Christians and Jews remain "inextricably linked" and the bond "cannot be broken," said the Rev. John Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, on Sept. 19.
Speaking at the fall convocation at UCC-related United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Thomas used the occasion to give a significant theological address on Christian-Jewish relations.
Thomas recalled how the UCC's General Synod, in 1987, was groundbreaking in its call for more than mere "tolerance" and "friendship" between Christians and Jews, but for "a theological and biblical grounding that placed the relationship within the very faithfulness and providence of God."
The UCC was among the earliest Christian denominations to refute the characterization of Christianity as a "superseding" faith to Judaism, he said, adding that the statement remains "the official position of the General Synod and its officers."
In July 2005, General Synod approved a resolution calling for the church's use of "economic leverage" to promote peace in the Middle East, including the possibility of divestment from companies that profit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. A second resolution called on Israel to tear down a massive separation wall built on Palestinian territory that has forced many Palestinians from their homes.
Thomas said a two-state solution remains the only viable option for Israel and Palestine to live together in peace.