From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ACSWP APPROVES CHURCHWIDE HEALTH CARE POLICY
05 May 1996 07:36:12
95058 ACSWP APPROVES CHURCHWIDE HEALTH CARE POLICY
by Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy
(ACSWP) has given a clean bill of health to a churchwide report on
health care to be submitted the 207th General Assembly (1995) in
Cincinnati. The report recommends ways to implement two previous
These include a policy statement adopted by the 200th General
Assembly (1988) titled "Life Abundant: Values, Choices, and Health
Care: The Responsibility and Role of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.)" and a resolution approved by the 203rd General Assembly
(1991) titled "Resolution on Christian Responsibility and a
National Medical Plan."
The Rev. Peter Sulyok, ACSWP associate for policy development
and interpretation, said the report, titled "Call to Healing and
Wholeness: A Review of the PC(USA)'s Health Care Policy and Program
with Recommendations," summarizes the process, conclusions and
recommendations of ACSWP's Health Care Study Team in response to
The Rev. John Sharick, executive presbyter of Eastminster
Presbytery in Youngstown, Ohio, and chairman of the 1988 health
care task force, said he believes some of the programs outlined in
the report -- such as those focusing on AIDS and health care for
women and the poor -- could become models for the nation.
"Now that we know where some of these ministries are located,
they in fact can be lifted up as [examples] ... not only for the
church, but for society," Sharick said.
Following two meetings, a churchwide staff consultation, and
extensive research, ACSWP's Health Care Study Team concluded:
* Many Presbyterians have not yet learned of or reaffirmed the
basic premises of making health care decisions according to
biblical, theological and faith values.
* Ambiguities complicate health issues for the church, such
as whether health is a faith issue or a secular concern, which
value systems dominate thinking and action, and how to be a
faithful steward and advocate for justice in health care while
participating in the current health care system.
* The PC(USA)'s previous health policy is still relevant, but
needs to be acted upon in the context of current political, social
and economic conditions.
* Wider knowledge and implementation of previous policy, with
the addition of new policy responding to emerging health problems
and ethical choices, is more important now than ever.
"We want to help people understand the basic call to take care
of themselves as part of their responsibilities as Christians,"
said the Rev. Dave Zuverink, associate for health ministries U.S.A.
in the National Ministries Division. "We really need, as children
of God, to take care of the temple that God has given us."
In reviewing the documents, Sulyok said, the study team
concluded they were "good guidance for the church today." He said
the group thoroughly reviewed the denomination's current programs
and called on all General Assembly entities to comment on how they
have been implemented in their respective areas.
Additionally, Sulyok said, the group surveyed five synods and
33 presbyteries that responded to their churchwide questionnaire
to assess what activities are occurring at the grassroots level.
Synods cited educational programs or consultive services
(addressing HIV/AIDS, for example) and advocacy on public policy
as their primary issues.
Major program areas noted at the presbytery and congregational
levels were awareness, advocacy, education, skills training and
direct ministry in health care.
"There are some exciting things happening in health care
throughout the church now," Sulyok said. "And we encourage more
people to become aware of them and imitate them."
# # #
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
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .