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Amid Controversy, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Gathers in San Jose

Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy 

WASHINGTON, June 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Institute on Religion and Democracy will be sending a team led by Presbyterian Action Director James Berkley to the 2008 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has 2.3 million members in the United States. The General Assembly, which meets every two years, is the denomination's top governing body.

The denomination is divided over hot-button issues, such as same-sex unions, the ordination of practicing homosexual persons, Israel-Palestine and a proposed new Form of Government. IRD/Presbyterian Action supports a conservative perspective that affirms traditional church teachings.

What: 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Who: 752 Commissioners (Ministers and Lay Persons) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Where: San Jose, California
When: Saturday, June 21 through Saturday, June 28

Available for Interviews:

James Berkley—Director, Presbyterian Action for the Institute on Religion & Democracy. Berkley has an M.Div. and D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Ordained in 1975 at Yakima First Presbyterian, he has served pastorates in Bellevue, Washington, as well as Dixon and Ventura, California. Berkley is a minister member of Seattle Presbytery. He was previously editor for Your Church magazine and Leadership journal for Christianity Today, Inc. Berkley has edited and written a number of books, including Essential Christianity (Zondervan, 2001) and The Dynamics of Church Finance (Baker, 2000).

Alan Wisdom—Vice President for Research and Programs at the Institute on Religion & Democracy. Wisdom has attended every PCUSA General Assembly since 1988. His research has had a particular focus on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Latin America. He has written articles on these and other topics for IRD's bi-monthly publication Faith & Freedom, of which he also serves as executive editor. Alan is an elder at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church and a member of the Global Mission team of the National Capital Presbytery.

White papers are available on line at www.TheIRD.org:

Let's Be Fair Concerning the Middle East: A briefing paper on ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Speaking Humility to Complexity: A briefing paper on SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES