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Embroiled over Israel, Presbyterians invite a rabbi to the pulpit

Embroiled over Israel, Presbyterians invite a rabbi to the pulpit | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
(RNS) Jewish-Presbyterian relations are rocky. Will things get better or worse after a top rabbi addresses the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)?
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THINKING PRESBYTERIAN
with eyes wide open...a reading list for Presbyterians & more...
Curated by Jim Collie
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This Week in God, 5.16.15

This Week in God, 5.16.15 | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The percentage of Christians in the U.S. is shrinking, while the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans soars. The impact is likely to be enormous.
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Pastors Unite to Denounce Churches’ Attack on Progressive Christianity

Pastors Unite to Denounce Churches’ Attack on Progressive Christianity | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
"We believe Rev. Good and his colleagues are preaching a distorted view of progressive Christianity to serve their own purposes rather than God’s."
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House Republican: Pope should stay out of politics

House Republican: Pope should stay out of politics | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
GOP lawmakers want leaders from the faith community to help guide public debates -- except when the Pope disagrees with the Republican line.
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Pining for 1950s Religiosity and Missing the Bigger Picture

Pining for 1950s Religiosity and Missing the Bigger Picture | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Ariz., wins the top prize for this year’s silliest religious idea so far.
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First Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg, SC

Promotional video using drone footage of First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC. Music: Song: Remembering Artist: David Hollandsworth.
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▶ Second Presbyterian One of Chattanooga's Most Beautiful - YouTube

Chief photographer David Moore shows us Chattanooga's Second Presbyterian Church
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Sri Lanka: the struggles continue for fishermen and farmers

Sri Lanka: the struggles continue for fishermen and farmers | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami wreaked havoc on coastal communities in its path. Hundreds of thousands lost lives and livelihoods. On the small island country of Sri Lanka, nearly 75 percent of its fishing fleet was destroyed, according to the Presbyterian Hunger Program and its Joining Hands partners in the region. 

PHP Associate Andrew Kang Bartlett recently spent two of his eight weeks overseas in Sri Lanka, a country mostly known for its plantation economy, producing exports of Ceylon tea, rubber, and cinnamon.  Its once-robust fishing industry took a downward turn from the tsunami and its aftermath. With local fishermen out of action, larger fishing operations stepped into the vacuum. 

“The fishermen of Sri Lanka have had to compete with new commercial industries coming in and overfishing the region,” says Kang Bartlett. “Struggling to make it, many no longer own their boats. They’ve now been hired as labor on commercial vessels.” 
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In Wisconsin: Relationships trump structure

In Wisconsin:  Relationships trump structure | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Coming together at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center here, the group heard keynote speaker Ken McFayden, dean of the Leadership Institute and professor of ministry and leadership development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, call on them to be resilient in a time of change in the church. 

“Do you think our best days are in the past or in the future?” McFayden asked. “Do you think God’s best days are in the past or in the future?” 

He said, “We don’t have to be resilient when we don’t need to be,” pointing out that resiliency wasn’t necessary when the church was strong, confident, and able to rise above any challenge. 

Resilience, he said, becomes necessary “especially during difficult times” when the church’s strengths and resources are overcome by declining resources and loss—the loss of deeply held traditions, structural supports including volunteers, status in the community, stability, confidence, and energy, vitality, and passion for ministry. 
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PC(USA) releases 2014 statistical report: Declines in membership, baptisms, ministry candidates

PC(USA) releases 2014 statistical report: Declines in membership, baptisms, ministry candidates | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) lost another 92,433 members from 2013 to 2014 – dropping the denomination’s membership from 1.76 million in 2013 to 1.66 million in 2014.
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Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly - May 15 - Religion Press Release Services

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly - May 15 - Religion Press Release Services | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Visit www.pbs.org/religionandethics for additional information. Show #1837 will be fed over PBS at 5:00 p.m. EST on May 15 (check local listings). Kairos Prison Ministry - For more than 30 years trained volunteers from Kairos Prison Ministry have been involved in group discussions and …
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Reformed Women Speak: A Call to Attend the OPC General Assembly

Reformed Women Speak: A Call to Attend the OPC General Assembly | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
In January, 2015, I was asked to attend the last stage of the ecclesiastical trial of a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) Presbytery of the Southeast, held in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am a Reformed Christian, a former member of the OPC, and an academic, now living and working as a linguist at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

For several years, I have been conducting research related to how women in the Reformed Church are written and spoken about. My name was given to a member of the OPC Southeast Presbytery as someone who might be interested in documenting what I observed there as an expansion of my research and sharing it with the wider Reformed community. After attending the last stage of the trial, The Aquila Report published my report entitled ‘Women on Trial: One Observer’s View’.

The response from the Reformed community was immediate and polarized. In online, public forums, some individuals speculated about and challenged my moral character and motivations for attending the trial. At times, the public attacks have been vicious. Some labeled me a liar, a slanderer, and compared me to Satan. Quite a few stated that I had no business attending the trial and was not welcome there.
Jim Collie's insight:


(to read the whole article, click on the headline...)



Valerie Hobbs is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, Associate Director of the Lydia Center for Women and Family, and Fellow in Language and Christianity at Greystone Theological Institute. She and her husband and two children attend an independent Reformed church (a member of the EFCC) in Sheffield, United Kingdom.



