At our annual meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2013 we voted to become a Just Peace congregation.  We approved the following resolution:

 

We, the members of the Cresskill Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, respond to the call of the “Just Peace Pronouncement” approved by the 1985 General Synod of the United Church of Christ. The Synod defines Just Peace “as the interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence.”

 

In making this resolution, let it be known that we also strive to be good stewards of God’s creation, working to sustain the world and not harm the environment. We are a community of worship and celebration centered in the teachings of Jesus Christ and His message and teachings of justice and peace. We affirm that all nations should work together to help people meet their basic needs of food and clean water, adequate health care, decent housing, meaningful employment, basic education, freedom of worship and protection of rights.

 

As a Just Peace Church we commit ourselves to Spiritual Development, Just Peace Education, Political Advocacy and Community Witness in the following ways:

 

Spiritual Development – We are committed to nurturing and supporting each other in our search for a Just Peace through prayer, study of Scriptures, theological reflection and worship. We will strive to maintain our own wellness and bring more awareness to our own inner journeys in order to better continue God’s work.

 

Just Peace Education – We will develop informational programs on Just Peace issues and will maintain a climate where all points of view that are expressed can be respected in the search for new answers and directions. We will have a Just Peace Committee as part of the Outreach Board whose objective is to explore Just Peace issues and provide information on Just Peace issues to the congregation , including the children.

 

Political Advocacy – Recognizing that Just Peace is both a religious and a political concept we will encourage each other to be politically conscious.  A member of the Just Peace Committee will keep in close contact with the UCC Justice and Peace Ministry and the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network to follow critical Just Peace issues and alert the congregation when it is most appropriate to write or call elected government officials or take other actions.

 

Community Witness – We will encourage our members to be involved in local Just Peace initiatives such as the Cresskill Food Bank, Family Promise of Bergen County and other organizations with Just Peace objectives. We celebrate our Open and Affirming Church and support the Rainbow Café program for LGBT youth to promote acceptance and well-being. We will seek out other Just Peace issues in our communities that we can become involved in and support.

 

We will strive to make our convictions known throughout our community and throughout other UCC churches.  We will engage in outreach, inviting others to join in our activities.

 

Our mission in becoming a Just Peace Church is exemplified by the Prayer of St. Francis.

 

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

 

 

For more information about how you can get involved in justice and peace efforts in the United Church of Christ, you may visit http://www.ucc.org/justice/jpanet.html.