The Church and the Economic Sphere 3 – R. Ward Holder

Beyond the issue of philanthropy, and beyond the issue of considering our economic systems critically, stands a third issue. The church has turned a blind eye to the effects of the present economic reality, a reality that brings a crisis to the poor and vulnerable around the world. But frequently, we in the church either . . . → Read More: The Church and the Economic Sphere 3 – R. Ward Holder

The Church and the Economic Sphere 2 – R. Ward Holder

I was at a meeting of Presbyterians a few weeks ago. I realize the redundancy of writing “meeting of Presbyterians,” but I was actually there. And one presenter was reporting on the experience of having participated in the recent march in New York that asked for a coherent response to climate change. He characterized that . . . → Read More: The Church and the Economic Sphere 2 – R. Ward Holder

The Church and the Economic Sphere: Spheres of Sovereignty, Spheres of Responsibility – R. Ward Holder

Christianity has had to deal with the fact of the world’s economy since its founding. Anyone who has read the Magnificat, Mary’s song given in response to the Angel Gabriel’s news, recognizes that issues of wealth and poverty were close at hand in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Obery Hendricks offers a keenly tuned . . . → Read More: The Church and the Economic Sphere: Spheres of Sovereignty, Spheres of Responsibility – R. Ward Holder

Preaching to Transgress: Christian Education & Difference – Rod Thomas

“Excitement in higher education was viewed as potentially disruptive of the atmosphere of seriousness assumed to be essential to the learning process. To enter classroom settings in colleges and universities with the will to share the desire to encourage excitement was to transgress.-bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

 

I . . . → Read More: Preaching to Transgress: Christian Education & Difference – Rod Thomas

Preaching to Transgress: Christian Education & Difference by Rod Thomas

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“Excitement in higher education was viewed as potentially disruptive of the atmosphere of seriousness assumed to be essential to the learning process. To enter classroom settings in colleges and universities with the will to share the desire to encourage excitement was to transgress.-bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

 

I . . . → Read More: Preaching to Transgress: Christian Education & Difference by Rod Thomas

Organizing the Faithful: God has Left the Building – by Brian Merritt

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450 is an interesting number. 450 could mean anything. 450 could have 250 added to it and that would be 700. Maybe we could add another 100 or 200 to make that number 800 or 900. These numbers are arbitrary and in a contextless existence they seem like a nice increase. Yet, do these numbers . . . → Read More: Organizing the Faithful: God has Left the Building – by Brian Merritt

Church on the Fringes: Pastor as Community Organizer, Ministry as Coalition Building – by Mihee Kim-Kort

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“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.” – Yuri . . . → Read More: Church on the Fringes: Pastor as Community Organizer, Ministry as Coalition Building – by Mihee Kim-Kort

Narrative Therapy as a Strategy toward Systemic Change? A Response to Teresa Chávez Sauceda – Gail Doering

When Teresa asked me to respond or dialogue with her essay, I was not exactly sure what I was agreeing to do. The time has come and I have read her offering with rapt interest as change and change in the church, as well as transitional ministry, are all passions of mine.

I’m going to . . . → Read More: Narrative Therapy as a Strategy toward Systemic Change? A Response to Teresa Chávez Sauceda – Gail Doering

The Spirituality of Change – Teresa Chávez Sauceda

I did it again. I went to the grocery store with half a dozen reusable cloth bags on the back seat of my car. I didn’t think about them again until I got to the cash register with my cart full of groceries. Habits of a lifetime are hard to change. Every time I stand . . . → Read More: The Spirituality of Change – Teresa Chávez Sauceda

Jonah’s Redemption – Nicole Ashwood

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. Jonah 3:10 – 4:1

(The story so far… God calls Jonah to prophesy over Nineveh for forty . . . → Read More: Jonah’s Redemption – Nicole Ashwood

Living out the ACCRA Confession – Jerry Pillay

1. The Accra Confession was adopted at the 24th General Council of WARC in Accra, Ghana in 2004.

2. It is a faith statement that commits churches to “covenant in obedience to God’s will as an act of faithfulness in mutual solidarity and in accountable relationships.” A covenant which binds us to work for justice . . . → Read More: Living out the ACCRA Confession – Jerry Pillay

