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Advocacy & Social Justice
Fasting clergy and staff from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joined with congregation and community members for a vigil at a Wendy’s restaurant in Louisville on Thursday. The witness was one of nearly five dozen taking place at Wendy’s restaurants across the U.S. on the National Day of Fasting and Witness. As many as 160 clergy and faith leaders took part in the fast.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. — Matthew 22:37–40. This message is recited over and over among people of faith, whether they are Jews, Muslims or Christians. The words are unambiguous in their call for us to deal with others within the human family in ways that we ourselves would like to be treated.
The Presbytery of East Virginia hopes to generate conversation around the issue of racism at its upcoming meeting this month. The Racial Dialogue Team of the presbytery’s Peacemaking Committee is inviting local churches and interested parties to the presbytery meeting on Saturday, January 27, at Providence Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach.
Today’s worship service at the chapel at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offices was not your typical service. Following the call to worship, participants joined in a rousing prayer for justice that included excerpts from the Confession of Belhar in a rhythm from Ghana, West Africa. The prayer was led by Alonzo Johnson, director of Self Development of People, and his African drum.
In the coming weeks, government leaders from several countries around the world will begin receiving mail from Presbyterian churches containing prints or paper cut-outs of red hands. It’s part of the Red Hand Campaign, an initiative to encourage countries to stop the practice of turning children into armed soldiers.
Twelve months ago, the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins packed his bags, said goodbye to his North Carolina congregation at Covenant Presbyterian Church in New Hope Presbytery, and made his way to the nation’s capital as the new director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Office of Public Witness.
No one likes to lose a church member. Now imagine the prospect of losing 70 percent of a congregation. Marturia Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New Hampshire, is facing such a reality as its Indonesian members have fallen under the focus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
When the news about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment became public, women flooded social media with the hashtag #MeToo. In solidarity with women who were harmed by Weinstein, women shared their personal stories of being emotionally and physically demeaned by men.
The immigration conversation is nowhere close to being done. The political discourse around immigration continues to affect communities and the church — in both its witness and its membership. It’s a conversation that should compel leaders (including sessions and mid councils) to continue discerning the call of the church, especially when it comes to welcoming people who come to the United States in pursuit of a better life.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child that has been born king of the Jews?” … When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him … When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under. — Matthew 2:1–16