Friday, August 15, 2008

15 August 2008 - PCUSA Special Edition

Presbyterians Week

Special Edition

Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) News

[1] PCUSA Elder Charged with Civil Fraud by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Stanley W. Anderson, an elder in Central Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Denver, Colorado along with four business partners was charged 28 July 2008 by the SEC with two claims of Fraud in the Offer or Sale of Securities, one claim of Fraud in the Purchase or Sale of Securities, one claim of the Sale of Unregistered Securities, and one claim of Acting as Unregistered Broker-Dealer in a Ponzi-type scheme where they are alleged to have misappropriated funds of more than $US5.1 million raised from at least 100 investors.

Investors, with the exception of those who received Ponzi scheme-like payments, i.e. money taken from one investor to compensate another investor, lost their total investments.

The SEC alleges that the defendants engaged in a primary bank fraud scheme between about April 2005 and at least July 2007 individually and through Trinity International Enterprises, Inc. and Global Asset Services where they represented that investor’s funds would be used to trade in European medium term notes that would pay nearly immediate returns ranging from 200 to 1000 percent.

At the PCUSA’s 217th General Assembly in June 2006, it was announced that Anderson had contributed $US150 million for the denomination’s Loaves and Fishes Church Growth Fund which was to distribute grants between $US250,000 and $US1 million to the presbyteries. Joey Bailey, chief financial officer for the PCUSA, told the Presbyterian News Service that the church had not received any money from Anderson’s pledge.

The SEC is demanding a jury trial for the defendants.

[2] Rev. Marian McClure Serving as Associate Director for “Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today"

The Rev. Marian McClure, former director of the PCUSA’s Worldwide Ministries Division, is serving as associate director for “Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today”, a centennial celebration of one of the most influential missionary conferences in church history. She is also the North American representative for mobilizing involvement in “2010” preparations, including a worldwide study process focused on nine key mission themes that are posted on the Edinburgh 2010 web site.

[3] PCUSA Stated Clerk Undergoes Successful Aortic Aneurysm Repair

The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the PCUSA, underwent successful five hour open heart surgery on 7 August at the Cleveland Clinic.

Parsons is scheduled to be hospitalized through about 12-14 August and then return to his home in Louisville, Kentucky to recuperate for the remainder of August.

[4] Pittsburgh PCUSA Minister to be Tried for Conducting a Marriage Ceremony for Two Women

The Rev. Janet Edwards, an “at-large” minister of the PCUSA’s Pittsburgh Presbytery, on 1 October 2008 is scheduled to go before the presbytery’s Permanent Judicial Commission to face charges related to her conducting a marriage ceremony for two women in June 2005.

The charges allege that Edwards knowingly acted in defiance of her ordination vows and of the PCUSA’s Constitution by performing the ceremony. If convicted, Edwards could face a number of punishments including removal from ordained ministry.

Edwards is a direct descendant of Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan minister, theologian, and president of what is now Princeton University.

[5] Terry Schlossberg Changes Her Presbyterian Coalition Role

Terry Schlossberg is retiring as executive director of the Presbyterian Coalition, an alliance of renewal groups within the PCUSA, to assume a new position with the organization as coordinator of the effort to defeat the amendment of G-6.0106b in the church’s Constitution.

The proposed amendment, approved by the recent 218th General Assembly, would replace the requirement that church officers practice “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” with a standard that ties ordination decisions more closely to the ordination vows currently in the church’s Book of Order without singling out a sexual conduct standard. The proposed amendment must be ratified by a majority of the PCUSA’s 173 presbyteries within the next year.

In a related move, the Coalition has hired Sarah Hill as associate director. Hill, wife of the Rev. Keith Hill, pastor of St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, has been serving as conference administrator for Presbyterians for Renewal, a member of the Coalition. After a brief period of transition, the Coalition offices will move to Richmond from Dumfries, Virginia.

With the staffing changes, the Coalition has renewed its search for an executive director. Those interested in the position or with suggestions about candidates for the position can send an email to

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

[6] Presbyterian Coalition Gathering XI in California 13-15 October 2008

The Presbyterian Coalition is hosting Gathering XI at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California 13-15 October 2008.

