Category Archives: EPC Ghana

Presbyterian News Headlines For The First Half Of January 2015

OK, we are getting caught up a bit – at least I am into the current year.

But I am going to start by including a few older ones around a single theme: There were recognitions of three missionaries over the past couple of months culminating in early January with the centennial of the death of Mary Slessor, a Church of Scotland missionary to what is now Nigeria. A few of the headlines from both Scotland and Nigeria:

‘The Queen of Okoyong’: The legacy of Mary Slessor – from BBC News

Plaque commemorates ‘extraordinary’ missionary Mary Slessor – from stv News

Mary Slessor: PCN honours late missionary with commemorative ceremony – from Pulse Nigeria: “The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria AkwaSynod will be holding a commemorative service to celebrate the centenary celebration of Mary Slessor’s death. “

The previous month Jane Haining was in the news as a BBC documentary about her premiered. She was a Church of Scotland worker in Budapest who refused to leave her work when the Nazis invaded and ultimately died in Auschwitz. (Unfortunately, it appears the documentary is not available online.)

Jane Haining: The Scot who died in Auschwitz – from BBC News

Finally, a Presbyterian Church of Ireland missionary was honored in India for his work there:

Presbyterian missionary remembered in India – from Presbyterian Church in Ireland; “A former Presbyterian missionary who served in India has been honoured during a special ceremony held recently at the Gujarat United School of Theology. Rev. John Faris and Miss Linda Jackson represented the Presbyterian Church of Ireland as the Ted Jackson Computer Training Centre and new library were officially opened in Ahmedabad.”


And in news on mission workers currently serving, an attack on a Northern Irish medical missionary:

Maud Kells: Brave humanitarian shot in DR Congo will not be deterred – from Belfast Telegraph


And now, a few other things that caught my interest…

From the Reformed Church in South Africa, after the general synod meeting was divided on the issue, a special synod will be called to discuss it:

Special synod to decide on Reformed Church women ministers – from The Citizen


A new General Assembly Moderator is inducted in Ghana:

Evangelical Presbyterian Church gets new Moderator – from Ghana News Agency


A new story related to a continuing discussion around the PC(USA):

Edison minister fights divestment policy: Presbyterian cleric says national body ignores Jewish voices – from New Jersey Jewish News


And in Scotland, opposition to a new opt-out system for organ donors:

Free Church of Scotland blasts organ donor plans – from The Scotsman; “The Free Church of Scotland has voiced its opposition to a blanket opt-out system for organ donation. The religious group claims specialist nurses and better education on organ donation in schools would be far more effective in increasing the number of donors.”


Also out of Scotland, the Kirk is a partner in providing a more friendly atmosphere for visiting families at a youth correctional facility:

Family bus scheme launched at Polmont youth prison – from BBC News


Over the last few months there have been several very interesting church-sponsored workshops around the globe. In this time slice there was one by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland:

‘Living and dying well’ conference draws key speakers – from a Presbyterian Church in Ireland news article; “Hosted jointly by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Union Theological College, the theme of the event is ‘Living and Dying Well’ and will address the ethical, pastoral and legal issues surrounding attempts to legislate in favour of assisted suicide.”


A few things about buildings, starting with the continuing saga of the Greyfriars Church of Scotland in Port of Spain, Trinidad:

Move to save ruins of Greyfriars church – from Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Bid to settle Greyfriars demolition out of court – from Trinidad Express

Greyfriars owner, PoS Council in talks – from Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

In Texas, the oldest house of worship in town, originally built by Presbyterians, and later used by other denominations, has been vacant for over a decade is being converted to community space in a private initiative:

Edna leader restore church for community – from Victoria Advocate

Help with a new roof for a church in New York:

Historic Le Roy church receives landmark grant – from The Daily News

And from Scotland, a new proposal for a historic but abandoned church property but with concern for the adjoining cemetery:

Proposals to convert Kinfauns Church into luxury house back on the table – from The Courier


And remembrances of three notable gentlemen:

In Ireland, Mr. Jonathan Simms, MBE, a supporter of the Boys Brigade and other youth programs, remembered in a service led by the GA Moderator:

‘He had time for everyone – a rare quality’ – from Carrick Times

In the U.S., Professor Ed Farley of Vanderbilt Divinity School:

Remembering Nashville theologian, musician Ed Farley – from The Tennessean

And Syngman Rhee, seminary professor and the Moderator of the PC(USA) 212th General Assembly (2000):

Syngman Rhee, Presbyterian and ecumenical leader, dies at 83 – from The Christian Century

PC(USA) mourns loss of former Moderator and ecumenical leader – PC(USA) press release

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Second Half Of August 2014

Here are some of the items that caught my attention in the latter half of August…

This was a time of General Assemblies in African Presbyterian branches. Let me begin with a few headlines out of the 14th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ghana:

Handover establishment of 200 SHS to churches – Presby Moderator – from GhanaWeb; (SHS = Senior High Schools)

On Christian Education, “Yes” And “No,” Rt.-Rev. Martey – from GhanaWeb; (a comment on the above story by a Ghanian minister in the US)

In addition, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana held their General Assembly. Some interesting headlines from that:

New Moderator For E.P Church – from spyGhana; Reverend Dr Seth Senyo Agidi elected for a six year term

Elect Leaders Who Uphold Moral Values – Rt Rev Francis Amenu – from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; comments by the outgoing Moderator

E.P Church to double membership in six years – from GhanaWeb; the growth goal for the church

EP Church to Adopt Witches’ Camps – from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; this is an article with an overview of the GA and a later article from GhanaWeb focuses just on this issue and begins:  “The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana (EPCG) has adopted the Ngani Witches Camp, one of the witches’ camps in the Northern Region to support the inmates to liberate them from poverty. The people in the camps are mostly aged women who have been accused of witchcraft, and therefore, have been abandoned by their families and the society. Due to the neglect, they live in deplorable conditions as they lack basic amenities such as shelter and clothing, as well as food and water.”

Articles on the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria:

Presbyterian Church marks 168 years, urges unity – from Infos

Nigeria: Presbyterian Church Institutes Fund On Chibok Girls – from allAfrica; “The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has announced that in keeping with the Church’s spirit of Christian charity and in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative in setting up a special Fund in aid of victims of Boko Haram insurgency and other social upheavals, the Church has set up a Fund toward the rehabilitation of the Chibok girls when they are eventually rescued.”

In other headlines:

Malawi: APM Hails Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP Church – from allAfrica; a positive meeting between church leaders and the country’s president looking for avenues of cooperation

Investors urged to be ethical – from GhanaWeb; Comments by the Moderator of the GA at the launch of a financial company

The Texas Historical Commission recognizes the First Presbyterian Church of Brazoria – from The Facts (subscription); the church gets a state historical marker

And finally, a high-profile change in Presbyterian media circles as Jack Haberer leaves his post as editor of the Presbyterian Outlook to return to parish ministry in Florida:

Breaking News Letters from The Presbyterian Outlook’s Editor Jack Haberer and Board of Directors President Christopher Edmonston – from The Presbyterian Outlook

Best wishes to Jack as he takes on this call.

General Assembly Season 2014

As the First of May rolls around we mark the start of the 2014 General Assembly Season.

Are you ready for an interesting year of Assemblies?

Here is this year’s line-up as I know it now. I will update as I clarify additional Assembly meetings.

  59th General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

  22-25 April 2014

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
  13 May 2014 (begins)

  General Assembly
Church of Scotland

17-23 May 2014

  General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland Continuing
19-22 May, 2014

  General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland
19-23 May 2014

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of South Australia
26 May 2014 (begins)
North Adelaide, S.A.

