UCC Synod reaches out to people of Iran
Written by Martin Bailey
June 30, 2009
With a unanimous vote, the 27th General Synod of the United Church of Christ expressed solidarity and friendship with the people of Iran.
In its action the Synod supported the freedom movement in Iran in which demonstrators and others have sought self-government. The delegates affirmed basic human rights and adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and called for an end to the violence directed by the Iranian government against peaceful demonstrators and the media.
The resolution was developed by a Synod committee in response to three proposals that had come from individual delegates, seven local churches, and two conferences. It was presented by Geoffrey Brace, who noted that the committee needed to take account of the demonstrations on the streets of Tehran. "God is still speaking," he told the Synod, "so we prepared a substitute resolution."
In its vote, the Synod recognized the UCC's ties with Christian churches in the Middle East, including Iran, as well as the denomination's continued commitment to interfaith dialogue. The Synod was aware that there have been "many peaceful initiatives within Iran itself."
Specific recommendations included citizen exchanges, participation in the "Axis of Friendship Day," and dialogue among religious partners, including Iranian Christians. The Synod asked Wider Church Ministries and other covenanted ministries to report its action to global partners and to explore with them possible similar actions.