On July 11, more than 150 U.S. citizens from faith-based, environmental and human rights organizations gathered in front of the White House to protest the pending Colombia Free Trade Agreement. A Presbyterian presence was prominent among them.
“We are here right now to recognize that we are called to advocate for justice,” said the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness. “We believe in fair trade, not just free trade.”
Along with other groups, OPW and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship helped organize the protest. Leaders from both groups spoke alongside environmental activists and trade unionists from the United States and Colombia about the devastating consequences the free trade agreement would have on laborers, farmers, Afro-Colombians and other Colombian citizens.
“The answer to ‘bad church’ isn’t ‘no church’—it’s trying something better,” said the Rev. Nick Warnes. Warnes is pastor of Northland Village Church, one such attempt at ‘trying something better.’
Northland Village Church, which began to have public services on Easter 2010, is in Los Angeles’ northeastern corner.
“The trend has typically been toward planting churches in the suburbs — we were adamant that we were going to go toward the city,” Warnes said.
The Board of Directors of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) has decided that the continental ecumenical organization’s next General Assembly will be held in Havana, Cuba, from Feb. 19-25, 2013.
Roman Catholic Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of South Sudan’s Rumbek diocese died suddenly on July 16 at the age of 74, one week after the mainly Christian and animist region celebrated its independence from the mainly Arab and Islamic north.
“He died in his mission in South Sudan. He leaves behind a legacy of a life well lived,” said the Rev. Andrea Okello, Vicar General of the diocese.
Pope Benedict XVI expressed sadness at Mazzolari’s death, according to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. “With gratitude to the almighty ... for the late bishop’s lifelong dedication ...
When the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson was younger, the bad blood between Christian denominations made the notion of a modern-day ecumenical movement seem far-fetched.
Now, the recently retired general secretary of the Reformed Church in America says American Christianity has reached “a new frontier.”
“We have a chance of bringing in more around the table the way God really intends,” said Granberg-Michaelson, who stepped down in June after 17 years in the post. “The missional church needs the unity of the church. How else do we think we can do useful things for the world if we’re divided amongst ourselves?”
For the first time in five years, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Board of Pensions’ (BOP) Medical Plan dues are going up.
At it’s June 23-25 meeting here, the board voted to raise Medical Plan dues by three-quarters of a percentage point in each of the next two years. Thus, dues will rise from 19.5 percent to 20.25 percent in 2012 and to 21 percent in 2013.
Michael Fallon, the BOP’s vice-president for finance, told the board June 25 that Medical Plan reserves at the end of 2011 are projected to be above the 20-33 percent [of current year claims and expenses] range that is the BOP’s guideline for such reserves. “But without changes,” he said, the reserve level will drop below the 20 percent bottom of the range by 2012 and below zero by the end of 2013.”
Democracy was already in a turbulent state in 1933 when Charles R. Harper was born in Brazil.
A revolution in 1930 precipitated reforms seen to make the army even more of a tool of Brazil’s central government and its civilian leaders.
Around the time of his birth and early years, political times were uncertain in South America’s biggest country, but in 1964 it would turn into a full-blown military dictatorship.
Concerned that the Administration and Congress are working on a budget deal that will place an undue burden on the poor “while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice,” leaders representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths on July 14 launched a new campaign to encourage policymakers to maintain a robust U.S. commitment to domestic and international poverty programs.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was represented at the launch by General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and by the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the church’s Office of Public Witness here.
United by a common spiritual conviction that God has called on all Americans to protect the vulnerable and promote the dignity of all individuals living in society, the interfaith coalition said it is aiming to protect those struggling to overcome poverty in the U.S. and abroad and to exclude programs that protect people in poverty from the budget deficit debates.
Christians and other minority leaders in Pakistan have spoken out against the government’s move to relegate issues regarding religious minorities to provincial governments in the Muslim-majority nation, instead of dealing with them on a national level.
“This is obviously a major setback to Christians and other religious minorities,” said the Rev Maqsood Kamil, spokesperson for the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (PCP), a partner church of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Kamil was reacting to the government’s decision on June 28 to place seven federal ministries, including the Ministry for Religious Minorities, under the control of provincial governments. The move is in accordance with the 18th Amendment to Pakistan’s constitution, passed in April.
After Auburn University’s football win over Clemson last season, coach Gene Chizik declared, “It’s a God thing.”
After the national championship game win over the University of Oregon, he told a national TV audience, “God was with us.”
Chizik sees the hand of God working in his life, even in the outcome of college football games.