Category Archives: PC(USA)

General Assembly News from PC(USA)

How decisions get made at General Assembly

By Jerry Van Marter | Presbyterians Today

This summer’s 223rd General Assembly will be my 41st. My first was in Portland, Oregon, in 1967 when, as a college student and cradle Presbyterian, I wanted to see firsthand the debate on the Confession of 1967. Since then, I have missed very few General Assemblies. Yes, I am a “GA junkie.”

But why am I a GA junkie? The Book of Order, G-3.0501, speaks for me: “The General Assembly constitutes the bond of union, community and mission among all its congregations and councils, to the end that the whole church becomes a community of faith, hope, love and witness.” That section continues: “As it leads and guides the witness of the whole church, it shall keep before it the marks of the Church (F-1.0302) … and the six Great Ends of the Church (F-1.0304).” Read More …


Presbyterians begin 260-mile walk to the 223rd General Assembly in St. Louis

Group calls for church divestment from fossil fuels

By Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – With gray and overcast skies above them, a group of 25 to 30 people gathered at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville on Friday morning to begin a two-week trek to St. Louis on foot. The PC(USA) Walk for a Fossil Free World is a joint project of both the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Fossil Free PCUSA to stand against investment in the fossil fuel industry. Read More…

 

Many more articles for the upcoming General Assembly (June 16-23, 2018) can be found on the PC(USA) News site.

 

News Subscription for GA 223 in June

GA News Subscription for
GA 223 June 16-23, 2018 in St. Louis

Attention Pastors and Congregational Leaders!

What’s happening at General Assembly this year? When GA 223 meets in St. Louis June 16-23, the General Assembly Newsroom will publish the GA Newspaper every day. A team of crackerjack reporters will fan out through the committees and events, to bring all the news right to your inbox. Subscription is easy and FREE!

As congregational leaders, you are the “front line” responders to help your people understand what the Assembly ACTUALLY did, and the whole scope of news. What we hear repeatedly is that pastors who can’t be at the Assembly are frequently asked questions about GA that they are not prepared to answer – by subscribing to the daily paper, they will be well-equipped to respond when parishioners (and others) ask.

Here’s the deal: click on the link below. It will take you to the sign-up page to receive the GA NEWS delivered free to your inbox each morning of the Assembly. What you will receive is a pdf of the actual newspaper printed each day at the Assembly.

https://ga-pcusa.org/#Anchor-EmailSignup

For any questions, be in touch with Jerry Van Marter, General Assembly Newsroom director: jerry.vanmarter@nullpcusa.org

Erin Cox-Holmes
President, Association of Mid-Council Leaders

PC(USA) News 5/23/2018

Closing churches due to size unthinkable in Cuba 
Jerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly
Small but vital mission thrives in country’s third largest city

Hawaii’s volcanic activity not slowing down
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Lava still flowing into Pacific Ocean, causing health concerns

Presbyterian churches remember victims in Texas school shootings
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is in contact with presbytery leaders

A worshiping community for the full scope of humanity
Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
Faith Point Fellowship is a place where people can critically engage Scripture and culture

Key to true mission partnership: be humble and really listen
Tracey King-Ortega | Mission Crossroads
Reflections from a mission co-worker in El Salvador

Lord of the dance
Jerry Van Marter & Randy Hobson | Office of the General Assembly
Presbyterian mission in poorest-of-the-poor barrio offers kids a chance to shine through the arts

Applications now being accepted for Native American Leadership Fund Awards
Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service
2018 awards available. Apply by June 29.

Belize’s top agriculture official pays tribute to the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
SDOP wraps up visit to Central American country

Presbyterian Mission Agency publishes 2017 Annual Report
Presbyterian News Service
Report highlights achievements and hope

On the road to Cathy’s house
Jerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly
Home to the Presbyterian Mission at Marcane

Hispanic/Latinx National Presbyterian Caucus and stated clerk issue statement on Trump’s latest comments on immigrants
Office of the General Assembly
‘The PC(USA) stands with all our sisters and brothers who have immigrated to the U.S.’