  140th General Assembly

Presbyterian Church in Canada
30 May – 2 June 2014
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
2-6 June 2014

General Assembly
United Free Church of Scotland
  4-6 June 2014

81st General Assembly

Orthodox Presbyterian Church
4-10 June 2014
Kuyper College
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
9-11 June 2014

210th Stated Meeting of the General Synod

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

10-12 June 2014
Flat Rock, North Carolina

221st General Assembly (2014)

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
14-21 June 2014
Detroit, Michigan
(note this is a biennial Assembly)

139th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America

15-18 June 2014
Chattanooga, Tennessee

184th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
16-20 June 2014
Chattanooga, Tennessee

42nd General Assembly

Presbyterian Church in America
17-20 June 2014
Houston, Texas

34th General Assembly

Evangelical Presbyterian Church
17-21 June 2014
Knoxville, Tennessee

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Queensland

  30 June – 3 July 2014
Clayfield (Brisbane), QLD

  N.S.W. State Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Australia
in the State of New South Wales

30 June 2014 (begins)
Croydon, N.S.W.

  78th General Synod
Bible Presbyterian Church
31 July – 5 August 2014
Olympia, Washington

  National Youth Assembly

Church of Scotland

15-18 August 2014
(Technically not a governing
body, but still an Assembly I track)

  14th General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Ghana

15-21 August 2014
Abetifi Kwahu

  General Synod
ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
18 August 2014
Dallas, Texas

  6th General Assembly
Evangelical Presbyterian Church — Ghana
August 2014

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

  3-7 October 2014
Saint Kentigern College

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
  6 October 2014

  General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Western Australia
  24 October 2014

These are the ones that I am tracking at the moment.  I will update as
appropriate.  If I have missed one, or have information wrong or incomplete, please provide the appropriate information and I will update the list.

And, to make the GA season complete here are two more items…

The first is the series of articles I wrote as an introduction to Presbyterian General Assemblies six years ago.  My GA 101 series consists of the following

GA101: Preface
GA101: Introduction – Why in the world would anybody want to do it this way?
GA101: Connectionalism – The Presbyterian Big Picture
GA101: The Cast of Characters – A score card to identify the players
GA101: The Moderator – All Things In Moderation
GA101: Where does the GA business come from? – Incoming!
GA101: Doing the business of GA — Decently and in Order

Yes, what started as a six part series expanded into seven
completed articles with two more unfinished ones in the queue.  (Maybe
this will give me some motivation to finish those up.)

And finally, on to the ridiculous.  Lest we take ourselves too seriously, a couple years ago I had a little fun with the General Assembly and in the post passed along the GA drinking game and GA Bingo. Please play both responsibly.

So, for all the GA Junkies out there I wish you the best of GA
seasons.  May you enjoy the next few months of watching us do things
decently and in order!

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Second Half Of February 2014

As I try to once again get caught up here the task was not made any easier by the numerous interesting stories that fell into this time period. So, I bring you a select few of the items that caught my attention last month…

Updating one story I mentioned earlier about a retired Presbyterian pastor in Asia on trial for charges many outside observers have found questionable:

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal conviction, large “moral damages” – and new criminal case? – from Forum 18 News Service

And a terrorist attack in Egypt on a bus full of visitors from Jincheon Jungang Presbyterian Church in South Korea:

South Korean church mourns after Egypt bombing – from Salon

The Church of Scotland had a number of news headlines in this time period in matters related to civil politics. The first main topic is the release of their report on the consultations regarding the Scottish independence referendum:

Church of Scotland calls for integrity and community to be at the heart of the debate about Scotland’s future – press release from the Church of Scotland

People not basing referendum vote on financial gain or loss, says Kirk – from stv news

Kirk says community, not money, must be at heart of independence debate – from Christian Today

The second is a law passed in the Scottish Parliament which would create a safety net for children by appointing a guardian for every Scottish child and which the Kirk raised questions about:

Concerns raised over named person for Scots children plan – from BBC News

Scottish ministers threatened with legal action over ‘state guardian’ plans – from The Telegraph (note that the headline uses the title minister in the political and not clerical sense)

Law casts a shadow over family – commentary from Scottish Catholic Observer

In Ghana we had words from both the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church about government corruption:

Corruption blamed on actions and inactions of Ghanaians – from Ghana News/SpyGhana

Public office holders urged to show integrity and maturity – from my Ghana Online

Also from Africa:

Sudan Arrests, Threatens Pastor During Sermon as Authorities Try to Intimidate Preacher Into Resigning – from The Christian Post; It is alleged that government officials were intimidating this pastor who is currently serving as the Moderator of the Synod of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church to get control of the property.

