ACWC October 3–4, 2013, Meeting Overview
ACWC met in Louisville, KY, at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Here’s a quick look at some of the work we did:
- Presentation/Discussion led by ACWC member Dr. Mary McClintock Fulkerson on the notion of the “traditional family.”
- Presentation/Discussion led by ACWC member Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty on “Women and an Economy of Sharing.”
- Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice, participated in a portion of the meeting and shared information with ACWC about the Women of Color Consultation (Louisville, Oct. 11–13)
- ACWC is under its 6-year GA review. The committee reviewed and revised a draft of the self-study report to be submitted to GA.
- Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Meeting: Spent time discussing the failed motion on prorated pay raises for the PMA.
- Other discussions:
■ Human trafficking—discussed lack of comprehensive PC(USA) Policy (what currently exists is primarily focused on child trafficking and sex trafficking specifically, though broader information can be found in ACSWP’s human rights reports).
■ Workers’ Rights—discussed PC(USA) policy, particularly in the context of the recent global boycott of Hyatt.
■ Sexual Violence in the Workplace—particularly in the context of military violations.
Read articles featuring ACWC
in the latest edition of Unbound
- The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns: A Prophetic Witness for Gender Justice
- Advocacy for Women’s Concerns and Beyond
- Advocacy Across Borders
- The Cost of Solidarity: Faithful Advocacy for Worker Justice
Orange Days: Say No — End Violence Against Women and Girls
Along with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, ACWC is observing Orange Days to work toward a world without violence against women. Find out how you can participate, too!
What is the mission of the ACWC?
The ACWC's primary responsibilities include:
- Advocating for full inclusiveness and equality in the church and in society.
- Providing a prophetic witness to and for the church on existing and emerging issues of women's concern.
- Monitoring the implementation of policies and programs of the PC(USA) related to women's concerns.
- Resourcing and advising the General Assembly (GA) and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) on issues of concern to women.
- Assisting the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) in maintaining an up-to-date and accurate compilation of GA policy on women's concerns.
- Voicing concerns of women to the Stated Clerk, the Moderator of the GA and the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, offering information as they fulfill their responsibilities to communicate and interpret policies on women's concerns.
ACWC has adopted a statement from the former Women’s Ministries Program Area
Together we seek to:
- nurture and share the good news of Jesus Christ
- engage in ministries of justice and quality of life on behalf of all women everywhere
- envision and advocate for the wholeness of the church in which women are full partners in leadership and ministry
- encourage and strengthen cultural diversity and work for the full participation of racial ethnic women in leadership
- promote cooperative decision-making within the church
- listen, learn and walk with those on the margins of the church and society
- encourage the theological and liturgical contributions of women
- support the mission of the church worldwide
- Assured of God’s love and grace, women of faith forge a vital partnership with one another.
What is the work of ACWC?
Following each General Assembly, ACWC determines the general focus of its work for the next two years.Continue reading
I invite the ACWC and all other Presbyterians to read the news account that we in the Presbyterian Outlook prepared on this subject. As one who has worked intensely to promote the peace, unity and purity of the church -- I served on the theological task force for that purposes after having written a book on the subject, "GodViews: The Convictions that Drive Us and Divide Us" -- I tracked every lead I could find from the Moderator and former Vice-Moderator. I intended to expose the perpetrators of these alleged misdeeds. Frankly, I found very little. The resulting news article explains that. It can be found here: http://www.pres-outlook.com/pcusa-reports/ga-2012/17075-whats-fair-how-far-should-criticism-go-presa-and-mccabe-hold-town-hall-.html
It would seem to me that the whole thing could have been avoided if the GA powers that be had not silenced voices of legitimate disagreement in the first place by forcing through Rev. McCabe's election. Yes, I understand that there was not the 2/3 majority required to open up discussion on the issue. But with almost half of the commisioners voting to have discussion about her nomination it would have been prudent to suspend that rule and allowed discussion. Then, had she been elected, no one could have disputed a democratic process and no one would have felt like they were not heard in the process. The way it was done, however, made it seem as if the powers that be were afraid of dialogue and hid behind "rules" to further their agenda. So when I see the phrase "silence voices of legitimate discontent" applied to those who complained that they did not have a voice in her election in the first place, it sounds hypocritical at best, and manipulative at worst. Let it go. From an objective observer, both sides were at fault.
Regardless of the comments above, this is not about a CSI investigation of who said what to whom. It is about a prevailing attitude in the church that can be perceived and felt physically. Discrimination, like racism. is something that those have experienced it feel. Let's remember that our God is a God of love and that each one of us is valued as we are. To question the experience of another in this situation is to deny the reality of her experience. Try walking in her shoes and forget the search for tangible proof.
The Rev. McCabe said in the air-clearing meeting at General Assembly that she had not received mean messages, but rather that she had been shown two tweets that said something to the effect that she ought to resign. Basically what happened is that McCabe had legitimate opposition, and she chose not to be the subject of disagreement. She withdrew, it appeared, for two reasons: altrusitically, she didn't want to become a distraction to the General Assembly, and personally, she couldn't stand the heat in the kitchen, so she got out. She made a wise decision, because she WOULD have been a distraction and she WOULD have had to face opposition to her actions, as any leader must. Should an inquiry be made, her statements and those by Moderator Neal Presa will show that their real discontent was over progressives who mistrusted their account of the process of McCabe's resignation--accusing them of covering up some nefarious plan. Neither McCabe nor Presa could produce messages that were in actuality bullying, and Presa responded to a question I asked about bullying by saying, "I never used the word 'bullying'!" I am sorry that ACWC is using misinformation, unfounded suspicion, and a tired sense of victimization to further stir trouble about an issue that ought to be put to rest, following the revealing meeting Presa and McCabe called at General Assembly. James D. Berkley Pastor, Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church Roslyn, WA
If the ACWC would do a little research, like read the Presbyterian Outlook, they would discover that there were no "forces fomenting distrust, meanness and bullying behavior." None. They looked for it and could not find it. This type of inflammatory language adds nothing to anything, and really is a disservice to Christ and the denomination. frankly, if there is any bullying going on, it is found on this page.