From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
04 May 1996 20:53:43
95420 Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
Refines Policy Paper on Sustainable Human Development
by Julian Shipp
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--During its Nov. 2-5 meeting here, the Advisory
Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) refined its major policy paper
on sustainable human development, a significant step in preparing the
document for action by the 208th General Assembly (1996) in Albuquerque,
The document, titled "Hope for a Global Future: Toward Just and
Sustainable Human Development," calls for the comprehensive enhancement of
human life for all, present and future, through the integration of
economic, social, political, cultural, ecological, and spiritual means. It
also outlines what just and sustainable human development might look like
in light of the Reformed tradition.
ACSWP created the task force that began work on the paper in 1991.
Since then task force members have examined the social, economic, and
ecological effects of America's international economic policies on the
world's poorest nations and peoples. Additionally, the group evaluated
these polices and proposed appropriate directions for reform.
According to task force chairperson James Kuhn, a Presbyterian elder
and retired business professor from Columbia University in New York, the
document has a global focus and takes a go-for-broke approach in addressing
world problems because it is centered around the notion that human beings
will "either accomplish sustainability together or not at all."
Kuhn said experts in theology, business, government, sociology and
other related fields were consulted during the creation of the paper. For
example, in February of 1993, the group met for eight days in Honduras,
the second-poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, for on-site experience
Representatives of 15 synods met Oct. 13-15 in Louisville, Ky., to
discuss and critique the paper before offering their consultation report to
ACSWP members. Kuhn said that while some representatives criticized the
document for being too lengthy, they praised the overall report in several
Among them were
the paper's emphasis on overconsumption as a prophetic word to the
majority of people in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and America.
the paper's finding that women are among the poorest of the world's
poor. The paper describes the role of women as participants in the
development process and advocates development strategies that take specific
account of the special needs of women as essential.
the need for equal justice among the world's rich and poor.
"I think that the Third World members on our task force helped us
greatly in moving in these directions," Kuhn said, adding the task force's
final meeting was in April. "The group really came together in a most
remarkable way, although there were disagreements on a few items."
Working in four subgroups, ACSWP members thoroughly edited the
document, often adding language to make it easier to understand. The Rev.
Peter A. Sulyok, ACSWP associate for policy development and interpretation,
said the Arkansas consultation was "the major meeting for examining the
Even so, Sulyok said, some additional time will be set aside during
ACSWP's next meeting, Jan. 18-21 in Louisville, for a final refinement of
the paper before it is submitted to the 1996 Assembly.
Task force members include Gordon K. Douglass, a Presbyterian elder,
former vice president for academic affairs and dean of Franklin & Marshall
College in Huntington, W. Va.; the Rev. William E. Gibson, a
theologian/ethicist and former staff associate for the Eco-Justice Project
and Network at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.; and Heidi Hadsell do
Nascimento, an ethicist, dean of the faculty, and vice president of
academic affairs at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Other task force members are William S. Brackett, a Presbyterian elder
and chief executive officer of World Neighbors from Oklahoma City, Okla.;
Alice Frazer Evans, a Presbyterian elder and director of writing and
research at Plowshares Institute in Simsbury, Conn.; Charles McLure, Jr., a
Presbyterian elder and former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of the
treasury for tax analysis from Menlo Park, Calif.; and Mary McQuillen, a
Presbyterian elder and instructor in Native American oral history from Port
Remaining task force members are Edna Orteza, an elder of United
Church of Christ in the Philippines and World Alliance of Reformed Churches
representative to the task force; Robert Patterson, a Presbyterian elder
and professor of crop science at North Carolina State University in
Raleigh; the Rev. Louise Tappa, a Baptist minister in Cameroon and a World
Alliance of Reformed Churches representative to the task force; and the
Rev. Sarah Blyth Taylor, a Presbyterian minister and former vice president
of international finance with Citibank from Phoenixville, Penn.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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