Wednesday, April 30, 2008

30 April 2008

Presbyterians-Week Headlines

[1] PC(USA)’s Top Court Reviews Same-Gender Wedding Case
[2] Kurdish Authorities Move to Annex Assyrian Lands in North Iraq
[3] New Studies Support Abstinence Education
[4] San Joaquin Diocese, Episcopal Church File Suit to Regain Property
[5] At Expense of All Others, Putin Picks a Church
[6] 100,000 Psalter Milestone and a New Blog

[1] PC(USA)’s Top Court Reviews Same-Gender Wedding Case

Evan Silverstein reports that lawyers for the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, who is facing charges for performing weddings for two lesbian couples, told members of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s highest court on Friday (April 25) that there is no language in the denomination’s constitution that prohibits same-gender couples from marrying.

Spahr, in a reversal of an earlier decision, was found guilty last year of violating the PC(USA)’s constitutional ban on performing same-sex marriages.

Spahr has acknowledged that she’d married Annie Senechal to Sherrill Figuera on May 27, 2005, outside Guerneville, California, near San Francisco. She also acknowledged marrying the other couple, Barbara Jean Douglass and Connie Valois, on Aug. 21, 2004, in Rochester, New York. Neither state allows civil marriages of same-sex couples, but Spahr said she considered the ceremonies to be “ecclesiastical” marriages. Both couples were present at the hearing.

+ The Presbyterian News Service, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202

[2] Kurdish Authorities Move to Annex Assyrian Lands in North Iraq

According to the website, Kurdish authorities are coercing Assyrians to sign a form proclaiming the Nineveh Plains should be annexed to the Kurdish areas and come under the rule of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) visited Assyrian towns and villages in the Nineveh Plains, including Tel Kepe and Wana, and forced the Assyrians to sign the specially prepared forms. The KDP members included Ali Mohammad Salih Garo, the mayor of Wana, Lieutenant Colonel Safar, in charge of the safety of the dam in the region, Lieutenant Colonel Arshad, the Asayesh (Kurdish Security) officer in Wana and other village heads supported by the Zerevani (Kurdish forces that protect the roads).

The translated form begins:

“To the Committee Implementing Article (140)

We the undersigned notables, clergymen, and mayors from the Christians (Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians) in Telkaif District demand to join the Telkaif District to the region of Iraqi Kurdistan. However, we as Christians should have a "self-rule" within the region of Iraqi Kurdistan.”

We ask all concerned parties to implement article 140 of the Iraqi constitution and to respect the opinion and will of the people…”

+ Assyrian International News Agency

[3] New Studies Support Abstinence Education
Erin Roach reports that abstinence education is effective at delaying sexual initiation and reducing the levels of early sexual activity, according to two studies presented 22 April at the National Press Club in Washington.

A study led by Stan Weed of the Institute of Research and Evaluation examined the impact of abstinence education in reducing the initiation of sexual activity by seventh-grade students in suburban Virginia.

Students receiving abstinence education, the study concluded, were about one-half as likely to initiate sexual activity as students who did not receive abstinence education.

The authors reported "... Opponents of abstinence education contend that these programs fail to influence teen sexual behavior. At this stage, the available evidence supports neither this assessment nor the wholesale dismissal of authentic abstinence education programs."
Janice Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, said it makes no sense for the federal government to decrease funding for abstinence education when it is clearly working to reduce some of the chief problems among youth."It is amazing that some legislators would want to cut abstinence education funding when it is such a drop in the bucket to the amount of money that goes to comprehensive sex education programs," Crouse said in an 22 April news release.

"And, look at what happened when all that money was spent for all those years on comprehensive sex education -- teen sexual activity went up, teen pregnancies went up and abortions went up.+ Baptist Press

[4] San Joaquin Diocese, Episcopal Church File Suit to Regain Property

Pat McCaughan reports that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and The Episcopal Church (TEC) filed a complaint in Fresno County Superior Court on 24 April "to reclaim possession of the real and personal property belonging to the diocese."

The office of the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, David Booth Beers, and the chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Michael Glass, prepared the complaint jointly. Glass said the decision to sue became necessary after Lamb's request for the return of diocesan property was ignored.

