UCC Conferences are speaking out and taking action about a possible war with Iraq. Here are some examples. We will continue to run news of Conference statements and events on the Iraq situation as they come to our attention.
Central Atlantic Conference
On Jan. 18, the Rev. John Deckenback, Central Atlantic Conference Minister, and Bishop Axel Noack, Church Province of Saxony, Magdeburg, Germany, issued a joint statement opposing the pending war with Iraq. The two church bodies have enjoyed an ecumenical partnership for more than a decade.
The statement read, in part:
"We declare together: War is no answer! War itself is a defeat! Peace is the way for peace! The U.N. charter opposes pre-emptive wars categorically and German Fundamental Law forbids participation in attacks against other states. These principles of the U.N. charter and German law must be respected.
"To our church congregations and all who are engaged for peace—because of their Christian responsibility—we ask, ... Do not be dissuaded from the way of peace and from the recognition that war is not God's will."
On Sunday, Feb. 23, a number of denominational and ecumenical executives in Connecticut, including the Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree, Connecticut Conference Minister, sponsored an ecumenical Christian event for both clergy and laity for learning, inspiration and teaching about the situation vis a vis Iraq. Its explicit orientation was toward building a culture of peace and working against war.
In a Boston Globe quote, the Rev. Nancy Taylor, Massachusetts Conference Minister, had these words:
"Sadly, I believe there are times when violent intervention is the only responsible recourse. But this is not such a time or place. Many of us have sought to measure this impending war against the criteria of the just war theory. I do not believe those conditions have been met in this case. There is an array of views on every side of this question. Sincere Christians can and do disagree, but we seek to do so with humility toward our own incomplete apprehension and with respect for views that differ from our own. None of us possesses the whole truth."
Penn Central Conference
In January the nine members of the Theological Commission of the Penn Central Conference, including Conference Minister the Rev. Lyle J. Weibel, issued a Pastoral Letter On Terrorism and the Threat of War with Iraq. As Christians, it said, we called to confess our sins, to prayer, to practice reconciliation, and to hope.
It concluded, "During Lent and throughout the rest of this year, we ask the congregations of the Penn Central Conference to dedicate themselves anew to these Christian basics as we seek together to model God's love for the world in the ways we speak and act. May God spare us the horrors of war and help us to live in mutual respect, love and peace with all people."