The Just Peace Church vision is a hallmark of United Church of Christ theological identity. For 30 years, the Just Peace Church pronouncement has inspired a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church. The Just Peace pronouncement articulated the UCC position on war and peace distinct from other approaches such as crusade, pacifism, or “just war.” Grounded in UCC polity and covenantal theology, the position focuses attention on alleviating systemic injustice of all types using non-violence and calls us to offer the message, grounded in the hope of reconciliation in Jesus, that “Peace is possible.”
Justice and Witness Ministries is committed to a revitalized Just Peace Church movement and to empowering and resourcing congregations to create a stronger justice and peace witness. Now is the time to rekindle our commitment to Just Peace and make visible our longstanding witness to this approach. To do so, we will be working to update the list of Just Peace Churches in the UCC and will keep this site up to date with educational resources.
Does your church consider itself to be a Just Peace congregation? What is your church doing to live out its calling to be a Just Peace church? What does it mean to be a Just Peace Church in times like these? I hope you will take the time to update your church’s information on our site and offer your responses to these questions. Your energy and voice is needed to reinvigorate and shape the direction of our collective movement.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org and join us in conversation via Facebook and Twitter @JustPeaceUCC.
Just Peace Updates
Observe Just Peace Sunday
The 30th General Synod called on UCC churches to renew our witness as a Just Peace Church and annually designate a “Just Peace Sunday.” On September 18th, churches will lament the tragic events of Orlando and give witness to our identity as a Just Peace Church, reflecting on the intersections between peace and justice using the question posed in Jeremiah 8:22 “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Learn more and download resources for Just Peace Sunday today!
Just Peace Webinar Series
You are invited to take part in a webinar series featuring of voices from the Just Peace Movement in the United Church of Christ. Over the next few months, we will explore the topic of the ‘art of peacemaking’ from sculptor Charles McCollough, discuss how to start a Peace Village peace camp with Wintry Whitt Smith, and address the challenge of conflict and religious peacebuilding in Africa with expert and former Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace David Smock. Join us!
Introduction to Just Peace: A free, self-directed online class
Calling all Just Peace Advocates! Join an online self-directed course on the history & application of the peacemaking paradigm, "Just Peace." The course is hosted by Chicago Theological Seminary and taught by members of the UCC Just Peace working group.
Connect to the Just Peace Movement
New Resource: A Just Peace Handbook
In 2015, the 30th General Synod held in Cleveland, OH marked the UCC’s 30th anniversary as a Just Peace Church and called for a renewal of the UCC’s Just Peace witness. This booklet is intended to accompany this resolution and be a resource for all levels and areas of the church for further work and witness, especially to local congregations declaring or recommitting themselves as “Just Peace Churches.” This resource includes a summary of the historical and theological uniqueness of the Just Peace vision; the biblical and theological grounding for Just Peace values; and recommended steps for how to become a Just Peace Church. (Download.)
Clergy Speak out on Syria
UCC Clergy have crafted a statement expressing moral outrage regarding the Obama Administration’s exemption of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria from strict protections to prevent civilian deaths. Please consider adding your name and share widely. Excerpt: “we urge in the strongest possible terms that you order American forces to return to your policy that no strikes will take place in Syria and Iraq unless there is “near certainty” that civilians will not be harmed.”
UCC leaders against airstrikes, arming opposition to end Islamic State threats
Sandy Sorensen and the Rev. Michael Neuroth of Justice and Witness Ministries Washington, D.C., office and the Global Ministries' Co-Executives, the Rev. Julia Brown Karimu and the Rev. James Moos, all signed a letter expressing concern over airstrikes and calling for humanitarian assistance and diplomatic solutions outlined in the Just Peace practices in response to the crisis in Iraq and Syria.
A tribute by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite on the Life and Witness of Glen H. Stassen
Glen H. Stassen, friend of Jesus and peacemaker, died on April 26, 2014. Glen was a well-known and beloved Christian Ethics professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and one of the primary architects of the paradigm of Just Peacemaking, as can be seen in the video clip above from a forthcoming documentary on this crucial fourth paradigm beyond Pacifism, Just War and Crusade. (Read more.)