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Archive for September, 2011

This page lists our postings from all of September, 2011

For an index to all our reports and analyses
on the 219th General Assembly

August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.


Faithful Budget Briefing & Webinar
Tuesday, September 27th, 12:00 Noon (Eastern)

Join the Webinar tomorrow!

A Congressional "Supercommittee" has been tasked with finding $1.2 trillion to cut from the federal budget by November 23! This could impact every federal program under the sun: social security, Medicare, services that feed the poor, foreign aid, the military, tax breaks and more.

Join national, state and local religious leaders and organizations working together through The Faithful Budget Campaign to learn how these decisions may affect you and your community, meet others working for a just federal budget in your community, learn about campaign initiatives being planned in your area, and how you can join in protecting the poor from devastating program cuts:

Faithful Budget Briefing & Webinar -- Tuesday, Sept. 27, 12:00 Noon (EDT)

The Faithful Budget Briefing and Webinar will give you the basics on what's happening on Capitol Hill now and how you can make a public witness at home in your Congressional District for a faithful and just federal budget. On September 27th, we'll introduce you to others in your community who share your concerns through breakout calls immediately following the presentation. Faith leaders will offer words of wisdom to fuel your work for justice.

Please RSVP to Douglas Grace, Ecumenical Advocacy Days Coordinator at

Topic: Faithful Budget Briefing
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Time: 12:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time
Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-699-3239
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-408-792-6300
Access code for both call-in numbers: 687 149 705

Toll-free dialing restrictions:  

To join the online Webinar meeting: (Now from mobile devices!) 

1. Go to
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. Click "Join".

Meeting Number: 687 149 705

*The webinar will be immediately followed by conference calls with others in your area, if you are in the state of a member of the Super Committee. If you are not in one of these states, there will be a call with others for brainstorming and networking. The call-in details for these calls will be posted on the webinar.


If you are unable to join the webinar, you may join for the audio conference only, though portions of the program will be missed: Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-699-3239. Access code: 687 149 705

Inclusive ordination – from policy to reality, in the PC(USA) and the Church of Scotland!

Last June we shared a report from the meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, as they took a strong, positive step toward inclusive ordination. The Rev. Lindsay Biddle, a PC(USA) minister now serving in the Church of Scotland along with her husband, the Rev. John Mann, sent us that report, after serving as the PC(USA) delegate to the Scots’ assembly. Now she has sent us an impressive update on developments since the action of the Church of Scotland – including the news that one of the right-wing groups in the PC(USA) is apparently supporting the anti-gay forces in Scotland.

Please know that since this GA's decision in May, there's been a dramatic shift in temperament: gay clergy in the Church of Scotland feel more free to come out about their sexual orientation or about being in a same-sex relationship (civil partnerships have been legal throughout the UK since 2006), and it's becoming more common knowledge and less headline news.

There are also rumblings over here similar to the noises being made by the Ship o' Fellows [that must be Gaelic for the Fellowship of Presbyterians] which recently met in Minneapolis. (FYI, the anti-gay movement among Church of Scotland folk is supported financially and organizationally by the Confessing Church movement in the USA.)

I continue to be in awe of my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends within the Church of Scotland who practice as well as preach compassion, understanding, and forbearance toward the very people who condemn them, don't want to understand them, and have tried every trick in the book to exclude them from the church, civil rights and civil relationships. One of my colleagues made the astute comment, "Some of us used to be where they are now, and we know the pain they suffer and the journey they have ahead of them. All we can do is be a light at the end of the tunnel for them."

If there is any truth to the song, "They will know we are Christians by our love," it is being played out right now.

So take heart, be your selves, and know there's no going back -- for any of us,

Lindsay Biddle

Rev. Ms. Lindsay Louise Biddle, 30 Ralston Avenue, Glasgow G52 3NA

And here in the good old Presbyterian Church (USA) there is the good news that the new ordination policy is now being put into practice

This news comes from Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians  

Scott Anderson will be ordained on October 8 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Madison, WI.

We believe that Scott's ordination will be the first ordination of an out gay candidate in the PCUSA since the passage of Ordination Amendment 10-A on May 10 and its going into effect as G-2.0104 on July 10.

We hope many of you will consider going to Madison for Scott's ordination on Saturday, October 8, particularly those of you within an easy driving distance. Road trip!

To send a note to Scott --

Scott has served as Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. He has advocated for the full participation of LGBT persons in the life, ministry and witness of our Church for a long time. We so appreciate his call and faithful journey to have his ordination reinstated by John Knox Presbytery. Scott serves as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. He served as Executive Director of the California Council of Churches before moving to Wisconsin. Scott's call, gifts and qualifications for ordained ministry and service in our Church are clear to anyone who meets him. He has been serving God and the Church in ministry for many years now, of course.