The lawsuit seeks to reclaim "the substantial assets" of corporation sole—including real and personal property of the diocese, Episcopal missions or parishes within the diocese, and property held by the Episcopal Foundation and the Investment Trust.

Those properties "are now under the control of defendant Schofield, an individual who is not affiliated with the Episcopal Church and who is using these assets to advance the ministry and mission of a different church," the lawsuit alleges.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori deposed Schofield on 12 March, after the House of Bishops agreed with the findings of a Title IV Review Committee that Schofield had abandoned the communion of the church.

Schofield, at odds over the ordination of women and gay clergy, had urged the Central California Valley diocese to disaffiliate with TEC and to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

+ Episcopal Life Online, 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10017

[5] At Expense of All Others, Putin Picks a Church
Clifford J. Levy reports on how under Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Orthodox Church has become the “… de facto official religion, warding off other Christian denominations that seem to offer the most significant competition for worshipers.”

+The New York Times

[6] 100,000 Psalter Milestone and a New Blog
Josh Wilsey announced that a major milestone had been reached at Crown and Covenant Publications with the printing of 100,000 Psalters beginning in 1973. Wilsey additionally announced the launch of a new blog ( where news and updates about the publisher can be found.

+ Crown and Covenant, 7408 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15208

Thursday, April 24, 2008

23 April 2008

Presbyterians-Week Headlines

Krister Stendahl
[2] Pastors' Group Sics IRS on AUSCS
[3] Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Opens
[4] UCC National Boards Discuss Merger
[5] Persecuted for the Sake of China's 'Harmony'
[6] Pittsburgh Presbytery $575,000 Settlement Approval Expected

Krister Stendahl

The Rev. Krister O. Stendahl, New Testament scholar, teacher, former dean of Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., and Lutheran bishop of the Diocese of Stockholm (Sweden), died April 15. At the time of his death Stendahl, 86, was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard Divinity School. Stendahl was an advocate for the equality of women in the church, for promoting ecumenical and interfaith relations, and supported full equality for gays and lesbians in both the church and society.

A funeral service for Stendahl is planned for April 18 at 11 a.m. at University Lutheran Church, Cambridge, Mass. A memorial service of celebration will be held May 16 at 3 p.m. at Harvard's Memorial Church, according to a message on the Harvard Divinity School Web site.

+ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, Illinois 60631-4195

Pastors' Group Sics IRS on Americans United

A coalition of nearly two hundred Houston-area pastors responded today to the reports that Americans United for Separation of Church and State has complained to the Internal Revenue Service about one of the pastor's endorsement of a political candidate. The pastors stated unequivocally that not only was his endorsement well within the boundaries of the 501 (c) (3) guidelines of acceptable activity by pastors but that AUSCS knows that and this action is "pure harassment and intimidation."

"Scripture, the U.S. Constitution and even IRS guidelines make it clear that a pastor does not give up his rights and duties as a citizen when he takes that position," stated Dave Welch, Executive Director of the Houston Area Pastor Council and a twenty-four year veteran in the religious conservative movement. "Barry Lynn knows that pastors may endorse candidates as individuals, that it is very obvious that the letter sent by Pastor Steve Riggle was not produced by or representing the church organization and that this complaint is a stereotypical act by Lynn of grandstanding and attempted intimidation."

Welch went on to say that "We are determined to take all legal, political, cultural and spiritual measures necessary to protect the freedoms given to us at such a dear price."

+ U.S. Pastor Council/Houston Area Pastor Council, P.O. Box 2606, Houston, TX 77252

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Opens

Ben Stein's much-anticipated movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed debuted at No. 9 with $3.1 million in box office receipts. Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the film features Ben Stein as he challenges Darwinian theories that prevail in academic circles and suggests that life could have emerged through intelligent design.

Expelled uncovers that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for the fact that they believe there is evidence of "design" in nature, challenging the idea
that life is a result of random chance.

