News of the Witherspoon Society
recent Witherspoon Society news >>
Celebrating lives completed
Two long-time, faithful,
justice-seeking members of Witherspoon have recently finished their
course. Gene Huff
died on Oct. 16 in San Francisco, and
Margaret Strodtz of Twin
Cities died in Geneva, Switzerland, while attending a seminar on the
ecumenical movement sponsored by the PC(USA)'s Worldwide Ministries Division.
|We've amended slightly
our recent statement of
Witherspoon's policy on the issue of ordination,
in response to a legitimate criticism from a friend on the conservative side
of the Presbyterian Church.
You may want to look at
our response to two critical notes,
and the full text of the two notes.
Your executive committee at its meeting in Albuquerque,
Oct. 17-20, 2003.
Left to right: Kent Winters-Hazelton, Dave Zuverink,
Jake Young, Gene TeSelle, Ken Smith, Celeste Lasich, and Kate Van Brocklin
The Executive Committee of the Witherspoon Society
has just approved a statement of our
policy on issues of justice, inclusiveness, and ordination.
We invite you to take a look at it
and send us your
A Witherspoon chapter has just
been formed in Montana! [8-27-03]
And click here for more
information about forming your very own chapter.
Witherspoon members - and wanna-be members! [12-21-02]
If you're tired of pulling letters from Witherspoon
out of your mailbox every few days, we apologize! But you're getting
these reminders from us because we're doing important things, and we
want you to stay involved.
If you've been getting those little reminders that
it's time to renew your membership and would like to do that chore
on-line, just go to our membership page,
and from there you can even jump to another page where you can pay with
your credit card, using the secure PayPal
If you can make an extra contribution for our work
(even without renewing), you can do
that through PayPal, too. And we'll be grateful if you do!
If you're not yet a member of the Witherspoon Society,
please take a minute to learn more about us,
and to join us.
|A new Witherspoon chapter is forming in
Do you want your own chapter? Do
it!! Click here for more ideas.
Witherspoon Society was busy during the 214th General Assembly. [7-1-02]
Some of our special events included:
You can also find "the
view from the Witherspoon booth," and news of a Witherspoon
campaign (with the slogan "Up Your$") to encourage extra
giving to the General Assembly per capita and mission budgets.
join interfaith delegation to Afghanistan
Three members of First Presbyterian Church of Palo
Alto (California), including a leader of the Silicon Valley chapter of
the Witherspoon Society, will participate in what may be the first interfaith
delegation to visit Afghanistan since 9/11.
We encourage anyone else in the area to join in!
executive committee held its spring meeting in Albuquerque, NM, on April
The meeting began by welcoming two new members of the
group: Richard Hong, the new Treasurer, and Ann
Euston, who is staffing a part-time consultant position as the new
The group spent considerable time dealing with plans
for the coming General Assembly, but also considered reports from
various other progressive groups, plans for the mini-conferences
on the Confession of 1967 and for a Ghost
Ranch seminar on the topic "In Search of Alternatives to
Violence," and for a conference to be held in 2003, celebrating the
30th anniversary of the establishment of the Witherspoon
Among the basic threads of interest woven through the
three days were a commitment to reach out to a wider constituency, to be
of more direct service to congregations, and to continue exploring the
implications of the Confession of 1967 in today's church, and today's
Some of Witherspoon's dedicated leaders gather around
Rich Hong's laptop to hear the contemporary music he uses in worship
Left to right: Trina Zelle, Vicki Moss, José
Olagues, Betty Kersting, Richard Hong, Jill Acree, Jane Hanna, and
supports those accused of "renouncing jurisdiction"
because of issues of ordination and sexuality [4-29-02]
As the Executive Committee of the Witherspoon Society
met on April 21-23, we were keenly aware of the accusations
that have been leveled against a number of our friends and
colleagues in ministry. We have adopted a statement expressing support
for the people who have been accused, and pledged to do what we can to
note of thanks and support to the Stated Clerk
Responding to recent harsh complaints about the work
of the Stated Clerk, the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the Executive
Committee of the Witherspoon Society voted unanimously to send him a
letter of support.
coast mini-conferences will consider the Confession of 1967 and our
church's commitment to reconciliation and justice
The Executive Committee of the Witherspoon Society
invites you to join them as they launch a series of regional workshops
on the Confession of 1967.