Mampong Presby SHS cries for help – from Ghana News Agency: “The Mampong Presbyterian Senior High School(PRESEC) has made a
passionate appeal to all stakeholders in education, particularly the
Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund), to come to the aid of the school.”

Spread Privilege Not Cashgate: Livingstonia Synod says Malawi for us all – from Nyasa Times; “The CCAP Livingstonia Synod has observed that Malawi is sliding into terminal decline and urged government to spread the privilege to all and not a few should enjoy.”

In Mizoram state of India the influential Presbyterian Synod is working to keep alcoholic beverages prohibited:

Mizo Church wants prohibition to continue – from matters india

And in Norther Ireland a Free Presbyterian clergyman protested against a Sunday football (soccer for some of you) game, a sentiment shared by some but not all in that area:

Sunday football: Clergyman plans protest at stadium – from Belfast News Letter

Play on! Public back Sunday football at Windsor Park – from Belfast News Letter

In news from Presbyterian-affiliated King University in Tennessee:

Dr. Greg Jordan, King University president resigns: Two-thirds of faculty gave vote of no confidence earlier in the week – from

And a note on the passing of a well-known actor who was also a Presbyterian pastor at a point in his career:

Ralph Waite, Depression-Era Patriarch in ‘The Waltons,’ Dies at 85 – the NY Times Obituary

And finally, not breaking news but an interesting historical tidbit…

Why an 18th Century English Presbyterian Minister Matters to College Football Fans – from Football Study Hall; hint – the minister was Thomas Bayes

So that’s it for now. Back soon with more headlines from March.

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Week Ending October 27, 2013

Well, I do realize that I am two weeks behind on these but I want to take these in bite-sized pieces (this is my lunch hour after all) so I am only going to do one week and try to do the second one tomorrow or the next day.

There were two developing situations that I did not catch up on last time as I was waiting for some resolution before I did so. I think the time is right to do that now (and yes, there is a little spill-over to the next week).

The first is a series of headlines chronicling the sale and development of a camp the Presbytery of Chicago is selling:

Lake Michigan luxury homes on site of former Saugatuck church camp face opposition – from m-live

Presbyterian Camps’ fate may be on line tonight – from Allegan News Online

Million-dollar Lake Michigan waterfront home development tentatively approved in Saugatuck – from m-live

Planners OK camps development, with strings – from Allegan News Online

The second situation was related to elections in Mizoram state of India, and the Presbyterian Church’s Mizoram Synod was pressuring the election commission to change the voting and counting dates, including moving the latter off the Lord’s Day. The Election Commission made the changes:

Change in Mizoram poll dates under consideration by Election Commission – from NDTV

EC revises Mizoram assembly election schedule, polling now on November 25
– from The Times of India

In other news…

From Ghana the Presbyterian Church in Ghana celebrates an anniversary and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church raises economic concerns:

Central Presbytery celebrates silver jubilee – from Ghana Business News

Strikes not good for national development – Rt Rev. Amenu – from Ghana Web

At a court case in Nashville involving a PCA church:

Church Accused of Covering for Molester – from Courthouse News Service

And finally…

A celebration:

PRINCETON: Seminary president installed – from Packet Online; “The Rev. M. Craig Barnes, a Presbyterian pastor and educator chosen to
lead one of the nation’s oldest seminaries was inaugurated and installed
Wednesday as the seventh president of Princeton Theological Seminary.”

And a passing – TE Ben Haden, former pastor of Chattanooga First Presbyterian Church (PCA):

Longtime First Presbyterian pastor Ben Haden dies – from Times Free Press

Television Preacher Ben Haden Dies at 88 – from WDEF News

So there is one week. Now so get caught up on last week.

