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News of the Witherspoon Society
Archive 2002-03

For more recent Witherspoon Society news >>

Celebrating lives completed  [10-21-03]

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.   [9-24-03]

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 comments!

A Witherspoon chapter has just been formed in Montana!   [8-27-03]

And click here for more information about forming your very own chapter.

For 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 service.

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 Cascades Presbytery  [7-30-02]

Do you want your own chapter?  Do it!!  Click here for more ideas.

The Witherspoon Society was busy during the 214th General Assembly.  [7-1-02]

Some of our special events included:

bulletThe pre-Assembly Semper Reformanda theological conversation, with Prof. Douglas Ottati as the keynote speaker.
bulletThe commissioner orientation.
bulletThe annual Witherspoon Luncheon, with Doug Ottati providing a stimulating call to theological thinking by progressive Presbyterians.
bulletThe Witherspoon Awards dinner, featuring Kathy Lancaster, and the Volunteer of the Year award to former Treasurer Harold Barton.

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.

Presbyterians join interfaith delegation to Afghanistan  [6-1-02]

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!

Witherspoon's executive committee held its spring meeting in Albuquerque, NM, on April 21-23.   [5-6-02]

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 Program Coordinator.

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 Society.

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 world.

Some of Witherspoon's dedicated leaders gather around Rich Hong's laptop to hear the contemporary music he uses in worship services.

Left to right:  Trina Zelle, Vicki Moss, José Olagues, Betty Kersting, Richard Hong, Jill Acree, Jane Hanna, and Gene TeSelle.

Witherspoon 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 assist them.

A note of thanks and support to the Stated Clerk   [4-27-02]

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.

West 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

bulletDavis, CA -- May 4
bulletPalo Alto, CA  -- May 5 (cosponsored by WS Silicon Valley Chapter)
bulletEugene, OR -- May 8.

Choose your location and download the invitation and registration form!

Two 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.

In 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.   [2-19-02]

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 intern   [2-19-02]

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.

Witherspoon welcomes new Program Coordinator   [2-16-02]

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


Witherspoon 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 world.   [2-18-02]

This is "The President's Corner" column for the Winter 2002 issue of Network News, due to be in the mail by around February 25.

C-67 and "The Hope of Reconciliation Today"  
a special report from Gene TeSelle 

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 explains why.

Witherspoon Society announces Whole Gospel Congregation Awards for 2002 General Assembly  [1-8-02]

For more recent Witherspoon Society news >>


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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