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N.J. gay conversion therapy ban challenged in federal court

N.J. gay conversion therapy ban challenged in federal court | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
(RNS) New Jersey’s newly enacted ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors violates a licensed therapist’s obligation to “respect the rights of clients to make decisions,” according to a federal lawsuit filed by a Christian counselors...
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THINKING PRESBYTERIAN
with eyes wide open...a reading list for Presbyterians & more...
Curated by Jim Collie
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Stated Clerk announces decision not to stand for third term

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Stated Clerk announces decision not to stand for third term | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The church lives its life through the liturgical seasons. Those seasons remind us of the biblical story and prepare us to celebrate the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. In Advent we live in a season of expectations—the expectations of awaiting the promise of new life and a new way of living.

I firmly believe the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has entered into a new chapter of its common life. That chapter is full of much promise as we continue to follow God into the world. It also is my belief that this new chapter needs new leadership. I am therefore officially announcing that I will not stand for a third term as Stated Clerk.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - A commitment to ‘community first, ministry next’

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - A commitment to ‘community first, ministry next’ | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
If the Fellowship Community (TFC)—the result of a 2014 merger of the former Fellowship of Presbyterians and Presbyterians for Renewal—has committed itself to “intentionally building a culture that is community first and ministry next,” then its first National Gathering, held here Aug. 18-20, was the quintessential incarnation of one of this movement’s key goals. 

“Our goal is that you’ll return to your community filled with passion, energy and joy for the opportunity to embody Christ,” wrote the Rev. Paul Detterman, TFC’s national director in his welcome to the gathering. 

And the gathering’s 500 plus attendees affirmed that this first national event of the combined organization accomplished all that and more. 
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterian mission co-workers cautiously optimistic about South Sudan peace agreement

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterian mission co-workers cautiously optimistic about South Sudan peace agreement | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Presbyterians close to the conflict in South Sudan are praying the peace agreement signed today by President Salva Kiir will bring about lasting peace.

The agreement was signed Wednesday around 5 p.m. EAT (eastern Africa time) in front of a group of regional African leaders in Juba. Kiir’s rival, Riek Machar, signed the agreement a week ago in Ethiopia, but Kiir refused to sign saying he needed more time to review it.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC (USA) Environmental Ministries program supports World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC (USA) Environmental Ministries program supports World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Environmental Ministries invites congregations to join ecumenical partners around the world in recognizing and supporting Sept. 1, 2015, and subsequent September firsts, as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

Recently Pope Francis and the World Council of Churches affirmed that the date would be set aside as a day to pray for all of God’s people and the whole creation. In his affirmation, the Pope said that it is our responsibility as Christians to resolve the current ecological crisis and was included in his recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. The symbolism of September 1 dates back to 1989, when the Orthodox communities through Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios urged the faithful to embrace actions that honor and respect God’s creation.
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Reflections on the WDBJ Shooting from RCPC Rev. Andrew C. Whaley

Many of us awoke with a start this morning to learn of the killing of Allison Parker and Adam Ward at Smith Mountain Lake during their morning segment on tourism for WDBJ.  This is a shock to many of us, as we consider ours to be a safe and peaceful community.  Today students have sat in classrooms on lock-down, residents have risen quickly to lock their doors, and citizens around our community are questioning their safety.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance continues assessment of northwest wildfires

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance continues assessment of northwest wildfires | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
High winds and dry weather continue to fan the flames in the northwest as wildfires spread, damaging or destroying homes and businesses. Representatives of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s National Response Team have spent nearly a week meeting with the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest and the Synod of Alaska-Northwest to assess the damage and determine needs. The fires in Washington State and Idaho alone have burned thousands of acres over the past two weeks and the work to contain the fires continues.
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Join Us for a Faith Leaders Conference Call on the Iran Deal!

