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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

10 October 2007


They Closed the Wrong Church
[2] Inverness Provost Tells God To Keep His Distance
[3] Count Down to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Begins
[4] Courts Back Abduction of Christian Girls
[5] Calvary Protestant Reformed Church Organizes in Hull
[6] School District Ends Discrimination Against Christian Club
[7] Departing Congregation Picks PCA Over EPC
[8] Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film Come to Princeton Seminary
[9] Reformed Wing of UCC Aserts Itself
[10] Visit the Reformed Pulpit on the Internet

They Closed the Wrong Church

At least the people of Govan Old Parish think the Church of Scotland closed the wrong church. The congregation occupying one of Scotland’s oldest religious sites is part of a three-church merger brought on by lack of resources in the national church.

Under the merger, parishioners at Govan Old and Linthouse St. Kenneth's churches will worship in Govan New Church. According to published reports, Govan Old Parish Church contains 31 highly decorated sculptured stones dating from the 9th and 10th Centuries, as well as an ancient stone sarcophagus.

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

Inverness Provost Tells God To Keep His Distance

Bob Wynd, Provost of the Highland Council, has informed the Presbytery of Inverness that there will be no more Kirking of the Council and the Church of Scotland has told him it is not his decision to make. Since 1602, the people of Inverness have consistently invited civil officials to appear in church and affirm their intention to serve God and the people.

According to published reports Wynd refused to read the Scripture lesson during this year’s ceremony and instead delivered a message on the need for “inclusivity.” When a firestorm of public protest erupted, Wynd announced the discontinuance of the affirmation during the remainder of his term 2011.

According to The Scotsman, Wynd defended himself saying, "My whole point was to improve the turnout at the event. Last year there was a group of seven present, three councillors and four officials."

Upon further reflection, Wynd reportedly continued, “It was always at the invitation of the church historically and traditionally when the council elections were held annually, and it tied in with that. But now the council elections are held every four years and the church continued to hold the Kirking annually. In line with history and tradition, I suggested that it once again tied in with the election of the council. But if they want to continue to send out invitations annually they can - that's fine."

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

Count Down to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Begins

America’s Calvin Synod at its 2007 meeting invited American Reformed communities to join in celebrating the celebration of John Calvin’s 500th birthday in 2009. The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches is spearheading the celebration in Europe through sponsorship of a dedicated web site. <> provides a calendar and directions to celebrations and relevant educational materials for free download. Many churches will begin a two-year preparation with celebration of Reformation Day on 28 October.

+ Rev. Mr. Zsolt Otvos, General Secretary, Calvin Synod,365 E. Woodrow Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207

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

Courts Back Abduction of Christian Girls

It has been more than a year since Allabe Kaku Chibok lost his three daughters because he became a Christian – paradoxically, he lost custody of them only after his ex-wife died. An Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Born granted custody to Chibok’s wife’s Muslim relatives after a chain of events that began in November 2004, when he allowed his daughters to attend the funeral service of their mother; she had divorced him when he left Islam.

The girls stayed for a week with Muslim relatives at his former wife’s house, but when Chibok arrived there to take them to school, he found that a retired female police officer, Hajiya Maryam Aliyu, had helped his ex-wife’s Muslim relatives abduct them. On 4 August 2006, Borno Upper Sharia Court I ruled that under Islamic law a non-Muslim father cannot be a custodian to his children if the mother of his children is Muslim – or, in this case, if the deceased mother’s relatives are Muslim.

Chibok, now 50, had kept custody of the children after Malama Botul Grema divorced him in 1996, and when she remarried in 2000 he had maintained custody of Zara, now 14, Fati, now 12, and 11-year-old Aisha. A member of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the Gambaru area of Maiduguri, Chibok told the police commissioner that his efforts to rescue the girls had met with the blunt assertion that he was no longer capable of being their father because he had become a Christian.

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

Calvary Protestant Reformed Church Organizes in Hull

Hull, Iowa, will have a new Protestant Reformed Church on 11 October. Some 43 families, totally 150 people will transfer from the historic Hull Protestant Reformed Church to start the new congregation. Elections of elders and deacons will follow the formal meeting and the evening will close with the first consistory meeting.

+ Hull Protestant Reformed Church, 1006 Hayes Avenue, Hull, Iowa 51239

School District Ends Discrimination Against Christian Club

After Liberty Counsel issued a demand letter and threatened legal action, the Round Lake School District gave Child Evangelism Fellowship of Northeast Illinois permission to distribute flyers about its after-school Good New Clubs. Secular organizations such as Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts were allowed to distribute their flyers through the teachers, but CEF was only permitted to leave its flyers in the school office. The local CEF director tried to resolve the issue but the school district would not allow CEF equal treatment until receiving Liberty Counsel's demand letter.