Please join More Light Presbyterians in holding Scott and his family; all LGBT candidates, inquirers and seminary students; and our Church in your hearts, thoughts and prayers on October 8.

I give thanks to God for all the ways each of you has worked so faithfully for these historic moments in the life of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Christian Communion.

with hope and grace,


Torture has been historically unacceptable, so what's changed?

Philip Gates, of Prescott, Arizona, is a retired public-school superintendent and a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. He has been deeply involved in the effort to close the School of the Americas – otherwise known to some as a school of torturers. He was arrested in the November, 2006 protest against the SOA, and in 2007 he served time in prison for the crime of opposing torture.

As 9/11 approached, with its reminders of how the U.S. became so deeply hooked on torture, he wrote a short, thoughtful article on how torture, which had been for so long considered unacceptable, suddenly became “OK.” He urges us to join with the many religious groups supporting the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, to call for a national Commission of Inquiry composed of unbiased, experienced jurists equipped with subpoena powers, to be appointed by President Barack Obama.

His essay was published on Sept. 6 in the Arizona Republic.

PVJ Coordinating Team meets, focuses on “getting better organized”

Co-moderator Bill Dummer reports on the accomplishments of the coordinating team meeting help on August 15 - 17 in Pittsburgh.

One of their greatest achievements (in my biased opinion) was naming Vicki Moss (who has for years been the manager and welcoming presence at the Witherspoon/PVJ booth at each General Assembly) to succeed me as manager of communications for PVJ.  We are working at a transition. Welcome, Vicki!!

Bill’s report on the meeting is posted here as he sent it to us.

with thanks from Doug King, your (outgoing!) WebWeaver

9/ll plus ten


Special to Presbyterian News Service. by Jim Nedelka, a radio news reporter in New York and an elder at West-Park Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.

Some very personal reflections on 9/11 are offered by people who were impacted directly by the attack on the Twin Towers in New York – and by people who have been responding in creative and loving ways. Click here for the whole story >>

Here's a very different response to 9/11, from the Rev. John Shuck -- sharp, maybe harsh -- and deeply prophetic

I am not in the mood.

I am not in the mood to shout "God Bless America", drape myself with American flags, and observe the high holy day when the Muslim Horde attacked our freedoms.

On the day of the attack, I organized a worship service for the community. I gave this speech

This is a day of mourning for the victims of the unspeakable violence yesterday in New York City and at our nation's capitol. We stand with those who have lost loved ones with deep sorrow. Our sorrow will never reach the depths as that which has been experienced by those who have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, life partners, children, loved ones.  ...

In response to this we feel justifiable rage. The Psalmist echoes our feelings even as we may not dare to speak the words aloud: "O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock! (Psalm 137:8-9) ...

The enemy is not the Muslim people or the Arab people. The enemy is violence itself. Violence bred by injustice and uncontrollable rage which has turned to hatred. The answer will not be more violence bred by more rage and more hatred and more injustice. This will only lead to the deaths and to the suffering of more innocent people and it will not bring peace to our world.

More >>

A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace

by Gail Strange

from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, via the General Assembly Mission Council

Peacemaking is the human response to God’s gift of peace. In an increasingly violent and unjust world, we as Christians are called to understand and address the root causes of violence and injustice by building a culture of peace and nonviolence for all

Since 1988, the Peacemaking Program has brought 261 International Peacemakers from 63 countries who made about 1,700 individual visits to presbyteries, synods, colleges and presbyteries. International Peacemakers are leaders who are engaged in peacemaking in their own areas of the world. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program invites leaders from our partner churches around the world to share their experiences as peacemakers in their own contexts.

This year the International Peacemaker program, made possible by your generous gifts to the Peacemaking Offering, is hosting 12 International Peacemakers (from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia, Sudan and Syria) who will make about 60 visits around the U.S. from September 23 through October 17, 2011. According to Research Services’ Presbyterian Panel, 160,000 Presbyterians heard an International Peacemaker speak last year. More >>

Converge on Ft Benning, Nov 18-20

Nov. 18-20, 2011

Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)!

from School of the Americas Watch

We won't stop until the SOA is shut down and the U.S. government has stopped relying on violence - be it military, political, or economic - to enforce its oppressive foreign policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Join us for the 21st anniversary of non-violent protest at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia.

As many of you know, 2011 has been a crucial year in the building of our movement and resistance to militarization is growing stronger throughout the hemisphere. The current administration has turned to Latin America with the goal of control, using the tools of economic, military, cultural and political domination, while the SOA Watch movement has countered this drive with dialogue, cooperation, resistance, and -- when necessary -- non-violent direct action.

Join us this year in Georgia!  More >>

For an index to all our reports and analyses
on the 219th General Assembly

August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010

August, 2010
July, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010

April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010

For links to earlier archive pages, click here.


Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.


John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.


Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


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