Join Us for a Faith Leaders Conference Call on the Iran Deal! | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Faith in Action for the Iran DealA Conference Call with Faith LeadersThursday, August 27th8:00-8:45 p.m. EDT
Join faith leaders for a national conference call on the Iran nuclear deal.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - World Mission works with South Sudanese partners to build peace and stability

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - World Mission works with South Sudanese partners to build peace and stability | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Malish James Morris was only seven when his village in South Sudan was raided. He stood powerless as soldiers lined up all the male members of his family and shot them one by one while his mother and sisters watched. When they turned the gun on him it misfired three times.

He lived.

Haunted by the experience, Morris became a child soldier at 12, consumed by revenge. As he grew older, with help from the South Sudan Council of Churches, a Presbyterian World Mission partner, he was able to let go of the anger and bitterness. In fact, he saw the people responsible for his family’s deaths in his village and offered his forgiveness.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - On the Mend

Walk with Larissa Kwong Abazia, Vice Moderator of the 221st General Assembly, as she lives through cancer. This and other reflections will appear on the web page "Each New Day."
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Effective elder training is ‘not business as usual’

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Effective elder training is ‘not business as usual’ | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Effective elder training is ‘not business as usual’
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Travel ban lifted for Presbyterian pastors released from prison in Sudan

LOUISVILLE (PNS) The release of two Presbyterian pastors imprisoned for their Christian faith for nearly eight months in the Republic of Sudan was celebrated today, belatedly. The Revs.
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Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth promote dialogue for peace - Ekklesia

Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth promote dialogue for peace - Ekklesia | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth promote dialogue for peace Ekklesia Young participants in a World Council of Churches (WCC) interfaith summer course representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions hope to make a strong contribution towards...
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Regarding ruling elders: parliamentary procedure

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Regarding ruling elders: parliamentary procedure | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Henry Martin Robert (1837-1923) was an engineer who retired from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general. Gen. Robert was asked – unexpectedly – to preside over a meeting, and did not know how, but felt it would be worse to refuse. The meeting “… lasted for fourteen hours…” and Robert said, “My embarrassment was supreme. I plunged in, trusting to Providence that the assembly would behave itself.  . . . [and] the determination that I would never attend another meeting until I knew something of . . . parliamentary law.” From the first edition of Robert’s Rules in 1876 to the current Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition (“RONR”), are procedures for efficient and fair meetings.  Though Gen. Robert was in the Army, RONR is a tool, not a weapon!
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Gradye Parsons says ‘It’s been a privilege for me to serve’

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Gradye Parsons says ‘It’s been a privilege for me to serve’ | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
“When I go out to talk to congregations, and I try to do that as much as I can, [what I saw then and what I see now is] people trying to live out their faith and meet today’s world,” he says of the similarities over time. “People are trying to learn more about the Bible.” 

Another similarity, he says, is a focus on how to retain and attract young leaders in the church. Citing conversations with author Brian McLaren, Parsons believes young people care about making the world a better place. He says the PC(USA) is a church in which these opportunities exist. 

“They care about justice, they care about the environment, they care about all people,” he says. “The Presbyterian church is about that; we’ve been about those issues for a long time so we sort of have the apparatus for them to come get involved. . . . Part of it is we have to be willing to not require them to start at zero, but to really full engage them from the get-go and listen to what they have to say.” 
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC(USA) relief agency stays the course in New Orleans a decade after Hurricane Katrina

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC(USA) relief agency stays the course in New Orleans a decade after Hurricane Katrina | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
“We opened our doors in April 2007,” she remembers, saying the first incarnation of Project Homecoming was intended to manage construction projects while host churches were tasked with volunteer arrangements.

“We didn’t do much publicity, and we were doing a small ribbon cutting ceremony with partners including city representatives, Catholic Charities, PDA, our presbytery and FEMA folks,” she says. “There were a ton of people there for the opening and ribbon cutting—we even had a nice little cake—and there was huge line of people thinking we were ready for them. We hadn’t even set up the intake forms yet; it was overwhelming.”