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Week Ending August 25, 2013

A bit of a busy week for me but I will try to crank this out before I settle in for the holiday weekend here in the states…

When last we heard from the Church of Scotland concerning their staff and changes to their benefits, there seemed to be a bit of confusion about the actual terms of the deal. This week brought reports of the workers considering the news:

Kirk workers to meet in row over pensions – from Herald Scotland

Church criticised by union over pension letter – from Herald Scotland

And the Church of Scotland has announced it is modernizing its Sunday School curriculum:

Church of Scotland to modernise Sunday school – from the BBC

A couple of headlines related to the Free Church as well:

Church joins pleas for an end to carnage on the A9 – from Scottish Express: One of several articles about the Free Church asking for improvements to a dangerous stretch of highway.

Inside Track: Free Church signals its determination to be heard – from Herald Scotland: a column about the Free Church now publicly engaging the wider world with the A9 improvements as an example.

From Ghana we have reports from two General Assemblies that outline a number of the actions taken at each but with an emphasis, at least in the media, on issues that involve the country as a whole:

E.P. Church requests return of property – from Ghana Business news: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church requesting to have some property in Accra returned so they can build offices in the capital as well as talk about partnering more closely with the government on hospitals and universities.

President Mahama lauds E.P. Church – from Ghana Business News: And they got some kind words back from the president

Ghana’s democracy will be strengthened by the SCV– Presby Church – from SPY Ghana: A review of the Presbyterian Church Assembly that highlights their hopes for positive change from the party in power.

And two more headlines from the week that are interesting for the cultural insights they give. First from the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian:

Religious madness! Livingstonia Synod to force Ngoni chiefs back to CCAP – from The Maravi Post: “MZUZU(MaraPost)—Livingstonia Synod general secretary the Reverend Levi
Nyondo has said that all Mzimba Ngoni chiefs belong to the Church of
Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) and those chiefs going to other
churches are wasting their time and declared that his synod will bring
all Ngoni chiefs who have gone to other denominations back to their
mother church, CCAP.” This is based on a 1978 treaty.

And from Mizoram Province of Northern India:

Mizo church may do away with infant burial taboo – from The Times of India: “AIZAWL:
The Presbyterian Church of India, Mizoram Synod, the largest church in
the state, is likely to do away with one of the oldest traditional
taboos associated with infant deaths. In Mizo tradition, infants
below three months are not accorded a decent burial like adults in
village cemeteries. Instead, they are buried in kitchen gardens of the
bereaved families. This practice is called ‘Hlamzuih’.”

So that’s it for this week. See you next week.

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Week Ending July 27, 2013

Getting caught up on reading, and I may post a summary of a few of the earlier articles of interest, but here is the summary for the past week.

Claremore’s Christ Presbyterian Church burns to ground – from Tulsa World

Just one week after Claremore church burned down, Christ Presbyterian Church comes back together – from KJRH

Presbyterian Group Appoints First Openly Transgender Director of Mainline Protestant Organization – from Sojourners

Ghana: Women Challenged to Take Leadership Roles – from allAfrica; “The Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana
(PCG), Rev. Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong, has called on women in Africa,
with specific reference to Ghana, to challenge themselves to take up
leadership positions in the running of the country.”

Clergyman urges Ghanaians to accept Supreme Court ruling – from Ghana Web;
the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana urged the country to accept the soon to be announced court ruling regarding the presidential election following the death a year ago of President Mills.

Kirk joins forces with CofE to take on payday loan firms – from Herald Scotland

Petition calls for chaplains move at Antrim hospital to be scrapped – from the Belfast News Letter; the plan to assign hospital chaplains to wards and work with patients across denominations is protested

This seemed to be a busy week for church demolition stories, although one is also an expansion

Klondyke Welsh Presbyterian Chapel can be demolished, High Court rules – from Liverpool Echo; the Court has cleared the way for development on the site

End of an era – from Price County Daily; “The First Presbyterian Church in Phillips will soon be demolished to
make room for a new multi-purpose building that will serve a variety of
needs for the community.”

