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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Protestant Justice Action

"Public Protestants" deplore public housing in Chicago

Press release from Protestant Justice Action, dated September 17, 2001, posted here on 9-20-01

Representatives of a national group of religious leaders concerned about public issues criticized severely Chicago's public housing authorities. The group, meeting in Chicago at Hyde Park's University Church September 7-9, investigated and toured Chicago's public housing and expressed their Christian concern for Chicago's poor whom they find are being ignored and left homeless by officials.

Protestant Justice Action (PJA), a network of Protestant public activists from seven mainline denominations was shocked to learn of the present policies of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) which destroys problem buildings, but offers far too few alternative shelters. Thousands are left to wander. Women are forced to move from place to place, ever enrolling their children in strange new schools.

Reporting to the representative assembly were Daniel Romero, Community Renewal Society; May Lord, member of PJA and the Coalition to Protect Public Housing., and Don Coleman, co-pastor of University Church. "While we understand and agree that many units of public housing must be demolished or rehabilitated, we are appalled that no previous provision has been made to provide prompt and sufficient replacement housing for the thousands of people who are displaced by the current plan," according to David Nickell of Oklahoma City, a Disciples of Christ elder who chaired the meeting.

Since January 2001, thousands of units have been demolished, and many more are scheduled to close. As a result, families are moved from place to place, some as many as three and four times. "We know that each time children change schools, they lose 4-6 months of academic development," explained Romero. "Yet no clear housing or school policy exists to ease the transition of displaced students. There is no transportation assistance to help families keep children in their former CHA-area schools."

While 1,662 CHA families are currently waiting for Section-8 housing, dozens of upscale rehabilitated apartments have been sitting vacant for more than 8 months, as if being held for middle class purchasers. Necessary support services are weak and inadequate.

PJA delegates agreed that many of their home cities share Chicago's dilemma, due to the 1996 federal legislation requiring that decaying public housing units be demolished. The federal legislation failed to include sufficient provision for replacement. Contractors and developers have benefited from this legislation, while low-income residents have been deprived of a decent place to live. "This is a moral issue," said Rev. Coleman. "It is unjust that families are losing their homes with little prospect that they will be able to return to their neighborhoods or find other appropriate housing. We call on all people of faith to insist that their city governments provide decent affordable housing for displaced individuals and families. This must happen before any more buildings are demolished."

Protestant Justice Action is a coalition of the following denominationally-based public action organizations: the Witherspoon Society (Presbyterian Church), the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Christians for Justice Action (United Church of Christ), Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal Peace Fellowship (Episcopal Church, USA), Lutheran Human Relations Association (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the Methodist Federation for Social Action (United Methodist Church).


For more information, contact May Sweet Lord, at 773-285-3249, fax 773-285-2748, or e-mail


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.

If you like what you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and growing!

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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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