Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27, 2007

[ ] Hanwuri Korean Church Moves Into Own Home
[ ] Australian Elders Appeal to Assembly
[ ] Ken Wingate Appointed Interim South Carolina Treasurer
[ ] William David Silver, 1947-2007
[ ] Theologian Sentenced For Comparison between Abortion And Holocaust
[ ] Iraqi Presbyterian Pastor Seeks Michigan Asylum
[ ] Romania Proposes French Solution


Hanwuri Korean Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, moved into its new building on 25 June. The building at 2024 Sam Newell Road in Matthews was the former home of Blessed Sacrament Academy. The first worship service at the new location is scheduled for July 1. The Hanwuri Church currently meets at Wedgewood Baptist Church in South Charlotte.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601


Some 15 Presbyterian elders identified as the Fellowship have appealed excommunication to the General Assembly of Australia. The appeal will be held at called meeting in Sydney, the first such meeting in the body's 106-year history.

The struggle has extended for more than a decade. Opponents say the movement began under the direction of Bruce Teele, a former stockbroker, in the Anglican Church. After decades of controversy, the grop allegedly moved into three Presbyterian congregations.

The Victoria Assembly excommunicated Fellowship leaders for exercising presumed authority over the lives of members contrary to traditional practice at the expense of family relationships.

+ Presbyterian Church of Australia, 168 Chalmers St, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010 PO Box 2196, Strawberry Hills, NSW, Australia 2012 (02) 9690 9333


Ken Wingate, 47, an elder at First Presbyterian Church (ARP), Columbia, South Carolina, was appointed interim state treasurer on 20 June by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The Columbia lawyer will run the agency's day-to-day operations until Treasurer Thomas Ravenel is cleared and returns to his duties, or is convicted and removed from office, or resigns. The governor may appoint another interim treasurer for a longer term.

Wingate opposed video poker and the South Carolina lottery. He has been actively involved in public service and in his church. He currently serves on the Catawba Presbytery Church Extension Committee. Your prayers for him will be appreciated.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601


William David Silver, whose 1975 application for ordination in the United Presbyterian Church -- the first by an openly gay man -- set off a continuing debate in the church over admitting homosexuals into the ministry, died on 26 May, according to The New York Times. He was 59 and lived in New York City. The cause of death was complications of AIDS, Dan Jennings, a friend, told the newspaper.

A grandson of Presbyterian missionaries in China, Silver hoped to follow them into the ministry when he entered Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan in 1969. It was in his final year there, in 1973, that he came to terms with his homosexuality, according to The New York Times. Two years later, when applying to the Presbytery of New York for ordination as an assistant pastor at Central Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue and 64th Street, he shocked committee members interviewing him by saying he was gay.

The local body then asked the church's national leadership for definitive guidance. The answer came in 1978, when the church's general assembly voted to prohibit ordination of "unrepentant" homosexuals as ministers, elders or deacons, the newspaper reported. It cited the church's constitution, or Book of Order, which requires that its married officers remain faithful to their spouses and that its unmarried officers live chastely.

Silver was born in Pittsburgh in 1947 and grew up in Carnegie, PA. He received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. Silver worked as a graphic and fine artist, as an organizer of art shows and street fairs, and as advertising research director at Architectural Digest, Bon App├ętit and other magazines.

He is survived by a sister, Betsy Storey, and a brother, Jim, both of Fort Wayne, IN. Silver remained involved in the church for a number of years after the general assembly vote. He left the church in the mid-1980s, disillusioned, he said, by its refusal to ordain gay ministers, The New York Times reported.

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


A court in Erlangen near Nuremberg found Johannes Lerle, 55, guilty of "incitement of the people" by denying the Holocaust. Lerle has launched an appeal against the verdict. The Lutheran theologian and anti-abortionist claims that the "infanticide" in the womb is comparable to the Nazis' systematic mass murder of Jews in concentration camps, for instance Auschwitz.

Lerle has six previous convictions for slander because he labeled physicians, who perform abortions, as "professional killers". He has already spent eight months in jail.

The current case concerned a pamphlet published on the Internet. Lerle called the murder of Jews by the Nazis as "supposed injustice". As a consequence he was accused of disturbing the public peace by denying the Holocaust.

Lerle rejected the accusation on the grounds that he had only quoted the Federal Constitutional Court. The court had refused to accept Lerle's application for a verdict against the abortion practice in Germany. The court used the term "supposed injustice" with regard to the killing of unborn children.

In judicial terms all abortions are illegal in Germany. But they will not be punished if they are performed within the first three months of pregnancy and if the mother has undergone a certified consultation. These abortions are often falsely referred to as legal. Approximately 120,000 non-punishable abortions are officially recorded in Germany each year. But Pro Life advocates estimate that up to 200,000 babies are killed in their mother's womb, if one takes the unregistered cases into account.

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

Iraqi Presbyterian Pastor Seeks Michigan Asylum

The tiny Presbyterian Church in Iraq recently lost one of its pastors to murder. Now another is seeking asylum. Jonah Salim, 31, has been in America since November working in various churches as an intern. A product of Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, Salim came to the attention of hostile Moslems when he led a Moslem inmate to Chist while serving as a prison chaplain. The civil authorities then revoked Salim's student visa and forced him out of Egypt.

While preparing to return to Iraq, news arrived of the murder of the pastor at his home church and warnings from relatives not to return. The US Embassy in Cairo suggested a religious-worker visa.

+ First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Mansion St., Marshall, MI 49068 (269) 781-5161


The Roman Orthodox Church has condemned a court ruling that endorsed calls for a French-style ban on religious symbols in schools. "It isn't the church who has placed crosses and icons in classrooms but children, parents and teachers," said the Rev. Costas Stoica, spokesman for the Bucharest Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, on 26 June. "They aren't institutional emblems of any particular church. They symbolize universal religious and cultural values," Stoica explained.

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