Just as they were beginning to celebrate the UCC's diamond jubilee, delegates and visitors to the 26th General Synod heard a call for an end to the war in Iraq and for the end to what was termed "the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war."
At the opening session of the historic meeting in Hartford, Conn., the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers presented a pastoral letter that had been signed also by the chief executives of the denomination's regional conferences and the presidents of the seminaries. The letter included a confession that "too often the church has been little more than a silent witness" to the deaths of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
The delegates and visitors interrupted the reading of the letter with a standing ovation and afterwards voted to add the name of the General Synod. Delegates were invited to add their names as individuals. And as the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, told a packed news conference, all across the nation members of the UCC who were watching the Synod on live streaming video would have a chance to sign the letter as well.
Here’s the letter:
Along with thousands of United Church of Christ members and supporters, I call for an end to the war in Iraq, an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last resort, an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war.
I call for the humility and courage to acknowledge failure and error, to accept the futility of our current path, and I cry out for the creativity to seek new paths of peacemaking in the Middle East, through regional engagement and true multinational policing.
I call for acknowledgement of our responsibility for the destruction caused by sanctions and war and a beginning to rebuild trust in the Middle East and around the world.
I call for repentance in our nation and for the recognition in our churches that security is found in submitting to Christ, not by dominating others.
I will join protest to prayer, support ministries of compassion for victims here and in the Middle East, cast off the fear that has made all of us accept the way of violence and return again to the way of Jesus. Thus may bloodshed end and cries be transformed to the harmonies of justice and the melodies of peace. For this I yearn, for this I pray, and toward this end I rededicate myself as a child of a loving God who gives "light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Click here to add your name.
Christians across the globe have been nearly united in opposing the invasion of Iraq since the start and in calling for a quick end to the invasion after it was undertaken. Out of all the major Christian denominations world-wide only the Southern Baptists in the U.S. have openly supported the war.