This page lists our postings
all of March,
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
Providence Presbytery (South Carolina) sends overture calling
for steps toward peace in Iraq
which will be numbered OVT 107, was approved by the Presbytery
of Providence on March 18, 2010. It calls for steps toward
peace, including withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by
August 31, 2010, and all U.S. armed forces and defense
contractors by December 31, 2011, and aid to refugees and to
returning U.S. veterans.
full text of the overture >>
David McGown, former Witherspoon president, dies in Santa Fe
[updated on 3-30-10]
The Rev. David McGown, who served as president of
the Witherspoon Society in 1995, and was active in campus
ministry for many years, most recently at the University of
Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus, died
peacefully Friday afternoon, March 26, at his home in Santa Fe.
He had struggled with Alzheimer’s for several years and had
lived in an assisted living facility with his wife Jeanne for the
past several years. A memorial service is being planned for
Jeanne McGown's address is 2400 Legacy Court,
Santa Fe, NM 87507.
Thanks to Ray Kersting for
sending word of this.
Remembering and celebrating Dave McGown ...
In April of 2001 –
on Palm Sunday, no less – David wrote a note to us reporting on
a remarkable, inclusive, joyful, violence-defying worship
service at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe.
a look at it, and give thanks for David, for his strong
witness over many years, and his entry into the New Life.
We also want to acknowledge with
gratitude that David's wife, Jeanne (to whom I apologize for
getting her named spelled wrong when first posting this!), was one of the first and most
active members of Voices of Sophia.
David's obituary is in the Santa Fe New Mexican >>
Along with health care reform, immigration reform hit the
news -- and the streets -- last week
Here are a few of the important reports on a vitally important
New National Poll: people of faith support
immigration reform, approve of clergy speaking out
Large majorities of major religious
groups support opportunity for citizenship
A new survey of U.S. citizens who are
registered to vote by Public Religion Research Institute finds
broad support across religious groups for a comprehensive
approach to immigration reform and strong approval for clergy
speaking out on the issue. ...
“By a 2-to-1 margin, American voters strongly
support a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, and they
want a solution that reflects strongly held values,” said Dr.
Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.
“More than 8-in-10 Americans – including overwhelming majorities
of white mainline Protestants, Catholics, and white evangelicals
– believe strongly that immigration reform should be guided by
the values of protecting the dignity of every person and keeping
families together as well as by such values as promoting
national security and ensuring fairness to taxpayers.”
“Need for immigration reform
is now,” U.S. faith leaders tell White House and Congress
reports on visits to Congress by delegations of people of
“A place to call home”
Ecumenical Advocacy Days calls for justice
for immigrants, refugees, displaced people
Presbyterian News Service reported from
Arlington, Va., on March 22:
The ninth annual gathering of Ecumenical
Advocacy Days opened with an enthusiastic show of support for
faith-based social justice work.
The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary
of the National Council of Churches, asked the 700 participants
[including about 100 Presbyterians] to raise their hands if they
thought the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a better theologian
than Glenn Beck. The conservative radio and TV show host
recently encouraged his audience to leave their churches if they
hear the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice.’
The event focused this year on the need for
immigration reform, on which Kinnamon commented: “This is
not a call for tolerance. It is a call for hospitality.”
PNS report >>
|Presbyterian News Service has
posted a later report on the Presbyterian activities
and speakers at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days event
in Washington, on March 20.
The full report >>
Read the Bible with a newspaper in the other hand? No,
something more is needed, says retired Presbyterian pastor
Robert A. McKenzie, in his book of reminiscences,
comments on a famous dictum:
Karl Barth, the great Swiss theologian,
said that Christians need to read the Bible in one hand and
a newspaper in the other. He had it wrong. Newspapers, I
discovered, are apologists for the world's power brokers.
To read the Bible aright we have to get
behind the newspapers to the stories told by the poor and
oppressed because the newspapers, not to mention governments
or business or even much of the church, have no interest in
the stories of the poor. But when I read the Bible from the
perspective of the stories recited by the poor, I invariably
find a perfect correspondence. Indeed, it is the poor
themselves who make that correlation.