Through the Good News Clubs, trained CEF leaders provide religious instruction and teach good citizenship and moral values to students in public elementary schools. Good News Clubs are only one ministry of CEF, which operates many different programs in 158 countries.

Liberty Counsel has partnered with Child Evangelism Fellowship to help the organization establish after-school Good News Clubs in every school district in the nation.

+ Liberty Counsel, PO Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854 (800) 671-1776

Departing Congregation Picks PCA Over EPC

The Riverside Presbyterian Church in Linn Grove voted 74-0 to secede from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Presbyterian Church in America organization. That decision bucks a trend; most of the congregations departing the fragile PC(USA) are leaving for the provisional New Wineskins Presbytery or moving directly to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

In some cases the PC(USA) presbytery sets terms for withdrawal directing the group to which a congregation may move or setting a fee to avoid court action. This time the denomination went directly to the court with claims on the property.

+ Presbytery of Prospect Hill, 318 E 5th St, Box 1405 Storm Lake, IA 50588

Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film Come to Princeton Seminary

Jeffrey Stout, professor of religion at Princeton University and president of the American Academy of Religion, is delivering the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary in a series of five lectures and five film screenings which began 24 September and will continue through November.

The series is titled “A Light That Shines in the Darkness: Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film,” and includes screenings of films by Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Lars von Trier, Yasujiro Ozu, Nathaniel Dorsky, Stan Brakhage, and two rarely seen films by the late avant-garde filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos: his six-minute, 16mm 1968 film Bliss, and a 30-minute preview excerpt from his 16mm eighty-hour masterwork Eniaios, scheduled to premiere in June 2008 in Greece.

Stout who earned his Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University and joined the faculty there in 1975 is author of Democracy and Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2005), Ethics after Babel (Princeton University Press, 2001), and The Flight from Authority (Notre Dame, 1981). Ethics after Babel won the award for excellence from the American Academy of Religion in 1989.

Stout’s essays and reviews have appeared in such journals as Ethics, The Monist, New Literary History, Soundings, The Journal of Religion, Religious Studies, and The Journal of Religious Ethics.

+ Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08542

Reformed Wing of UCC Aserts Itself exists to remember, celebrate, and build upon the foundation of the Reformation Roots of the United Church of Christ. The First Issue of is online at Articles include: 1) Reformation Day: That Most Protestant Of Holidays; 2) Jonathan Edwards And Me; 3) "Shrimp Anyone?" That Mainline Red Herring About The Bible; 4) Jesse Remington High School: Rebuilding Christian World View In The Mainline. Reviews include: 1) Pilgrim Press Titles Of Interest To Reformation Studies; 2) Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe In Christ.

+ Rev. Chuck Huckaby, First Presbyterian Church, 252 Admiral Circle, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee 38464

Visit the Reformed Pulpit on the Internet

The President of the Christian Observer Foundation which produces Presbyterians-Week serves a suburban Washington congregation. Dr. Elliott’s sermons have been distributed in outline form over the Internet for many years. Interested Observers can now hear the actual sermons in MP3 format by downloading them from the web page of Reformed Presbyterian Church in Manassas, Viginia.

+ Reformed Presbyterian Church, 9400 Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

3 October 2007


[1] Sheldon Jackson College Eyes Future
[2] Indonesian Church Joins Protestant Church in The Netherlands
[3] Myanmar Seminary President Defies Church a nd Locks the Gates
[4] Ministry Incentive Program at Calvin Grows
[5] Anglicans Propose New Structure

[1] Sheldon Jackson College Eyes Future

Acknowledging that beleaguered Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska, will not reopen again as a four-year institution soon, officials at the Presbyterian-related school are trying to build a future for the college by focusing on what it has to offer the region. That's why the fish hatchery and aquarium remain open on campus with plans to reinstate a rural village leadership-training program also in the works. The college recently learned that it has received a US$1.5 million grant from the US Department of Commerce to expand the fish hatchery operation.

With the closure of SJC expected to hurt Sitka's economy, the college will lead from its strengths to meet the articular needs of the community, said school officials.

"The fish hatchery is an indispensable part of what Sheldon Jackson will become in the future and is central to the economy of southeast Alaska," said the Rev. David Dobler, president of Sheldon Jackson. "Therefore we will continue operation of the hatchery as the linchpin of our future as an institution."

Other possibilities include turning vacant dormitories into temporary housing for throngs of fishermen that pour into the small seaside town each year, or training Alaskan residents as teacher's aides.

After struggling financially for years, Alaska's oldest educational institution announced in late June that academic operations would be suspended for the 2007-2008 academic school year as trustees explore options for SJC's future. One hundred employees were laid off as a result.