Standing in true solidarity – Sanya Beharry

The Accra Confession was written ten years ago by men and women who were far more intelligent than me. They looked at the facts of the world and realized that the Church could not simply continue with business as usual when it came to our stance on systems of inequality and injustice which seemed to . . . → Read More: Standing in true solidarity – Sanya Beharry

The Accra Confession: A Niebuhrian Consideration – R. Ward Holder

Reinhold Niebuhr has suffered much in the past decade. While during his lifetime he was lionized and his likeness even adorned the front cover of Time magazine, he fell out of favor in theological, ethical and political circles during the 1970s. In the first decade of the new century, however, Niebuhr’s thought was suddenly en . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession: A Niebuhrian Consideration – R. Ward Holder

The Accra Confession: An Aid to Regional Caribbean Unity – Diana de Graven

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

(Psalm 133: 1 NIV)

The Reformed Church in Suriname, which I am privileged to be part of, has only in April of this year become a member of CANACOM (Caribbean and North American Council for Mission). This giant leap of faith can . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession: An Aid to Regional Caribbean Unity – Diana de Graven

The Accra Confession: A Caribbean Response – Nicole Ashwood

Until the philosophy that holds one race superior, and another inferior is finally, and permanently discredited and abandoned . . . Everywhere it’s war! [1]

With all respect to HIM Selassie and Bob Marley, there is one fundamental flaw in the logic of those words – the matter of superiority is not only restricted to . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession: A Caribbean Response – Nicole Ashwood

Divided Votes, United People – Brian Ellison

Long before I came to serve as its executive director, through generations of leadership and mission statements, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians has always had two goals: inclusion and unity. We have long believed the church will be stronger when LGBT people are given full opportunity to participate in its life and leadership, and that . . . → Read More: Divided Votes, United People – Brian Ellison

No Silver Bullets – Donna Marsh

In stressful times, everyone wishes for a silver bullet: one simple way out of a difficult mess, one thing to do to resolve interlocking problems. Every parent of a troubled teen searches desperately for one mentor or one school that will get the beloved child back on track. In troubled marriages, the couple often searches . . . → Read More: No Silver Bullets – Donna Marsh

Different Paths, Same Destination – Larissa Kwong Abazia

You couldn’t get more different from my congregation in Queens, NY than the Bethel Murdoch Presbyterian Church in Loveland, OH. I fell asleep under a canopy of stars (that I could actually see twinkling in the sky!) and woke up the morning of the congregation’s 200th anniversary surrounded by acres of soybean fields. No sirens . . . → Read More: Different Paths, Same Destination – Larissa Kwong Abazia

Being Church Together – Laura M. Cheifetz

I horrify my mother by thoroughly enjoying the particular manifestation of the church that is the General Assembly. At our first GA, I got totally hooked by the potential for meeting so many Presbyterians and partners, and finding ways to make a difference in the life of the church on a large scale. She got . . . → Read More: Being Church Together – Laura M. Cheifetz

The Presbyterian Divestment Vote – What you haven’t heard – Noushin Darya Framke

June 20th Tweet by the New York Times linked to this article: “Presbyterians Vote to Divest Holdings to Pressure Israel”

Much has been said and written about the Presbyterian Church’s vote to divest from Israel’s occupation. I have just finished serving six years on the Presbyterian Church’s MRTI Committee, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, which . . . → Read More: The Presbyterian Divestment Vote – What you haven’t heard – Noushin Darya Framke

After the Hysteria… Part Two – Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe

Continued from yesterday: http://www.ecclesio.com/2014/09/after-the-hysteria-rev-dr-jeff-deyoe/

Plenary session at 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Detroit, June 2014

Did we or didn’t we join the “BDS Movement”?

Another final gasp by those opposing divestment over the years within the Presbyterian Church (USA) played out in language about “the BDS movement.” In the proposal that . . . → Read More: After the Hysteria… Part Two – Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe

After the Hysteria… – Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe

This past June the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) did the unthinkable (according to some) and made a decision to divest from its holdings in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions because these companies continue to profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and have refused to acknowledge their complicity in that or change their business practices. Let . . . → Read More: After the Hysteria… – Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe

Divestment is just the beginning… and it’s long overdue – Rev. Chad Collins

The PCUSA’s decision to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard, has sent ripples of unifying hope and joy to the Palestinian people and their faithful supporters in Israel and abroad.