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Broadway Presbyterian celebrates 150 years
- Sedalia Democrat

Broadway Presbyterian celebrates 150 years<br/> - Sedalia Democrat | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Broadway Presbyterian congregation has persevered for 150 years, overcoming three church fires, a Civil War, two World Wars, several other wars ...
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Office of Theology and Worship launches new “Theological Conversations” series

Office of Theology and Worship launches new “Theological Conversations” series | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Six years ago when Sue Westfall was called as presbytery pastor and stated clerk for the Presbytery de Cristo, she built on work that had already been done prior to her arrival by issuing an invitation to all of the pastors in the presbytery to convene monthly for Biblical study, prayer, fellowship, and intentional learning. 

“In a church, a nation, a world, that is deeply divided and even polarized and alienated from one another, the church has the opportunity to model a different way, a better way,” says Westfall. “My hope [in convening the group] was to create a safe space for the pastors of the presbytery to truly encounter one another, encounter Christ in one another, and to direct our attention to the pressing matters of God's mission in the world. The pastors proved eager and willing, and from the very first gathering. I was astounded at how willing they were to let down their guard and be open, honest, and vulnerable with one another.” 

Westfall—who currently works for Macedonian Ministry, a nonprofit dedicated to "pastoral renewal for congregational transformation for community impact" using the model of a three-year mentored cohort of pastors who covenant together to meet monthly for prayer, Biblical refection, intentional learning, and mutual support—contends that people are “soul-weary from fighting and long for community
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▶ Hospitality Houses | Webinar - YouTube

Hospitality is a central theme of the Christian tradition. Our approach is to extend that hospitality to a generation of young people who find themselves in ...
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“UWorship”—the New UKirk Book of Common Worship—Now Available

“UWorship”—the New UKirk Book of Common Worship—Now Available | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
It’s been three years in the making.  But for those working together on what has become an “act of grace,” it’s been worth every moment. 

“What we ended up creating was a beautiful reflection of our diversity of expression for worship of God,” says Marcus Hong.  

He was part of a small ad hoc group of campus ministers, and those passionate about collegiate ministry in the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), who have been working on “UWorship.” 
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Speaking Down Barriers

Speaking Down Barriers | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Spoken Word Spartanburg has partnered with First Presbyterian Church to ignite conversation within the Spartanburg community on various topics related to race and racism.  Words cannot express the...
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Presbyterian Church welcomes new pastor

Presbyterian Church welcomes new pastor | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
HARBOR SPRINGS—First Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs will welcome the Rev. Kip Murphy, a new senior pastor on Sunday, May 17.The Rev. Murphy came to First Presbyterian from Williamsburg, Iowa, where he served for seven years as senior pastor
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The Slingshot: Rohingya Muslims' desperate cry for help - Religion News Service

The Slingshot: Rohingya Muslims' desperate cry for help - Religion News Service | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar are like human ping pongs. Southern Baptists allow missionaries to speak in tongues. Peeping Tom rabbi to be sentenced today.
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Prominent theologian finds joy amid incurable cancer diagnosis

Prominent theologian finds joy amid incurable cancer diagnosis | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
"The suffering of cancer raises raw questions about God, life, and death," says J. Todd Billings.
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Regarding ruling elders: managing conflict

Regarding ruling elders: managing conflict | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
John Paul Lederach, a Mennonite layperson and a pioneer in the field of conflict transformation, suggests conflict is woven into the fabric of creation. God creates a vast diverse human family and gives the human creature freedom and the capacity to feel, think , act, and react. In his book, The Journey Toward Reconciliation, Lederach writes, “These elements make our lives rich, ever-renewing, and interesting. They also make conflict a natural part of our relationships” (Herald Press, Scottdale, Pa., 1999, p. 130).

The question is not whether we can avoid conflict in our congregational life. The question is how we will handle the conflict that is a normal part of our life together as followers of Jesus. While congregations experiencing serious conflict are encouraged to contact their presbytery for assistance and guidance, some basic concepts and practices can increase the possibility that the experience of conflict will be enlightening, constructive, and creative: a time in which we discover God’s grace in surprising ways that strengthen Christ’s body.
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Pittsburgh Presbytery joins others in endorsing same-sex marriage - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Presbytery joins others in endorsing same-sex marriage - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
With an emotion-laden but amicable debate preceding a largely symbolic vote, the Pittsburgh Presbytery on Thursday narrowly endorsed a measure allowing same-sex marriage in church life.
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Historic vote starts Church of Scotland’s General Assembly tomorrow

Historic vote starts Church of Scotland’s General Assembly tomorrow | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly begins tomorrow with the installation of the Moderator Rev Dr Angus Morrison, who was forced to withdraw last year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
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The Presbyterian Church in Canada: Sexuality - A Reading List

The Presbyterian Church in Canada: Sexuality - A Reading List | THINKING PRESBYTERIAN | Scoop.it
Agreed Upon Reading List for 2015 General Assembly

by the Committee on Church Doctrine and Life and Mission Agency

This joint recommended reading list is commended to the attention of commissioners to the 2015 General Assembly.

Reports from The Presbyterian Church in Canada

Report on Human Sexuality, Committee on Church Doctrine, A&P 1994, p. 251–74.
Interim Report of the Special Committee on Sexual Orientation, A&P 2000, p. 482–92.
Report of the Special Committee on Sexual Orientation, A&P 2003, p. 526–47.
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