Presbyterians Week Headlines
New articles for December 2009 in the Christian Observer include:
-- Global Warming? Absolutely No Truth To It! – by Dr. Grady S. McMurtry of Creation Worldview Ministries, in the first of a new series of articles concerning Biblical Creation;
-- Let People be People – by Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro, which discusses the problems caused by and the unbiblical nature of the obsession with race in the educational establishment; and,
-- Weekly Sabbath School and Westminster Shorter Catechism lessons by Assistant Editor Dr. Robert LaMay, and daily devotionals from T.M. Moore.
The Church of Scotland has responded to a recent United Kingdom communication to the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution and the issuance of a parliamentary White Paper on Scottish independence to be made the week of 30 November 2009, by urging certain principles of discussion be employed in the upcoming devolution talks.
Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, the Rev. Ian Galloway, advises that “…all debates [about] how we are governed should be underpinned by three principles. Debates about the future of Scotland should include as many people as possible and constitutional discussions should not exclude the most marginal in society. [Discussion] should be rooted in the values we want from our society. Any constitutional changes proposed should be primarily about how we better tackle poverty, especially child poverty, and promote social justice."
The Jacobite Intelligencer blog ran a 30 November 2009 article titled “Why ‘Devolution Max’ is not Enough,” commenting on the matter of Scottish Devolution, which concluded, “…[A]n independent Scotland would almost inevitably result in the disestablishment of that strange monster, the Church of Scotland….”
Solicitor and Church of Scotland member Iain Nisbet of the Absolvitor blog responded in an article titled “The Church of (an Independent) Scotland,” that “The Church of Scotland is not established. It is the national Church, but the Church of Scotland Act 1921 confirms its independence from the state in matters of discipline, doctrine, worship and government. The head of the Church of England is the Queen, the head of the Church of Scotland is Jesus Christ. As recently as the late 1990's, the Court of Session have confirmed this position. The Scottish Parliament (independent or not) is in no position to alter the constitutional position of the Kirk.”
In response to Solicitor Nisbet’s clarification, the Jacobite blogger commented: “Thanks for clarifying the constitutional status of the Church of Scotland. However, it is not the case that the Queen is the Head of the Church of England. Every monarch since Elizabeth I has been styled Supreme Governor of the Church of England. I don’t think anyone in the Church of England would dispute that Jesus Christ is its Head.”
Convener of the Church of Scotland, the Rev. Ian Galloway, has joined more than thirty other Scottish leaders, academics, environmentalists, and celebrities, in writing a letter to Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South West Alistair Darling, condemning the now British-taxpayer-majority-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for financing hostile takeovers from outside the United Kingdom, and for lending to fossil fuel businesses, of which the letter writers characterize as “destructive.”
The RBS business relationships being criticized in the letter include RBS support of the U.S.-based Kraft Foods Company’s bid for U.K.-based Cadbury, thus putting U.K. jobs at risk; for financing the tar sands projects in Alberta Canada, which the signatories characterize as the dirtiest oil on earth; and for financing oil exploration in the Congo, which the signatories say inflames the African country’s ongoing civil war.
The new film And Did Those Feet explores the theory that a young Jesus Christ accompanied his uncle Joseph of Arimathaea on a business trip to the tin mines of what is today Glastonbury in southwest England, and while there furthered his mathematical skills by studying under Druid professors.
The film includes an interview with history of architecture lecturer at Edinburg University and Church of Scotland minister the Rev. Dr. Gordon Strachan, who claims that the premise of the film is plausible.
The United Church of Canada (UCCAN), in an article titled “The Time for Climate Justice Is Now!”, urges UCCAN churches to accept the World Council of Churches invitation to churches worldwide to ring the church bells 350 times at 3:00 p.m. local time on 13 December 2009 to coincide with the Copenhagen Conference ecumenical service. The bell ringing is to symbolizes the 350 parts per million that marks what some scientists think is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
UCCAN believes that climate change requires a conversion of how people live their lives on what UCCAN terms “…this fragile planet,” and that: “We must work to ensure the repair of the world—making a new global covenant—through our personal life changes and political action.” UCCAN additionally is urging Canada to implement whatever carbon dioxide reduction targets are determined at the Copenhagen Conference.
The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 by a union of The Methodist Church [Canada], the General Council of Union Churches of Western Canada, The Congregational Union of Canada, and The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Second Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), in Nashville, Tennessee, on 29 November 2009, witnessed a special liturgy addressing climate change based upon the work of the 350.org movement, which encourages governments to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the current 390 parts per million (ppm) to 350 ppm.
