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General Synod and Assembly, Interfaith Relations, and the Middle East and Europe

Written by Peter Makari
July 20, 2011

The United Church of Christ's General Synod and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly met earlier this month in Tampa (June 30-July5) and Nashville (July 8-13), respectively.  At these general gatherings, resolutions were considered on both Interfaith Relations and the Middle East. 

The UCC adopted a resolution called, “To Counter Actions of Hostility Against Islam and the Muslim Community.”  Brought as a resolution from the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries Board of Directors in response to events in the spring of this year, the resolution is consistent with the UCC’s historical effort to speak about against hatred and bigotry, including resolutions and statements condemning Anti-Semitism.  Our international partner and guest, Mr. Mohammad Sammak, from the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue, based in Lebanon, was present and spoke to the church after the resolution was adopted.  He had also presented a lecture during Synod.

Second, the Synod considered, but tabled, a resolution called, ““In Support of Effective and Constructive Peacemaking between Palestinians and Israelis through Positive Investment in Palestine.”  By taking this action, Synod wanted to affirm the UCC’s role in promoting peace, and the positive aspects of investment in Palestine called for by the resolution; however, it wanted to keep available the options of economic leverage the resolution proposed to eliminate.  It therefore decided neither to adopt nor reject this resolution as it stood.  The committee that dealt with the resolution learned about the UCC’s standing positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as work the UCC Pension Boards is doing to invest in Palestine, and the United Church Fund’s work in shareholder activism around this issue.

On its final day of business, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’s General Assembly approved with no opposition a resolution entitled “Addressing Anti-Muslim Action in the United States and Canada.”  After the proponent of the resolution, co-Moderator of the Disciples’ Peace Fellowship Craig Watts, spoke to the resolution, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches (and Disciples’ member and clergy); Mr. Razek Siriani, Global Ministries’ guest from the Middle East, representing the Syrian Orthodox Church; and the Rev. Didier Crouzet, Global Ministries’ guest from Europe, addressed the plenary in support of the resolution.  Click here to read their interventions.  In addition, click here to read an introductory text on the Disciples Peace Fellowship webpage.



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