will be Friday, March 18th at 12:00. Location TBA.  Agenda items will include: updates on greening the PTS campus, volunteer opportunities at the PTS community garden and Garfield Farms, an upcoming documentary viewing, and future campus-wide discussions of social justice issues — so please come join us.

Thanks to Dr. Susan Kendall and Rev. John Creasy for their insightful presentations on Food Justice in the John Knox room on Tuesday, Feb. 15th.  Dr. Kendall shared about the theological basis for doing everything we can on a day-to-day basis to be good stewards of God’s creation.  She focused on issues that affect water availability and consumption — reminding us that water is not a renewable resource and that our actions have a ripple effect either positively or negatively.

Rev. Creasy, co-pastor at Open Door church in Highland Park, shared about his vision and experiences developing Garfield Community Farm.  We learned about how the Farm has not only provided lots of organic produce to the community, but has also mobilized volunteers from the community and elsewhere to help beautify the Garfield neighborhood.  He discussed the idea of practicing permaculture — sustainable land use design.  Permaculture aims to create stable, productive, and natural systems of food production while harmoniously working with the natural balance of the many factors that make an ecosystem.

Both speakers gave us all a lot to think about in terms of our individual and collective impact on the Earth.  Let’s all keep these issues in mind as we make our daily consumer choices.

The next PJF meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at Noon in the McNaugher Lounge.  All are welcome to come and learn about upcoming events for the PTS PJF.


Tuesday, May 4 4:30-6pm in the John Knox Room

The purpose of this event is to explore the possibilities of remaining in fellowship with each other even in the face of great disagreement. This is especially difficult in light of ongoing disagreements over the marriage and ordination of gay and lesbian Christians. Assuming that few church leaders are going to change their minds about these issues anytime soon, what are the possibilities for continued partnership in ministry?

Four pastors with opposing views on marrying and ordaining gay and lesbian Christians will share insights from their own ministries about unity and disagreement.

Tricia Dykers Koenig – the National Organizer for the Covenant Network – and Jim Gilbert are both pastors from Cleveland Presbytery who intentionally formed a friendship in spite of their activism on either side of these issues and presented testimony of that experience to their presbytery as a model for the future.

Jeff Eddings (PCUSA) and Jim Walker (United Methodist) co-pastor a church in the Southside of Pittsburgh. Not only are they from different denominations but they hold different views on marriage and ordination. Their church – the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community – maintains a traditional view on sexual orientation, but also welcomes GLBT persons to positions of service and leadership in the congregation.

After presenting insights from their own experiences, these pastors will form a panel to answer questions from the audience. Questions will be collected during the presentations and posed by the moderator of the panel.

Also, questions can be emailed to the Peace and Justice Fellowship beforehand.

This event will not be a debate. It will not present easy answers. Nor will it require participants to surrender their convictions. Instead, our hope is that a commitment to unity will create an environment conducive for a frank exchange of views on campus and in our congregations and denominations at a later date.

Monday January 18 2:30 pm at Bakery Square in Mellon Park

Monday January 18th across from Bakery Square in Mellon Park at 2:30 PM Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network will hold a rally to announce our opposition to the Mayor’s actions against taxpayers and working people of Pittsburgh. The hotel complex in the former Nabisco plant got $13 million in tax subsidies and wants to pay hotel workers minimum wages.

We call on City Council to immediately pass our bill again and override the Mayor if he dares to use his veto again.

More info from PIIN:

The Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network won a major victory in 2009!

PIIN, and our partners in Pittsburgh UNITED, passed a “prevailing wage” law in Pittsburgh December 21st. By a unanimous vote City Council established that future service jobs created with tax subsidies would pay family sustaining wages and benefits for hotel, grocery, building and food service work.

Then on New Year’s Eve, Mayor Ravenstahl vetoed the law! After saying he wouldn’t, he did so when it was too late for Council to override him!

PIIN says NO to the Mayor, you can’t keep giving our tax money to rich developers who put people to work for minimum wage/no benefit jobs. We know we will be paying taxes to help those workers with food stamps, health insurance and many other things so their families can survive.

Join us on Martin Luther King Day to tell the Mayor we won’t stand for his treating working people this way. Dr. King died fighting for workers to have decent wages and benefits, jobs that support families.

Additional info:

The law for “prevailing wage” for service workers is one of 3 parts of a package designed to reform how economic development is done using taxpayer subsidies. The other parts include environmental protections (reducing storm water runoff, diesel air pollution and making sure development includes parks and access for public transit and pedestrians) and opening to the public what the deals are when public funds are given away (developers would make public the impact of their plans and specific commitments to communities for which they would be audited and punished if they don’t do what they promised).

PIIN is one of 11 organizations in Pittsburgh UNITED. Most significant power groups in addition to PIIN are the service unions: SEIU (Service Employees International Union), Workers United (hotel and food service) and the United Food and Commercial Workers. Other groups include the Sierra Club, NAACP, Mon Valley Unemployed Committee and Clean Water Action. This faith/labor/community coalition won the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement. It can bean important way for PIIN to build the relationships with other grassroots people’s organizations needed to have the power to address the “holy ground” issues facing our communities.

Caitlin opened the meeting with prayer

Old Business

1. Caitlin shared that she had not yet had a meeting with Mike and Tom and they were unable to attend the meeting today, but would likely be meeting with them next Wednesday at 10am. All are welcome to attend this meeting, which will take place in the Shak. Caitlin shared with the group a brochure from Metz associates that describes its sustainability efforts. Caitlin suggested using this as a jumping off point for discussion about cafeteria practices, to see what efforts we can do here at PTS, including composting, cage-free eggs, biodegradable trash bags, etc. Caitlin brought up the issue of recycling bins and shared Mihn’s suggestions of painting the bins we already have. The group then decided to approve the purchase of recycling bins, pending the approval of Tom and Mike.

