First News Monthly - July 2020


The following statement was published in the most recent edition of “Fresh Impressions” from the Presbytery of Milwaukee.
 
It is a timely document and I am submitting it in lieu of a letter from the Pastor for our July Newsletter.
 


Statement on Honest Patriotism

The following statement was adopted at the 223rd General Assembly in 2018.
 
  1. We affirm and honor the work of citizens of the United States who have chosen public service as part of their vocation. This includes, but is not limited to, civil service employees, members of the judiciary, and our elected representatives in the Legislative and Executive branches of our national government. Public employees of local and state governments also serve the common good. We further affirm, as part of our Reformed tradition, that their work is part of God’s design for the governance of creation.
  2.  We affirm the imperative for honesty in the public statements, proceedings, publications, and theological witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), recognizing that our faith is based, at its core, on a commitment to truth. In like manner, we call upon all citizens, as well as governments, to recognize commitment to truth as a core value and to be vigilant in demanding honesty in our public and private interactions. Christians must scrutinize news sources and reject those that oversimplify or sensationalize conflicts and demonize other human beings and peoples.
  3. We affirm the protection of the freedom of speech, as enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. We recognize that meaningful civic engagement is dependent upon the protection of this freedom, which keeps our engagement lively, meaningful, and prophetic. As this freedom involves clashing ideas of what is true and false, the United States’ legal tradition makes it the responsibility of citizens and their elected representatives to develop measures of public accountability for truthfulness in the public square in all its forms: over public airwaves, through cyberspace, and through proactive requirements of public disclosure by government agencies and publicly chartered profit and nonprofit entities.
  4. We affirm the widest possible public access to information and to the products of cultural activity. We recognize that such freedom to listen is vital to the free exchange of ideas and to the practical application of freedom of speech. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) opposes any attempt to limit this free exchange, including but not limited to, monopoly ownership of media outlets and the dismantling of net neutrality. This excludes only the production and promotion of hate speech, designed to exclude others from such access or endanger their persons and property.
  5. We affirm the rights of all citizens to freedom of assembly. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) opposes any attempts to abrogate this freedom, including, but not limited to, attempts to criminalize, manipulate by false information, or in other ways delegitimize peaceful protest. New forms of surveillance by drone and electronic means, as well as increased use of military equipment by police forces, require increased public accountability of all policing and security agencies. Similarly, data gathered from electronic devices about personal communications and purchasing history should be governed by privacy protections and not used commercially or otherwise without permission.
  6. We affirm the freedom of the press, guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) opposes any attempts to abrogate this freedom, including, but not limited to, threats, intimidation, and the denial of access to certain members or organs of the press for partisan reasons.
  7. We affirm the rule of law as inseparable from our Reformed commitment to truth. Recognizing that human law is a human creation and therefore subject to error, we nonetheless affirm the democratic principle of equal protection under the law, as enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Institutionally, this equal protection is guaranteed by an independent judiciary, the maintenance of which must continue to be a national priority. This has customarily meant laws to insulate judges from partisan politics as well as the use of objective qualifications in their selection, both of which approaches this assembly would endorse.
  8. We affirm the need for free critical inquiry that is unhampered by censorship. Commitment to integrity and to the truth must also extend to those whose vocation it is to seek out the truth and to add to the store of human knowledge. We therefore oppose any governmental, educational, or other institutional restrictions on the initiation, maintenance, or publication of research.
  9. We affirm the right of citizens to participate in the democratic process. Fundamental to that process is the right to vote. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in affirming its commitment to honest patriotism and responsible citizenship, therefore opposes any efforts to restrict participation in elections, including, but not limited to, voter suppression initiatives and racially-based and/or partisan gerrymandering.
Beginning at noon on Wednesday, August 5th, Pastor Mark will be holding Bible Study virtually through Zoom. He would also like to offer it on Sunday morning, after our virtual service (i.e., about 10:40 a.m.) . Please contact the church office (262.632.1686 or office@firstpresracine.org ), to let us know which would work better for you.
Thank you for your generous donations to Hand of Hope / One Great Hour of Sharing . The Family Service of Racine, Faith Hope & Love and the Racine Arts Council all benefited from your generosity. And your generosity was EPIC! $5540!!
The First Pres Food Pantry is going well; however, our number of clients are going up. We served thirty families last week.

We do need some volunteers as things in the city begin to open up, our current volunteers - the young people and one adult - will begin sports activities and return to school. Youth work downstairs with an adult. those upstairs where the clients come in wear masks and only move boxes to the table limiting contact with clients. So some new volunteers would be appreciated.

With the numbers going up, we need to get a new freezer. Either an upright one or chest freezer. Size would be 16 cubic feet would be preferable. We get a lot of frozen meat, vegetables and fruit that we don't have storage space. If someone has one that they want to donate that would be great. Otherwise we will purchase one. To purchase one, we have to get on a waiting list as most stores are out of stock.

Thank you to everyone that has donated to help us to continue be a support in the community.

LuAnn Hansen

Dave & Ginny Holle continue to graciously host the virtual Saturday Morning Coffee Klatch. There will not be one this week, due to the holiday weekend. The next Coffee Klatch is scheduled for the 11th. If you are interested in participating, just reach out to the Holles or the church office !

Thank you, Dave & Ginny!