Wednesday, December 19, 2007

19 December 2007


[1] Pity Poor Perth
[2] World Communion of Reformed Churches
[3] Paisley Calls for Restoration of Protestant Property
[4] Creation Surfaces in Hollywood
[5] Mystery Shrouds Release of Egyptian Woman Convert
[6] Ang Pulong sang Dios Hiligaynon Debuts
[7] Jack D. Higgins, Sr.
[8] Somerset Departs Presbyterian Church (USA)

Pity Poor Perth

A shortage of Church of Scotland ministers is impacting on many parishes throughout Perth and Kinross. Perth city centre is especially hard hit as three vacancies already exist there and a further one will arise with the retirement early next year of the Rev. David Denniston, minister at the North Church.

Even one of Scotland’s most significant churches, St John’s Kirk, in the heart of the city, has been without a minister since the Rev. David Ogston retired after almost 30 years at the helm of the historic church in which John Knox preached in May 1559.

The national church reports 1,200 pulpits and roughly 1000 ministers to fill them. There are 43 congregations in the Presbytery of Perth and currently 28 ministers plus two without charge. Vacant city pulpits are Craigie, St John’s and St Leonards-in-the-Fields and Trinity.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George St., Edinburgh EH2 4YN Scotland

World Communion of Reformed Churches

The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) will host the inaugural meeting of the newly formed World Communion of Reformed Churches in 2010, CRC officials announced 14 December. The groups involved in the merger are the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC), based in Grand Rapids. The organizations have a combined membership of more than 80 million Christians.

"Together these two groups now represent a significant number of Reformed churches around the world," said Jerry Dykstra, the executive director of the CRC. "Since the CRC is one of the churches in both groups, our participation in the merger has been critical to the process."

The meeting of the new group's Uniting General Council, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 delegates and visitors from around the world, is scheduled for June 18-28, 2010 at the CRC's Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

WARC is a worldwide fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. REC represents 12 million Reformed Christians in 39 churches in 25 countries, with 27 of the churches also belonging to WARC.

Besides the traditional Reformed churches, the new organization will be open to Presbyterian, Congregational, and other denominations with a Reformed heritage, he added.

+ Henry Hess, Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560 (616) 241-1691

Paisley Calls for Restoration of Protestant Property

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Ian Paisley is demanding the civil authorities streamline compensation mechanisms for Orange halls after a mass demonstration by Order members outside Secretary of State Shaun Woodward's residence at Hillsborough Castle. According to reports published by the Belfast Telegraph, "The Northern Ireland Office also has a significant role to play in the restoration of Orange halls which suffer attack. Paisley further noted, "There are numerous halls around Northern Ireland which are currently not fit for purpose because of sectarian attacks yet compensation is slow and in some cases non-existent.”

Grand Master Robert Saulters of the Irish Grand Lodge noted, "The Orange Institution has invested a considerable amount of time, effort and finance in opening up its halls for community use in order to help bring isolated rural communities out of the trauma suffered by them during the Troubles. These on going attacks and the absence of an adequate Government response to them has led the Institution to doubt what practical benefits the St Andrews Agreement and subsequent establishment of the devolved assembly have brought to our community."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness joined Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams in his condemnation of the arson attacks on the three Orange halls at the weekend, describing them as "despicable and disgraceful."

+ Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Schomberg House, 368 Cregagh Road, Belfast, Ulster BT6 9YE United Kingdom 440 (28) 9070-1122

Creation Surfaces in Hollywood

The creation–evolution battle and the battle for Hollywood converge in a new film to be released in February. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed brings us Ben Stein, TV personality, actor and former White House speech writer, on the big screen, asking one of life’s biggest questions: “Were we designed, or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?”

In the movie, Mr. Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its open-mindedness for dogma.

Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, “along the way, Mr. Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.”

“Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way,” says Mr. Stein. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it’s anti-science. It’s anti the whole concept of learning.”

Expelled documents how teachers and scientists alike are being ridiculed daily, denied tenure and even fired for believing there is evidence of “design” in nature and challenging the current orthodoxy that life is entirely a result of random chance.

For example, Mr. Stein meets Richard Sternberg, a double Ph.D. biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings. Shortly after publication, officials from the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution, where Dr. Sternberg was a research fellow, began a coordinated smear-and-intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist fired. The attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation.

In the film, Mr. Stein meets other scientists like astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of an extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he has observed in the universe.

And there are others, like Caroline Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian theory and for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of design in the universe.

Unlike other popular documentary films, Expelled isn’t one-sided – it confronts scientists like Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist and atheist blogger P.Z. Myers, and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. In fact, the creators of Expelled spent two years interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders for the film.

According to the New York Times, Dawkins, Scott and other evolutionists are now claiming the film’s producers deceived them into going on camera by hiding the Intelligent Design orientation of the film. But Mr. Stein denies misleading anyone. “I don’t remember a single person asking me what the movie was about,” he told the Times.

“The incredible thing about Expelled is that we don’t resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the shock effect, something that has become common in documentary film these days,” said Walt Ruloff, co-founder of Premise Media and the film’s co-executive producer. “People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale.”

Expelled is produced by Premise Media, and marketed by Motive Entertainment, which has spearheaded The Passion of the Christ, Polar Express and The Chronicles of Narnia. It will be distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures, with numerous box-office successes to its credit.

+ Michael Ireland, Assist News Service, PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609

Mystery Shrouds Release of Egyptian Woman Convert

An Egyptian convert to Christianity released by police under murky circumstances has revealed details of her week-long detention last July that differ greatly from original reports of torture. Speaking by telephone from Egypt through a translator at her side, a woman claiming to be Shaymaa Muhammad al-Sayed said police in Alexandria angrily interrogated her about why she became a Christian but treated her “not good, but not badly.”

But contradictions between the convert’s version of her detention and the testimony of eyewitnesses have raised questions about whether al-Sayed is under ongoing police pressure. Of most concern now, Christian sources said, is Al-Sayed’s comment to Compass that police withheld her national ID card when they released her on 23 July. Egyptian citizens must produce a national ID to carry out bank transactions, acquire a job, obtain a pension check and travel within or outside Egypt.

Lawyer Ramses el-Nagar, who said he met with the convert while she was in police custody in July and several times since her release, confirmed that she does not have an official ID. According to El-Nagar, Egypt’s security police further complicated the issue of Al-Sayed’s identity by releasing the convert under her false Christian name – Maryan Eleya Saleeb.

Conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden in Egypt. The 26-year-old Al-Sayed had obtained forged papers under the last name Saleeb in order to live as a Christian when she left her family and converted in 2003. But some of Al-Sayed’s friends remain puzzled by the strange nature of her release and current living arrangement, on her own--far from her family, who live in Alexandria, and apart from her husband. “We are not sure if Shaymaa is out [of jail] yet, or if the one who was released was someone else,” one of the convert’s friends told Compass last month.

+ Compass News Direct, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799-7250 (949) 862-0304

Ang Pulong sang Dios Hiligaynon Debuts

More than 300 Philippine church leaders, government dignitaries, and IBS-STL translation partners celebrated the Ang Pulong sang Dios Hiligaynon Bible launch November 17, 2007, at Central Philippine University, in Iloilo, Panay, the Philippines. Dedications were also held November 19 in Bacolod City on Negros Island, and December 11 in Mindanao. The dedications were covered live on TV and radio.
“Long ago the Bible was only open to the clergy, and ordinary people were prohibited to have a Bible … But today we not only celebrate the liberty to read the Bible but to dedicate the Bible in the language of the people—a Bible they can read and understand,” Iloilo Provincial Governor Niel Tupas Sr. said.

