Celebrating and Affirming Just Peace
“Thirty years ago, I presented a resolution calling on the United Church of Christ to be a Just Peace Church. I’m pleased to be here 30 years later to affirm our desire to be a Just Peace Church. There can be no peace without justice –– justice for all.”
So spoke UCC minister the Rev. Yvonne Delk, founding director of the Center for African American Theological Studies, during the morning plenary session June 29, during the UCC’s 2015 General Synod in Cleveland.
Delk’s comments were in support of a resolution of witness marking the 30th anniversary of the UCC’s Just Peace Pronouncement in 1985, and the denomination’s call to recommit to be a Just Peace Church into the future. The resolution was brought to the plenary floor by several local UCC congregations in New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, Delaware, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, and Washington, D.C. It passed unanimously by voice vote.
“This Just Peace Movement is really important because we are in a state of war . . . We have been too silent,” said the Rev. David Greenhaw, president of UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo. He added that it’s time to find ways to show that peace is possible.
The resolution –– introduced by Dale Bonds, vice-chair of the UCC Board –– recommits the UCC to the proclamation that “war must and can be eliminated,” and also encompasses linking peace to justice through God’s vision of shalom.
“Just peace is a call to engagement,” not just speech, said the Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn of the UCC’s Indiana-Kentucky Conference.
The resolution was preceded by a celebration of the past 30 years of Just Peace advocacy, led by the Rev. Sheila Guillaume, pastor of Union Congregational UCC in West Palm Beach, Fla., the Rev. Michael Neuroth of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries in Washington, D.C., and the Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary.
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