The Presbyterian Coalition is a movement of people committed to life and transformation in the PCUSA by exalting Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, energizing its congregations, and upholding historic biblical leadership standards . . .

by coordinating with all individuals and groups who share the convictions expressed in the Coalition's Declaration, "Union in Christ," and who are working for a revitalized church;

by reaffirming the Coalition's commitment "that this work of renewal be carried on in and through the existing structures of the PCUSA whenever possible";

by encouraging all individuals, groups and governing bodies who share our convictions, to act creatively and passionately to identify and implement strategies consistent with these convictions and purposes.

+ The Presbyterian Coalition, 4604 Grove Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23226, 804-615-3243,

[7] Presbytery of Greater Atlanta Representative Meets with Session of Newnan Presbyterian Church

Steve Pelham, a former member of Newnan Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and currently a member of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta’s Committee on Ministry met with the Newnan Session on 29 June to talk about the many opportunities for people from local congregation to become involved with activities on the presbytery level.

The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta along with the Cherokee and Northeast Georgia Presbyteries are sponsoring a Presbytery Fall Leadership Event 16 August 8 AM – 3:30 PM at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

+ The Times-Herald, Post Office Box 1052, Newnan, Georgia 30264, 770-253-1576,

[8] Witherspoon Society Speaker Says Christ’s Death on the Cross Has No Place in Authentic Christianity

Parker T. Williamson reports that at a pre-218th General Assembly gathering hosted by the Witherspoon Society, featured speaker Rita Nakashima Brock, theology teacher at the University of California at Berkeley, said that Christ’s death on the cross has no place in authentic Christianity. Additionally, Brock characterized the sacrament of communion as “ritualized murder, sacred murder…salvation that is achieved by violence.”

Brock believes that the idea of the atonement was a concoction of male church leaders to justify violence, and that Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for our sins was not a part of early church teachings.

Brock places the introduction of the doctrines of sin, guilt, and atonement in the 10th century as a means of exercising power over people. She believes that making people feel guilty and then offering a release from that guilt is a form of manipulation and control.

Brock said, “Another Christianity is possible,” and, “We already live on holy ground. It does not belong to any individual, nor even to God…We actualize it when struggling in community.”

+ Presbyterian Lay Committee, Post Office Box 2210, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645, 828-758-8716, Fax: 828-758-0920,

+ Witherspoon Society, 2800 White Oak Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30032, 404-254-4528,

[9] PCUSA Reform Organizations Respond to the 218th General Assembly

Following the PCUSA’s 218th General Assembly, several responses from PCUSA reform organizations were published in the July 2008 issue of The Layman.

The Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Lay Committee described the 218th General Assembly as waging “a frontal assault on Biblical Christianity. The assembly disregarded historic Reformed standards, undermined its Constitution and failed to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ with its actions.”

Presbyterians for Renewal lamented the PCUSA’s embrace of our culture’s beliefs and morals, and described the actions of the 218th General Assembly as “[making] it clear that the PCUSA’s compromise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has reached an unprecedented level.”

The New Wineskins Association of Churches described the 218th General Assembly as “[having] become theologically unhinged from our Biblical and Reformation foundation,” and described the assembly’s actions as “schismatic,” and “foster[ing] division within our denomination and threaten[ing] the sundering of the denomination from the world Church of Jesus Christ.”

The Presbyterian Renewal Network’s response to the 218th General Assembly’s “[sweeping] aside prohibitions against ordaining gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people:” was to describe the PCUSA as “[laying] gravely wounded, by the hand of its own General Assembly” who “has struck multiple blows, threatening to sever the sinews that hold us together as a Christian body and as a part of the larger body of Christ.”

The organizations called Presbyterians to prayer, repentance, faith, and renewal of the PCUSA through the Bible and the principles of the Reformed confessions.

+ Presbyterian Lay Committee, Post Office Box 2210, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645, 828-758-8716, Fax: 828-758-0920,

+ New Wineskins Association of Churches, 8800 Peebles Road, Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101, 888-754-9693,

+ Presbyterians for Renewal, 8134 New LaGrange Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40222, 502-425-4630, 502-423-8329