It's on pages 358-59 of Life Keeps Coming
At Me: A Son of the Soil Takes Root in Berkeley (1st Books
Library, 2003). The statement is more applicable today than at
the time of its publication.
While the book has much personal and family
information, it also tells the important story of how a North
Dakotan who voted for Nixon in 1960 became a "Sixties radical"
on the basis of his experiences in Berkeley (where he was pastor
at St. John's Presbyterian Church from the Sixties to the
Eighties) and in Central America.
You can order through Amazon >>>>>
Thanks to Gene TeSelle
To Presbyterian Voices for
Justice members and friends:
We’re looking for a
few good volunteers
... to help staff the PVJ booth at General Assembly
Vicki Moss, our long-time Gracious Hostess at
our Exhibit Hall booth, is looking for folks who can spend some
time meeting and greeting people who come by the booth, helping
them with any questions or concerns, introducing them to the
materials and events that we will be providing ... and whatever
else comes along.
There will be a sign-up sheet at the booth for
anyone who wants to take a turn at staffing, or you can contact
Vicki directly to pre-request a shift. Just e-mail her at
And even if you
can’t volunteer at the booth, be sure to stop by to see folks,
and enjoy the goodies, which will include buttons, bookmarks,
Empowering Women to Claim the Fullness of Their Humanity as
Created by God
an elected member of Advocacy for Women’s Concerns, and
Associate Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky,
takes a fresh look at the theological idea of sin, as it has
generally been viewed in a distinctively male perspective, as a
misuse of power. But from the experience of women, the
problem is the lack of power, and the cure for sin, then, is
Her essay is
published in the Winter 2010 issue of
Network News (pp.
31-32), and is now
posted here in
html format as well.
Engaging Conversations: Social Media and Justice Networks
The Rev. Melissa Lynn DeRosia
last January with the
board and network leadership teams of PHEWA in Louisville, KY,
and talked with them about her experiences with social media.
She says, "They were particularly interested in how I utilize it
in my local ministry as a pastor and connect with others across
the denomination, as I serve as moderator of the Presbytery of
Lake Huron and an elected member of the General Assembly Mission
Council (GAMC)." She has kindly shared some of her
knowledge with us, as well.
Click here for
her article >>
This article, too,
is published in the Winter 2010 issue of
Network News (pp.
for the World invites us to ...
Help Make Tax Day Good
News for Poor People
after Easter is also the Sunday before Tax Day, April 15. Join
Bread for the World in making it (or perhaps Wednesday, April
14) a time to reflect on the ways our nation’s tax system can
help poor and hungry families.
Following the example of Zacchaeus, the tax
collector whose confrontation with Jesus brought good news to
poor people, our
Tax Day resources—including a
by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette—will help your members see the
connection between tax policies and their neighbors’ ability to
feed their children.
You can also use Tax Day as a way to help
prepare your congregation for an upcoming Offering of Letters,
or you may want to hold your offering on that day.
Visit our site for more information.
BFW also provides some excellent, brief
resources for reflection and worship from Maundy Thursday
through the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
One more reason for being Proud you’re a Presbyterian
Thanks to my diligent search for new knowledge
on the Internet, I’ve discovered that "Britney Spears" can be
rearranged to spell "presbyterians."
Here's an addition from Bruce Gillette:
More reasons for being
Proud you're a Presbyterian [3-20-10]
"Presbyterian" (note no "s" on
the end) is an anagram whose letters also spell "Best in
Prayer" while the letters in "Episcopal" also spell "Pepsi
From Bruce Gillette (father
of two college students who know the letters in "dormitory"
also spell "dirty room").
Glenn Beck elicits (even if he doesn’t
produce) some very good thinking
Beck and Social Justice
Valerie Elverton-Dixon, writing for
offers some very good reflections on Beck’s much-noted call for
Christians to leave congregations that call for social justice –
because they’re just serving the evil goals of the Communists
and the Nazis.
