Presbyterians Week Headlines
 Presbyterian and Reformed Ministries Helping Earthquake Victims in Haiti
A 21 January 2010 Sun Sentinel article by James D. Davis titled “Denomination Sides with Six Dissidents Banned from Coral Ridge,” reports that the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)’s Presbytery of South Florida (PSF) has ruled that in the August 2009 expulsion from the property of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, of six dissident church members, CRPC had “acted impulsively, improperly, prematurely, and without warrant," and thus the expulsion order was reversed by PSF.
The six dissident church members, in July 2009, mailed 1600 petitions to CRPC members calling for the Rev. W. Tullian Tchividjian’s ouster as CRPC senior pastor. The constitutionally required number of petition signatures was obtained, and a subsequent CRPC congregational meeting voted to retain Tchividjian as senior pastor.
New Presbyterian Church (NPC) of Pompano Beach, Florida, is attended by 700 people that formerly attended CRPC, most of whom remain CRPC members in good standing. Among the NPC staff is Minister of Congregational Life the Rev. Dr. James M. Garretson, an ordained PCA teaching elder and member of PSF.
The NPC pulpit is being supplied by speakers including Dr. Peter Lillback, President and Professor of Historical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania, scheduled for 28 February 2010; and the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Milton, President and Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte, in Charlotte, North Carolina, scheduled for 7 March 2010 and 30 May 2010.
 Presbyterian and Reformed Ministries Helping Earthquake Victims in Haiti
A 25 January 2010 NJToday.net article titled “Church To Reclaim The Spiritual Roots Of Mardi Gras” reports that Willow Grove Presbyterian Church (WGPC) (Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)) of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, on 14 February 2010, will hold its forth annual Mardi Gras Jazz Worship Service beginning at 10:00 a.m.
WGPC pastor the Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney described the service, saying: “Although the current traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans [Louisiana] seem far from a Christian celebration of God’s love for humanity in Jesus Christ, we can reclaim those religious roots and enjoy the rich musical traditions of jazz, gospel and spirituals that give voice to our faith.”
The service will be followed by a light brunch featuring “Kings Cakes,” which honor the three wise men or Magi. A small doll is inserted into the cake to symbolize the baby Jesus, and a prize is awarded if the doll in the cake is found.
The History Channel describes the pre-Lenten Mardi Gras celebration originating “as one of the series of carnival days held in all Roman Catholic countries between Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, and Ash Wednesday; these carnivals had their origin in pre-Christian spring fertility rites.”
Campbell Webster’s 22 January 2010 And Another Thing column titled “It Seems Most Islanders are Anti-Semites” in The Guardian of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, describes how Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, in a mid-December 2009 speech at an Israeli anti-Semitism conference, announced that Canada has a zero-tolerance policy toward anti-Semitism, and thus the human rights organization KAIROS, a coalition of eleven Christian denominations, would no longer receive partnership funding from the Canadian International Development Agency because of KAIROS being “a leader in boycotting, disinvesting, and sanctioning Israel.”
Webster said in response: “This is completely false, of course, and, in fact, KAIROS is on record as being against the promotion of such an idea,” and described KAIROS as “a human rights champion, dedicated to the agenda of the poor, and to eradicating poverty amongst the world's marginalized peoples. They are, simply put, akin to liberation theologists: complex, compassionate thinkers and actors in pursuit of social justice.”
Webster additionally cited the KAIROS website as saying: "KAIROS seeks to promote a peace that is just for both Palestinians and Israelis and for people of all religions, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."
Presbyterian and Reformed-related denominations in Canada belonging to KAIROS include The Christian Reformed Church in North America, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada.
Counterpoint Press, on 10 January 2010, published The Last Goodnights — John West’s memoir of assisting his elderly parents, psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West, MD, age seventy-four, and clinical psychologist Kathryn West, PhD, age seventy-five, to commit suicide.
John West is quoted as saying “"I respected my father and mother, and I loved them. And I believe, as they did, in freedom of choice, the right to personal privacy and self-determination . . . the right to choose death with dignity."
A 26 January 2010 article by Zul Othman of ChannelNewsAsia.com titled “Church Seeks to Expel Bible College from Premises,” describes how Singapore’s Life Bible Presbyterian Church (LBPC) and Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) have shared the same premises for the past forty years, but that due to a doctrinal disagreement between the two bodies, LBPC has sued FEBC in Singapore’s High Court seeking to have FEBC expelled from their heretofore shared property.
Othman describes the doctrinal dispute as dating from 2002 when FEBC began promulgating a doctrine called Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) “which sought to limit the veracity of the Bible to certain Hebrew and Greek sources.” The effect of the doctrine is to deny the validity of Chinese and Indonesian translations of the King James Version of the Bible.
LBPC rejected the VPI doctrine "because there is no scriptural or other basis for the assertion". FEBC subsequently formed a breakaway group and a new church called the True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church.
A 25 January 2010 article titled “Hungarian Connection” by James O’Fee on the Impala Publishers Blog Page describes O’Fee’s 22 January 2010 visit to the North Down Museum in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, where O’Fee described a pair of plaques, in Hungarian and English, upon which the Hungarians thank the people of Northern Ireland for welcoming refugees fleeing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
O’Fee additionally relates that Union College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, hosts two students each year from the Reformed Church in Hungary, and explains how a relationship between Bangor First Presbyterian Church (BFPC) and Telkibánya, Hungary, developed when a Union College Hungarian exchange student was posted at BFPC and later became a pastor in Telkibánya.
Lydia Ma and Lin Yi-ying report in the 18-24 January 2010 Taiwan Church News that a 17 January 2010 joint prayer session was conducted by church leaders including Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) General Assembly Moderator Leonard Lin and Roman Catholic Archbishop John Hung.
PCT Moderator Lin said “All Christians in the world have the same master and it is the same with all Taiwanese churches. We have one Lord,” and went on to say that God desired to see His children loving one another and brought to unity. He emphasized that Taiwanese churches had long been waiting for a spiritual revival to sweep across the nation, but this would only come through unity, worship, thanksgiving, and confession.
Archbishop Hung said that with more interaction, Roman Catholics and Protestants would get to know each other, opening the way for more opportunities to cooperate and pray for unity. However, Hung was also well aware that four hundred years of division or conflict among Roman Catholics and Protestants wouldn’t be resolved in a day, and said that without conscious effort, there will never be reconciliation or ecumenism among Christians either.
At the end of this prayer meeting, Hung, Lin and the congregation recited the Lord’s Prayer together before a closing prayer. Lin and Hung then embraced each other, and Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders shook hands as a gesture of unity and reconciliation among churches.
ZimOnline reports in a 27 January 2010 article titled “Zim Court Gives White Farmers [Twenty-Four Hours] to Vacate Land,” that a Zimbabwean magistrates court in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 27 January 2010, gave four white farmers twenty-four hours to vacate their farms, else be jailed for two years. The farmers additionally were fined $US800 each after being convicted of “refusing to vacate their properties.”
The farmers being evicted have been moving their property, as best they can, to a local Dutch Reformed Church.
The vacated farms are taken over by officials of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, which include police and judicial officers charged with enforcing laws that are supposed to protect the farmers from confiscation of their land.