Demolition and expansion at Milwaukee’s oldest congregation: Slideshow – from The Business Journal; old offices of Immanuel Presbyterian Church to add parking and two new wings on the church

Top 10 Presbyterian News Stories Of 2012

Well, I did this for the first time last year and thought I would continue again this New Years. So here, in no particular order, are my top ten Presbyterian news stories of the past year.

1. Korean Presbyterians celebrate their centennial General Assembly
With their first GA in 1912 this year Korean Presbyterians celebrated their centennial Assembly in September with guests from around the world including the Church of Scotland and the PC(USA). More from the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Speaking of the WCRC…

2. World Communion of Reformed Churches to move headquarters
Finding the cost of operating in Germany to be cheaper than in Switzerland in November the WCRC executive committee issued a press release announcing the move from  Geneva to Hanover.

3. Departures from the Church of Scotland
While a few pastors and a couple of congregations began leaving last spring the news climaxed in December with the congregation of St. Georges Tron in Glasgow giving up their fight to keep their property and vacating the building.

And while we are on the topic of Scotland…

4. Presbyterian Opposition to Same-gender Marriage in Scotland
While the Church of Scotland has set a trajectory for ordination and marriage for same-gender partnered individuals, that policy change has not yet been made so the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland have expressed their opposition to the Scottish Government’s plan to introduce same-gender marriage. In addition, while the discussions in Northern Ireland are not as advanced, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland expressed their concern for government suggestions about introducing same-gender marriage in Norther Ireland.

Continuing the news about marriage…

5. Presbyterians Reaffirm Support for Marriage Between a Man and a Woman in New Zealand
Among the many actions at the October General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand was a resolution that “upheld the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman.” There was also an approval of presbytery status for the Pacific Island churches giving them the corresponding autonomy and authority.

In another General Assembly…

6. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Sticks With The Status Quo
Presented with a number of major decisions the 220th GA of the PC(USA) chose to not divest from companies supporting Israeli occupation, to further consider restructuring synods, to propose no changes to the Book of Order related to marriage and preserve the special offerings in their current form.

7. The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission of the PC(USA) Decides Several Closely Watched Cases
Among the decisions handed down were a guilty verdict for conducting a same-gender marriage, a not-guilty verdict for participating in a same-gender wedding, a final case clearing the way for ordination of a same-gender partnered candidate, a clarification and restriction related to the trust clause and dismissal of congregations and a decision invalidating a presbytery’s statement of behavioral standards for ordained officers.

8. Presbyterian Church In Ireland Statements On Violent Attacks
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, in statements by the Moderator of the General Assembly, Dr. Roy Patton, expressed their concern following the killing of a prison guard in November and the December attempted murder of a police officer.

9. New Reformed Body
At a Covenanting Conference last January in Orlando, Florida, the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (later renamed the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians) was formed. Over the year a number of churches have been dismissed to the Order, although a November Synod PJC decision has raised questions as to whether it is a Reformed body that churches can be dismissed to.

10. Presbyterians and the Elections in Ghana
Throughout the year there were statements and activity by both the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana leading up to the elections in the fall. After a series of exchanges the government did offer an apology for a misunderstanding. The church’s involvement was not always viewed favorably.

A couple of other noteworthy news items this past year that caught my attention:

The religious violence in Nigeria which has touched all the Christians including the Presbyterians.

The Affordable Care Act in the US was endorsed by the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly but which has some Presbyterians, including PC(USA) affiliated College of the Ozarks and branches like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, endorsing broad religious exemptions.

A PC(USA) and EPC ruling elder and Provost of Whitworth University, Michael K. Le Roy Ph.D., was named the President of the Christian Reformed Church of North America’s Calvin College.

So there you have my list — as always your mileage may vary.

And so, as we begin 2013 I wish all of you the best for the new year and that your lives may be decent and in order, but that you also have the appropriate balance of ardor and order.

Happy New Year!

