to the Rev. Bruce Gillette

Religious leaders meet with Obama transition team members, urge quick ban on torture

Carol Wickersham of Presbyterian-based No2Torture shares with us the New York Times' report on the meeting on Jan. 14 of leaders of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, with members of President-elect Obama's transition team. She adds:

We are finally being heard. Let us join in prayer with so many around the world that by the grace of God, torture will soon end, the rule of law will be restored and healing will begin. ALSO, those with Senators on the Judiciary Committee should immediately call them and ask that they press questions about accountability at the confirmation hearing for the Attorney General which will begin today.

The Times' story begins:

A broad coalition of religious groups is calling on President-elect Barack Obama to issue an executive order on his first day in office banning the use of torture.

Leaders of the coalition, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, met with officials from the Obama transition team on Wednesday afternoon and emerged saying they were optimistic about the prospects for such an order.

Linda Gustitus, the group’s president, said the coalition leaders met with Michael Strautmanis, who has been named chief of staff to Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama adviser.

The full news story >>

NRCAT leaders add this suggestion for further action:

Please take a minute to email President-elect Obama's Transition Team and ask him to end torture on Day One of his presidency. Just take these three easy steps:

•          Visit his transition website at

•          Fill out your contact information. Write "torture" in the "Another issue" box.

•          In the "Your ideas" box, write something like: "Please issue an Executive Order ending our use of torture as an interrogation technique on Day One of your presidency. As a person of faith, I have been deeply troubled by our country's use of torture as an interrogation technique. Torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees is wrong, and it is contrary to American values."

Thank you for your help!

The latest Presbyterian Peacemaking Program update includes information and links to resources on:
bulletThe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
bulletThe State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
bulletMinimum wage legislation
bulletStopping torture
bulletUpcoming events
No2Torture urges ...   Now’s the time to act!

Write to Pres.-Elect Obama and Congress, calling on them to investigate the practices of torture, because “Without accountability it is unlikely that the practice of torture will stop.”   The full text of their letter >>

Faith leaders call for raising minimum wage

Living Wage events link MLK dream to end poverty wages

From Presbyterian News Service

With the U.S. economic crisis deepening and unemployment soaring, a group of 11 denominational and religious organization leaders are among the inaugural signers of a call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 in 2010.

The signers include the Rev. Gradye Parsons, General Assembly stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Nearly 400 faith leaders from all 50 states have already endorsed “$10 in 2010,” a campaign led by Let Justice Roll, and more are signing on each day.

The full story >>

Interfaith Worker Justice provides ...

A congregational toolkit for helping unemployed workers

Friday's grim news that 524,000 jobs were lost in December and that the unemployment rate hit 7.2 percent starkly underscores the need for all sectors of our society to support unemployed workers and to encourage employers to treat all workers justly in times of economic crisis.

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) has recently prepared a Congregational Toolkit to help unemployed workers. Available free of charge from the IWJ Web site, the toolkit outlines what resources are available to unemployed workers, suggests how to establish support groups for unemployed workers, and offers worship aids for lifting up unemployed workers and employers in this time of crisis.

"Congregations have always stood by unemployed workers in times of struggle," said Bishop Gabino Zavala, Co-President of IWJ's Board of Directors. "These congregational tools help us fulfill our mission of serving God's people."


Renaye Manley
Organizing Director
Interfaith Worker Justice

Click here for the Toolkit >>

PDA Middle East Special Appeal

The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance office has just issued this special appeal:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“For surely I know the plans I have for you…to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

All people impacted by the current violence in the Middle East are facing overwhelming humanitarian needs as a result of the continuing violence. The most basic needs—safe shelter, medical care, food, water, electricity—are well beyond the reach of many of those caught in the crossfire.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is in consultation with our partners in the region to make aid available to those most in need.

When Jesus walked these very lands, by his words and his ministries he told all who would listen to care for: the children, the old, the poor, the sick, the most vulnerable.

. . . In this moment of crisis, while leaders strive to find a path to lasting peace, our priority must be caring for those left vulnerable by the violence.