+ The Baltimore Examiner, 400 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

+ Motive Marketing, 1303 Oakgrove Place, Suite 100, Westlake Village CA 91362

UCC National Boards Discuss Merger

Andy Lang and Ben Guess report that the boards of the UCC's Executive Council and four Covenanted Ministries moved closer to agreement on a single governing body for the church's national setting, although a dispute over the size and composition of the new board remains unresolved and the timeline and mechanisms for future deliberations remain uncertain.

During four days of meetings in Cleveland, the Executive Council and three of the four Covenanted Ministry boards voted on April 12 to approve an amended proposal for governance reform. The Office of General Ministries board withheld approval, but also signaled readiness to work further on remaining disagreement.
The board-size disagreement centers on whether the new governing body will have 85 members, as originally proposed, or as many as 169 as amended.
In reporting each body's deliberations, each signaled support for a single directorate that would be led by a General Minister and President and three Executive Ministers. The proposal strengthens the authority of the church's General Synod over the national setting, but does not affect the autonomy of the church's 5,700 local congregations or its 38 regional Conferences.

The UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers said that a unified governing body "will be more appropriate for current financial realities, more nimble in addressing and claiming ever changing mission opportunities, and more capable of altering its own internal life to deal with rapid change within and beyond the church," according to the report that accompanied the restructure proposal considered last weekend.

+ Worldwide Faith News , National Council of Churches, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 880, New York, NY 10115

Persecuted for the Sake of China's 'Harmony'

Uighur Christians in the far-west Xinjiang Autonomous Region appear to be caught up in the central government's crackdown on anything they fear could cause unrest, dissent and embarrassment ahead of the Olympics. The government fears Tibet-style unrest in Xinjiang where the Islamic revival of the 1990s has stimulated ethnic and religious intolerance, separatism and the threat of terrorism. Three Uighur Christians, all patriotic with no separatist sympathies, have been arrested in recent months. Two have been sent to prison labour camps while another has been accused of threatening national security.

+ Australian Evangelical Alliance, PO Box 175, Box Hill VIC 3128

Pittsburgh Presbytery $575,000 Settlement Approval Expected

Pittsburgh Presbytery officials are expected to approve a $575,000 settlement with Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless at a meeting Friday, according to the Rev. Doug Portz, acting pastor to the presbytery.
The settlement allows Memorial Park to keep its more than seven acres of property, worth roughly $7 million. The settlement also enables Memorial Park to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and join the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Memorial Park had filed a complaint in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 4 seeking a declaration that the church solely owns its property and that the Pittsburgh Presbytery and its parent, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), had no claim to it.

+ Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Bldg., 503 Martindale St., 3rd floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

9 April 2008

Presbyterians-Week Headlines

[1] Daddy Madison Departs
[2] PC(USA) Headquarters Space for Lease
[3] Presbyterian Church of Sudan (Malakal) Reorganizes
[4] Adee Chosen Head at More Light
[5] Gradye Parsons Becomes Candidate for PC(USA) Stated Clerk
[6] Evangelism Becomes National Security Issue in China

[1] Daddy Madison Departs

Bishop S.C. "Daddy" Madison has died at the age of 86 after 17 years at the helm of the United House of Prayer for All People. Once dismissed to the footnotes of reports on the urban ecclesiastical landscape, the House of Prayer now finds itself classed as "an affluent African American denomination."

While the weary left has declined by 25 to 40 percent, the House of Prayer has expanded from a storefront to 1.5 million members with 150 regional jurisdictions in 25 states. What captures the imagination, however, is the massive real estate holdings of the denomination. Under Madison's tenure some 100 sancturies were added to the body.

Continuing the tradition of founding pastor Sweet Daddy Grace, Madison has built affordable multi-family housing, assisted living centers, and commercial retail establishments. Scholarships for young people and expanded ministerial development programs have contributed their part to the blossoming of the House of Prayer.

Working from poverty with no outside assistance, the urban denomination is often compared to the oriental denominations which have consciously followed the John L. Nevius plan for self-development.

The colorful denomination emerged from the creative mind of Walter "Sweet Daddy" Charles Manuel Grace (Marcelino Manuel da Graca), a Cape Verde man who opened his first church in Massachusetts and then expanded to Washington in 1927.

The highly liturgical body often suggests a blend of Eastern Orthodox and West Indian traditions but the liturgical product is unique. However, baptismal practices are often identified with Smallwood Williams, another Washington figure, who introduced the practice of baptism by hosing.

Similar in some respects to sprinkling, the practice calls for classis of baptismal candidates to gather in front of fire hydrants for group cleansings. In the summer large numbers of Washingtonians gathered to renew their baptismal vows. The advent of air-conditioning has not dampened enthusiasm for the distinctive rite.

Born in 1922, Daddy Madison joined the church at the age of 8 and rose quickly through the ranks becoming ordained to the ministry in 1940 by Sweet Daddy Grace himself. At the age of 23, Madison was appointed to the General Council of the House of Prayer and remained on the top administrative board till his death.

+ United House of Prayer for All People, 215 51st Street, SE, Washington, DC 20019

[2] PC(USA) Headquarters Space for Lease

After a series of staff reductions, the Presbyterian Church (USA) finds itself with more office space in Louisville, Kentucky, than it needs. Roughly one seventh of its floor space has been turned over to Commercial Kentucky
Real Estate Advisors in hopes of finding a tenant. About 30,000 square feet of first-floor space on the west side of the Witherspoon Street headquarters is on the market.

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

[3] Presbyterian Church of Sudan (Malakal) Reorganizes

The 32nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan met 30 March thorough 2 April in Malakal to reorganize after more than 20 years of disruption. Delegates from 10 presbyteries active in the nation came together under the direction of Dr. Riek Maachar Teny, Vice President of Southern Sudan.

Under the new constitution, each presbytery will be represented by 34 members at future General Assemblies and the local jurisdictions will manage most of their own affairs. A Moderator General from the national structure will coordinate inter presbytery ventures. Each presbytery will also have a representative on the denominational executive committee.

The jurisdiction not only suffered from political division but social and theological disputes. A variety of dissenting denominations remain outside the Malakal organization.

+ Embassy of the Republic of Sudan, 2210 Massachusetts Ave., Washington DC 20008 (202) 338-8565

[4] Adee Chosen Head at More Light

More Light Presbyterians has named Michael J. Adee its executive director and field organizer. Adee has been serving as national field organizer for the Presbyterian Church (USA) affinity group since May of 1999 and was a volunteer for eight years before that.

Adee, who earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication at Louisiana State University,has worked as a college professor in Louisiana, Kentucky and Ohio, a hospital and hospice chaplain, bereavement counselor, campus minister, diversity consultant, tennis coach, and relief worker in Zimbabwe.

+ More Light Presbyterians, PMB 246, 4737 County Road 101, Minnetonka, MN 55345-2634

[5] Gradye Parsons Becomes Candidate for PC(USA) Stated Clerk

The Stated Clerk Nominating Committee (SCNC) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) announced 3 April that the Rev. Gradye Parsons is its consensus nominee to serve as the next General Assembly Stated Clerk.

The election to a four-year term is slated for 27 June, during the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA). If elected, Parsons will succeed Clifton Kirkpatrick, who earlier this year declined to seek a fourth term.

Parsons served as associate stated clerk of the General Assembly for the past eight years. In that role, Parsons has been the director of operations for the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), including director of OGA's General Assembly Meeting Services department.

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

[6] Evangelism Becomes National Security Issue in China

As China deals with the fallout of protests in Tibet and alleged protests in neighboring Xinjiang province, the family of a Uyghur Christian fears he may be sentenced to death after officials accused him of endangering national security.

Officials closed Alimjan Yimit's business last September and accused him of using it as a cover for "preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity." When they detained him on 12 January, officials told his family only that the arrest was a matter of "national security."

In view of the recent crackdown on Tibetan protestors and an alleged protest in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang that reportedly saw 400 Uyghurs detained by late March, Yimit's family fear he may be branded a separatist, a crime punishable by death. Friends said a verdict is expected by the end of April.

