Justice Corner is an opportunity for us to periodically share the latest activities and updates for the Justice Ministries of Pittsburgh Presbytery. For more information on those programs, please visit our Justice Ministries page. If you would like to get involved, please contact Rev. Ralph Lowe, Director of Justice Ministries.
Matthew 25 Summit: Closing Worship
The Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, preached during closing worship at the Matthew 25 Summit. Her sermon, “Dream Driven,” can be viewed here, at 48 minutes from the end.
“When was the last time that you dreamed? When was the last time you felt passion for a subject? When was the last time, church, you dreamed for wholeness and health … for justice to flow like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream?
C’mon, church! Won’t you dream?”
– Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett
Matthew 25 Summit: Lecture from William Yoo
The Matthew 25 Summit is taking place in Atlanta, GA, and is bringing mid-councils, churches, and individuals together to explore the vision in Matthew 25. Rev. Dr. William Yoo shared an inspiring lecture that you can view here. Dr. Yoo is the author of “What Kind of Christianity: A History of Slavery and Anti-Black Racism in the Presbyterian Church,” and is Associate Professor of American Religion and Cultural History at Columbia Theological Seminary, where he also directs the Master of Divinity Program.
“The Matthew 25 journey will require both patience and persistence. We are angry and lament the Matthew 25 church that never was, but we rejoice over the Matthew 25 church that is here today.” – Rev. Dr. William Yoo
Denomination Wide Book Study
Join with other PC(USA) members across the country to discuss Matthew Desmond’s book “Poverty, by America” over 4 sessions (2-3 chapters will be discussed each session). Registration is open now for the free online study, which will feature Matthew Desmond in the Feb. 5 session. The sessions will be from 7:30-8:45 p.m. eastern time on Mondays in February, 2024: Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26. All are welcome!
Individuals who want to gain a greater understanding of the civil rights movement and how it continues to be impactful can sign up for a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) travel study seminar that will include visits to three southern states next spring. Feb. 23, 2024 is the deadline to apply for “Exploring the Legacies and Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. South,” a 10-day journey from Birmingham, Alabama to Memphis that also includes stops in Mississippi.
Presbyterian Women Churchwide’s Justice and Peace Committee has released their 2024 Book Discussion Guide. The list of six books includes The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng, and more. The discussions are held bimonthly on the second Monday from 6:30 – 8:30pm.
Introduction to Systematic Racism Workshop
Crossroads Introduction to Antiracism aims to build a foundation of shared sensitivity to systemic racism and a common language for investigating race and racism. The two day event aims to resource participants in effective ways of dismantling structures of racism and building beloved community. Register for the event here.
You may not think that there’s anything to do this June or July about the pressing need for Voting Rights protections – But there certainly is! 24 of our country’s 50 states have passed voter suppression laws, most since 2020. Please take a few minutes and contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. House Representative as well as the U.S. President and Vice-President to urge the passage of such crucial legislation immediately. Click here for more information.
With 12 weeks of family leave now part of a minister’s terms of call, congregations can get creative filling the pulpit. The Advocacy Committee for Women and Gender Justice has published a new resource to help congregations — especially smaller congregations — with ideas for seeking out worship leadership during each of those 12 weeks.
Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries has organized a Juneteenth conversation between pastors and denominational leaders about the status and stability of Black Presbyterian churches in the wake of Covid. The conversation will be pre-recorded and then shown online beginning at noon Eastern Time on June 19, Juneteenth, on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Facebook page. The event is being organized by the Rev. Michael L. Moore, who leads the Office of African American Intercultural Congregational Support.
The Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) has created an online tool providing chronological information about the Black Presbyterian experience reaching back to the 1800s. The new interactive timeline currently includes over 70 entries ranging from biographies of African American Presbyterian leaders to information on the founding of historically Black institutions in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations. The timeline can be accessed through the African American Leaders and Congregations Collecting Initiative (AALC) page on the PHS website. Individual timeline markers can be shared as links or social media posts, such as a profile of the Rev. Hugh Mason Browne, who passed away 200 years ago this year.
Special Webinar with Author What Kind of Christianity: A History of Slavery and Anti-Black Racism in the Presbyterian Church by William Yoo (Westminster John Knox Press, 2022)
In this important book, William Yoo demonstrates that to understand how Presbyterian Christians can promote racial justice today, they must first understand and acknowledge how deeply racial injustice is embedded in their history and identity as a denomination.