Fox News host Glenn Beck has created a
firestorm by calling for Christians to leave congregations
that preach and teach social justice. According to Beck,
this is code for a socialist agenda. He has said that the
one idea that Nazis and Communists have in common is the
concept of social justice. Many Christians, and I would dare
say many non Christians, are outraged by such statements. It
is clear that Beck has neither a clear understanding of what
social justice is or what most religions require of
believers. Moreover, social justice is not only a
requirement of faith, but it is a duty of citizenship.
Religion is the recognition that we as
individuals are connected to others—to a transcendence, to
other human beings, to nature and to all of creation. This
connection leads to moral responsibilities both to ourselves
and to others. We err when we think that we exist only for
our individual selves or only for our family, tribe or
nation. The more we grow in spiritual maturity, the wider is
our range of moral concern. We not only care about our moral
obligations to ourselves, but that care extends out to all.
The them versus us delusion falls away, and we come to
recognize that they and we are the same. We each are a part
of the other. Martin Luther King called it a network of
mutuality. This insight helps me to know the imperative that
commands me to love God with all my heart and soul and to
love my neighbor as myself.
The full essay >>
There are some good comments following the
essay itself – just scroll down.
Querying Queer Sexuality:
Leading a Course to Broaden Awareness
by Sylvia Thorson-Smith
This article has been published originally
in our newsletter, Network News, the Winter 2010
issue, pages 28-30. It
is here online in PDF format >>
I have the very good fortune of
belonging to a More Light Church in Tucson, Arizona (St. Mark’s
Presbyterian). Since I chair the More Light Ministry Team and
regularly teach adult ed courses, I think it’s important to
provide regular opportunities for our members to study issues of
human sexuality, especially as they pertain to our work for LGBT
In January and February, I
coordinated a 6-week course called “Querying Queer Sexuality.”
The reason I used the term “Queer” is to familiarize our
congregation with the changing meaning and context of this term.
For many, it still feels like a negative label (weird, odd,
abnormal), while within the LGBT and academic communities, it’s
been recast as a broadly inclusive term and one that reflects
new scholarly thinking (as in queer theory). There is much to
discuss about this new terminology, as well as other changing
attitudes toward the politics of sexual and gender identity.
I’ve been asked to give an
overview of this series in
with the hope that others may be
encouraged to do something similar. Following is an outline of
the course with comments about the content and process of each
The rest of the article >>
These items from Network News
have now been posted in html format, too.
Sylvia Thorson-Smith writes on
Querying Queer Sexuality: Leading a Course to Broaden Awareness
Co-Moderator Bill Dummer on doing justice locally
(page 2 )
Justice events at General Assembly (page
So what are
you doing locally?
Co-Moderator of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, the Rev. Bill
Dummer, has been
encouraging us to take seriously our calling to work for justice
not just at global and national and denominational levels, but
also locally -- right where we are. So we're posting his
thoughts about his own activities here, and inviting you to
share what you're doing locally as well.
It may be a story of your own involvement in a
congregation's or other group's work for justice in your
community, or a report on what others are doing in your area.
What we'd like to hear form you:
|What are you doing?|
|What are you hoping to accomplish?|
|What obstacles and problems are you
|How are you overcoming them?|
|What can the rest of us learn from your
Just send a note to
your story and reflections, and we'll share it here.
Network News is here
-- the Winter 2010 issue is posted here in PDF
Co-Moderator Bill Dummer on doing justice locally
(page 2 )
Our new name
Justice events at General Assembly (6)
The Overtures Are
Coming! The Overtures Are Coming! (9)
Middle East study – and
again charges of anti-Semitism (22)
Querying Queer Sexuality, by Sylvia Thorson-Smith
Empowering Women to Claim the Fullness of Their Humanity,
by Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty 31
Debt Squeeze: Who Should Take the Fall? by Gene TeSelle
Engaging Conversation through Social Networks, by Melissa Lynn
plus more news ...
Ranch Seminar, July 26-August 1, 2010
We’re All In This Together: Confronting the Structures of
To download this issue of Network News (in PDF
format) click here.
