From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy

Date 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 
and study. 
     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 
Townsend, Wash. 
     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   Web page: 


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