GIVE to help the PC(USA) and our partners meet the physical needs of those in all the areas where violence leaves them vulnerable, and the emotional and spiritual needs of the many more who have been traumatized by that violence. Mail your church’s gift to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Church Remittance Processing, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700, or give through your congregation’s normal giving channels. Write “DR000081-E1” on the check or remittance form so that we can ensure your gift is designated to meet these urgent needs. You can also give online at 

PRAY for all those whose lives have been and continue to be affected.

STAY INFORMED with regular updates on the situation, how your church is responding, and to find available worship resources at or by calling PresbyTel at 1-800-872-3283.

And click here for more information, prayers and reflections on this Witherspoon site.


Praying for Gaza and Israel

We have just received a worship service designed by Rev. W. Mark Koenig, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, for a service held at the Presbyterian Center on Thursday January 8, 2009. We hope you find them helpful as you pray and work for a just peace.

You are encouraged to use this material (and other items we have posted earlier) in services of prayer and worship, or study and dialogue.

The service of worship opens:


We gather in a world of broken bodies and wounded hearts
To worship the God who satisfies our deepest hunger.

We gather in a world of violence and division
To worship the God who welcomes all strangers.

We gather in a world of symbols: crosses, crescents and stars
To worship the God whose only creed is love.

We gather in the world of the powerful and of those who desire power
To worship the God who calls us to each other and into our world.

Come, let us worship the God whose love breaks down all barriers.

For the full service >>

Thanks to Rick Upchurch,
of the Collegiate Ministries office of the PC(USA),
who sent this to us.


Presbyterians call for cease-fire in Gaza

WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY, published by The Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Urge Immediate U.S. Efforts to End Gaza Violence, Restore Cease-Fire

The escalating Gaza violence of these past days has been a sobering jolt from holiday celebrations. For Palestinians and Israelis, there has been no peace.

It is urgent that United States call all the parties to restrain from using force and, rather, to trust a diplomatic process. The current violence has caused unbelievable suffering of innocents and both the Hamas lead government of Gaza and the Israeli government have descended into callous behavior that will set the peace process back for many years. Over fifty percent of Gaza's 1.4 million residents are under the age of 14 who now have nowhere to run from the violence, and who were already suffering from malnutrition because of the blockade on Gaza. On behalf of those children and the children of Israel, both Israelis and Palestinians must halt this spiral of violence. We mourn the loss of life on both sides and call now on the United States to exercise bold leadership to immediately end the violence, restore the cease-fire and lift the blockade of Gaza's borders.  

The full statement calling for a cease-fire >>

Included with this call for action is a statement by the Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PC(USA).

He includes excerpts from the statement on Israel/Palestine by the 218th General Assembly (2008)

And a touch of grace and prayer is included in this letter from Washington -- "a Jew's prayer for the children of Gaza"

Israel Palestine Mission Network issues statement on Gaza

Their statement, issued on January 7, 2009, begins: “The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) condemns in the harshest terms possible the Israeli massacre of Palestinians now underway in Gaza. This long-planned and all-too-indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of civilians, the wounding of thousands, and the destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, mosques and economic infrastructure cannot be justified in the name of Israeli national security.”  The full statement >>

If you have comments to offer,
or suggestions for action,
or other statements and articles that should be posted here,
please send a note,
to be shared here.

Epiphany:  Celebrating the wonder & mystery of light, life, faith and grace

A meditation from More Light Presbyterians

Today is Epiphany in Christian tradition.  We mark and celebrate the mystery and wonder of Epiphany on January 6.  As you know, this tradition is often referred to as the Epiphany of the Lord.  It is associated with the visit of the Wise Men from the East, or the Three Kings as often displayed in church Christmas pageants.  Isaiah 60: 1- 6 and Matthew 2: 1- 12 are the Biblical texts that give us the story behind this celebration.  The text in the Gospel of Matthew speaks of the Wise Men as traveling or "going by another road."

Epiphany.... a sudden realization, a comprehension of the essence or meaning of something.  Epiphany, an understanding, a revelation with an ancient root in the word "phos" or "Light."   For those of us within the national network of More Light Presbyterians the expression of "more light" is close to our hearts, lives, calls to ministry and being part of the Church, the Body of Christ.   More >>

On Gaza:  Silence now is no virtue
by the Rev. John Shuck

The Rev. John Shuck, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee, has posted a thoughtful note reflecting his own experience and thinking about the Israeli invasion of Gaza.  He urges that it's time to move beyond following the news with concern, and to speak and act for peace.  His note >>

On Gaza
by Starhawk

Starhawk, who is a noted activist, organizer, and author of The Earth Path, as well as Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, The Fifth Sacred Thing; and eight other books on feminism, politics and earth-based spirituality, also describes herself as “a Jew, by birth and upbringing.”

She writes movingly out of her own visit to Israel/Palestine some four years ago, and sees the root of the problem in the Israelis’ “kind of psychic blind spot where the Palestinians are concerned. If you are truly invested in Israel as the Jewish homeland, the Jewish state, then you can't let the Palestinians be real to you. It's like you can't really focus on them. Golda Meir said, ‘The Palestinians, who are they? They don't exist.’ We hear, ‘There is no partner for peace,’ ‘There is no one to talk to.’ ” So Israel seeks “peace” by working to exterminate the Arabs whom it defines as “pests.”

The only way to peace, she says, will lie through the hard path of atonement – acknowledging that the Palestinians are human too, with a story of their own that needs to be heard and respected, and then acting to resist the policies of war, and create a new climate for peace.

Her full article >>

Congo Sabbath Initiative launched to support women of Congo in facing sexual violence

The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing has sent this message urging people of faith to share information and nurture concern in their congregations for the hundreds of thousands of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have been victims of brutal sexual violence during their nation’s conflicts over the past few years.

For more information >>

For more about the Religious Institute >>

Israel launches ground invasion of Gaza

Israeli defense minister Barak promised that the invasion "won't be short"

Here’s one report from the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz >>

There is, once again, plenty of reporting by US media on Israel’s invasion of Gaza, which began yesterday, January 3. Most of it, however, reflects in one way or another the Israeli point of view, partly because Israel is allowing no foreign journalists into Gaza.

We believe it may be helpful for “the other side” to be heard – including Palestinians, Israelis and other Jews who are committed to peace, Christians and others.

So here’s a sample:


A Palestinian Christian perspective

The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem presents a concise overview of the Gaza situation from a Christian Palestinian perspective.


Jewish voices of dissent

Jewish Peace News presents various voices of dissent coming from inside of Israel and other places in the Jewish world. Some of the dissent is organized as demonstrations and petitions and some manifests on blogs and in more traditional publications.

This collection of articles and essays includes voices of dissent coming from inside of Israel and other places in the Jewish world. Some of the dissent is organized as demonstrations and petitions and some manifests on blogs and in more traditional publications.


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) offers an online crisis resource center on Gaza attacks.  More >>


Rabbi Michael Lerner urges Israel – for its own sake – to build true peace in Gaza

Rabbi Michael Lerner, who is is editor of Tikkun, a prominent progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine and chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, writes in Religion Dispatches: "Israel's attempt to wipe out Hamas is understandable, but dumb. No country in the world is going to ignore the provocation of rockets being launched from neighboring territory day after day. ... Israel has every right to respond. But the kind of response matters." The present Israeli military action, he argues, is entirely out of proportion to any possible Hamas response.  More >>


We welcome your contributions! 
Other sources we might include,
or your own understanding of the invasion
and the complex situation that surrounds it.

Please just send a note,
to be shared here.

For an index to all our reports
from the 218th General Assembly

For an index to all our reports from the
Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice >>

Earlier in April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
December, 2009
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009

August, 2009
July, 2009
June. 2009
May, 2009

April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009

December, 2008

November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

Some blogs worth visiting


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.


Witherspoon’s Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, Witherspoon’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 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!


Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch Seminar!


July 26-August 1, 2010



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