You can download an excerpt or purchase the book from the PCUSA store: https://www.pcusastore.com/Products/0664264670/what-kind-of-christianity.aspx
The webinar will be held on Monday, February 13, 6:30–8:30 PM (Eastern). It’s free to participate, but registration is required. https://www.presbyterianwomen.org/what_we_do/work-for-justice/ You do not need to “create a sign-up” or “Log In” to register. You will receive a Zoom link 24 hours prior to the webinar.
The title of the book is taken from this question raised by the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, the first African-American woman ordained (in 1974) as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church:
“Where was the Church and the Christian believers when Black women and Black men, Black boys and Black girls, were being raped, sexually abused, lynched, assassinated, castrated and physically oppressed? What kind of Christianity allowed white Christians to deny basic human rights and simple dignity to Blacks, these same rights which have been given to others without question?”
Dr. William Yoo is Associate Professor of American Religious and Cultural History as well as Director of the MDiv Program at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Dr. Yoo is also the author of The Presbyterian Experience in the United States.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries is launching a new virtual Bible study to celebrate Black History Month. The series is called “Models of Black Resistance Past and Present” and will stream on the RE&WIM Facebook page at 5 p.m. Eastern Time each Wednesday from February 1 through March 15.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency has released new resources to help promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion and understanding within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as well as anywhere that individuals or families may be seeking answers about issues related to inclusion and diversity. “They are written to be easily navigated by both clergy and lay members of the church,” said the Rev. Shanea Leonard, Director of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries. “They are intended to be used as guides or resources for teaching and group discussion, and they are intended for anyone who searches our PC(USA) website wondering about how we tangibly back up the statements made by our General Assembly.”
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Racial Wealth Gap Simulation
“Bread for the World: Racial Wealth Gap Simulation” is a brunch and learning simulation on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at Hiland Presbyterian Church. Co-hosted by Hiland Presbyterian Church and Waverly Presbyterian Church, the simulation is an empathy-building exercise to aid understanding in the connections among racial equity, hunger, poverty, and wealth. Rev. Liddy Barlow, Executive Minister of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, will lead the event. Please RSVP to indicate your interest in this event to Jen Imler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-364-9000.
The Office of Public Witness invites you to a webinar on Wednesday, January 18, at Noon, co-sponsored by the Presbyterian Iraq Partnership Network, Presbyterian World Mission, and the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN. They will focus on the scourge of Depleted Uranium left in Iraq as a result of U.S. weapons used during the US-Iraq conflict. Our own Rev. Matthew Fricker will be one of the speakers.
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Presbyterian Women Churchwide’s Justice and Peace Committee is once again hosting book discussion groups in 2023. And you’re invited to participate! They will discuss five books and one movie, plus host a special webinar with a book author! The first book will be discussed on January 9, 2023, and will be Call Me A Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace by Laurie Levin.
The discussions will be held on Zoom, bimonthly on the second Monday, 6:30–8:30 PM (Eastern). It’s free to participate, but registration is required. You will receive questions for reflection/discussion, as well as a Zoom link, 24 hours prior to each session. Be sure to sign up today!
Jesus commands us to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, and he says, “just as you did it to one of the least of these … you did it to me.” Love and justice are essential in the Bible, and justice in America includes the right to vote. The Pittsburgh Presbytery voted in May to adopt a statement called “Citizens’ Right to Vote: A Call to Action,” which noted our church’s long history of supporting voting rights and urged us all to carry on this vital tradition. Now, in this election season, we need to do more. As individuals and congregations we can make a difference. Click here to read more.
Citizens’ Right to Vote: A Call to Action
Dear Presbytery Sisters and Brothers,
At our regular meeting on May 19, 2022, Pittsburgh Presbytery adopted the attached Call to Action regarding preserving and strengthening voter access to the ballot box. This is an issue of deep moral concern driven by our Christian faith, rooted in the teachings of Jesus and ancient Hebrew prophets.
Providing for equal access to the ballot box for all eligible voters is a faith concern for people who believe that every human being is made equally in God’s image. Jesus rebukes his disciples for preventing “the little ones” from gaining access to him, thus teaching that everyone great and small is equally privileged in God’s kingdom (Matthew 19:13-15). In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus equates the welcome we give to the poor and vulnerable with welcoming him personally.
We have prepared a bulletin insert to introduce this to your congregation. Please circulate this call to your church members.
Sheldon W. Sorge