Alimjan's arrest followed that of another Uyghur Christian, Osman Imin, on 19 November 2007. Authorities placed Osman in criminal detention and accused him of assisting foreigners in illegal religious activities and revealing state secrets, according to China Aid Association.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

3 April 2008

Presbyterians-Week Headlines

[1] Bible Presbyterian Unity Put On-Hold
[2] California Reconsiders Ownership of Children
[3] Pittsburgh Holds Series on Calvin
[4] 'Wee Frees' Want Their Own Schools
[5] Johnson C. Smith University
[6] Hanover Presbytery Returns to Virginia
[7] Algeria Closes Churches
[8] Redstone Peacefully Transfers Congregation to EPC
[9] Andrew Jumper Scholarship
[10] Bavinck Conference

[1] Bible Presbyterian Unity Put On-Hold

After two decades of serious efforts to reunite differing groups in the Bible Presbyterian family, a developing issue calls all these efforts into question.

On 28 March, South Atlantic Presbytery, meeting at Faith Bible Presbyterian Church in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, withdrew from the General Synod of the denomination. The action was taken in a private session but the end vote of 13 to 5 expressed the dissatisfaction of the majority with continued fraternal relation between the Bible Presbyterians and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Orthodox Presbyterians have been occupied themselves with doctrinal deviation and much of their Assembly time has been absorbed by judicial matters growing out of the dispute. The departing Bible Presbyterians claim the efforts to purify the church and sustain the Reformed confessions have not been either sufficiently rapid or extensive.

A minority protest has been filed with clerks of both jurisdictions. The protest suggests that however appropriate the disjunction may have been, the constitution of the denomination places the decision to withdraw exclusively in the congregation.

South Atlantic announced its intention to continue supporting historic agencies. Among these would be the Independent Boards for Foreign Missions and the Presbyterian Missionary Union.

+ Rev. John T. Dyck, Acting Stated Clerk, Bible Presbyterian Church, 12229 38th Street, Edmonton, AB T5W 2J2 Canada (780) 477-5622

+ Rev. Mark W. Evans, Moderator, South Atlantic Presbytery (Autonomous), 20 Sharon Drive, Greenville, SC 29607-2835 [1](864) 232-1486

[2] California Reconsiders Ownership of Children

The California court decision on 28 February that parents without teaching credential have no right to home-school their children provoked a national protest which has now reached the federal courts.

The Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles vacated the ruling pending review. On 11 March Jack O’Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced that he believed that home-schooling is still legal in California. Actually, local school districts decide when to initiate prosecutions for truancy and they are not officially controlled by the state agency on these matters.

According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) some 20 percent of America’s home schoolers live in California and are immediately influenced by the relief.

+ Focus on the Family, 8605 Explorer Dvie, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920

[3] Pittsburgh Holds Series on Calvin

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will host four lectures in the series “A New Look at Old Calvin,” on April 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 10:00 AM-12:15 PM The Rev. Dr. Charles Partee, P.C. Rossin professor of church history at the school, will lead the study.

John Calvin is undeniably one of the most influential theologians in the history of the Christian Church. Participants will explore Calvin and prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his birth in 2009.

Lecture topics include “How New Can Old Calvin Be?”; “Calvin’s Aging Body in his Maturing Theology” with special guest W. Allen Hogge, MD, director of the Center for Medical Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh; “Going to the Johns: Calvin and Wesley on Total Depravity and Christian Perfection”; and “Prayer as the Practice of Predestination.”

Registration fee is US$60. Continuing Education units are available. Suggested reading is Institutes of Christian Religion by Calvin.

+ Office of Continuing Education, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206-2596 (412) 441-3304 ext. 2196

[4] 'Wee Frees' Want Their Own Schools

Faith-based schools designed on Biblical Presbyterian principles and the confessional testimony should be re-introduced, according to the Free Church of Scotland. The "Wee Frees" say they want to return to the period before Scotland's Presbyterian churches gave up their schools to be run by the state In 1872 the Free Church, together with the other Presbyterian churches, gave up their schools to be run by the state. "This was done of the condition that they continued to be Christian schools run on a Christian ethos,” according to David Robertson.
Roman Catholic and Scottish Episcopal schools still exist but are controlled by local education authorities, not the churches.Rev. David Robertson, editor of the Free Church of Scotland’s official magazine has contacted First Minister Alex Salmond’s suggesting that it is time to return to education delivered on religious lines and seeking to initiate a national conversation.

