January - February 2002
Representatives from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) sent an open letter Dec. 18 to President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell calling for peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The Rev. John Thomas, UCC General Minister and President, and Dale Bishop, Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries, joined with the Rev. Richard L. Hamm, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Rev. Patricia Tucker Spier, head of the Disciples Division of Overseas Ministry, in signing the letter.
The two denominations have been ecumenical partners since 1985 and in "full communion" since 1989.
"The bombers and assailants who struck against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem and Haifa on Dec. 1 and 2, and again on Dec. 9 and 12, killing tens and injuring hundreds more, struck as well against tenuous hopes for peace," begins the letter. "We unequivocally denounce these killings, and we decry the hatred that begat them."
Amidst the fallout of September 11 and the anti-Arab sentiment abroad, the letter urges "all parties to exercise restraint in the wake of this violence, to end the cycle of retaliation that has claimed too many lives this past year."
The letter is a plea to both Bush and Powell to pursue peace in the process of resolving terrorism and to be a force for good, taking an active role in stopping the cycle of violence and mediating conflicts abroad.
A heartfelt appeal to further the efforts of peace in the Middle East by introducing an international monitoring system into the occupied territories forms the body of the letter.
"The U.S. must work to ensure that the door to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians remain open," it reads.
The entire text of the letter is at www.globalministries.org/gm010702.htm.