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In Spirit and Truth

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About this blog

In Spirit and Truth seeks to encourage discussion and deeper consideration of representation issues in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is hoped entries will prompt reflection and dialogue on aspects of expanding representation and supporting full participation in the PCUSA, especially at the assembly and mid council levels.  

This blog will occasionally feature content written by one of the fifteen members of the General Assembly Committee on Representation, who are teaching and ruling elders from across the country, as well as links and articles of particular interest. The ministries of advising, consulting, advocating, reviewing and recommending are vital to the life of the whole Body of Christ. Committees on Representation and/or their functions exists at all councils above session so from time to time we may highlight activities and insights from sister committees on representation at lower councils throughout the church.  

Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. or the General Assembly Committee on Representation.
Author/Facilitator Molly Casteel is an Assistant Stated Clerk and the Coordinator for Representation, Inclusiveness and Ruling Elder Training in the Office of the General Assembly.  She is a teaching elder (a.k.a. Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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January 5, 2015

Opportunity Knocks When Justice Advocates Come to Louisville

WPC16 coming to Louisville, KY - March 11-14, 2015

Save the Date! In addition to the warmer weather we are all hoping March brings with it, Louisville will find justice advocates from around the US and Canada converging here for the 16th White Privilege Conference.  This year's theme is, Resistance Action Courage Equity: The South Leading the Way.

Keynote speakers are Mab Segrest, Loretta Ross, Chris Crass and Gyassi Ross.

Last year, in Madison, Wisconsin, the conference drew 2400 participants from over 40 states.  The conference has met in the South only once before, in Memphis in 2009.

Local organizers are excited for an opportunity to host such a dynamic conference.  The website has all the information you need to register or volunteer.  The program will be posted later.  Institutes are one-day versions of the conference available on  Wednesday or Saturday.  The conference usually has over 100 workshops offered.  Examples of past conference programs can give you a flavor for the breadth, depth and width of past topics and offerings.  The conference schedule is here.

This is a secular conference that was originally organized in educational professions.  Now it regularly has participants aged from 11 to 90. Presbyterians have attended over the years, last year more than 30.  This year, we hope to take the opportunity before us to attend and event where folks in the work, can do their work.  I've attended a few and always find it a refreshing place to hone my skills, engage in reflection and learn more about my own place in this work and in my skin.

Skin privilege is not the only topic addressed.  The conference is fully intersectional in its approach.  There's something here to challenge everyone and bring energy to the justice seeking communities who take advantage of it.

There's been enough interest to secure a discount for Presbyterians.  We expect more than 50 will attend some part of WPC16. If you are intending to register, contact Molly for the discount code and register at the non-profit rate.

Tags: privilege, white privilege conference, wpc16

August 23, 2014

What is the Church to do with #Ferguson, #MichaelBrown and #HandsUpDon’tShoot?

Friday afternoon staff gathered in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center for a conversation. One of the outcomes was a request to write up the process we used and to share it. 

The invite said this:

What is the Church to do with #Ferguson, #MichaelBrown and #HandsUpDon’tShoot?

Come to the Chapel on Friday, August 22 at 2pm for an all-staff conversation

“You aren’t going to fix 400 years with a prayer” said this week by a man working at Greater St. Mark’s Church, a gathering place for the community.  As people of faith we believe prayer matters ...

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August 14, 2014

Moving Past an Impulse/Intention for Racial Justice

So many words, so many nights of protests, days of planning, so many photos and videos... It has been over 100 days since Michael Brown was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Out of more than 100 days of protest, there have been 2 with violence. And yet, anticipating the grand jury verdict regarding whether the officer will be indicted and a court case will be pursued, insurers are requiring shopkeepers to board up their windows and doors, the governor has called in the National Guard, local police are moving in military equipment and media are ...

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July 29, 2014

Summertime and the livin' ain't so easy


I’m guessing my memory of days long ago when I was in school is responsible for the persistent idea that summer should be slower and more relaxing.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the longer days and sunlight and I revel in the delicious fresh veggies and fruits that fill the farmer's market and neighbors gardens, but time this year is not readily available for rest. 

There was the 221st General Assembly in June, which adds to the tasks and roles I juggle professionally.  So many worked long hours for months so that the two weeks ...

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June 5, 2014

How Do We Measure Participation?

Have you ever wondered what participation looks like in real time at General Assembly? Are you attending GA221 in Detroit? Do you enjoy seeing the church do its work in committee?

We are recruiting observers of committee business during the 221st General Assembly (2014). We've learned that we need a full diversity and representation in the observers - everyone sees and hears the action before them a little differently. The more observers, the better picture we get of what's happening in participation.

It is said that a group working in committee is like making sausage. We are looking for ...

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