Undeterred, Peacock wrote a makeshift form on scrap paper and made photocopies to hand out to the crowd who had been waiting in the rain for hours.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Middle East partnerships essential to understanding, change

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Middle East partnerships essential to understanding, change | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
On any given day, recent headlines pulled from stories on the Middle East paint a grim picture of the region. Rocket launches and retaliatory strikes. Kidnappings and executions. Peace talks stalled or derailed by violence and tenacious idealism. The advancement of extremism. Entire people groups displaced from their ancestral homes.

Yet a different story emerges when speaking with the Rev. Scott Parker, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) staff member serving in the Middle East. He and his wife, the Rev. Elmarie Parker, World Mission’s regional liaison for Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, have been in Beirut, Lebanon, for the past two years working to build bridges between Middle Eastern and U.S. congregations.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC(USA) leaders join other Christian groups in support of Iran nuclear agreement

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - PC(USA) leaders join other Christian groups in support of Iran nuclear agreement | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Leaders from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as well as other denominations including Catholic, Pentecostal and Quaker sent a letter to Congress earlier this week. In the letter, the leaders wrote, “The agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.”
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - News from PC(USA) Mid-Councils

A $150,000 grant given to the Pastoral Support Committee of the Sacramento Presbytery in 2014 has enabled Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) teaching elders in good standing with their presbyteries in the Western Five Synods to attend the next three preaching conferences for just $50.

The grant, originally written for the Synod of the Pacific for the “Preaching and Teaching of Ministers in the West” program, has been extended to ministers of the five Western Synods. “We’ve received such a wonderful gift, and it was so hard to get, that we wanted to share this gift with as many clergy as possible,” said the Rev. Dr. Pamela Anderson, chair of the Pastoral Support Committee.
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Paul Grier - Ask, thank, tell: Stewardship in smaller churches

Paul Grier - Ask, thank, tell: Stewardship in smaller churches | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
by Paul Grier Ours is a denomination of smaller-membership congregations. Almost a third of our churches count 50 or fewer members; some 1,300 churches have 25 or fewer. Only about 30 percent of all PC(USA) congregations have more than 150 members. Yet we often hear the question: What does stewardship look like in a small church? The local congregation occupies a central role in most Presbyterians’ lives: the place in which worship is celebrated, where study of the Scriptures is undertaken, wher
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterians commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic visit to Montreat

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Presbyterians commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic visit to Montreat | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Fifty years to the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Montreat Conference Center, more than 900 people gathered in Anderson Auditorium to celebrate the historic visit and take up King’s unfinished agenda. An opening plenary and evening worship service energized the crowd with inspirational music and moving messages. Dr. Tony McNeill, director of worship and arts at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta led the music.

Richard DuBose, president of the Montreat Conference Center reflected on King’s historical appearance despite strong opposition at the time.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Columnist says now is the time for a new generation of civil rights activists

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Columnist says now is the time for a new generation of civil rights activists | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Fifty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood before a crowd at Montreat’s Anderson Auditorium and spoke on racial tension. He was late to the conference because of rioting in Watts, Los Angeles. While a half century has passed, the message remained the same this past weekend as nearly a thousand people gathered at the Montreat Conference Center to commemorate the speech during a three-day conference.

Charles Blow, New York Times columnist, television commentator and best-selling author, spoke of how the recent shootings and subsequent protests have engaged the nation in a new discussion about race, justice and civil rights.
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - First female Presbyterian clergy in Congo dedicates work toward women and children

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - First female Presbyterian clergy in Congo dedicates work toward women and children | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
First female Presbyterian clergy in Congo dedicates work toward women and children
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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Ministering in the midst of war, trauma and fatigue

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - News & Announcements - Ministering in the midst of war, trauma and fatigue | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Ministering in the midst of war, trauma and fatigue
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Martin Luther King at Montreat – 50 years ago

50 Years ago — September 6, 1965 Applause is almost foreign to the Montreat auditorium … but the King appearance produced a standing, applauding welcome of some duration … .
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