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Philippine church leaders face death for advocating change

Photo: Eliezer M. Pascua
Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in Philippines. Photo by Danny Bolin

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua leads a church that lives at the intersection of uncertainty and faith.

Pascua, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), has seen 26 pastors and lay leaders killed over the past five years for the stands they have taken.

Church leaders who continue to speak out for the nation’s marginalized do so not knowing how the military and government might react. Imprisonment or death could very well be the result.

Nevertheless, the UCCP holds fast to its conviction that faithfulness requires the church to be advocates for people who are disenfranchised. “As one of the largest mainline denominations, we believe an integral part of our mission and ministry is to get involved in the struggles and hopes of the people,” said Pascua, an ecumenical delegate to the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “The whole UCCP carries this conviction.”

Assembly approves new social creed, the first in a century

by Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — By a 5-to-1 margin, the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Friday approved “A Social Creed for the 21st Century,” exactly 100 years after the “Social Creed” of 1908 spoke to the harshness of industrial life at the turn of the last century.

GA passes several strong actions for peace

The 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) has taken action on several recommendations from the committee on Peacemaking and International Issues, concerning the Philippines, Colombia, Conscientious Objectors, and Israel/Palestine:

Power of nonviolence lies in action, speaker says

Photo of a man at a podium speaking into a microphone
Mubarak Awad, director of Nonviolence International and co-founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence. Photo by Joseph Williams

SAN JOSE, June 25, 2008 — As the familiar strains of standard hymns drifted through the dividing walls at the Fairmont Hotel here, some 300 Presbyterians were called by Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian nonviolence expert, to take down the walls and fences built by human hands. Awad addressed the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) Breakfast, replacing the originally scheduled speaker, Jonathan Kuttab, a lay preacher and human rights attorney, who was unable to attend. The breakfast was held in conjunction with the meeting of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 

‘I am a Palestinian. I have no bombs.’ — Archbishop Chacour

by Eva Stimson
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 25, 2008 — Archbishop Elias Chacour calls himself “a walking contradiction.”

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