Living Waters for the World Joins with Cimorelli to highlight global water crisis
Julie Samrick | Reprinted with permission from the Williamson Herald
Cuba trip inspires song ‘Thirst for Life’

Couple in Belize finds success and national recognition for farm work
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People visits Trio Farm Cooperative

Serving in ‘God’s vineyard’ in Niger and South Sudan
Jim McGill | Mission Crossroads Magazine
Ministries of water, sanitation and health join hands in partnership

‘Showing people God by our action’
Jerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly
Cuban Presbyterian mission grows by serving, not talking

Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People visits Marigold Women’s Cooperative
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Volunteers and staff see progress in grant-funded business

Synod of Presbyterian Church of Venezuela issues pastoral letter
Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service
Church leaders address months of unrest and violence in Venezuela

Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People visits Seine Bight, Belize
Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
Group learns about community culture and hope for a better future

Malagasy Church calls for peace, dialogue amid growing political tension
Doug Tilton | Special to Presbyterian News Service
Madagascar election concerns prompt church action, government response

World Council of Churches calls for just peace and an end to impunity in the Holy Land
WCC Release
Ecumenical body condemns recent bloodshed, asks for international investigation

Stated Clerk files amicus brief supporting DACA

800,000 young people would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if program ends

MARCH 26, 2018 – LOUISVILLE

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II has signed an amicus curiae brief in a suit filed in the Northern District of  California to enjoin the federal government from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The plaintiffs in the case are the University of California, the States of Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, the City of San Jose, CA, the County of Santa Clara, CA, the Service Employees International Union Local 521 and individual DACA recipients, Dulce Garcia, Miriam Gonzalez Avila, Saul Jiminez Suarez, Viridiana Chabolla Mendoza, Norma Ramirez and Jirayut Latthivongskorn.

The court granted them a temporary injunction which stopped the government from ending DACA, finding that the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if DACA should end, and that there was a public interest in keeping DACA. The court ordered the government to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis under the same conditions as were in effect before the Trump Administration rescinded DACA last fall.

Read the rest of the article on the PC(USA) news site.

Presbyterians join hundreds of thousands in march against gun violence

Office of Public Witness organizes denominational contingent in Washington

By Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

Original Article Here

LOUISVILLE – Across the country and the world Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took part in rallies and demonstrations against gun violence. The March for Our Lives was organized by students in various communities.

Thousands participate in the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Photo by Nora Leccese

The main event was in Washington, D.C., led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were gunned down on Feb. 14. The crowd demanded that Congress enact stricter gun-control legislation to crack down on school shootings. As of Saturday, there have been 17 school shootings in the U.S. since the first of the year where someone was either hurt or killed, according to national law enforcement officials.

The Office of Public Witness participated in the D.C. march.

“It was fabulous and I think it was a watershed moment for building a movement on gun and community violence. I was impressed with how many young women of color participated and the powerful messages they brought,” said Nora Leccese, OPW’s associate for domestic poverty and environmental issues. “We were impressed that most of the speakers at the event were under the age of 18 and we believe that students will play a key role in making the changes that we need in this country.”

Presbyterians gather at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., prior to the March for Our Lives rally on Saturday. Photo by Nora Leccese

OPW coordinated a gathering of Presbyterian demonstrators on Saturday morning at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. The group marched together from the church to the noon rally on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“We had between 300 to 400 people gather at the church prior to the march, coming from other states and communities. New York Avenue provided a great service to the community by opening its doors and hosting the people for rest and meeting space,” said Leccese. “It was very multigenerational, from tiny babies to older folks. We helped provide a wheelchair for an 88-year-old who was determined to march with us.”

Even though it was a solemn subject, Leccese says she felt a lot of energy, high spirits and determination at the march.“We had between 300 to 400 people gather at the church prior to the march, coming from other states and communities. New York Avenue provided a great service to the community by opening its doors and hosting the people for rest and meeting space,” said Leccese. “It was very multigenerational, from tiny babies to older folks. We helped provide a wheelchair for an 88-year-old who was determined to march with us.”

Organizers estimate that as many as 800 protests were planned across the U.S., including marches in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Rob Trawick, the former moderator of Hudson River Presbytery and a professor of ethics at St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York, participated in the Rockland County, New York, march with other Presbyterians. He said the attendance was significantly higher than expected. Organizers were planning for a few hundred and more than a thousand showed up.

Communities around the country participate in local marches, like this one in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Lauren Rogers

 

“The student speakers brought a lot of passion to the event and certainly seemed to have a directed energy,” he said. “They knew what they were standing for and I didn’t get the sense that they were being used by some larger group. This was grassroots and the concern that bubbled up came from students who were concerned for their safety.”