Seven translators and 20 reviewers from various Christian denominations worked on the new Hiligaynon Bible, with SIL as a primary translation partner. Sixteen years in the making, it is an accurate, contemporary translation for 7 million Hiligaynon-speaking Filipinos. An additional 4 million people speak Hiligaynon as a second or third language.

Two older Hiligaynon Bible translations exist, but archaic language, unnatural grammatical constructions, and exegetical errors make them difficult to use.

International Bible Society and Send The Light merged as IBS-STL Global on 1 March 2007. The combined organization delivers more Bibles into the hands of more people, in more countries, more efficiently than either could individually. The organization holds the copyrights to the English New International Version® (NIV) and Today’s New International Version® (TNIV), as well as 42 international Bible translations.

+ International Bible Society, 1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Jack D. Higgins, Sr.

Rev. Jack D. Higgins, Sr., former president and chief executive officer of American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM) died December 8 in Homestead Health Center, Wichita, Kansas, at age 82. A member of the American Baptist Churches USA General Board who served the Board of National Ministries in the 1980s and early 1990s, Higgins' ABHM tenure ran from 1973 to 1991. Prior to his appointment as chief executive officer in 1986, he served as treasurer and executive vice president.

Under Higgins' leadership, ABHM grew to include 21 facilities in six states; in the decade from 1981 to 1991, the number of individuals served by the organization increased from 760 to 3,708.

+ Mrs. Elizabeth Higgins, 1637 May Street #1001, Wichita, Kansas 67213

Somerset Departs Presbyterian Church (USA)

The waiting is over for a congregation near Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Members of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Somerset have voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA). According to reports distributed by the Pittsburgh Tribune Democrat, a vote of 173-10 in favor of leaving turned talk into action.

The Somerset has discussed transfer to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

According to recent denominational statistics, the congregation’s332 members donated US$471,000 in the last reporting period or about twice the average for a PC(USA) congregation.

A march meeting Redstone Presbytery will determine whether the church can keep its property without a court battle. The presbytery includes 85 churches in Somerset, Cambria, Fayette, and Westmoreland counties.

+ St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 132 E Union St., Somerset, PA 15501 (814) 445-5341

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12 December 2007


Pair Facing Federal Charges, Possible Imprisonment
[2] Form of Government Task Force Revises Documents
[3] Diocese of San Joaquin Departs
[4] York Rejects Mugabe
[5] Rethinking Reason
[6] Thomas Forsyth Torrance
[7] Beverly Heights Transfers from USA to EPC

Pair Facing Federal Charges, Possible Imprisonment

At least two Presbyterian Church (USA) members are among 11 demonstrators facing federal charges after being arrested for crossing onto the US Army's Fort Benning in Georgia to protest a training school for Latin American military officers.

The Rev. Chris Lieberman, 54, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Le Anne Clausen, 29, of Chicago, both face up to six months in federal prison and fines of up to US$5,000 for trespassing on military property during the demonstration on18 Nov.

Lieberman was released after posting US$500 bail. It was unclear how much bail was posted by Clausen, who is traveling in Iran as part of an interfaith delegation and could not be reached for comment.

Federal court hearings for the two are scheduled for 28 Jan.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202 (888) 728-7228

Form of Government Task Force Revises Documents

Based largely on denomination-wide feedback, the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Form of Government Task Force (FOGTF) has voted to present the two key parts of its work to the 218th General Assembly (GA) in separate recommendations.

The nine-member task force, charged by the 217th General Assembly (2006) with reorganizing the denomination's Form of Government, voted during a meeting here Nov. 29-Dec.1 to recommend that the Book of Order:

(1) Be amended by striking the text of Chapters I-IV of the current "Form of Government" and inserting a new section entitled, "Foundations of Presbyterian Polity," and

(2) Be amended by striking the text of Chapters V-XVIII of the current "Form of Government" and inserting a new "Form of Government."

The new Form of Government document "seeks to return the Form of Government to its original intent--a Constitution for our church that sets out the overarching standards that govern us as the Presbyterian Church (USA), rather than a manual of operations that imposes a 'one size fits all' set of procedures and rules," the letter goes on to say.

Concerns were raised by task force member Rev. James H.Y. Kim, who along the way has continually been the voice of the more conservative evangelical side of the denomination. He said that wing will take issue with changes to the Book of Order, particularly Chapters I-IV.

A majority of the 173 presbyteries must ratify proposed changes to the Book of Order.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202 (888) 728-7228

Diocese of San Joaquin Departs

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday, 9 December overwhelmingly voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield asked for a moment of silence in deference to those who opposed the change, reminding the gathering that he "knows what it feels like to be a minority" before the vote tallies were read. The results, by orders were: 70-12 clergy and 103-10 vote in the lay order to effectively remove all references to the Episcopal Church from its constitution and describe the diocese as "a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury."

"The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership."

+ Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (212) 867-8400

York Rejects Mugabe

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, cut into pieces his clerical "dog collar" on a television program broadcast by the BBC to the world, and the Ugandan-born cleric vowed he would not replace it until Robert Mugabe is no longer president of Zimbabwe. The second-highest ranking cleric in the (Anglican) Church of England was himself a refugee from the tyrannical regime of Idi Amin, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979. He said it was right for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to refuse to attend the December conference of European Union and African leaders held in Portugal.

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Rethinking Reason

Craig Strickland, pastor of
Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, Tennessee is releasing a new book, Rethinking Reason. The press release for the book says, “It's a new way of thinking about being a Christian that may give you a new purpose for your life. Why does someone have to be wrong for someone else to be right? What if the secular world isn't the problem? What if the pastor isn't always right? Why does my way have to be the only way? Do we need to think differently? How do your religious convictions impact your life? And how would your life change if you thought differently.”

+ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Office of the General Assembly, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 567, Livonia, MI 48152-7912 (734) 742-2020

Thomas Forsyth Torrance

Thomas Forsyth Torrance, who died on 2 December at age 94, held the chair of Christian Dogmatics at Edinburgh University from 1952 to 1979 and was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1976-77. A prolific writer, the catalog of his work topped 600 items. Internationally, Torrance was ranked as Scotland’s most effective advocate for the theology of Karl Barth.

Born 30 August at Chengdu, China, where his parents served under China Inland Mission, Torrance was educated in mission schools. Returning to Scotland as China began to collapse in the late 1920s, he continued his education at Bellshill Academy, Edinburgh University, New College, and eventually Basel.

In 1950 Torrance was appointed Professor of Church History at New College, Edinburgh. Not long after, he assumed the Chair of Christian Dogmatics. Offered Barth’s position at Basal upon Barth’s death, Torrance chose to remain in Scotland and champion the cause of union with the Church of England and ecumenism through the World Council of Churches.

At his retirement in 1979, a radical Roman Catholic, James Mackey, replaced him. A son, Iain Torrance, is professor of Patristics at Princeton Theological Seminary and served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for the 2003-04 term.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN UK

Beverly Heights Transfers from USA to EPC

According to reports distributed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church has been dismissed from the Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) so it can join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

The dismissal was the culmination of six months of discussions precipitated by the Mt. Lebanon church's overwhelming vote in April to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The vote by the presbytery's clergy and elders was 174 for dismissal and 73 against, with two abstentions. The action takes effect immediately.

According to the settlement between the presbytery and the 400-member church, Beverly Heights will keep its building and land -- together valued at more than US$1 million -- and the rights to its name. In exchange, the congregation will pay the presbytery US$250,000 over 10 years and forfeit US$46,655 in a trust account.

The presbytery and church also agreed to not sue each other.

+ Beverly Heights Prebyterian Church, 1207 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

5 December 2007


First Reformed Presbyterian Conference on Practical Theology
[2] United Church Insurance Company Holds Annual Meeting
[3] Bishops Demand Account for Pursing Departing Congregations
[4] Call for Kuyper Papers
[5] Grace Reformed Church
[6] New URC Discussion Group
[7] Grant to New Geneva
[8] Looking at the Bottom Line
[9] Minutes of the RPCNA Since 1837
[10] Christians in India Finally Can Adopt Children
[11] Rev. E. Pressly Love

First Reformed Presbyterian Conference on Practical Theology

First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, will sponsor a Conference on Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary on 2965 Leonard Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday 2 February from 8:45am - 3:30pm. This year’s theme will be Biblical Evangelism.

The lecturer will be Dr. David P. Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary. Dr. Murray with him much practical experience in Biblical evangelism, a depth of Biblical knowledge, and a mastery of the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.

+ First Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2919 Leonard Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

United Church Insurance Company Holds Annual Meeting

The United Church Insurance Company (UCIC) board met 7-8 November. in Honolulu, Hawaii, electing two new board members and approving the 2007-2008 budget.

Erick D. (Rick) Reisinger, Indianapolis, Indiana, Vice President of Church Extension of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and treasurer of the UCC Insurance Board (IB), was elected to a three-year term. Also elected was Glen Priuksma, Seattle, Wash., retired consulting actuary who is an IB board member as well.

Board members approved an annual budget of US$6 million, including US$5.8 million in expected losses. The UCIC was incorporated in 2001 in Hawaii as a subsidiary of the United Church of Christ (UCC) Insurance Board. Currently it is responsible for all property claims for IB participants up to $500,000. In the past year the ICIC self-insurance program has paid out US$6.1 million to UCC and Disciples churches on claims.

+ UCC Insurance Board, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115 (800) 437-8830

Bishops Demand Account for Pursing Departing Congregations

The chairs of two Episcopal Church Executive Council standing committees have responded to a pair of open letters written last summer by a group of bishops, demanding a "public report" of the cost of litigation over breakaway groups attempting to take local property with them. Josephine Hicks, chair of Administration and Finance, and John Vanderstar, chair of National Concerns, released their reply to the letters on 29 November.

The retired bishops who signed the 14 July 14 letter are C. Fitzsimons Allison (South Carolina), Maurice M. Benitez (Texas), Alex D. Dickson (West Tennessee) and William C. Wantland (Eau Claire). Milton L. Wood, suffragan of Atlanta, added his name to the second letter, released 27 August.

The letters protested what the group called “charges and threats of litigation” by Executive Council against the four dioceses whose leadership endorsed resolutions qualifying accession to the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. The dioceses are Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and San Joaquin.

“We would like to know, where the money is coming from in order to conduct this litigation, especially in view of the fact that the program budget is being reduced because insufficient funds are being received from dioceses,” the retired bishops asked.

+ The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Ave, New York City, NY 10017 (212) 716-6000

Call for Kuyper Papers

The Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary invites paper proposals from scholars and graduate students in theology, philosophy, humanities, and the social sciences for a forthcoming conference on “Civil Society and Sphere Sovereignty” at Princeton, 17th-19th April 2008.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was the greatest and most controversial figure in the Calvinist renaissance that took place at the conclusion of the 19th Century and the opening of the 20th in The Netherlands. Kuypeer established a Christian newspaper, was elected Member of Parliament in 1874, and was instrumental in the organization of a Christian political party. In 1880 Kuyper helped to found the Free University of Amsterdam and regularly served as a professor of theology there. In 1886 he took the leading role in forming what subsequently became the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland and in 1901 he became Minister-President of The Netherlands.

Kuyper visited Princeton in 1898 and delivered the Stone Lectures on Calvinism. Kuyper's worldview, as presented in his hundreds of articles, pamphlets, and books, profoundly affected the development of Reformed theology especially in The Netherlands, the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Korea.

+ Abraham Kuyper Center, Princeton Theological Seminary, PO Box 111, Princeton, NJ 08542-0111 (609) 497-7940

Grace Reformed Church

2007 Westminster Seminary (California) alumnus, Shane Lems, is serving as the stated pulpit supply of a new United Reformed Church mission in South Central Washington State called United Reformed Church of Sunnyside Washington. The church is located in the Yakima Valley of Washington and is being overseen by the consistory of Grace URC in Kennewick, Washington.

+ Grace Reformed Church (URC), 1750 Sheller Road, Sunnyside, WA 98944 (509) 837-3363

New URC Discussion Group

A new Google Group has begun as a discussion group for the United Reformed Church in North America and it's ecumenical friends.

A different group maintained in cooperation with the Christian Observer is located at To join this e-mail discussion group, send a subscription request along with a brief statement stating whether you are a member of a Christian church and (if so) stating what church (name and city) you belong to, to the moderators at If you donot provide this information about church membership, your request to join CO-URC will not be approved.

+ Mr. Bill Konynenbelt, Stated Clerk, United Reformed Churches, 5824 Bowwater Cr. N.W., Calgary, Alberta T3B 2E2 (403) 286-0521 URCNA@Shaw.CA

Grant to New Geneva

The Shenandoah Foundation, based in Miami, recently provided a grant of US$50,000 to New Geneva Seminary. Over the last 5 years this foundation has assisted the seminary with generous grants. The Shenandoah Foundation was founded by a former Presbyterian Church in America congregation that was dissolved in 1997. Before dissolving, the congregation voted to establish a foundation with its present assets that would continue to contribute to the type of ministries it supported when it was an active congregation.

New Geneva Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries.

+ New Geneva Seminary, 3622 Galley Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80909 (719) 573-5395

+ New Geneva Seminary (East), New Life In Christ Church, 11925 Burgess Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22407 (540) 786-4848

Looking at the Bottom Line

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will sponsor a 11-13 March conference entitled “A Reformed View of the End Times.” In addition to members of the Greenville faculty speakers include Dr. Derek Thomas of Reformed Seminary (Jackson) and Dr. Cornelis Venema of Mid-America Reformed Seminary.

+ Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, PO Box 690, [418 East Main Street] Taylors, South Carolina 29687 (864) 322-2717

Minutes of the RPCNA Since 1837

The Minutes of Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America [Old Lights] are online at The site contains the Minutes from 1837 although there are some gaps in the early years. Three listings appear on the left side of the page: Covenanter, Reformed Presbyterian, and Minutes of Synod. In the early years, the minutes were embedded in what were then the weekly publications of the church. The archives are housed at the denominational seminary.

+ Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 7418 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 (412) 732-8690

Christians in India Finally Can Adopt Children

Ending a long era of absence of adoption rights for non-Hindus, the government has cleared the way for all religious communities in all Indian states to adopt legally. The government of the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance on 26 October gave notice of new rules under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act or JJA of 2006, making room for all communities to adopt. The Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, said his group welcomed “the significant move” by the federal government “to enhance the legal rights of adopted children and the couples who adopt them.” It is estimated that barely 5,000 children a year are adopted in the country, though there are more than 56 million orphaned and destitute children.

+ Compass Direct News Service, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799

Rev. E. Pressly Love

The Rev. E. Pressly Love, former Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister, died at his home in Gastonia, North Carolina, on 11 November at age 83. The son of the Rev. Andrew Boyce Love and Jean Pressly Love, he grew up in the Covington (Tennessee) ARP Church. After serving several pastorates in the ARP Church, he transferred to the Presbyterian Church (US).

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland St., Greenville, SC 29601 (864) 233-5226

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

28 November 2007


[1] Alphonza Gadsden, Sr., Becomes Bishop of Southeast
[2] Women in the Church Leadership Training
[3] Eden Professor Will Direct NCC
[4] Chadwick Heads to Rome
[5] Chalmers Center for Economic Development
[6] True Russian Orthodox Church Prepares for Rapture
[7] EPC Adventures in Brazil
[8] Conservatives Define Human Rights in Nova Scotia
[9] Louisville Celebrates Transgender
[10] Egyptian Police Detain Convert Who Wedded Christian
[11] Ft. Worth Distances Itself from The Episcopal Church

[1] Alphonza Gadsden, Sr., Becomes Bishop of Southeast

On 17 November the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) consecrated a new bishop for its Southeastern jurisdiction. The Very Reverend Mr. Gadsden is a D.Min. student at Erskine Theological Seminary. Bishops Leonard Riches, Royal U. Grote, Jr., David Hicks, and Alex Dickerson participated in the event which took place at Pineville, South Carolina.

The 134-year-old REC is one of ten Anglican jurisdictions and organizations pledged to take the first steps toward a new ecclesiastical structure in North America under the title Common Cause Council of Bishops. The historic meeting took place held in Pittsburgh 25-28 September.

+ Bishop Royal U. Grote Jr., The Reformed Episcopal Church, 4142 Dayflower Dr.Katy, TX 77449 (800)

[2] Women in the Church Leadership Training

The 2008 Presbyterian Church in America Women’s Leadership Training will be held in Atlanta at the Marriott Perimeter Center Hotel 28 Feb. 28 - 1 March 2008. The theme of this year’s conference will be focusing on the purpose and privilege of women’s ministries within the local church. The schedule will include general sessions and workshops filled with practical training and networking with regional women’s groups. This conference will be most beneficial to those who are involved in PresWIC Leadership, Local Women’s and Bible Study Leadership, and Directors of Women’s Ministries.

+ ByFaith Magazine, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30043

[3] Eden Professor Will Direct NCC

Michael Kinnamon, a professor at Eden Theological Seminary, will leave Saint Louis at the end of the year to lead the National Council of Churches (NCC). Upon ratification of the selection in November, Dr. Kinnamon became the successor to Bob Edgar, who left the NCC in September to become President and CEO of Common Cause.

A product of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kinnamon, joined the Eden Faculty in 2000, becoming the first occupant of the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission and Peace chair.

+ Eden Theological Seminary. 475 East Lockwood Avenue, Saint Louis, Missouri 63119-3192

[4] Chadwick Heads to Rome

First Presbyterian Church of Rome, Georgia, has called Jeff Chadwick to be Senior Pastor, succeeding Bill Flannagan, who retired in June, 2006. Jeff had served as the Director of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church World Outreach since September 2000. Under Chadwick’s leadership, the World Outreach missionary family has grown in number by 40 percent, and giving to World Outreach has increased by 70 percent, to an annual total of US$2,350,000 in 2006.

Ordained in the Southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS) in 1982, Jeff served two yoked, rural Presbyterian churches in Monroe, North Carolina, until 1989. Chadwick then served as senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, until receiving the call to become the EPC World Outreach Director in 2000.

+ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Office of the General Assembly, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 567, Livonia, MI 48152-7912 (734) 742-2020

[5] Chalmers Center for Economic Development

Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant conducts low-cost email-based courses train the church world-wide how to minister to the poor without creating dependency – helping the church help the poor to help themselves become financially self-sufficient.

The various courses provide training on: 1. Christian microfinance and microenterprise development in the two-thirds world, 2. Economic development ministry in the US/Canada addressing the areas of savings, asset accumulation, financial literacy, job training, and housing, 3. Short-term missions to the poor without doing long-term harm

+ Chalmers Center for Economic Development, Covenant College, 14049 Scenic Highway Lookout Mountain, GA 30750 (706) 419-1808

[6] True Russian Orthodox Church Prepares for Rapture

The True Russian Orthodox Church went underground some two weeks ago in order to "save themselves during the time of the apocalypse," which they say will come in May 2008.

The True Russian Orthodox Church, was formed by Father Pyotr, a 43-year-old diagnosed schizophrenic currently in custody. Pyotr is believed to have ordered his followers underground last week. The group of 29 people, including four children, has threatened to set fire to themselves if any attempt is made to force them to come to the surface.

Orthodox priests have pitched a tent near the shelter and are praying for the sect members, and trying to engage them in "peaceful dialogue" a source in the Penza diocese told the Russian News and Information Agency, adding that Archbishop Philaret of Penza had written to them.

Religion was tightly controlled in the U.S.S.R. and the collapse of the Soviet Union saw an explosion in sects and cults, as well as interest in New Age philosophies and beliefs. The back pages of many Russian tabloid newspapers are full of advertisements for 'healers' and 'magicians' who promise to bring happiness in love, success in business, as well as a range of other services.

Alexander Dvorkin, a Russian expert on religions and sects, earlier said that totalitarian sects were common in Russia, and that “control over their members is absolute, and anything that comes into the heads of their leaders has a direct impact on the entire group.” Dvorkin also said the group in the Penza Region was similar in outlook to the pseudo-Russian Orthodox groups calling for the canonization of Stalin and Ivan the Terrible, adding that the actions of the Penza group could “act as a detonator,” provoking other sects to “announce the end of the world.”

+ Institute on Religion and Public Policy,1620 I Street, NW, Suite LL10, Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 835-8760

[7] EPC Adventures in Brazil

Evangelical Presbyterian General Assembly Moderator Bill Vogler and Executive Pastor/Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah are in Sao Paulo, Brazil, week meeting with leadership of the Brazilian Presbyterian Church (IPB) and the Andrew Jumper Graduate Study Center.

The leaders and faculty of the Andrew Jumper Graduate Study Center tell that in 2001-2002 the EPC (with particular help from then Stated Clerk Mike Glodo) prevented a “liberal takeover” of the Center. The Jumper Center is an orthodox, Reformed and Presbyterian graduate school of the IPB, which has approximately four million members. It awards M.Div., D.Min. and S.T.M. degrees, and a graduate level certification.

On 17 November 2007 Mark Jumper was scheduled to be hosted by the IPB while attending the tenth graduation class of the Jumper Center, named after his father, the late Dr. Andrew Jumper.

+ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Office of the General Assembly, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 567, Livonia, MI 48152-7912 (734) 742-2020

[8] Conservatives Define Human Rights in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's Conservative government is proposing steps to modernize the province's Human Rights Act, including a broader definition of harassment. Previously the definition in the act, which was introduced in 1967, dealt only with sexual harassment.

Michael Noonan, acting director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, says the definition will now cover harassment on the basis of race, religious affiliation or political belief and also around issues dealing with the disabled. The amendments include changes to other key definitions to ensure consistency with federal charter requirements and with human rights legislation in other jurisdictions.

+ The Canadian Press, 36 King St. East, Toronto, ON M5C 2L9 (416) 364-0321

[9] Louisville Celebrates Transgender

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary celebrated the 9th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November with a day of campus events, culminating in an ecumenical candlelight memorial service in Caldwell Chapel. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a national memorial project that honors human beings slain during the past year because of their unconventional gender. The celebration was one of many events around the country to focus attention on threats many transgender people live with daily.