Sheldon Jackson College has more than US$35 million in assets, primarily land and buildings, but has virtually no cash and US$11 million in debts.

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

[2] Indonesian Church Joins Protestant Church in The Netherlands

The Indonesian Christian Congregations (PERKI Nederland) decided at its Sixth Congress on 30 September to join the Protestant Church in The Netherlands (PKN). PERKI gathers nine congregations of about 2,500 long-term ethnic Indonesian people living in the Netherlands and has had relationships with the predecessors of the PKN since 1930.

From its side, the PKN expressed its joy at this important step. Bas Plaisier, General Secretary of the PKN, said it was important for the PKN to include churches from immigrant groups. The PKN, Plaisier said, should be "a place for people of different cultures. I am happy that we can intensify our long-standing cooperation with PERKI in this way."

PERKI will join the PKN as a separate classis, a step that will require the PKN to change its church order. The PKN hopes this step will lead to others joining. In November, the PKN will also consider an associative relationship with the Alliance of Free Evangelical Congregations. (PKN)

+ Dr. B. Plaisier, General Secretary, PO Box 8399, 3503 RM Utrecht, The Netherlands

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

[3] Myanmar Seminary President Defies Church a nd Locks the Gates

David Khobal, locked the doors of the Myanmar Seminary to all students, following a decision by the Christian Reformed Church of Myanmar not to reappoint him as president of the institution. Students coming into Yangon from the Chin State hills had to be housed at rented homes. The other teachers of the seminary are conducting classes in the living quarters of Chan Thleng, the CRCM General Secretary, who also houses about 15 female students there. Khobal, became Acting President in 2003, and then was appointed to a three-year term. Although the board recommended his continuation for a second term, the synod earlier this year voted down the recommendation. Khobal, apparently believing he had the strong support of a group of American donors, refused to accept the decision, and put a lock on the gates, after moving some of his relatives on to the campus. Now, the campus is empty except for these families, and the library, computers, student residences and classrooms remain unavailable.

Prior to 2003, Khobal was supported for study at the Mid America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana. An ad hoc committee, known as the Christ Mission to Myanmar Committee (CMMC), had existed to support an earlier student from the CRCM, Aung Lai Matu, and it offered financial support to Khobal as well. It further invested in the seminary after Khobal was appointed President.

CMMC encouraged Khobal to find a way to make the seminary independent of the CRCM. The church resisted such moves. It had founded the seminary and governed it through its own synodical authorities. The property remains in the name of the treasurer of the church (a necessity under the Myanmar legal system, since only individuals, not churches, can own property), and the equipping of the property came through many donors, not just the American committee.

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

[4] Ministry Incentive Program at Calvin Grows

The largest single gift in Calvin Theological Seminary's history will boost a tuition loan fund that could help replenish the ranks of Christian Reformed Church pastors over the next 35 years. The Ministry Incentive Program, which provides student loans that forgive up to 50 percent of the principal for students who become ordained Christian Reformed Church ministers, is getting a US$2.05 million influx.

Sid Jansma Jr., president of Wolverine Gas & Oil Corp., and his late wife, Joanne, are the donors.

Students typically receive US$2,000 to US$3,000 per year from the loan fund. That amount now will increase to US$4,000 or US$5,000 per year, about half the cost of a year's tuition.

+ Calvin Theological Seminary, 3233 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546

[5] Anglicans Propose New Structure

Anglican bishops from ten jurisdictions and organizations took their first steps toward a "new ecclesiastical structure" in North America, it was announced by Common Cause Council of Bishops in Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh today.

Calling it an "historic time" in the life of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, chair of Common Cause, said that 51 bishops will act as a "college of bishops" representing more than 600 Anglican congregations that make up Common Cause Partners which also includes a dozen mission leaders.

"This is a significant step towards a new Anglican province that will be recognized by a number of Anglican provinces and primates which embraces Common Cause Partners with a separate ecclesiastical structure called for by the bishops in Kilgali, Rwanda," said Duncan

The bishops laid out a timeline for the path ahead saying they have committed themselves to working together at local and regional levels agreeing to interchangeable deployment of clergy. The bishops gathered here included leaders from the Anglican Province of America, (the Most Rev. Walter Grundorf), the Reformed Episcopal Church, (Presiding Bishop Leonard Riches), the AMIA (Bishop Chuck Murphy), the head of the Canadian Anglican Network, and newly elected bishops from some 15 offshore jurisdictions in Africa, Asia and the Southern Cone now with ecclesiastical bases in North America, as well as Forward in Faith, NA.

+ Dr. David Virtue, VirtueOnline, 1236 Waterford Rd., West Chester, PA 19380