Overture on Iraq - Final Version

Final text of the overture on Iraq, approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010) by a vote of 525-80-8

The Presbytery of Providence respectfully overtures the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to:

  1. Pray for
    1. the churches in Iraq—the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches in Basrah, Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk; the Chaldean Catholic, the Armenian Orthodox and Catholic, the Assyrian, and the Greek Orthodox Churches—as they strive to survive and witness during the chaotic period of rebuilding their nation and their churches;
    2. all who grieve, both Iraqis and internationals, because of lost loved ones and those who have suffered from the hostilities;
    3. all Iraqis that they may rebuild a nation that promotes the highest potential of all its citizens and responds to the continuing special needs of those who are displaced or refugees from warfare;
    4. all refugees, both internally and externally displaced, who have often been forced from their homes by fear and threats of violence, that they may soon be able to resume their lives in safety and health.
  2. Commend
    1. the agencies of the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) for making available members of our partner churches in Iraq to inform us about their churches’ life and witness, at national gatherings such as the Big Tent and the Presbyterian Women’s Triennium, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s International Peacemakers, and the Iraq Partnership Network; and we urge the GAMC to use these and other means to continue to inform us about the life and witness of our partners in Iraq, the ways in which we may support them, and ways in which our partners may help us better understand our mission; *
    2. The practical and proactive initiatives of the Iraqi churches to serve their neighbors and contribute to the rebuilding of Iraq and Presbyterian Women for helping to provide education for children in Iraq;
    3. Congregations and individuals that have special ministries with Iraqi refugees, recognizing the connection between spiritual and other human needs.
  3. Direct the General Assembly Mission Council to empower and equip presbyteries and congregations as they respond to the spiritual and material needs of Iraqi refugees arriving in the United States, including increased collaboration between Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the office of Middle Eastern Congregational Support to provide a holistic approach to this outreach ministry; and also direct the GAMC to work proactively with our regional partners as they respond to the ongoing needs of Iraqi refugees in the host countries in the Middle East. *
  4. Urge the GAMC to continue to provide spiritual and psychological services for those now or previously in military service related to Iraq, as well as to those who now or previously resisted military service in Iraq for reasons of conscience. *
    [*These assume no additional budget is needed, and that the activities will reflect the priorities of the General Assembly.]
  5. Direct the Stated Clerk to call upon the church, its congregations and presbyteries to:
    1. pray for the effectiveness of our national leaders in making peace;
    2. encourage presbyteries to develop linkages between their congregations and agencies that assist in the relocation of Iraqi refugees in the United States;
    3. commend the U.S. government for
      1. responding to the massive Iraqi refugee situation;
      2. taking steps to return troops from combat;
      3. giving support to returned troops and their families;
      4. giving political and economic support toward rebuilding Iraq as an independent nation.
      5. urge the U.S. government to maintain its commitments to:
      6. withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010;
      7. withdraw all U.S. armed forces and defense contractors from Iraq no later than December 31, 2011;
      8. ensure that the U.S. not establish permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq;
      9. make available sufficient U.S. funds for the repatriation and resettlement of Iraqi refugees and for the postwar reconstruction of Iraq;
      10. reduce the time that it takes to process refugees coming to the U.S.;
      11. ensure that sufficient funds are provided for medical and psychological treatment of returning military personnel;
      12. protect civilian populations from harm, particularly in the northern part of Iraq, due to long-standing hostilities among militant, governmental, economic, ethnic, and religious groups; and carry out its stated policy of engaging all sides involved in a conflict by following that policy in order to find peaceful ways to resolve their differences.
    4. Direct the Stated Clerk to send this overture to the synods, presbyteries, and churches in the most practical manner as soon as possible, requesting their concurrence and active participation in these ministries, especially in association with ecumenical and interfaith partners.
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