At the 26th General Synod in Hartford, Connecticut, the Collegium of Officers issued a Pastoral Letter on the Iraq War endorsed by all of the Conference Ministers and the Presidents of the Seminaries of the United Church of Christ. The Pastoral Letter calls on the church to "join protest to prayer" in an effort to end the war.
Since then, nearly 64,000 UCC members have joined us as co-signers. What a remarkable achievement.
This October, the Rev. Linda Jaramillo and the Rev. John H. Thomas delivered our statement, along with your signature, to the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader David Boehner. Each of their representatives respectfully received us and our heavy boxes of petitions.
Later, at the White House, they were not as successful. Since they were not able to have a face-to-face meeting with the public liaison office as we had hoped, they decided to go to a no-protest zone near the White House gate, where they ignored three police orders to move and were arrested. Their public witness for peace was an expression of solidarity with the thousands who had signed the Pastoral Leader and were praying for peace.
Our effort in Washington, we realize, was largely symbolic. It alone neither rattled the White House nor convinced the Congress.
Yet, our effort was one powerful witness expressed alongside 63,797 others – faithful UCC members who have publicly committed to joining protest to prayer to end this war. Our petition-delivery attempt was one step among thousands that will ultimately result in a new day of peace for the people of Iraq.
Our campaign will not end until the war ends, so we encourage your continued participation. We are still gathering signatures, and additional coordinated actions are being planned.
Thank you to everyone who has taken action for peace.