I invite you and your local United Church of Christ congregation to take the steps to become a Just Peace Church. Since 1985, the Just Peace Pronouncement at General Synod has inspired a grassroots movement of UCC congregations corporately to name and boldly proclaim a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church. Grounded in UCC polity and covenantal theology, the position focuses attention on alleviating injustice of all types using non-violence and calls us to offer the message, based in the hope of reconciliation in Jesus, that “peace is possible.”
The national Justice and Witness Ministries of the UCC is committed to a revitalization of the Just Peace Church movement and to empowering congregations to create a stronger justice and peace witness. In 2015, the 30th General Synod held in Cleveland, Ohio, marked the UCC’s 30th anniversary as a Just Peace Church and called for a renewal of the UCC’s Just Peace witness. The resolution (read it here) called on all settings of the UCC to renew existing covenants or become Just Peace Churches for the first time. At that 2015 General Synod in Cleveland, as a pastor and delegate from a UCC congregation in the New York Conference, I supported and voted for this action.
Now, I encourage you and your congregation, and our Three as One Conference, to become a Just Peace Church in 2019 or 2020.
You can go to the website ucc.org and download the Just Peace information available under the section Advocate for Justice. Open the link to Understanding the Issues. There you will find eleven categories of issues: Children/Education, Economic Justice, Global Concerns, Human Sexuality, Racial Justice, Worker Justice, Civil and Human Rights, Environment, Health, Peacemaking, and Women. All of these issues have justice and peace components. However, open the link Peacemaking, and then the link Just Peace which will provide you with the Biblical and theological background, history of Just Peace, and resources on how to become a Just Peace Church. Download the Just Peace Handbook for a helpful recommended step-by-step process.
While serving as the Sabbatical Supply Senior Pastor of the Storrs Congregational Church in Storrs, CT, I helped them to become a Just Peace Church in 2018. As a member of Foster Memorial Church in Springfield, I facilitated this church to become a Just Peace Church in January 2019.
I also present two programs for our UCC churches: “25 Practical Ways to Become a Person for Just Peace” and “How to Become a local Just Peace Church.” I am available to present these programs or to assist you in your local church.
My contact information: 385 Worthington Street, Unit 3E, Springfield, MA 01103; firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-674-8204.
Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch
View a UCC video on Just Peace Churches here: https://youtu.be/cuWtXZ4nFzM
Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ.