Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders meet with U.S. Senate Democratic caucus, other faith leaders

Good timing for church to engage at the beginning of the legislative session

January 29, 2014

Stated Clerk at Senate Democratic Caucus meeting

Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons encourages leaders at Senate Democratic Caucus meeting to pass common sense gun laws to help eradicate gun violence in the United States. —Office of Public Witness

Louisville, KY

Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A) stated clerk Gradye Parsons met with the Senate democratic caucus—and other faith leaders who were invited to share their concerns as a new legislative session begins.

Much of the conversation in the 75-minute meeting centered around faith concerns about poverty, the recovering economy, economic inequality, immigration rights and mass incarceration.

When Parsons finally spoke he brought up immigration reform, then talked about one of the church’s top priorities.

“We hadn’t talked about it yet,” said Parsons.  “So I linked the issues we had been discussing to the issue of violence in our society—especially gun violence.”

As Parsons advocated for something to be done, encouraging those present not to let it slip off the radar—due to a lack of political will, or because it’s too hard—the important conversation began, lasting the final fifteen minutes of the meeting.

“We were thankful that Gradye Parsons reminded the Senators that gun violence remains a serious problem in the United States and that Presbyterians are working hard to eradicate it,” says J. Herbert Nelson, Director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness, in Washington, D.C.   

Nelson attended the meeting with Parsons, along with colleague Leslie Woods.  “This kind of witness is part of our tradition. Presbyterians have always been committed to making our government and community stronger, by better serving people,” she said. 

Parsons says he was an extension of the Office of Public Witness—able to bring the church’s concerns to the table because of their leadership and good work.

“We’ve been pushing for immigration rights and reforms for ten years,” says Parsons. “Now there’s a huge push from an evangelical alliance that crosses theological differences to get something done.”

“It’s very encouraging.  Increasingly people think we need to treat immigrants in our country as people, like the bible tells us to.”

The Office of Public Witness is part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries.  

After working with Parsons on church priorities this morning, Nelson and Woods spent the afternoon welcoming and giving thanks for constituents who have supported and engaged in the public witness work of the church for the past 20-years. Part of a 2nd Tuesday group that was organized by lay people, they have been coming to D.C. when Congress is in session (on the second Tuesday) since 1991.

Next month, 2nd Tuesday will transition to online, giving it the capacity to go worldwide.

Read this article in Spanish. (Líderes de la Iglesia Presbiteriana (E.E.U.U.) se reunieron con el Caucus del Senado Demócrata y otros líderes religiosos)

  1. Dear Brothers in humanity Trust all is well. Kindly accept my greeting from Somalia. Mind is not a comment but suggestions. As communities on this planet are brothers/Sisters, I would like to suggest that, despite religions, believes and colors we have to harmonize our communities relationship, and work together abreast. if implemented the above suggestion no doubt the world will become safe and better place to live. please but aside the small differences and politicized religions by the world tamed politician leaders. Warm regards. Mr.Hussein HS from Somalia

    by Mr. Hussein H.S

    May 10, 2014

  2. Thank you Gradye, for bringing forward such a vital concern. We face, as you are so well-aware, a nexus of issues with the "unequal" crowd: unemployment, inadequate educational attention, health care issues, unnecessary incarceration, and, you are bold to name it, vulnerability to gun violence. Just back from Berlin and I always am aware how much better they handle these things. Thanks again. michael

    by michael Lukens

    February 5, 2014

  3. So the theological arm of the Democratic party--the PCUSA Office of Public Witness and its Stated Clerk-- meet with the Democratic Caucus. Not exactly startling news. In the early 20th century, the Episcopal Church in the US was sometimes called the Republican Party at prayer. A century later, it's reversed. Now both the Episcopalians and the PCUSA are fully owned subsidiaries of the liberal wing of the Democratic party. Except where they're further left than both. Even some Democratic politicians can still be hard headed realists when it comes to both foreign and economic policy. Realism not being any constraint at all for many of our religious leaders. Which is a break from the last generation of our religious leaders who served in WWII, had stared genuine evil in the face, had a deeper understanding of real world realities, and tempered their liberal philosophies with a healthy, practical dose of it.

    by Tome Walters

    January 30, 2014

  4. The first paragraph raised a question for me--Has Gradye Parsons (and/or the other faith leaders mentioned) ever met with the Senate REPUBLICAN Caucus? If not, then you do not represent well the probably near 50% of PCUSA members who align politically with the Republican Party. If you only talk with and seek to influence those with whom you find agreement you will continue to project a one-sided, narrow, view of Christian response to the issues that divide our church and our country and you will continue to alienate whole congregations who will continue to go to denominations where they feel their worldview is accepted and appreciated.

    by Marie Bowen

    January 30, 2014