Call to Special Congregational Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Cabinet has called a Special Congregational Meeting on Sunday, September 15, following worship, to vote on adopting a Just Peace Covenant and declaring ourselves to be a Just Peace Church. Your attendance is prayerfully and urgently requested.

The United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (DOC) have several different designations congregations can qualify for. These designations help communicate who they are – both to themselves and to the wider community. One such UCC designation is being a “Just Peace Church.” If you missed the Town Hall Meeting, you can learn more about Just Peace Churches at https://www.ucc.org/justice_just-peace.

Our Pathways to Beloved Community group has spent over one year exploring whether or not we are a “Just Peace Church,” as defined by the UCC. They have concluded that we are and have drafted a “Just Peace Church Covenant,” recommending the church adopt it by congregational vote. It comes to the congregation with the endorsement of the Cabinet.

As with all Congregational Meetings, there will be a time for discussion before the vote, and members of the congregation are allowed to move to amend the motion (the covenant) during that discussion time.

Proposed Just Peace Covenant

The following is the Just Peace Covenant as it will be presented to the congregation for adoption at a Special Congregational Meeting.

As members and friends of Niles Discovery Church, we commit ourselves to be a Just Peace Church in partnership with The United Church of Christ (UCC) and the World Council of Churches. The UCC defines ‘just peace’ as the “interrelation of friendship, justice, and universal security from violence.”[1] We commit to striving to create peace with justice through our relationships with local, regional, national and international communities. We commit ourselves to pursuing just peace relationships with all of God’s creation.

Our just peace work will be guided by examples of peace with justice found in the scriptures, as well as the stories of injustice, violence, and silenced voices in scripture. Through the words and stories of Jesus, we will be encouraged and brave in our just peace work. The scriptures emphasize that all people are created in God’s image, all people are our family, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and the practice of the Jubilee year[2]. All these scriptural concepts will drive our just peace commitment and activities. We will strive to be allies with people impacted by intentional and unconscious bias, whether it is racism, patriarchy, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, able-ism, ageism, classism, nationalism, and any other prejudicial practice.

We will strengthen our faith, understanding, compassion, and just peace work through truth telling and listening with individuals and groups, through conversations, seminars, reading, sermons, vigils, celebrations, charitable work, and actions of solidarity designed for systemic change. We will create space for those experiencing injustice to be understood and to define their reality and needs. We will be guided by the words and work of great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King. Jr., Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the myriad of contemporary prophets working together to create a peaceful world of justice for all of creation.

We commit ourselves to continue on our path of being good stewards of the earth. We will work to protect creation from climate change and other threats to the planet that endanger a balance of all aspects of creation: the earth, the waters, the air and all living things.

We commit ourselves to work for peace with justice in all of our ministries and in our personal lives. We will continue to uphold our covenant of radical welcome of all people no matter where they are on their life’s journey, our many ways of embodying the United Church of Christ’s “3 Great Loves,” our Green Chalice standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and our Open and Affirming standing in both denominations.

We affirm that these commitments reflect and support Niles Discovery Church’s ongoing covenant as a Just Peace church.

[1]From Just Peace Church Handbook(p.4)  available on the UCC website at https://www.ucc.org/justice_just-peace(accessed on 17 August 2019)

[2] From Luke 4: 16-21, Isaiah 61: 1-2 and Leviticus 25: 10-13

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