To get it in high-resolution format -- looking
better but taking longer to download,
Some of the articles in the on-line print
version are also posted in html format, as regular web pages.
Clicking on any of the titles above that are formatted as links
will take you to those pages, which may differ slightly from the
"print" version. And we'll be adding more of those as
quickly as we can.
We regret that once again we are not able
to print and mail this issue. We hope we'll be able to do
better with the spring issue! YOU can help by sending a
Just click here.
For suggestions about printing the PDF version
of this newsletter (which totals 52 pages), just look at page 5
in this issue.
Two progressive faith groups express concern about
“faith-based” government initiatives
The Interfaith Alliance supports recommendations by the White
House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood
Partnerships, that would bring the Office of Faith-Based and
Neighborhood Partnerships in line with the Constitution's
guarantees of both religious freedom and the separation of
religion and government. But the Alliance calls on people to
urge the President to support those recommendations.
And Americans United for Separation of Church and
State expresses concern about the President’s willingness to do
just that, since they believe he has failed thus far to correct
problematic Bush-era rules that undercut civil rights and civil
AU provides more
information, and The Interfaith Alliance offers
a way to
send messages to the White House.
report of PC(USA) Middle East Study Committee is now available
Down the Walls’: a comprehensive report about a complex context
Office of the General Assembly
— March 10, 2010 -- The full 172-page report of the Middle East
Study Committee (MESC) to the 219th General Assembly (2010) of
the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is now available.
219th General Assembly
(2010) will meet July 3-10 in Minneapolis.
The third and final portion
of “Breaking Down the Walls” was posted online at the
Middle East Peace
Web site today. The most recent release includes committee
members’ firsthand accounts of their Middle East experiences,
policy recommendations, and several appendices.
“This report reflects the
extensive, hard work of the study committee and the wealth of
experience each member brought to our discussions,” said the
Rev. Ron Shive, a pastor in Salem Presbytery who chairs the MESC.
“Given the interest in this topic and the diversity of our
backgrounds, our conversations were always lively. And yet, we
managed to have consensus on the bulk of our report and
All but one of the
nine-member committee voted to approve the report and
The MESC was established by
the 218th General Assembly (2008) to “prepare a comprehensive
study, with recommendations, focused on Israel/Palestine within
the complex context of the Middle East.” The Rev. Bruce
Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly, appointed
the committee in consultation with the two previous GA
In its report, the committee
writes that the complex context includes:
... two, ongoing wars,
one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and the northwest border
regions of Pakistan, wars that, like the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, involve issues of U.S. involvement, a use of
force, an occupation, and religious tension. … ongoing
struggles within particular nations: between religious and
ethnic groups in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Lebanon;
between the rulers and the ruled in Egypt and several other
Arab countries; between the native-born and the guest
workers in the Gulf region; between political factions in
Palestine; between Israelis and Palestinians in Israel;
between the ideals of democracy and theocracy in Iran,
Israel, and Palestine; and between forces of modernization
and tradition in all countries. The undue influence of
outside forces continues a history of colonial interference
throughout the Middle East. Yet most expert observers and
popular opinion polls confirm that the Israeli-Palestinian
struggle is playing a central role in exacerbating
region-wide grief and grievance.
The full news report >>
Download the full report >> (172 pages, in PDF
Download the "recommendations" section only >> (9 pages
More of our reports on
Israel/Palestine concerns >>
You can now register for GA!
Assembly website now has things set up for you to register both
for the Assembly itself, as well as for hotel rooms and the many
events that you may want to attend.
for the first registration page.
The first official Assembly events are on
Saturday morning, July 3, and adjournment is scheduled for
around noon on Saturday, July 10. You may want to arrive early
for events like the Voices for Justice Commissioner Orientation,
which will be an early breakfast on Saturday morning.
docket of official Assembly events >>
For the complete schedule of events >> (This is 36
pages, in DPF format)
Please note that in the registration form
for event tickets, you'll find our Commissioner Orientation
on Saturday morning listed as "Presbyterian Voice (oops,
just one voice?) for Justice Commissioner
Orientation/Breakfast," 7:00 am-8:30 am
What once was the Witherspoon Awards
Luncheon is now the Presbyterian Voices (we got our other
voice back) for Justice Luncheon -- Sunday noon.