Second Presbyterian Church pastor Jim Kitchens remarked that in recent years that stewardship of creation has become "a greater theme, especially in Protestant churches, but in the Roman Catholic church, as well."
Pastor Tom Eggebeen of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), in Los Angeles, California, in a successful attempt to boost church attendance, began inviting churchgoers to bring with them their canine companions.
Pastor Eggebeen is a dog lover himself, and says the reason he decided to invite the dogs is: "Not only are they important family members, but there’s more to it than that. They belong to God, too, by gum." When asked if he believes that dogs have souls, Eggebeen replies: "When God created life, he blessed every dimension of it. So we share that with all the animals of the world."
People attending the services have their hands full keeping their dogs quiet and still, so there are no hymnbooks – but the church does supply dog biscuits. Most of the dogs settle down on the floor or in their owners’ laps, and turn their attention to the pastor’s message.
Churches in the time prior to central heating often welcomed dogs as a practical way for the parishioners to warm their feet during the service. One advantage of box pews, a.k.a. pews with doors, is that they served to keep the animals with their owners and apart from the other dogs.
The United Reformed Church of the United Kingdom on 25 November 2009 condemned Uganda’s proposed laws against homosexual behavior and advocacy with penalties of capital punishment and harsh jail sentences.
The legislation calls for capital punishment of homosexual, sexually active persons who are HIV-positive or whose partner is underage or disabled; broadens the existing life-imprisonment sentence for consensual homosexual behavior; adds new punishments for pastors, friends, and family members who fail to report a homosexual to the police; and criminalizes comprehensive sex education and health care which might be perceived as tolerating homosexual behavior.
+ United Reformed Church, Church House, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT, England, 020-7916-2020, Fax: 020-7916-2021, firstname.lastname@example.org
A 16 November 2009 story in the Zimbabwe government newspaper The Herald reported that, in an address at the Copota Mission of the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ), Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe told the hundreds of people assembled that the government of Zimbabwe will allow the RCZ to charter a new university in the same manner as do other churches in Zimbabwe.
A yearlong celebration of John Calvin’s 500th birthday as the culmination of a Jubilee Year organized by the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba culminated in the unveiling of a bust of John Calvin in a park in Havana, Cuba. Representatives of the Christian Reformed Church in Cuba, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), the World Council of Churches (WCC) , International Museum of the Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland, were also present.
Dr. Ofelia Miriam Ortega, vice-president for the Latin American and the Caribbean members of the WARC and also president of the same region for the WCC unveiled the bust, and commented: "Often Havana has been likened to Calvin’s Geneva. In both places children and youth study and work; school books are handed down as the students finish their courses. The poor become the privileged recipients of the church’s economic and educational efforts….As theologian, educator, pastor and economist, Calvin lived in a historical moment similar to ours as a new historical era was approaching. Perhaps as a product of his intuition—among his many virtues—Calvin cultivated a consummate ecumenical spirit, anticipating by four centuries the current ecumenical movement…."
The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), in a 1 December 2009 press release titled “Shame: Religious Left Demands Obamacare Abortion Funding,” admonishes several mainline denominations including the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and the United Church of Christ for joining with abortion rights advocacy groups in opposing the proposed Stupak-Pitts health care bill restriction against government health insurance funded abortions.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented: “….The old Religious Left, which has enthusiastically supported unrestricted abortion since the 1960s, sees the proposed abortion funding restriction in Obamacare as a nightmarish stain upon their utopian dream of socialized medicine….“Both Evangelical Left and Religious Left are united in their messianic hopes for socialized health care and almost certainly will support Obamacare ultimately in any form.”
Meeting in front of the Museum of the American Indian in southern Manhattan, New York City, New York, near the site where Dutch colonists built their first fort, the Collegiate Churches of New York made first-time apologies to members of the Lenape Indian Nation for the massacres and deportations of the Lenape people by Dutch settlers who began arriving in what is now New York in the 17th century.
Collegiate pastor Robert Chase said: "We have used your natural resources, we have [dehumanized] your people and have shown no respect for your culture. With pain in our hearts we remember our role in these events."
The Collegiate Church was founded in 1628 as a Dutch Reformed Church in what was then New Amsterdam. The four Collegiate Churches of New York are currently affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.
Reformation Voice is a publication of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, whose purpose is to assist Reformed churches of the Heidelberg tradition to rediscover, preserve and celebrate their Reformed convictions and heritage through mutual fellowship, worship, prayer, work, counsel, and teaching.