The seminary observance was planned jointly by the Women's Center at LPTS and local organizations representing the transgendered community in Louisville. Events included a morning prayer vigil and a lunch-hour presentation on "Transgender 101: Basic Terms and Concepts" by local activist Beth Harrison-Prado.

+ Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40205 (800) 264-1839

[10] Egyptian Police Detain Convert Who Wedded Christian

Police detained an Egyptian convert to Christianity on her wedding anniversary in Upper Egypt last week, her husband said. Plainclothes officers arrested Siham Ibrahim Muhammad Hassan al-Sharqawi on Thursday (November 22) on the outskirts of Qena, 300 miles south of Cairo, according to an eyewitness. Witnesses said that police treated the woman like a prostitute, calling her a “whore,” and threatening to beat her. Sources gave conflicting reports about whether State Security Investigation officials used physical violence against Al-Sharqawi or limited themselves to only threats.

The convert’s husband said he is not certain whether police are aware that she is a convert, because she was carrying neither her Muslim ID nor her forged Christian papers at the time of her arrest. Apart from false ID, Al-Sharqawi may also be held for marrying a Christian man or insulting Islam.

+ Compass Direct News Service, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799 (949) 862-0304

[11] Ft. Worth Distances Itself from The Episcopal Church

Delegates to the Diocese of Ft. Worth's annual convention took their first step in November to cut ties to the Episcopal Church, a move driven by the diocese's opposition to the ordination of women and gay men and the blessing of same-sex unions. More than 200 clergy and lay delegates voted at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, by an overwhelming majority rejecting on first reading an amendment assenting to the authority of the Episcopal Church. Speaking in a news conference following the convention's conclusion, Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker said the decisions "marked a firm resolve about moving forward together, recognizing that there are parts that are not fully behind the path we've chosen, but the debate is always characterized by respect and honesty." "It's important to note that the decisions made today are preliminary decisions that need to be ratified by another convention," he added. The convention noted that the diocese wishes "to remain within the family of the Anglican Communion while dissociating itself from the moral, theological, and disciplinary innovations of the Episcopal Church..." If the constitutional and canonical amendments pass a second reading, presumably at the 2008 diocesan convention, Mrs. Jefferts Schori and David Booth Beers will claim that this violates the requirements of the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. Article V, Section 1 says that a diocese's constitution must include "an unqualified accession" to the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.

+ VirtueOnline, 1236 Waterford Rd., West Chester, PA 19380

Thursday, November 22, 2007

22 November 2007

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America

Americans are a grateful people, ever mindful of the many ways we have been blessed. On Thanksgiving Day, we lift our hearts in gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, the people we love, and the gifts of our prosperous land.

Our country was founded by men and women who realized their dependence on God and were humbled by His providence and grace. The early explorers and settlers who arrived in this land gave thanks for God's protection and for the extraordinary natural abundance they found. Since the first National Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington, Americans have come together to offer thanks for our many blessings. We recall the great privilege it is to live in a land where freedom is the right of every person and where all can pursue their dreams. We express our deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the honorable men and women in uniform who defend liberty. As they work to advance the cause of freedom, our Nation keeps these brave individuals and their families in our thoughts, and we pray for their safe return.

While Thanksgiving is a time to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, it is also an opportunity to serve others and to share our blessings with those in need. By answering the universal call to love a neighbor as we want to be loved ourselves, we make our Nation a more hopeful and caring place.

This Thanksgiving, may we reflect upon the past year with gratefulness and look toward the future with hope. Let us give thanks for all we have been given and ask God to continue to bless our families and our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2007, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

14 November 2007


[1] Louisiana's Largest Leaves
[2] Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt
[3] India: Recent Incidents of Persecution
[4] Rifts Deepen Between Hungarian Churches and Government

Louisiana's Largest Leaves

First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at 1,600 members the largest congregation in the Presbytery of South Louisiana - has voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

The vote by the congregation on 28 October - with less than one-third of its members present - was 422-60. The congregation also voted to authorize the session to make "for a transitional period voluntary gifts to the Presbytery of South Louisiana of some or all of the presbytery portion of the PC(USA) per capita contribution and such other mission gifts as the Session may designate, in its sole discretion."

Pastor Gerrit Dawson is a member of an EPC administrative commission that is coordinating the assimilation of former PC(USA) congregations into the EPC. First Church will be part of a "New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery" of the EPC for five years.

The church will take its property with it. The Presbytery of South Louisiana ceded it to the session a year ago.

+First Presbyterian Church, 763 North Blvd.,Baton Rouge, LA 70802 (225) 387-0617

Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt

Middle Eastern Presbyterians in the United States got a chance to reconnect with one of their mother churches during a recent visit from the head of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt. The Rev. Emile Zaki, general secretary of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt, Synod of the Nile, made a “pastoral visit” to Middle Eastern Presbyterians in the US in October.

+ Evangelical Church of Egypt - Synod of the Nile, El-Kanisah El-Injiliyah, PO Box 1248, Cairo 11221 Egypt

India: Recent Incidents of Persecution

Jammu and Kashmir

At least four Hindu extremists attacked two Christians from the Believers Church in India (BCI) on 4 November in Jammu, the winter capital of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. A representative of the Christian Legal Association (CLA) told Compass that four extremists came in a vehicle, which carried the name of Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalistic party, and beat two Christians identified only as Rinku and Santosh. The two Christians were on their way to meet a pastor in Arnia area of Jammu. A local leader of the BCI told CLA that the victims were brutally beaten, though they were not hospitalized. Although police refused to register a complaint against the attackers, they helped the Christians and the Shiv Sena extremists reach a compromise, which included a written apology by the Hindu radicals. About 6.7 million people in the Himalayan state are Muslim out of the total population of more than 10 million, while only about 3 million are Hindu, mainly concentrated in and around the Jammu city.


Four Hindu extremists on 4 November beat an independent pastor and filed “prostitution” charges against him near Karnataka state’s Gundelpet town. Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told Compass that the 50-year-old independent pastor, M. Thankaraj, received injuries on his head, right hand and chest. He was attacked at about 1 p.m. on Sunday in Hosalli Colony area while he had gone to see off a 33-year-old woman of his church, identified only as Thulasiamma, who had visited him for prayer and counseling. Thulasiamma was facing opposition from her family due to her conversion to Christianity, George said. The extremists held the pastor hostage till about 8 p.m., and then dragged him to the police station, where they filed the complaint against him for “prostitution.” Police readily registered the complaint against the pastor, but refused to file his complaint against the attackers, George added. The pastor was recovering in the Gundelpet Government Hospital, while police were investigating the allegations against him at press time.


Local villagers filed a police complaint against two Christian workers for “forcibly converting” people to Christianity on 30 October in Rajasthan state’s Jhunjhunu district. Panna Lal and Dhan Raj from the Believers Church in India (BCI) were arrested by police in Udaipur Vati area and kept in police lock-up for a night. The following day, police took them to a district official who granted them bail, a representative of the Christian Legal Association (CLA) told Compass. When CLA spoke to police, an officer said the Christians were arrested “under suspicion,” as they failed to prove their identities. The Christians were arrested while they were visiting one of the families that had recently received Christ. A few families in the area had become Christian by listening to a radio program aired by the BCI. The complaint was allegedly filed by the members of the village court who were opposed to the families’ conversion to Christianity.

+ Compass Direct News Service, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799

Rifts Deepen Between Hungarian Churches and Government

As the school year in Hungary begins, the country's church-owned schools are facing renewed difficulties due to cuts in state supports, leading to a growing number of closures and mergers, writes Meanwhile, some religious leaders are accusing the Socialist-led government of deliberately trying to create the impression among the Hungarian people that the church is the "enemy."