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Week Ending May 5, 2012 — Ghana Elections, PC(USA) Divestment And Structure

A little bit quieter week, but here are a few of the news items that caught my attention…

The commentary on the elections in Ghana continues from the Presbyterian Churches. From the Presbyterian Church of Ghana –

Don’t create political turmoil in 2012 elections- Rev Ampiaw

Spy Ghana, April 29
Comments from the Chairman of a Presbytery urging politicians to put the interest of the country above their own political interests.

And very similar comments from a Presbytery Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana

Posterity will not forgive Politicians who create confusion-Priest

GhanaWeb, May 5, 2012

In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) one of the current issues is the structure of the governing bodies, now referred to as councils, and Pittsburgh is looking at a restructuring to help it do routine work in smaller units

Pittsburgh Presbytery planning to reorganize

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 21, 2012 (yes, outside the range for this week but it only appeared in one of my news feeds this week)

Speaking of Pittsburgh…
One of the hot topics for the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) in Pittsburgh in two months will be a proposal to divest from companies that do business related to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Philadelphia Presbytery has gone on record against that divestment proposal and is sending an overture to the GA asking it to adopt a more even handed approach

Philly Presbyterians Reject Divestment

Jewish Exponent, May 2, 2012

And in parallel news, the Methodists in their General Conference last week rejected a very similar divestment proposal by a 2-to-1 margin

Methodists Vote Against Ending Investments Tied to Israel

New York Time, May 2, 2012

Finally, the feel good story of the week

Presbyterian Church, Sewickley Votes to Preserve ‘Pink House’

Sewickley Patch, 29 April 2012
In a long-running discussion about the fate of an historic house owned by the church, the Session agreed this week to preform necessary maintenance, if it can raise the funds, and to use the house for church programs.

Presbyterian News Headlines For The Week Ending March 24, 2012

[Editor’s note: I have decided to start a weekly rundown of news stories related to, or that have implications for, the various Presbyterian branches. My blogging time has been restricted lately and while I would love to comment at length on a few of these I probably will not get to them in a timely manner.  I do however reserve the right to do so if I get around to it.]

Maryland bill would help congregations in fight over control of church assets

from The Washington Post on March 18, 2012
This proposal in Maryland to repeal a 1976 state law regarding implied trust on property specifically relates to two Methodist Congregations that desire to separate from their denomination.  However, the broader implications for all hierarchical denominations are interesting.

Self acclaimed prophets cautioned against predicting winner in elections

from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
Here is the core of the article

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church Synod Moderator for the West Volta
Presbytery, Reverend Joce Kofi Kodade, has called on Ghanaians to ignore
public pronouncements by self acclaimed prophets who predict winners
ahead of the conduct of this year’s general elections.

He said such proclamations may cause tension, adding that it is rather
necessary for religious leaders as unifiers to uphold and demonstrate
ethical virtues of neutrality and integrity during political campaigns.

National Council of Churches releases their 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches

from National Council of Churches on March 20, 2012
In which we learn that overall giving to churches dropped $1.2 billion last year, that six of the 25 largest denominations that reported data saw an increase in membership (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, National Baptist Convention, Seventh-Day Adventists, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and the Jehovah’s Witnesses), and the largest decline in membership was in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (down 5.90%). The PC(USA) reported a decline of 3.42%.

Minister calls for Presbyterians to include gays

from on March 21, 2012
In a funeral sermon preached for his gay colleague The Rev. David Clark, the Rev. Dr. Allan
Davidson ONZM called on the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand to rescind their 2004 General Assembly action prohibiting active homosexuals from holding ordained office.

Stated Clerk Nomination Committee selects Parsons for a second term

from PC(USA) on March 21, 2012
The Stated Clerk Nominating Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has endorsed the Rev. Gradye Parsons for a second term as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. There were no other nominations submitted to the committee.

PC(USA) Synod of the Trinity Permenant Judicial Commission rules that the new Form of Government still requires payment of per capita

SPJC Decison on March 23, 2012
The Synod PJC found that the language in the new Form of Government is not less restrictive regarding the payment of per capita and the change in language is not significant enough to render a previous Authoritative Interpretation as no longer in force.
[Ed. note: I will revisit this in more detail, hopefully later this week.]