Wednesday, August 26, 2009

EDWARD M. KENNEDY 1932 - 2009

A Few of the Many Statements on the Occasion of his Death:

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan:
"I was terribly saddened to hear of the death of Ted Kennedy tonight. Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him."

Senator Orrin Hatch
: "Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend. Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States senator whose influence cannot be overstated. Many have come before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy's name will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the work completed within its chamber."

President Barack Obama: "For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. . . . An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time."

The Reverend Jim Wallis: "On the occasion of his death, I pray that God may now move us as a nation to address the greatest commitment of Senator Kennedy’s life–the need for a comprehensive reform of the health care system in America–as a deeply moral issue and one that calls forth the very best that is within us."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

140,000 People of Faith Join Religious Leaders and President Obama on a Health Care Conference Call Hosted by Religious Organizations

An estimated 140,000 people of faith gathered on a historic national conference call with President Barack Obama and the American faith community. Sponsored by several PJA partners and allies, and more than thirty other denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith organizations, the conference call included prayer and moments of silence, stories from people struggling with and suffering from the current health care system, suggestions from local religious leaders about ways to engage people in dialogue and action, answers to questions about health care reform from a White House domestic policy advisor, and comments by the President of the United States about the moral imperative for health insurance reform and the important role of people of faith in making it happen.

This highly successful conference call was linked with two efforts that are currently underway: the "40 Days for Health Reform" campaign to mobilize people of faith to pressure Congress to pass health insurance reform; and the "Let Our Light Shine" campaign to organize health care reform prayer vigils, worship services and other events throughout the month of August.

Yesterday's call lifted up the inspiring efforts of tens of thousands of people of faith across the United States to promote a civil dialogue and ensure that Congress passes legislation in 2009 that will make quality health care accessible and affordable for all Americans.

A recording of the call is available at, which live-streamed the call.

More information about the call and about ongoing campaigns is available at and

Monday, August 17, 2009

RSVP HERE to join a conference call with President Obama on health care: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, at 5 PM Eastern.

Call your members of Congress today and urge them to support
health insurance reform: 1-888-797-8717 (toll-free).

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Leader of the Presbyterian Church (USA): "Reforming our health care system cannot wait"

The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has issued the following statement in light of the national attention on health care reform:

The current public debate about health care has led several people to ask what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has said about this issue.

The 218th General Assembly (2008) directed the Stated Clerk to send the following resolution to appropriate committee chairs in the United States Congress:

Jesus Christ, who has reconciled us to God, healed all kinds of sickness (Mt. 4:23, par) as a sign of God's rule. Isaiah speaks God's word to say "No more shall there be ... an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime" (Isa. 65:20a). We, as Reformed Christians, bear witness to Jesus Christ in word, but also in deed. As followers of our Great Physician Jesus, we have a moral imperative to work to assure that everyone has full access to health care. . . .

To read the rest of this resolution, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Since the publication of this resolution, the nation has been engaged in an escalating polarization on the issue. Consensus seems far off and the details of how to reach the goal of comprehensive health care continue to confound our country. Yet, consensus as a nation is imperative because reforming our health care system cannot wait. The General Assembly has been clear that Congress must enact comprehensive health care reform that will provide all persons with access to health care services.

I am mindful of a portion of a prayer Peter Marshall prayed in 1947 when he was chaplain of the Senate. "We know deep down in our hearts that without Thy guidance we can do nothing, but with Thee we can do all things. Let us not be frightened by the problems that confront us, but rather give Thee thanks that Thou hast matched us with this hour. May we resolve, God helping us, to be part of the answer, and not part of the problem; for Jesus' sake. Amen."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

DJAN Hosts Vigil in Support of Health Care Reform

Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) hosted a prayer vigil and rally for health care reform on Saturday evening in a ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center.

"We are gathered in this place to raise our voices against the injustice of a health-care system that costs too much, covers too little, and excludes too many," said Linda Hanna Walling, a Disciples minister who serves as executive director of Faithful Reform in Health Care and a Senior Advisor on Health Care Reform to the Disciples Center for Public Witness.

The vigil was originally scheduled to be held on the grounds of the Indiana state capitol, but concerns about the weather moved the event indoors. Instead of lighting candles, [close to 600] attendees filled the darkened room with the lights from their cell phones.

Several speakers from both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the local church community were featured, including Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Disciples of Christ; her seminary classmate, Angelique Walker-Smith, executive director and minister of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis; Rabbi Lewis Weiss; and John Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.

Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin, Jr., senior pastor of Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis, gave the keynote address.

To read the entire article from DisciplesWorld, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

To read an article about the vigil from the Indianapolis Star, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MFSA Newsletter

The June - August 2009 edition of Social Questions Bulletin, the newsletter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), is now online.

Highlights include the activities of the various MFSA chapters, a memorial tribute to Dr. George Tiller, an article on "The Dignity of Work" by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, a call for ending the violence in Iran, reflections on the life of Jean Phillips Brown, and an editorial ("The Log in My Own Eye") by MFSA Director, Kathryn Johnson.

To download a copy of the newsletter, PLEASE CLICK HERE.