From the Vision Accountability Board

In 2016, the Presbytery of Newark sent the following overture to the 222nd General Assembly. This overture was ultimately passed with the bracketed and underlined text included:

“The Presbytery of Newark respectfully overtures the 222nd General Assembly (2016) to do the following:”

1. Encourage the ministries and agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to be aware of the presence of slavery [and forced labor] in international chains of commerce.

2. Encourage the ministries and agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to inquire of each vendor with which they do business (a) that the vendor [ascertain and/or] disclose the nature and extent of slavery [and forced labor] in its supply chains, (b) that the vendor disclose the programs and strategies that it has adopted to eradicate slavery [and forced labor] from its supply chains, and (c) that the vendor provide to the inquiring ministry or agency those reports, analyses, and other materials that confirm or otherwise illuminate the vendor’s representations.

3. Encourage the ministries and agencies that invest in companies to inquire of each company in which they make an investment (a) that the company [ascertain and/or] disclose the nature and extent of slavery [and forced labor] in its supply chains, (b) that the company disclose the programs and strategies that it has adopted to eradicate slavery [and forced labor] from its supply chains, and (c) that the company provide to the inquiring ministry or agency those reports, analyses, and other materials that confirm or otherwise illuminate the company’s representations.

4. Encourage the ministries and agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to do business with and make investments in those companies that (a) have a rigorous program intended to eradicate slavery [and forced labor] from their supply chains and (b) disclose those reports and other information that enable the ministries and agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and such other persons as may be interested, to understand and evaluate the program that is intended to eradicate slavery [and forced labor] from the company’s supply chains.”

Barbara Smith recently received an e-mail from Bob Boneberg, a member of Wyoming Presbyterian Church asking if the Presbytery of Newark might consider co-sponsoring an all-faith conference in Essex County so that “the different faiths may share (1) their understanding of the issue of modern slavery, (2) how the issue is addressed, if at all, within their faith, (3) resources that they may have created with respect to the issue, and (4) any common or joint initiatives that might be undertaken.” This event is being slated for some time in May.

The VAB, at their meeting on February 13, voted unanimously to co-sponsor this event, especially in light of the overture we sent to the 222nd General Assembly. Bob writes that there will be minimal, if any, demand on Presbytery resources. Bob will be present at our May Presbytery meeting to talk further about this effort.

Should you wish to become more personally involved, Bob can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 973.886.6576.