The Country's leading Protestant denomination (Református) runs 109 educational institutions with 30,400 students, and employs 2,500 teachers. It says it has been forced to close down two art schools and lay off 50-100 employees due to financial hardships as a result of declining state support.

Despite this, the pinch is not being felt by all church-run schools. The Evangelical Church (Evangélikus or Lutheran) has not yet had to close or consolidate any schools, and recently opened a kindergarten in Hódmezõvásárhely and a primary school in Szombathely. The church employs approximately 1,000 teachers, and educate 11,000 students, said Zoltán Mihályné, head of the church's educational department.

Leaders of the Hungarian Reformed (Református) Church are accusing the Socialist-led government of launching a political and PR campaign to demonize Hungary's leading churches, and even to create unrest similar to that which rocked Hungary in October of last year, according to

"It is most disturbing that in the last five days there has been an institutional misdirection from the real problems, in particular the last year's affairs," wrote Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei, president of the Reformed Church's synod, in a communiqué. The church has said it is willing to cooperate with the government to solve the "real problems" of society, such as shortcomings in the healthcare and education systems.

+ Magyarorszagi Reformatus Egyhaz, Abonyi u. 21, PO Box 5, 1146 Budapest Hungary

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

7 November 2007


[1] Board of Pensions Tops US$8 Billion
[2] Dignitas Humana Award Goes To Rick Ufford-Chase
[3] Belhar Confession Remains Obstacle to DRC Unification
[4] Library Retracts Decision and Allows Posting of Pro-Life Event Flyer
[5] Lewis Minister To Be Next Year's Moderator
[6] The Confessional Presbyterian
[7] Egypt Frees Christian Human Rights Activists
[8] Yi Headed to Louisiana

[1] Board of Pensions Tops US$8 Billion

With a 9.6 percent return through the first three-quarters of 2007, the investment portfolio of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Board of Pensions topped the US$8 billion mark for the first time. The gain for the year-to-date is US$738 million, vice-president for finance Mike Fallon told the board at its 27 Oct. 27 meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The board heard mostly positive news about the performance and reserve levels of most aspects of the health, death and disability, pension, and assistance plans. Cost increases were approved for only two programs that historically show unpredictable claims experience--a three percent hike for medical continuation (for participants who are no longer in active church service) coverage and a 9.2 percent increase for retired participants in the Affiliated Benefits Program (ABP) who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Both increases are effective 1 January 2008.

The Medical Continuation increase means participants enrolled in the plan prior to 1987 will pay US$8 more per month--from US$280 to US$288--and those enrolled after 1986 will pay US$490, an increase of US$14 per month.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202

[2] Dignitas Humana Award Goes To Rick Ufford-Chase

St. John’s School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota, has awarded its annual Dignitas Humana Award to Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the PC(USA), co-founder and former director of BorderLinks, and current executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

The award is given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of human dignity in the United States and around the world. It will be presented to Ufford-Chase in a 17 October ceremony.

+ St. John's School of Theology--Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota, 56321

[3] Belhar Confession Remains Obstacle to DRC Unification

A large majority of the delegates to three regional synods of the Dutch Reformed Church are in favor of unification with the other three denominations in the Dutch Reformed family in South Africa. However, the synods meeting in October also heard survey reports that fewer than half of the ministers in the DRC are prepared to accept the Belhar Confession as a condition of unity. Those percentages have fallen from 52 percent willing to accept it in 2004 to 48 percent in the 2006 survey.

There is wide regional variation. In the Capetown Synod, about 66 percent of the ministers are ready to accept the Belhar Confession, and 77 percent of the ministers want more visible unity among the four denominations in the family. On the other hand, the synods of the West Transvaal and the East Transvaal, in the center of South Africa, have frankly stated that they want to be under no obligation to accept the Belhar Confession as part of a new church order.

Nelus Niemandt, the Assessor for the DRC, suggested that views seemed to be hardening about the Belhar Confession. He said he did not think there was much objection to the content of the Belhar Confession, but rather to the political context in which it arose.

The Belhar Confession was first crafted by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, one of the partners in the formation of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa in 1994. At the West Cape Synod, Allan Boesak addressed the delegates, telling them they were no longer guilty of heresy. Boesak, who was instrumental in getting the DRC suspended from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 1982 and was Moderator of the Mission Church when it adopted the Belhar Confession, praised the West Cape Synod for its declarations on apartheid. It was his first appearance at any DRC synod since 1982.

+ Reformed Ecumenical Council, 2050 Breton Rd, SE, Suite 102, Grand Rapids, Mississippi 49546

[4] Library Retracts Decision and Allows Posting of Pro-Life Event Flyer

After Liberty Counsel intervened on behalf of a local resident, a library director agreed to allow a flyer announcing a pro-life event to be posted on the West Bend Community Memorial Library bulletin board, West Bend, Wisconsin.

Mary Weigand wanted to inform residents about an annual Life Chain event, so she took an informational flyer to her local public library. A library employee in charge of the display accepted the flyer and indicated that it would be posted with the other community announcements. Later that day Library Director Michael Tyre called Weigand to inform her that library bulletin boards were reserved for educational purposes and the library policy prohibited religious items like her flyer.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented, "When libraries or other government facilities create an open forum such as a community bulletin board, it is impermissible to discriminate against religious viewpoints."

+ Liberty Counsel, PO Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32954 (800) 671-1776

[5] Lewis Minister To Be Next Year's Moderator

It has just been announced that the Rev. Kenneth M Ferguson is the Moderator Designate for the 2008 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. Mr Ferguson is the minister of Cross Free Church, Ness, Isle of Lewis.

Born at Back in the Isle of Lewis in 1946, Mr. Ferguson attended Back Junior Secondary School and Lews Castle College where he specialized in textiles. Having spent two years furthering his studies in Dewsbury Technical College Yorkshire, he returned to Lewis in 1965 and spent the next sixteen years employed as a Quality Controller in the Harris Tweed industry.

Mr. Ferguson experienced Christian conversion in 1970 during the ministry of the late Rev Murdo Macaulay at Back. After some years he felt called to preach the Gospel and took an Arts degree with the Open University, graduating in 1980 with B.A. in English and History. Ferguson did his theological training at the Free Church College and was awarded the Diploma in Theology in 1984.

The Moderator Designate’s entire ministry has been spent on the Isle of Lewis where he was ordained and inducted to the congregation of Lochs Free Church in September 1984. From September 2000 to the present time, his ministry has been centered upon Cross Free Church in Ness.

+ Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, Scotland <>

[6] The Confessional Presbyterian

Volume 3 (2007) of the new theological journal The Confessional Presbyterian is now available from the publisher. The CPJ is a journal that maintains high intellectual and theological standards in the hopes of communicating to all across Presbyterian and Reformed denominations from professors to parishioners.

The CPJ website offers the contents of its three inaugural issues, previews of articles, submission guidelines, as well as ordering information.

+ The Confessional Presbyterian, PO Box 141084, Dallas, TX 75214

[7] Egypt Frees Christian Human Rights Activists

Egyptian police this week released two Christian rights activists detained for three months. A host of journalists, lawyers, clergyman, family, and friends gathered at the Cairo home of Adel Fawzy Faltas last night to celebrate the acquittal and release on 5 November 5 of the Egyptian head of the Middle East Christian Association and an associate. Faltas, 61, and colleague Peter Ezzat, 25, had been held on unsubstantiated charges of insulting Islam and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad. Faltas had conducted an online interview with a controversial convert from Islam to Christianity only days before his arrest on 8 August. Sporting a wide grin, shorts and tennis shoes as well-wishers pressed around him at his 8th floor flat, Faltas said, “I was always a free man. When you respect yourself and what you are doing, then you are free.”