Salmond is looking for friends. Members of the Scottish Parliament are calling for Alex Salmond to stand down from Westminster after he spent more than UK£130,000 in expenses and staffing costs as an MP during a period in which he visited the Commons six times according to published reports.
+ Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 2LS Scotland

[5] Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees has announced that Ronald L. Carter will become the university’s 13th president on 1 July. Carter will leave Coker College in Hartsville, SC, where he has served as provost and dean of faculty since 1997. He succeeds Dorothy Cowser Yancy who has led the school since 1994. Carter brings to his new position more than 30 years experience serving students and universities along with an “impressive record of community leadership, academic administration and budget management,” the school said on its Web site. Upon graduating from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1971, Carter began his career at Boston University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, where by 1981 he rose to become the school’s youngest dean of students.

+ Johnson C. Smith University, 100 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 (704) 378-1000

[6] Hanover Presbytery Returns to Virginia

The 2008 annual meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Hanover Presbytery) will return to Virginia after a period in New Jersey. The confessionally conservative body will assemble 16 and 17 April at the historic Reformed Presbyterian Church in Old Town Manassas.

Tracing its roots to Virginia and Massachusetts, the jurisdiction now has congregations, missions, and preaching points in 11 states-nationwide. A substantial mission work in Burma is identified with the denomination. Guests are welcome to attend the meeting.

+ Presbytery Registrar, Reformed Presbyterian Church, 9400 Fairview Ave., Manassas, Virginia 20110 (703) 261-2921

[7] Algeria Closes Churches

Police ordered two Algerian churches to cease activity in March, the latest in a series of 10 church closures and further court cases against foreign and local Christians. In Tizi Ousou, 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Algiers, security police on 9 March notified pastor Salah Chalah to close his 1,200-member church.

Police issued notice to a second pastor, Mustapha Krireche, to close down his church in Tizi Ouzou’s Nouvelle Ville district. “They are trying to establish a minority, which might give foreign powers a pretext to intervene with Algeria’s domestic affairs,” Religious Affairs Minister Bu ‘Abdallah Ghoulamullah told reporters.

Written police orders called on both churches to “cease all activity until [their] situation could be regularized and brought into conformity” with a 2006 religion law governing non-Muslim worship.

Passed two years ago, the law forbids attempts to convert Muslims to other religions and bans the production of media intended to “shake the faith of a Muslim.”

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

[8] Redstone Peacefully Transfers Congregation to EPC

In an outstandingly congenial development, historic Redstone Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) transferred St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Somerset, Pennsylvania, to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The secret ballot ran 48 to 41 in favor of a peaceful and full dismissal of the congregation with all of its real and personal property and without any strings.

According to a report by Rev. Chris Enoch, published in Presbyweb, “After the vote, in an amazing grace-filled moment, Rev. Fink and elders from St. Paul's Presbyterian Church had hands laid on them and prayers offered by a number of members of Redstone Presbytery.

+ Presbytery of Redstone, 1004 Mt. Pleasant Road, Greensburg, PA 15601-5762

[9] Andrew Jumper Scholarship

Seminarian students pursuing EPC ordination and a M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary are encouraged to apply for the Andrew Jumper Scholarship. The EPC has a significant amount of scholarship funding available this year. The deadline for applying for the scholarship is fast approaching. Please have your student contact the Financial Aid office of RTS for more information.

+ Financial Aid Office, Reformed Theological Seminary, 5422 Clinton Blvd., Jackson, MS 39209-3099 (601) 923-1600 <>

[10] Bavinck Conference

An International Conference, 18-20 September 2008 will take place on the campus of Calvin College and Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan: A Pearl and a Leaven: Herman Bavinck for the Twenty-First Century. A competition and call for papers to pastor theologians and Ph.D. students in theology, history, or religious studies.

All who submit proposals will receive a complimentary copy of Volume 4 of the Reformed Dogmatics when released.

To complete, submit a 500-750 word proposal for a 5,000–7,500 word scholarly essay on an aspect of or related area to Bavinck scholarship. Proposals are due 15 February 15, 2008

+ Office of Continuing Education, Calvin Theological Seminary, 3233 Burton St. SEGrand Rapids, MI 49546