Risking Peace in a Violent World: Affirmations for Presbytery Consideration

Process of Discernment for Presbyteries: As the next stage in a six-year process of discernment, the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) directs the Stated Clerk to send to each presbytery, electronically and in print, the following five affirmations and supporting rationale with the request that they discuss and take an advisory vote on each affirmation and send the results of those votes, along with a summary of the floor discussion, back to the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy by July 1, 2015, to help guide the preparation of a report on peacemaking directions for the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

     The affirmations for churchwide discussion and advisory vote:

     1. We affirm that peacemaking is essential to our faith in God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, whose love and justice challenge hatred and conflict, and whose call gives our church a mission to present alternatives to violence,  fear, and misused power.

     2. We confess our complicity in the world’s violence even as we pray for the Spirit’s courage to “unmask idolatries,” to speak truth about war and oppression, and to stand with those who suffer, and to respond to acts and threats of violence with ministries of justice, healing, and reconciliation.

     3. We reclaim the power and authority of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, and Reconciler, who proclaims God’s reign, who inspires the prophetic church, forgiving, healing, and undoing violence, and who overcomes evil through the cross and resurrection.

     4. We seek to understand the nonviolent revolutions and armed struggles of our time by drawing on the traditions of Christian pacifism, just war, just peacemaking and active nonviolence, and by cultivating moral imagination through prayer, study, and engagement with friends and enemies. Even as we actively engage in a peace discernment process, we affirm our responsibility of continuing the long tradition of support by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for our sisters and brothers who serve in the U.S. military, veterans, and their families.

     5. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves earnestly to seek and promote loving, nonviolent responses to conflict in our daily lives, in our communities, and in our world, and to risk calling our nation back from the practices of empire to the highest ideals of our heritage, and to practice boldly the things that make for peace.

Note: The full text of the overture with rationale can be found at: Risking Peace in a Violent World: Affirmations for Presbytery Consideration.