Attendees will be challenged to consider how
progressive Presbyterians can reclaim confessionally the denomination's
social justice agenda. Workshops will be held in
Choose your location and download the invitation and
Columbus congregations to be honored at Witherspoon GA luncheon.
Each year at its General Assembly luncheon, the
Witherspoon Society seeks to honor an area congregation that embodies
the values and mission of the Society. This year for the 214th
General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, we have chosen to honor two
congregations: Bethany Presbyterian Church and Broad Street
Presbyterian Church, both in Columbus.
Search of Alternatives to Violence will be the topic for a Ghost
Ranch seminar set for July 29-August 5, 2001. Leadership will
include Bruce Gagnon, Alan Geyer, and Barbara Green. Co-sponsored
by Witherspoon Society, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and Presbyterians
for Restoring Creation.
Do you have a local Witherspoon group?
If you would like a page of your own on this Witherspoon
web site, just let us know, and we'll be glad to create a page for you,
and post any content you want to send us. Just
send a note and let's see what we can do together!
And check the most recent news
from local groups in Heartland Presbytery and Oklahoma.
|In December, 2001, we posted a group of
short poems written by an early Witherspooner, entitled "A Stern Prayer For Parlous Times."
Gene TeSelle, who found the poem, was searching for the poet. She
has been found, and you can learn more by checking out the poem.
|A report from our Washington Office
Jenny Lin, the
intern named by Semper Reformanda to serve this year in the Washington
Office of the PC(USA), reports on her experience so far.
She offers information and insight especially on her own
special areas of focus: the serious plight of refugees in the US today.
welcomes new Program Coordinator
Ann Euston became our newest staff person [well, our only one!]
on February 1.
She brings an eclectic background to us - she's been a
policy analyst and consultant, an organizer and conference planner, an
office manager, business owner and organic farmer. Since 2000 she's worked
for the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca in southeastern New Mexico where she
currently makes her home in Roswell.
Ann lived in Santa Fe for 10 years and knows many
Witherspooners through her membership at First Church in Santa Fe and by
her work at the Presbytery. She graduated from the University of New
Hampshire and did graduate studies in Florida. She brings a wealth of
management and organizational skills to this new position and we're
pleased to welcome her aboard.
Her first tasks will be as an organizer, working with
Board members to coordinate a series of
mini-conferences on C-67, helping articulate future directions for the
Society and promoting and increasing Society visibility and membership.
AN UPDATE: As of late July,
2002, Ann will be living in
Albuquerque, NM, where she can be reached by phone at (505) 296-4885
FAX (505) 323-9093
president Jane Hanna sees the pain of September 11th and its aftermath
as a call to us -- as individuals and as a nation -- to seek "a
better way" of being in relation to the rest of the
This is "The President's Corner" column for
the Winter 2002 issue of Network News, due to be in the mail by around
and "The Hope of Reconciliation Today"
a special report from Gene TeSelle [2-6-02]
A group of about 120 converged on the Stony Point
Conference Center February 3 and 4 for a conference on the Confession of
1967. As Chris Iosso said in opening the conference, "This is the
beginning of the 35th anniversary celebration of the Confession of
1967." It is a celebration that the Witherspoon Society hopes to
continue by sponsoring a series
of regional conferences on "C-67." One of the
participants in the audience commented that "the hope of the church
lies in this kind of theological reflection." Other participants
seem to agree.
|How shall our church
consider the "Essential Tenets of
the Reformed Faith"? [1-23-02]
For several years there have been calls for
a definition of the "essentials" of the Reformed faith. This is
one of the topics that will doubtless come before the recently appointed
Theological Task Force. And we notice that Presbyterians for Renewal has
recently sent out a survey, in what appears to be an effort to produce
their own set of "essentials."
We do not feel this is a legitimate or helpful way to
address denominational concerns. Witherspoon board member Barbara Kellam-Scott
Society announces Whole Gospel Congregation
Awards for 2002 General Assembly [1-8-02]
recent Witherspoon Society news >>
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.
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
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
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
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
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!