Important Federal Court Ruling on Failure to Report Child Abuse
Published in Church Law & Tax Report, January/February 2016, pg. 12, Senior Editor Richard R. Hammar, Christianity Today, publisher.
A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that a local church and denominational agency could be sued on the basis of the legal principle of negligence per se by a victim of child abuse as a result of their failure to report … This means that a mandatory child abuse reporter’s failure to comply with a state child abuse reporting law’s requirement to report a known or reasonably suspected incident of child abuse would render that person automatically liable for monetary damages without a need for the victim to prove actual negligence. [Doe v. Liberatore, 478 F.Supp.2d 742 (M.D. pa 2007)
Report submitted to assembly on identity, purpose of PC(USA)
A vibrant family portrait of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has emerged from the recent church-wide conversation on the identity and purpose of the denomination, and God, Christ, love, and the world are among the most prominent subjects.
Dominant, too, is a commitment to Reformed Theology, and to the scriptural call to ministry outside the church. That’s the message coming from “When We Gather at the Table: A PC(USA) Snapshot (PDF),” a report of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) to the 222nd General Assembly (2016).
It outlines the results of the comprehensive effort made by COGA in late 2015 to dialogue with the church about who it is and what it is called to be. COGA, with the help of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Research Services office, invited anyone who wished to complete an online form with open-ended questions and to engage in group gatherings to talk about the PC(USA) in this current time and place. More than 3,000 Presbyterians responded and some 21,000 pieces of data came in.
“The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly wants to thank everyone who gave thought, prayer, and insight to Research Services,” COGA said in its report. “It was clear in all responses that all people care about their Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). If our church was only fueled by passion there is enough to carry us well into the future.”
COGA’s report is available on PC-Biz and will be part of the business received by the General Assembly when it meets June 18–25 in Portland, Oregon. The data collected by Research Services is available in a report here, and an external report written by Dr. John Brueggemann can be found here.
“We are a blessed and fortunate people who have a heritage that still inspires us to be hearers and doers of the Word; to treasure the role of laity and clergy together; that privileges thoughtful discernment and compels us to act for justice,” COGA said. “There is a widespread appreciation for Reformed Theology and how it has shaped us a church.”
Simultaneously, “There is an urgent sense that our efforts must now address the needs of congregations, mid councils, and agencies of the church—venerable and emerging, as an expression of faithfulness to the Lordship of Christ,” the committee said. “COGA notes a healthy restiveness to reform our structures and perhaps even our Presbyterian culture in service to a renewed vitality of witness in our nation and around the world. There is a common desire to find ways to support healthy congregations and our commitment to helping others.”
COGA’s report will first be received by the Assembly Committee on The Way Forward before moving on to the full assembly.
Office of the General Assembly
Director of Communications and Assistant Stated Clerk
Are you passionate about church history?
You may or may not be aware that the Synod of the Trinity is turning 300
years old in the fall of 2016. We are in the very early stages of talks
about how we are going to celebrate this milestone birthday. One thing we
obviously want to do is include the history of our presbyteries in anything
that we do.
We are looking for anyone who is passionate about history, specifically church history, in your presbytery. It can be someone who works at the presbytery and has knowledge of your presbytery’s history or it could be someone at a church in your presbytery who has these qualities.
If you are interested, please send your name, phone number and email address
to Mike Givler at the Synod of the Trinity (contact info below).
The Synod of the Trinity
3040 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
717-737-0421, ext. 233
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) provides emergency relief and short-term recovery to the impacted areas with our partner, ACT Alliance and its members. Immediate responses help provide needed food, water, supplies and medicine to the impacted towns and villages.
The needs for the response are great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP” – Give. Act. Pray.
- Give: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated. you can view the list at http://pda.pcusa.org/page/active-accounts/. Gifts can be made through your local church, online, by phone (800) 872-3283 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), or checks can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
- Act: Learn how your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.
- Pray: Pray for those who suffered loss of family or those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.
For more information, visit The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA),
Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS)
PHS is here to serve your congregation. From preserving your history, to accessing historical records, to learning more about the heritage of American Presbyterianism, there is a lot to explore at www.history.pcusa.org!