On the registration form, our name is
abbreviated as PVJ.
About hotels – you’ll find the official GA
hotels listed in the registration information, along with
map of the hotel locations.
Yes, the hotels
are fairly costly, but Voices for Justice has a block of rooms
reserved at a relatively good rate at the Best Western Normandy
Inn, just about 5 blocks from the Convention Center. For more
information, get in touch with Doug King, by e-mail at
or by phone at (608) 782-5275.
offers this advice for on-line registration:
recommend you print out the schedule of events first, before
doing the registration. Another caution: there are 5 pages with
<continue> between them with the online registration. Be sure to
make sure all fields are the way you want them before clicking
<continue>. If you have to go back (I forgot to put in my email
address, for instance), the computer gets confusedArchive
for March and you have
to start all over again.
with the online registration: You don't get an itemized list of
the tickets you have ordered, even when you are asked for your
credit card. So, be sure to make sure the tickets are what you
want. When you put in the quantity for each ticket, be sure to
click the <tab>, so the dollar amount shows for the ticket. This
may or may not make a difference, but better safe than sorry.
Thanks to Ralph Carter of MLP for most of this helpful
International Women's Day
International Women's Day 2010 - Rights and Recognition for
This comes to us from the
International Union of Food,
Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and
Allied Workers' Associations (IUF). Thanks to
around the world are organizing to challenge the harsh, abusive,
often slave-like conditions in which they work. They are
organizing unions and support networks, and they are mobilizing
in support of an international Convention that will finally
recognize them as workers and establish their rights in
Domestic work is
one of the oldest and most important occupations for many women
in many countries. It is linked to the global history of
slavery, colonialism and other forms of servitude. In its
contemporary manifestations, domestic work is a global
phenomenon that perpetuates hierarchies based on race,
ethnicity, indigenous status, caste and nationality. In the past
two decades demand for care work has been on the rise
everywhere. The massive incorporation of women in the labour
force, the ageing of societies, the intensification of work and
the frequent lack or inadequacy of policy measures to facilitate
the reconciliation of family life and work underpin this trend.
Today, domestic workers make up a large portion of the
workforce, especially in developing countries, and their number
has been increasing – even in the industrialized world. Domestic
work, nonetheless, is undervalued and poorly regulated, and many
domestic workers remain overworked, underpaid and unprotected.
Accounts of maltreatment and abuse, especially of live-in and
migrant domestic workers, are regularly denounced in the media.
In many countries, domestic work is very largely performed by
A new report from
the ILO -
Decent work for domestic workers - concludes that domestic
workers need a Convention (the strongest form of ILO instrument
which once ratified is a legally binding treaty) supplemented by
a Recommendation to protect their rights. The IUF welcomes this
conclusion, and on International Women's Day urges affiliates to
take action in the runup to the 2010 International Labour
Conference, where negotiations will begin in June to develop new
international labour standards for the protection of domestic
including action suggestions >>
[The ILO report
mentioned above is 134 pages, in PDF format]
The Israel Palestine Mission Network calls upon PC(USA)
leadership to stand firm
We recently reported on a
statement by the Simon Wiesenthal Center which called on
Jews to protest to the PC(USA), both its leadership and its
members, about the
yet unpublished report of the Middle East Study Group on
Israel/Palestine issues, that will be presented to the
General Assembly July 3-10 in Minneapolis.
The following article has been prepared by
the Steering Committee of the IPMN to address “the
disinformation campaign being waged by the Simon Wiesenthal
Center” against the report. It begins:
In 2008 at its 218th General
Assembly meeting in San Jose, California, the Presbyterian
Church (USA) affirmed the obligation of the Church to speak to
U.S. and foreign governments when it sees those governments
violating the commandments of God; endorsed the Amman Call
created in 2007 by the Christian Churches in the Middle East
which then called upon our denomination to take significant
actions in our policies for seeking a just Israeli-Palestinian
peace, assuring that we remain active partners in this effort;
called for Presbyterians to travel and take pilgrimages to
Israel/Palestine in a manner that offers a full view of life
conditions for both Israelis and Palestinians; and strengthened
its resolve to monitor closely U.S. corporations that support or
profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In addition to
these justice issues affecting all Palestinians, the Assembly
was very concerned that intensified Israeli control of Jerusalem
and the West Bank was accelerating the shrinkage of the
Christian population in the Holy Land—a matter of real urgency
at this point. Thus the Assembly voted to create a Middle East
Study Group (MESG), appointed by the present PC (USA) moderator
and the two most recent past moderators, that would report to
the 219th meeting of the General Assembly in 2010.
The full article >>
Presbyterians favor pushing corporations not to promote
Poll shows strong support for
‘two-state’ solution in Israel/Palestine
Jerry L. Van Marter of Presbyterian News
At least two-thirds of Presbyterians believe
the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should try to dissuade
corporations from doing things that “directly or indirectly”
support violence against Israeli or Palestinian civilians, and
at least three in five Presbyterians believe that the
denomination should shift its investment funds away from
corporations that continue to support such violence despite
pleas to stop.
These are findings of the August 2009
Presbyterian Panel survey of representative samples of members,
elders, pastors, and other ministers.
“Presbyterians don’t want companies supporting
violence in the Middle East,” said Perry Chang, Panel
administrator. “And they don’t think we should keep our
investments in companies that continue to do so.”
The panel results were released before the
denomination’s General Assembly Council voted Feb. 26 to ask the
upcoming 219th General Assembly to denounce profit-making by
Caterpillar, Inc. on sales of its heavy machinery to Israel.
Caterpillar equipment is used by the Israeli government to
bulldoze Palestinian homes in occupied territory and to
construct the so-called “separation barrier” and settlements on
disputed territory in Israel/Palestine.
The rest of
the story >>
Heidelberg Catechism Special Committee approves final report
Recommends extension to 2012 to explore joint
translation with Reformed churches
Sharon Youngs, Communications Coordinator of
the Office of the General Assembly, reports:
The General Assembly Special Committee on
Correcting Translation Problems of the Heidelberg Catechism has
unanimously approved its final report to the 219th General
Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The report, approved March 2, recommends that
the current special committee continue its work to 2012 in order
to continue conversations with the Christian Reformed Church in
North America (CRCNA) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA)
about a joint translation of the Heidelberg Catechism.
“The report brings great news to the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said the Reverend Neal D. Presa
(Elizabeth Presbytery), who chairs the committee.
Presa continued, “This group of fifteen
ministers and elders, who represent a true cross-section of the
PC(USA) in theological, gender, racial ethnic, and geographic
diversity, unanimously approved the report. We are speaking with
one voice, and our work together is demonstrative of the unity
of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The special committee grew out of actions of
the 218th GA (2008) to approve proposed changes that revolve
around correcting “translation problems in five responses of the
Heidelberg Catechism as found in The Book of Confessions and to
add the original Scripture texts of the German Heidelberg
Catechism.” [Webweaver’s note: These
translation problems all related to matters of sexuality, and
apparently introduced into the English version condemnations of
same-sex relations which were not in the original languages.]
The rest of
the story >>
background on the debate over the Heidelberg Catechism >>
Phil Tom moving to Washington
The Rev. Phil Tom has been tapped by the White
House and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to serve as the
Director for the Center for Faith-based and Community
Initiatives for the Department of Labor. He is currently serving
as associate for Small Church and Community Ministry in the
General Assembly’s Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area.
He will leave at the end of May, to begin service in Washington
on April 5.
Phil Tom (left) with
Moderator Bruce Reyes-Chow
Photo by Erin Dunigan,
Presbyterian News Service
He will be serving in one of
twelve Cabinet level Faith-based offices, which are coordinated
by the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership
Last summer Phil Tom received the Rodney T.
Martin award from the Presbyterian Health, Education & Welfare
Association (PHEWA) during the group’s opening reception at the
Big Tent event in Atlanta, June 11-13. The award is named for
the late Rod Martin, who once served as executive director of
PHEWA, and after his retirement was president of the Witherspoon
Society in 1994.
Presbyterian Voices for Justice rejoices that
Phil will be serving now in a wider sphere, bringing his
insight, his creativity, and his passion for justice into the
hallowed halls of Washington.
Where have all the Protestants gone?
So-called mainline Protestants led the fight for social causes
such as civil rights, equality for women and other key issues of
the day. Now that American society has embraced such norms,
liberal Protestant groups have become marginalized. Or have
Oliver Thomas, a member of USA TODAY's board
of contributors and author of 10 Things Your Minister Wants
to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job), sees in
the progressive side of the mainline denominations some
movements of change that he thinks will make them far more
congenial to “what matters to young people.” As examples he
cites their growing openness to sexual diversity and same-sex
relationships, their “growing commitment to global stewardship,”
their recognition of the link “between peacemaking and poverty,”
and their affirmation of “theological exploration” rather than
simply the continuing repetition (and enforcement) of ancient
To read his short essay >>
What do you think?
Let’s talk about this.
Do you see hope here that our churches might get past the
current doctrinal and moral battles,
and provide to new spiritual home to the “millenial
Just send a note with your thoughts,
to be shared here.
strong voice in agreement -- already!
I do believe that mainline
Protestantism's future is in a progressive Christianity. The
reformation started by people who went against the grain of the
majoritarian hierarchical tradition and affirmed the
individual's freedom under God's grace. If we progressives in
denominations like PCUSA continue to allow ourselves to be
enslaved by a reactionary majority, we will lose the very people
we seek to affirm. We need to explore seriously, and NOW, the
formation of new associations within the ONE Body of Christ. We
need to draw together progressives from PCUSA, ELCA, UCC,
Episcopal, and all others who believe that the Church must be
always reforming. Together, we can show the world what
progressive Christianity is and what it can do, instead of
fighting yesterday's battles over and over, begging for crumbs
from the table of reactionary conservatives. Let progressives go
forth united into the world and say "the Kingdom of God has come
near to you this day".
Peace in Christ's Love,
Post Falls, ID 83854
The author is a Presbyterian elder and a
member of Presbyterian Voices for Justice.
Here’s one bit of corroboration, perhaps:
Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal
reports that Caledonia Presbyterian Church of Portage, Wis.,
has filed a challenge of the
by John Knox Presbytery to ordain Scott Anderson, executive
director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Anderson is
openly gay, living in a long-term committed relationship.
Smith’s blog page invites comments. This was
the first one posted:
And then the Presbyterians wonder why
everyone is leaving the church.
Converge on Washington, DC
April 17-19: SOA Watch Lobby Days
Join us in Washington DC, April 17th through
the 19th as we organize to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC.
We will be demanding that members of Congress
stand with us as we work for justice in Latin America. Currently
HR 2567, the bill to suspend and investigate the SOA/WHINSEC has
98 cosponsors. Your voice is needed in Washington DC as we lobby
We will gather to build community on April
17th with an evening social. We will host panel discussions on
torture and immigration, go through an in-depth legislative
training, and on the evening of April 18th, SOA Watch will host
our first public event on
U.S. access to
military bases in Colombia. On Monday, April 19th we
will spend the day lobbying and vigiling on Capitol Hill.
This is a
critical moment for our movement and an important time to be in
solidarity with our partners in Latin America. We hope that you
will join us!
information about SOA Watch's Legislative campaign, visit
For an index to all our reports
the 219th General Assembly
For links to
all our archive pages, listed by months,
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
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
If you like what
you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and
Please consider making a special
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Click here to send a
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Or send your check, made
out to "Presbyterian Voices for Justice" and marked "web site," to
our PVJ Treasurer:
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Gibsonia, PA 15044-8312
Some blogs worth visiting
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
John Harris’ Summit to
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
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!