Peace and greetings to you, and best wishes for a blessed New Year! I pray that your Christmas season has been filled with joy.
While we focused on Bethlehem and the story of Christ’s nativity over Christmas, I was struck by the activity related to Israel/Palestine in the news. The United Nations Security Council resolution on settlements and the major speech by Secretary of State Kerry both focused on the reality and impact of the occupation. At the same time, it was obvious that the efforts of the United Church of Christ to work toward peace with justice in the Middle East are not going unnoticed, both positively by those who are partners in the quest for justice, and critically by those who see the conflict through different lenses.
I am writing to follow up on my correspondence to you of last summer in which I shared with you the process of monitoring and reporting on the resolution adopted at the 2015 General Synod, “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” In that letter, I introduced the role that the Central Atlantic Conference will take in monitoring and reporting. In the meantime our friend and colleague John Deckenback, who had so energetically contributed to our work on this issue, passed away. The CAC continues its commitment to monitoring and reporting, and has named the Rev. Marvin Silver, Associate Conference Minister, to take up that portfolio in the Conference. We will work collaboratively with him.
Following my earlier email, I was grateful to receive some reports on the ways that the resolution is being implemented. As we prepare to send a report to this year’s General Synod, I write to solicit any additional reports on ways that your settings have implemented the aspects of the resolution. In order to prepare the report on time, I ask that you send your reports to Marvin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and me no later than March 15. These reports should not be consider final reports of implementation, but rather the current status of your work on this issue.
As you will remember, the resolution called for the settings of the UCC to:
* Study the Kairos Palestine document;
* Divest from holdings in companies found to profit from Israeli occupation;
* Boycott goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements;
* Advocate with Congress to ensure Israel’s compliance with the US Foreign Assistance Act and the US Arms Export Control Act, regarding the aid that it receives from the US;
* Continue to participate in interfaith dialogue with Jewish and Muslim neighbors.
We would be greatly helped if you identify and share ways that you have sought to respond to these calls, with specific actions and activities. For Conferences, please include any activity of which you are aware that Associations, local churches, and other settings in your Conferences. If you have any “best practices” that you would like to include, please do that as well.
For the full text of the resolution, as well as resources and related items, you can visit this webpage: http://www.globalministries.org/resolutions_on_israel_palestine.
Finally, we are planning a webinar that will help to update all of you and/or your designee on the current state of affairs in Israel/Palestine, and the ways the national church is engaged. That will likely take place on March 14 or 15. We will send more information as it is set.
Thank you very much for your attention to this! Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you before March 15.
Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries
Co-Executive, Global Ministries