Wednesday, June 25, 2008

25 June 2008

Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] Death of Clement John
[2] Termination and Eviction Over Art With a Scripture Reference Results in Federal Lawsuit
[3] PCA Disaster Team Responds in Iowa
[4] Robert Wodrow's 1828 Edition History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland Reprint Now Available
[5] Pastors Seminar in India Attacked, Police Refuse to Take Action
[6] Church of Scotland Minister to Give Sermons in Norman Oklahoma

[1] Death of Clement John

Jerry L. Van Marter reports that Clement John, a Pakistani lawyer who worked for the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia, died 2 June at his home in Minnesota. He was 67. Less than a week before he died, John had announced he had accepted a post as associate with the Christian Study Center in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

John was born in Peshawar, in what is now Pakistan, in 1941. He completed his schooling at Sindh, and took his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees from the University of Karachi, where he specialized in labor law.

John was a member of the board of directors of the YMCA of Karachi, and of its Technical Institute. He was also a founding member of a joint Anglican-Roman Catholic committee for justice and peace, formed by the Karachi diocese of the Church of Pakistan and the Catholic Church of Pakistan. He was long active in both student and legal organizations in Pakistan.

In 1983, he took up a post in Hong Kong as executive secretary for international affairs with the Christian Conference of Asia, where he became the first general secretary of both the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Asian Legal Resource Center. In 1993, John joined the staff of the WCC, specializing in human rights and the Asia-Pacific region. By the time of his retirement from the WCC in 2006, he was serving as director of the organization's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

+ Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228, Fax: 502-569-8005

+ Presbyterian News Service, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228 x5493

[2] Termination and Eviction Over Art With a Scripture Reference Results in Federal Lawsuit

On 20 June, a couple who worked and lived at Thornwood Terrace Apartments in Lake City, , a government-subsidized facility owned and operated by The Hallmark Companies and Hallmark Management, filed suit in federal court against Hallmark after they were terminated and evicted for displaying artwork referencing a Scripture verse in their office. Daniel Dixon was manager and lead maintenance technician at the apartment complex where he lived with his wife, Sharon, who was also a manager.

Liberty Counsel represents Daniel and Sharon Dixon in the case of Dixon v. Hallmark Companies. Hallmark owns and manages an apartment complex, which contains units that are government-subsidized by the USDA Rural Development program. Under the USDA program, Hallmark is required to comply with federal employment and housing antidiscrimination laws.

The Dixons were granted unemployment compensation over the objection of Hallmark, because Hallmark did not substantiate its claims of misconduct by the Dixons. The Dixons’ suit claims violations of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of religion. The lawsuit requests punitive damages against Hallmark for reckless indifference to the federal laws.

+ Liberty Counsel, Post Office Box 540774, Orlando, Florida 32854, 800-671-1776,

[3] PCA Disaster Team Responds in Iowa

The recent floods and tornadoes in the Midwest have impacted many Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) congregations. Mission to North America’s (MNA) Disaster Response has been invited to coordinate the reply to this latest round of disasters and is establishing worksites in Iowa. The initial relief efforts will be focused on the Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines areas.

“God is not caught off guard by tragedy, He plans it. And He will use this latest disaster for His glory and for our good,” said
Arklie Hooten, director of MNA’s Disaster Response Department. “At this point we are confident that our response will be long-term, and we anticipate that we will begin mobilizing volunteers very soon, as soon as we can ensure access and safety.”

To learn more about forming a volunteer relief team, visit the MNA volunteer registration site here.

Presbyterian Church in America, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043, 678-825-1000, Fax: 678-825-1001,

+ byFaith Online, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043, 678-825-1005

Mission to North America, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 101, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043-8143, 678-825 -1200, Fax: 678-825-1201,

[4] Robert Wodrow's 1828 Edition History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland Reprint Now Available

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D. recently corresponded about the first-time reprint of an important church history book. Dr. Beisner pointed out that he has no financial interest in the sale of this reprint.

Beisner wrote, “I want to make you aware of a great opportunity to acquire a tremendous resource for the study of Scottish and wider British and even Continental church and political history of the sixteenth and especially seventeenth centuries at a tremendous discount.
Solid Ground Christian Books is reprinting Robert Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, from the 4-volume annotated edition of 1828.”

“The work has not been reprinted since then, but it is without doubt the most important published source on Scottish church history from 1660 to 1689, the time of the Stuart Restoration and the persecution of Scottish Covenanters and other Presbyterians.
Wodrow (1679-1734) was an incredibly careful, thorough historian in his own right. (The Scottish National Library has a special collection comprising his papers and related materials.) Not only did he narrate the history himself, but also he inserted the full text of hundreds and hundreds of primary documents--governmental and ecclesiastical as well as personal--into his text.
The work has hitherto been available almost exclusively to professional historians.”

“…Order before [1 July] and mention my name, you can get it for $129.95. Call toll free, 1-866-789-7423 to order at the special price, mentioning my name, or order online at, and, in the comments section, ask for “The Beisner Discount Offer.””

+ Staff

Pastors Seminar in India Attacked, Police Refuse to Take Action

James Varghese reports that On 17 June, a Christian training meeting attended by about 70 pastors from all over Karnataka was attacked by Hindu radicals.

The series of meetings between 16-18 June were organized in Varna village near
Mysore, by Rev. Paul, a South Korean missionary. On 16 June, a Hindu radical group named Bajrang Dal (Monkey Brigade) learned about the meeting, and about 100 members went to where the pastors were having lunch together.

The pastors asked the Hindus why they had come, and were told that there were illegal conversions occurring at the meetings. They then verbally abused meeting attendees, and demanded that the event and the alleged forced conversions be stopped.

A story on the website reported that the radical Hindus then became violent, resulting in two pastors being injured. The meetings then stopped. Fearing for their lives, some pastors ran to get a bus to take them back to their homes.

Following the attack, a few pastors remained to pray. Police arrived, and the ministers were reportedly ordered not to pray or have any sort of Christian gathering. The police seized a Bible, a song book and an English devotional book from the meeting hall, and wrote down the names of the pastors who were at the meeting.

The superintendent of police said he had no comment, other than that the meeting organizers did not ask permission to hold the event.

+, Salem Communications, 4880 Santa Rosa Road, Camerillo, California, 805-987-0400

[6] Church of Scotland Minister to Give Sermons in Norman Oklahoma

A Church of Scotland minister will deliver a series of sermons and lectures 29 and 30 June at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church.

The Rev. J. Philip Newell, also a scholar, author and poet, will give the sermons at the 8:30 and 10:55 AM Sunday services and lead a 10 AM adult Sunday school forum. Newell will speak again at 7 PM Sunday and at 11 AM and 7 PM on Monday.

Newell is writer/theologist for the Scottish Cathedral of the Isles and companion theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol in New Mexico. Canadian by birth, he lives in Edinburgh.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN, 0131 225 5722

+ The Oklahoman, 9000 North Broadway, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73114, 405-475-3311