The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) is seeking nominations of persons to serve on two task forces mandated by the recent 219th General Assembly to study the global economic crisis and the church's peacemaking witness.

Volunteer task force members will be aided in their work by ACSWP staff and paid and volunteer consultants and writers.

The first study, Living Through Economic Crisis, will build upon a "social involvement report" by that name which is to be distributed to each PC(USA). That eight-page statement is a call-to-action-and-reflection on the current recession, and it provided the rationale for the Assembly to authorize a new study.

A brief prospectus outlining the work to be done and knowledge needed and a volunteer form are online. The prospectus lists previous policy statements that provide a basis for the new assessment of economic trends and practices, including their impact on the church itself.

The goal is to prepare a report in time for the next General Assembly in 2012.

The second project is a peacemaking discernment process designed to provide new thinking and a new range of practical applications to the PC(USA)'s peace witness. The project envisions consultations with peace and international affairs people in the colleges, universities and seminaries with an eye to updating policies. It also will collect resources and ways for congregations and individuals across the church to reflect on their own peace engagement.

For example, an initial assessment of Peacemaking: The Believers' Calling (1980) suggests that 30 years later its policy core remains valuable but that the nine areas surveyed in its background study all have changed since the Cold War and that several new concerns would probably be among the top nine challenges to peace today.

ACSWP Coordinator Chris Iosso says "a steering team will work with both ACSWP and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program to design as participatory a process as possible" for the study.

An initial outline of tasks to be performed and a volunteer nomination form are available online for both the five-person steering team and for other aspects of the study process. 

The original Dec. 1 deadline for both task forces has been extended to Friday, Dec. 10.