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799-7250

[8] Yi Headed to Louisiana

Arsenal Hill Church in Columbia, South Carolina, has concurred with the desire of the pastor, Seth Yi, to dissolve the pastoral relationship so that he can accept the call from the Calhoun Presbyterian Church in Calhoun, Louisiana. Yi served on Catawba Presbytery's Minister and His Work Committee.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Center, 1 Cleveland St Ste 110, Greenville SC 29601-3646

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

31 October 2007 - Reformation Day + 490


[1] Presbyterians Renew Relations in Eastern Europe
[2] Six Running for Next Scottish Moderator
[3] Eberhard Bush To Lecture on Karl Barth at Princeton Seminary
[4] Northeast Associate Reformed Presbytery

[1] Presbyterians Renew Relations in Eastern Europe

Gary Payton is a 57-year-old Missouri native, who prior to working for the PC(USA) served 24 years as an officer in the United States Air Force during the height of the Cold War. Appointed as a PC(USA) mission co-worker in January 2000 after previously serving as director of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Payton works closely with the Russian Orthodox Church, the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of the Russian Federation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States, the Reformed Church in Carpatho-Ukraine, and the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202 (888) 728-7228

[2] Six Running for Next Scottish Moderator

The list of candidates to become Moderator of the Church of Scotland is one of the longest in recent years, containing six nominees, with Kirk insiders claiming that the selection is one of the most open races they have seen. Those named were: David Arnott, of Hope Park Church of St Andrews; Barry Dunsmore of St Columba's, London; Alan Greig, of Kintore Parish Church, Kintore; David Lunan, Clerk to the Presbytery of Glasgow; Dr Marjory MacLean, Deputy Clerk to the General Assembly, and Colin Sinclair, of Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh. While the list may be broadly representative of the Kirk as an institution, the political leaning of it has been described as being to the left of centre.

The Committee to Nominate the Moderator met 30 October to hear proposers and seconders. The Moderator Designate will be presented to the General Assembly on 15 May, 2008.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN Scotland

[3] Eberhard Bush To Lecture on Karl Barth at Princeton Seminary

Eberhard Busch, professor emeritus in systematic theology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, will deliver a lecture at Princeton Theological Seminary on 8 in the Main Lounge of the Mackay Campus Center.

Titled “‘A Swiss Voice’: The Campaign of the Swiss Government against the Voice of Karl Barth during the Second World War,” the lecture will bring to light previously unknown archival documents relating to the Swiss government’s campaign to silence Barth’s political speech in the face of potential National Socialist retaliation.

Dr. Eberhard Busch is a world-renowned Barth scholar and was Barth’s last assistant. Busch’s research interests lie in Barth’s life and works, John Calvin and the history of the Reformed Reformation, Reformed confessions in past and present, the “church struggle” in Germany from 1933 to 1945, the history of pietism in the 18th Century, and Reformed identity.

Busch is the author of the definitive biography of Barth, Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiography Texts (first English edition by SCM Press, London, 1976). In 2004, he published The Great Passion: An Introduction to Karl Barth's Theology, which has since become a standard introduction to Barthian theology.

+ Princeton Theological Seminary, PO Box 821, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08542-0803

[4] Northeast Associate Reformed Presbytery

Approximately 50 presbyters and guests attended Northeast Presbytery's fall meeting 11 and 12 October at the Kirkridge Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Manchester, Maryland. The Presbytery received five Korean ministers into its membership who were received under care at the spring Presbytery meeting.

Also received into membership was the Rev. Y. H. Chung, missionary pastor of the Church of the Lord in Osaka, Japan, and Mr. S.S. Yim as a licentiate from the Korean American Presbyterian Church. Yim is a pastoral assistant at the Hyo Shin Church.

Presbytery also received the Rev. Ian Duguid upon letter of transfer from the Ascension Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in America, to labor out of bounds as a college professor.
The Presbytery received the Hyo Shin Bible Presbyterian Church, the Joyful Church, and the Yae Dam Presbyterian Church as member congregations of the Presbytery and received under care the Philadelphia Korean Presbyterian Church, Glen Burney, Maryland.

Northeast approved appointment of a commission to organize the Faith Presbyterian Church of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and to install the Rev. Ron Bell as pastor.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland St., Greenville South Carolina, 29601-3696 (864) 232-8297

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

23 October 2007


[1] Malibu Church Destroyed
[2] Detterman Will Become Executive Director at Presbyterians for Renewal
[3] Papers of Dr. C. John Miller
[4] New Reformed Body To Be Formed
[5] Two Christians Murdered in Nigeria
[6] Churches Together in England Appoints New General Secretary

[1] Malibu Church Destroyed

A string of wildfires raging out of control in southern California claimed the Malibu Presbyterian Church in Pacific Presbytery Sunday 21 October. The 287-member congregation, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean in one of the Los Angeles area’s most exclusive communities, burned to the ground.

+ Malibu Presbyterian Church, 332 Malibu Canyon Road, Malibu, California 90265

[2] Detterman Will Become Executive Director at Presbyterians for Renewal

The Rev. Paul E. Detterman has been elected executive director for Presbyterians For Renewal (PFR). Founded in 1989, PFR’s mission is to mobilize leaders of congregations within the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be Biblically faithful and mission-minded in their service to Jesus Christ. Detterman has served as interim executive director of the renewal group since February 2007 and previously served on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as associate for worship and as pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Louisville, as well as congregations in Ohio and Kansas.

+ Presbyterians For Renewal, 8134 New LaGrange Rd. Suite 227, Louisville, KY 40222

[3] Papers of Dr. C. John Miller

The Presbyterian Church in America has acquired the papers of Dr. Jon C. Miller who was a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia from 1966-1980, founding pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and founding director of World Harvest Missions. The collection consists of 13 cubic feet of documents, with notable strengths in subjects such as evangelism, missions, and pastoral theology.

+ World Harvest Mission, 101 West Ave Ste 305, Jenkintown PA 19046-2039

+ Presbyterian Church in America Historical Center, 12330 Conway Rd., St. Louis, MO 63141 (314) 469-9077

[4] New Reformed Body To Be Formed

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) on 22 September agreed to unite with the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) to create a new global Reformed body representing more than 80 million Reformed Christians worldwide. The decision took place at WARC’s Executive Committee meeting being held in Trinidad and Tobago.

In March, REC’s Executive Committee approved in principle of a new Reformed body tentatively called the World Reformed Communion. However WARC asked for more time to consider an alternative proposal for the name of the new group.

WARC is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. A survey of WARC’s member churches found that 41 churches supported the merger, while six churches raised some questions. No WARC churches opposed the move. REC represents 12 million Reformed Christians in 39 churches in 25 countries. Of its 39 member churches, 27 are also members of WARC.

The new Reformed body will be open to all members of WARC and REC who are not under suspension, as well as other Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregational, Waldensian, First Reformation, United and Uniting traditions who affirm the basis of the new entity. The new Reformed body will also invite movements, agencies and theological institutions of the Reformed movement into active affiliation with it.

+ World Alliance of Reformed Churches, 150 route de Ferney, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

[5] Two Christians Murdered in Nigeria

One man has been killed with a sword and another bludgeoned to death in central northern Nigeria’ city of Kaduna following Muslim leaders’ appeals to wage violent jihad against youthful Christians. Muslim extremists on 12 October murdered Henry Emmanuel Ogbaje, a 24-year-old Christian, at an area known as Gamji Gate. The following day, church leaders said, a young Christian identified only as Basil was killed by sword in the same area. Elder Saidu Dogo, secretary of the northern Nigeria chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Compass that Islamic leader Sheik Gumi had urged Muslims to wage jihad against Christians in televised broadcasts during the Islamic month-long observance of Ramadan. “He specifically called for a jihad,” Dogo told Compass, “and that when they go killing they should not kill the elderly people, because the elderly have spent their years already, but that Muslims should kill young Christians.”

+ Compass Direct News Service, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799

[6 Churches Together in England Appoints New General Secretary

Churches Together in England (CTE) has this month announced the appointment of a new General Secretary. The Rev Dr David Cornick will take over leadership of CTE next spring from the outgoing Rev Bill Snelson, who has held the office for the last 10 years.

Cornick comes to the position with a wealth of experience in leadership. He has been General Secretary of the United Reformed Church since 2001 and prior to that was Principal of Westminster College, Cambridge, a ministerial training college of the United Reformed Church. During his time there, he also enjoyed a period as Vice-President of the Cambridge Theological Federation. Cornick was educated at Hertford College, Oxford, King’s College, London and Mansfield College, Oxford which awarded him a PhD in Church History in 1982.

+ Churches Together in England, 27 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HH

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

17 October 2007


Diocese of Chicago Considering Lesbian Bishop
[2] Pastor Disappears, 10 Protestants Arrested
[3] Presbyterian Church Proposed for Hillsdale College
[4] Kaua'i Reformation Church Opens
[5] State of the First Amendment Survey, 2005
[6] 10 Commandments Good for Business
[7] Matthews Korean ARP Celebrates New Home

Diocese of Chicago Considering Lesbian Bishop

An openly lesbian priest, who lives with a female partner, is among the five nominees for bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Chicago to replace William Persell, the outgoing bishop who plans to retire. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland will be on the 10 November ballot. Lind, who has served at Trinity since 2000, is also a city planner and author.

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Pastor Disappears, 10 Protestants Arrested

Christians in Eritrea confirmed that a pastor in Asmara who disappeared remains missing. Pastor Leule Gebreab of Asmara's Apostolic Church failed to return home to his family on 12 August. "His wife is greatly distressed about his disappearance," a local source said. Gebreab, 35, is married with two children.

In a separate development, Eritrean authorities issued an ultimatum to Roman Catholic church leaders on 16 August, ordering that all the church's schools, clinics, orphanages, and women's vocational training centers be turned over to the government's Ministry of Social Welfare and Labour.

More than 2,000 Eritrean Christians remain have been locked up and subjected to severe torture for their religious beliefs. A Kale Hiwot Church pastor and 20 members of his congregation arrested in the town of Dekemhare in late May and early June have yet to be released from custody.

However, the Rev. Zecharias Abraham and 80 worshippers at the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church, who had been arrested during Sunday services in Asmara on April 29, were all reported released during the fourth week of May.

+ Compass Direct News Service, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799

Presbyterian Church Proposed for Hillsdale College

A group of Hillsdale College students and professors plan start their own church in Hillsdale, near the internationally famous conservative institution. An answer to prayer for some, the Presbytery of Michigan and Ontario will help organize the church, which will meet on campus at 6 p.m. Sundays in the Dow Center. Eventually, the congregation hopes to build a church, but that could be a couple years down the road. By next year, the group hopes to at least be able to have morning and evening services in a more permanent location until a full–time pastor is called.
The beginnings of the church date to 2006, when Richard Gamble, a member of a Fellowship Orthodox Presbyterian church in Florida, became a history professor at Hillsdale College. After driving an hour or two each week to attend church, Gamble decided there should be a church closer to home.

Hamilton moved to Hillsdale from Texas this year and, along with Gamble, contacted Peter Wallace, the organizing pastor of Grace Reformed in Walkerton, Indiana, about starting a church in Hillsdale. Wallace agreed to serve as pastor until a full–time “church planter” can be hired, which organizers hope happens early next year. There are more than 200 Orthodox Presbyterian churches in the nation.

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent, coeducational, residential, liberal arts college.

+ Hillsdale College, 33 East College St. Hillsdale, MI 49242

Kaua'i Reformation Church Opens

Approximately 45 people participated in the first service of the Kaua‘i Reformation Church on 2 September. A handful of families from all parts of the island have been meeting on a weekly basis since early summer. This inaugural service was the culmination of hard work and dedication to forming Kaua‘i’s only distinctly Reformed congregation.

These local efforts are being supported by Oceanside United Reformed Church (Oceanside, California) and Grace Evangelical Church (Torrance, California), member congregations of the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA).
The URCNA is a federation of churches that traces its roots to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. The body formed in North America from congregations which in large measure had emerged from the Christian Reformed Church.

+ Kauai Reformation Church, Meeting at Kauai Veterans Center (Rooms 3 & 4), 3215 Kapule Highway, Lihue, HI 96766 (808) 821-1800

State of the First Amendment Survey, 2005

The State of the First Amendment survey, conducted annually (since 1997, except for 1998) for the First Amendment Center, examines public attitudes toward the freedoms of speech, press, and religion and the rights of assembly and petition. Core questions, asked each year, include awareness of First Amendment freedoms, overall assessments of whether there is too much or too little freedom of speech, press, and religion in the United States, levels of tolerance for various types of public expression (such as flag-burning and singing songs with potentially offensive lyrics), levels of tolerance for various journalistic behaviors, attitudes toward prayer in schools, and level of support for amending the Constitution to prohibit flag-burning or defacement. Additional questions asked in the 2005 survey include attitudes toward religious freedom in the workplace, freedom of expression in the public schools, the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, the confidentiality of library records, and government's ability to restrict various types of content in public broadcasts.

+ The Association of Religion Data Archives, Department of Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University, 211 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802-6207

10 Commandments Good for Business

German-speaking business leaders in Paraguay have been encouraged to practice Biblical values. More than 300 leaders from the South American country took part in a Christian convention in Asuncion, 4-6 October. One of the main speakers was the chairman of the Christian Leadership Congress in Germany, Rev. Horst Marquardt, who described the Ten Commandments as an unrivaled code of conduct. According to leading economists economies flourish, when the Ten Commandments are heeded.

Marquardt quoted honesty, charity, faithfulness, and conscientiousness as core values for entrepreneurs and also admonished business leaders to keep their professional and their spiritual life in balance. The Christian leadership convention was held for the third time in Paraguay. Conference Director Siegfried Funk was pleased with the outcome. The convention was organized by the organizations Capellania Empresarial and MEDA in Paraguay.

Capellania Empresarial promotes Christian values at the workplace and MEDA offers micro-credits to the needy. Paraguay has six million inhabitants. Among them are 35,000 Mennonites of German descent. They are leaders in certain commercial fields, for example in dairy products. Mennonites trace their origins back to the Anabaptist movement during the time of the reformation. Their name goes back to the Frisian theologian Menno Simons (1496-1561

+ ASSIST News Service, PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609

Matthews Korean ARP Celebrates New Home

A service of dedication for the Matthews Korean Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church will be held to celebrate its new facilities, 2024 Sam Newell Road, Matthews, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. 28 October. Eung Chu Lee is pastor

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Center, 1 Cleveland St Ste 110, Greenville SC 29601-3646