Trawick is the father of a teenage son and he takes school violence personally.

“This issue is important to me individually and theologically,” he said. “The idea that we would put some sort of private interest above the communal good strikes me as decidedly unreformed and I’m angry that I have to worry about whether my child comes home from school.”

Events were also scheduled in other parts of the world, including Liverpool, England, and hundreds of other cities.

Presbyterians take part in a similar march in New York City. Photo provided

Despite the large numbers and success of the weekend marches, Leccese says they will continue to monitor the actions of both state and federal lawmakers with no plans to ease up on the pressure.

“There are some poorly thought-out pieces of gun policy coming out of Congress that the administration is lifting up as the ultimate solution,” she said. “We want to make clear that these bread crumbs offered in the budget are not the kind of gun legislation we’re looking for. We will keep pushing these legislators, or the legislators we replace them with, to actually take meaningful action.”Despite the large numbers and success of the weekend marches, Leccese says they will continue to monitor the actions of both state and federal lawmakers with no plans to ease up on the pressure.

Board of Pensions Uncovers Fraud Scheme

Board of Pensions News Release

Contact: Susan Reimann
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
215-587-7228 • sreimann@nullpensions.org

PHILADELPHIA  — The Board of Pensions is investigating the fraudulent redirection of 11 pension payments. The Board reissued the December payments to the pensioners, and acted immediately to ensure that no other Benefits Plan members or pensioners were, or would be, affected. The fraud did not affect any other plans or funds.

The Board also identified that the online accounts of 46 additional pensioners had been altered to redirect future payments. The Board reversed these, thwarting the attempt at a second theft. Credit and identity protection service is being offered to the 57 pensioners who were in some way affected.

“We identified it, contained it, and prevented further damage,” Board President Frank C. Spencer said. “The final loss was minimal and we have insurance as well.” The Board is working with its insurance carrier, a top forensic consulting firm, and law enforcement to determine the source of the fraud and to help ensure system security, he said.

“We’re fending off attempts at computer-facilitated fraud daily, as is every large organization in the United States today,” President Spencer said. The Board monitors the safety of its systems constantly and frequently upgrades systems security. The fraud investigation is in the early stages, but there is no indication that Board systems were hacked.

“This was the transfer of the pension payment through direct deposit, and the assets of the Board were never in danger,” President Spencer said. The number of pension payments made by the Board in 2017 will total about 250,000, he said. Last month was the first time any have been fraudulently redirected.

The fraud follows a pattern of targeting older retirees who do not have online profiles.

“The targeting of elderly people in this way is happening a lot. It’s cruel,” President Spencer said. “We need to be alert to this sort of fraud. And we need to help protect our loved ones and friends who are vulnerable to it. Remind them to check their accounts regularly, especially for automatic deposits and withdrawals.”


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

Photos Wanted for the PC(USA) Planning Calendar

Calling for great church photos for PC(USA) calendar!

Vital congregations, mission to be featured in next Presbyterian Planning Calendar

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

The Presbyterian Planning Calendar for 2018-19 will feature photos on the cover and throughout the monthly calendar pages showing the best of what our churches are doing in mission and ministry. Your photos are invited! Presbyterian News Service/Jeffrey Lawrence

LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Planning Calendar, a beloved publication of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is seeking photo submissions from congregations, mid councils, camps, conference centers and education centers for use in its 2018-19 edition.

Focusing on vital congregations and mission activities, the request for images also asks, “Who are the unsung heroes of your congregation?”

Images should feature congregation members engaged in activities including worship, mission service, creativity and the arts, and direct outreach. Calendar planners ask that staged photos of groups of people and photos of people sitting at conference or dining tables be avoided.

The format of the calendar is “landscape,” meaning photos should be wider than tall, and high resolution photographs, with a minimum resolution of 2000 x 1500 pixels (no smaller than 1 MB), are requested for best printing. Please include a caption and photo credit with each image. If children are pictured, please ensure the use and distribution of your photo complies with your safe church policy.

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2018. Photos should be emailed to the planning calendar manager, Jackie Carter, at Jackie.Carter@nullpcusa.org. Feel free to call 502-569-5772 with any questions.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.