Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

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Our reports about the 219th General Assembly, July 2010

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Churches Uniting in Christ

COCU prepares to become CUIC

New incarnation of 40-year-old movement will focus on racism

by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service


MEMPHIS, Tenn. - 18-January-2002 - More than 300 leaders from nine denominations representing 22 million American Christians are gathering here this weekend to celebrate a culmination of 40 years of unity talks.

By the end of their time together Monday at Noon, the member churches of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) will be known as Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC).

CUIC will be charged with further advancing Christian unity in the United States, but in a far different way from the concept of church merger that launched COCU in 1960.

Instead, the CUIC churches - including the Presbyterian Church (USA) have agreed to officially recognize each other's ministries and ministers and have pledged to work together toward greater visible unity, both inside and outside the church. CUIC will not involve structures or bureaucracies and no member church's polity will have to change.

And in what will most surely be far greater challenge than previous attempted agreements on doctrine and church structure, CUIC's churches have agreed to work together to overcome the racism which still divides American people and churches.

"Never before has a church unity effort challenged the biggest divide, which is race," current COCU general secretary Michael Kinnamon of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "It's one thing to overcome the divisions of the Reformation, it's another thing to overcome the divisions of racial separation."

It is that commitment to overcome racism that has brought COCU/CUIC to Memphis on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The weekend's events - worship, workshops and celebrations - will culminate Monday morning with a march from Memphis City Hall to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968.

Robert Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, will keynote the holiday rally at the museum, standing in for former U.N. ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was with King here on the day he was killed.

Other events scheduled this weekend include an opening worship service and celebration of COCU on Friday; workshops on a variety of church unity topics all day Saturday; a special service inaugurating CUIC on Sunday and the 1.2-mile march and rally on Monday.

The member denominations of COCU/CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the PC(USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Roman Catholic Church, the Moravian Church and the American Baptist Churches, while not members, have expressed support for CUIC and are expected to have representatives present for the festivities.


GA actions 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 of Order.

We're providing resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest are:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which would remove the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.

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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.


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.


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!


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