2. Will told the group he had begun talking with Brian about EECM’s Food Collection. They will work together to push these efforts forward in the upcoming months

3. The final count on the Sock Collection, including Dr. Hainsworth’s matching is around 400 pairs. Mike will be delivering these as soon as he is able to connect with Dr. Withers or the rest of the organization.

4. The group then began discussing upcoming event on church unity and GLBT persons. ESF has expressed interest in partnering in this event and the focus will be on maintaining communion despite the disagreement. Mike shared about his conversation the night before with Tricia from the Covenant Network, who is willing to come to PTS for the event with her friend Jim. Including Jim and Jeff from Hot Metal was also discusses as they also represent two different sides of the issue, yet support GLBT leadership in their congregation. The first available date that does not conflict with classes or other events is April 27, 2010 so it was decided we would shoot for that date– holding the event in the John Knox room between classes. Caitlin and Mike will reserve this room. Format was then discussed. Small group discussion was presented as an option to take the form of “mutual invitation,” but this was voted down. The tentative format will look something like: opening by PJF, closing by ESF, intros by both, time for Tricia and Jim’s sharing, time for Jeff and Jim sharing, Q&A. It was decided that Q&A may be best handled by collecting questions during the talk in order to best facilitate the event. Other ideas were discussed, some of which may be good for future events. All will be thinking about publicity for next time and we will bring this event to Student Association at the next meeting.

New Business

1. Caitlin shared that there will be a Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Convocation in April, sponsored by the PC(USA). More details to come as they are sent by PC(USA).

2. Dean Welch shared about the PIIN MLK day action and an upcoming event at the JCC on January 29, 2010. PIIN (Pittsburgh Interfaith Action Network) has been working with labor unions to fight for a prevailing wage in the city. Dean Welch presented background information on this and announced that PIIN will be hosting a gathering at the old Nabisco plant (future site of Bakery Square, which received $13 million in tax subsidies and wants to pay hotel workers minimum wages) at 2:30pm on Martin Luther King Day. The purpose of the event is to encourage the mayor to take action. The city council had previously unanimously passed a “prevailing wage” law that would establish family sustaining wages for future service jobs created with tax subsidies, but this was then vetoed by the mayor at the last minute. He then introduced a new bill with no benefits. There have also been efforts to take this action county-wide and so far, there is much county-wide support, including support from Dan Onorato. Later that evening will also be an event at PTS from 5:00-6:30pm in the Knox Room. Dean Welch will keep up updated on this. The event at the JCC is a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Roundtable Discussion on Tuesday, January 26 from 7:30-9:00pm- free and open to the public.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 12noon in Dining Room 1

Mike closed meeting in prayer

The next meeting of the Peace & Justice Fellowship will be this Monday, December 7 at 3:30 pm in the Shak.

On the agenda is our food collection for East End Cooperative Ministry, our sock collection for Operation Safety Net, Green issues on campus (recycling) and planning for a program in January.

If you would like to get involved or just learn more about what is going on please join us in the Shak.


During the month of October our focus will be on homelessness, and we are organizing two options for becoming aware of issues that affect homeless people, advocating on their behalf, and helping to serve them directly.

First, throughout the month we will be collecting tube socks for Operation Safety Net. OSN is a local organization that provides free medical care – “street medicine” – to people living on the streets of Pittsburgh. Dr. Withers, the founder and director of OSN, visited PTS last year for a discussion about his work and when asked, he told us that they are always in need of new, clean socks for their patients. For more information about the innovative work of OSN, visit http://www.pmhs.org/operation-safety-net/ or watch the documentary One Bridge to the Next, available for free at http://becausefoundation.org/films/bridge/index.php.

You can place your donation of tube socks in the box marked for “East End Co-operative Ministry” in the Shak. We will sort the socks from the food donations.

Second is the Sleep-in for the Homeless, Oct. 9-10. The “Sleep-In for the Homeless” is a public awareness fundraising event that benefits over 1,500 local homeless children, seniors, adults and families served through Community Human Services (CHS) homeless programs and housing services. The Sleep-In, an overnight event, features speakers, song-writers, local politicians, and homeless advocates. Many activities are planned for the event, including poverty simulations, street-rounds reaching out to the people living on the streets, and music and letter writing campaigns. More info at http://sleepinforthehomeless.blogspot.com/.

Unfortunately, Mike and Caitlin will both be out of town this weekend and unable to attend. If you are planning to go, please email us and we will help to get you in touch with other students who are going.

Welcome new students!

The PJF is hosting a special movie night during orientation on Friday, September 4 at 5 pm in the John Knox room.  It will be one of several fun hang-out options hosted by various student organizations for new and returning students that evening.

Normally, we would screen a film or documentary with social justice themes, but we figure that after two days of non-stop orienting, everyone will be ready to just kick back and relax.  So, instead we are showing the family-friendly, indisputably classic 80’s adventure – The Goonies!

Also, be sure to stop by our table at the Activities Fair on Wednesday night for information on PJF programs and events for the fall!

Monday, April 27 5-6 pm

Basfield Dining Room

Beyond the ongoing debate in our country about immigration, what does justice look like for the actual people who are the subject of this debate?  How might the Christian practice of hospitality be helpful as a model of ministry to immigrants – even illegal immigrants – to our country?  What can individuals, families and congregations do?

Join Father Greg Swiderski, a chaplain for the Sisters of Divine Providence, as he helps us to think about these questions as he discusses his own experiences hosting an immigrant from Cuba.

Food provided by the Peace and Justice Fellowship.