I recall the days leading up to the vote as being tense and nervous; at least it was for me. My wife Johanna and . . . → Read More: Divestment is just the beginning… and it’s long overdue – Rev. Chad Collins

On Taking a Stand – Rev. J. Mark Davidson and Rev. Ron Shive

It is occasionally said that Christian peacemaking in Israel-Palestine is best served by not choosing sides. According to this approach, Christian peacemakers should preserve Switzerland-like neutrality, the better to function as trusted intermediaries in the search for common ground. Hence, advocacy work on ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is ill-advised, because it is . . . → Read More: On Taking a Stand – Rev. J. Mark Davidson and Rev. Ron Shive

Reflecting on putting Justice at the heart of faith from an Asian Perspective – Philip Peacock

Philip Peacock

Introduction: In our times, if there is one document that calls us to place justice at the heart of faith, it is the Accra Confession. The Accra confession is an initiative which calls all those who are part of the Reformed Communion and churches outside of it as well to reflect on what it means . . . → Read More: Reflecting on putting Justice at the heart of faith from an Asian Perspective – Philip Peacock

Theology of Enough – Carola Tron Urban

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On the 10th Anniversary of the Accra Confession

The XI assembly of AIPRAL (Alianza de Iglesias Presbiterianas y Reformadas en América Latina), the Latin American region of CMIR celebrated in Guatemala, 2011, reflected on the topic of Water, source of life. I was invited to share some theological perspectives on water. As we celebrate the . . . → Read More: Theology of Enough – Carola Tron Urban

A reflection on the significance of the Accra Confession for the India of today – Aruna Gnanadason

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In India – a brand new government, a brand new Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi….elected a few months back in this the country of some 1.2 billion people; touted as the largest “democracy” in the world. True, the largest numbers of people have the right to the ballot, in India – more than in any . . . → Read More: A reflection on the significance of the Accra Confession for the India of today – Aruna Gnanadason

Marriage Matters … Why? A sermon by the Rev. Brian D. Ellison

Brian Ellison

The text for this sermon was 1 Corinthians 7, which was read in worship from the Common English Bible. It was preached at the 2013 Covenant Conference, the national event of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, held at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, November 2, 2013.

Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul… You hopeless romantic.

Here, at the . . . → Read More: Marriage Matters … Why? A sermon by the Rev. Brian D. Ellison

A Funny Thing Happened – Laura M. Cheifetz

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Marriage equality was not that important to me.

The history of marriage and its current state among straight people renders it a questionable patriarchal institution, mostly tied to property and the potential for abuse. Straight people have done plenty to make marriage just another frequently violated contract that takes advantage of the power differential between . . . → Read More: A Funny Thing Happened – Laura M. Cheifetz

Why the Marriage Amendment Matters – Tricia Dykers Koenig

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The 221st General Assembly took two steps toward honoring the covenant of marriage for all couples regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – an authoritative interpretation (AI) of the current section W-4.9000 in the Book of Order, and a proposed amendment to that section.

The AI makes clear that the Book of Order as . . . → Read More: Why the Marriage Amendment Matters – Tricia Dykers Koenig

You will know them by their fruits – Mark Achtemeier

Mark Achtemeier

I have a new life-motto. It says, “When I make a plan, God laughs.” For those of you who don’t know me, I should tell you that I am an odd choice for the Covenant Network to invite as your speaker today. There have been previous General Assemblies where I worked very hard to pass . . . → Read More: You will know them by their fruits – Mark Achtemeier

Why Marriage Matters Now: Thoughts as the Church Talks About Same-Sex Marriage – Brian Ellison

Brian Ellison

Every September brings change, more rapid in some places than others. The air takes on a crisp coolness at night. Some flowers fade while others blossom into roasty harvest golds and oranges and reds. Congregations track with the school year and ramp up programs, multiply services, launch campaigns.

And in the even-numbered years, Presbyterian Church . . . → Read More: Why Marriage Matters Now: Thoughts as the Church Talks About Same-Sex Marriage – Brian Ellison

Discontents and Their Intersections – Eric A. Thomas

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Today’s post flips the original title of the first post of this series Intersections and their Discontents to consider the inclusionary and ecclesial promises of the rainbow – the perennial sign that God is indeed with us, with the intersectional realities of people of color, and particularly LGBT people of color. The implications are complicated, . . . → Read More: Discontents and Their Intersections – Eric A. Thomas

Intersections and the Protest Prerogative – Kelle Brown

Kelle J. Brown

Standing on a block of dark, pristine granite near the busy intersection of 3rd and Cherry in Seattle, I became keenly aware of the sights, sounds, and realities of the city. There were cars and buses quickly careening to places unknown. There were streams of people going to and fro, some quickly peeking to see . . . → Read More: Intersections and the Protest Prerogative – Kelle Brown

More Light at the Intersection: A Case Study – Tony De La Rosa

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We return again to my home congregation. From my previous description, it should be clear that we are not adverse to change. Indeed, like all resilient communities of faith, it is our willingness to accept change – deep adaptive change, at that – that has permitted us to survive huge demographic shifts in our inner-city . . . → Read More: More Light at the Intersection: A Case Study – Tony De La Rosa

Intersections and Their Discontents – by Tony De La Rosa

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My home congregation is like many an inner-city congregation in the PCUSA; historically, an exclusively Anglo group of believers who commuted from throughout the city to worship a distinctly upper-middle class God. The well-heeled congregation of that era was a mega-church of its day, and in the same year that saw the beginning of the . . . → Read More: Intersections and Their Discontents – by Tony De La Rosa

Our Spiritual DNA – Final report to CANAAC and the WCRC

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March-April meeting – 2014 – Ocho Rios, Jamaica Submitted by Sara Harrington (Canada) Kelvin Marte Sena (Dominican Republic) Lisa Vander Wal (US) Donette Ritchie (Guyana) and Anne Weirich (US)

How to do justice – unity in and THROUGH the bond of peace – was the general theme of the CANAAC meeting and the opening Bible . . . → Read More: Our Spiritual DNA – Final report to CANAAC and the WCRC

Disconnects and the Accra Confession – by Allan Buckingham

Allan Buckingham

Allan Buckingham lives in Banff, Alberta. He is lay member of the United Church of Canada and the Chair of the Strong Public Witness Division of Foothills Presbytery. Allan is also currently one of 3 North American representatives to the Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. When not attending church meetings . . . → Read More: Disconnects and the Accra Confession – by Allan Buckingham

Confessing and embodying compassionate justice – by Nico Koopman

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The logic of the Confession of Belhar and of the Accra Confession entail that justice discourses take place in interwovenness with reconciliation and unity discourses.

1.The justice that is confessed in The Confession of Belhar 1986, and in the Accra Confession is rightly described as compassionate justice. In line with the biblical use of these . . . → Read More: Confessing and embodying compassionate justice – by Nico Koopman

The Accra Confession and Ecumenism Today – by Neal D. Presa

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He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” -Matthew 16:15 (NRSV)

This is the 11th week after Pentecost in the liturgical calendar. The Gospel reading is Matthew 16:13-20, the famed confession of Peter when the Lord inquired, “But who do you say that I am?” This dialogue occurred in the district . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession and Ecumenism Today – by Neal D. Presa

Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Meet to Celebrate and Contextualize the Accra Confession – by The Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

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This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Accra Confession. Representatives of the member churches of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin American, AIPRAL by the Spanish language acronym, met in Barranquilla, Colombia, June 2 – 6, 2014.

The Accra Confession of 2004 was drafted and adopted by delegates of the former . . . → Read More: Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Meet to Celebrate and Contextualize the Accra Confession – by The Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

The Accra Confession: a North American Newcomer’s Perspective – by Lisa L. Vander Wal

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“My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? … What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? … If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of . . . → Read More: The Accra Confession: a North American Newcomer’s Perspective – by Lisa L. Vander Wal