[UUA-L] Witnessing for Peace
Unitarian Universalist Association
uua_l at uua.org
Fri Jul 28 11:42:06 EDT 2006
In response to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the Unitarian
Universalist Association of Congregations and President William G.
Sinkford have joined several interfaith efforts aimed at stopping the
violence and calling religious people to action.
In joining with these efforts, Rev. Sinkford expressed the sense of
urgency shared by many Unitarian Universalists. "The widening conflict
in the Middle East is a call to all people of conscience to witness for
a just and lasting peace," Sinkford said. "As we work to end the
violence, may we also find the courage to examine our own role in
shaping the conditions that allow violence to flourish."
The UUA has officially endorsed a statement from Dr. William F. Vendley,
the Secretary General of Religions for Peace, calling for an end to
fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Israel and Hamas
in Palestine (http://www.uua.org/news/2006/060728_vendley.pdf). The
statement also urges religious leaders to "reject the grotesque misuse
of religion in support of violence." Religions for Peace, (the largest
coalition of international religious communities, is a long-standing
partner of the UUA.
Rev. Sinkford, along with senior Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders,
including religious leaders from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and
Iran, will participate in the Eighth World Assembly of Religions for
Peace, a conference to be held in Kyoto, Japan, at the end of August
(http://www.religionsforpeace-2006-kyoto.net/). Religions for Peace
supports religious leaders in the Middle East who are working together
to end the violence and build a lasting peace.
To help gather domestic support for these peace-making efforts, the UUA
has joined a broad interfaith initiative organized by religious leaders
from groups including the National Council of Churches USA, Islamic
Society of North America, and The Shalom Center. The campaign, called
"Season of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East," will officially be
launched later this week, and will include a collection of online
worship and advocacy resources.
Rev. Sinkford has signed two letters authored by another US interfaith
group, Churches for Middle East Peace (http://www.cmep.org/), a
religious coalition of twenty-one church groups including the UUA. The
first letter addresses the recent crisis in Gaza, and the second calls
for a broader cease-fire.
For UUs committed to long-term action, "Peacemaking" is the issue that
was selected by General Assembly for congregational study and action
over the next four years. Sustained attention to this critical
question presents an opportunity for Unitarian Universalists to engage
with some of the most profound issues of our time.
The purpose of the Congregational Study/Action Process, according to the
UUA by-laws, is "to provide the member congregations of the Association
with an opportunity to mobilize energy, ideas, and resources around a
common issue. The end result will be a deeper understanding of our
religious position on the issue, a clear statement of Association policy
as expressed in a Statement of Conscience, and a greater capacity for
the congregations to take effective action."
The text of the "Peacemaking" Congregational Study/Action Issue can be
found online. A resource guide for congregations will be available by
For complete coverage on "Witnessing for Peace" plus additional
resources, please visit http://www.uua.org/news/2006/060728_peace.html
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