The Presbyterian Church and the Environment

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The Presbyterian Church and the Environment

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The Presbyterian Church and the Environment

  1. 1. Winter A • 2010-2011 The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Social Justice Issues Christians have long used Jesus’ sermons on living in 1. Adopting an overture to update peacemaking as a the reign of God as recorded in Matthew 5 and Luke 6 priority for the church using experts from colleges, to inform them of their responsibilities for the under- universities and seminaries. privileged. The Christians who gathered for the 219th General Assembly of the PCUSA held in July of 2010 in 2. Considering whether and how the Presbyterian Minneapolis, Minnesota were no exception. According to Church USA might become a “peace” church. the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, social 3. Utilizing the practitioner model to promote justice issues were at the center of much of the decision peacemaking efforts in the local church. Funding is making. to be provided from the per-capita income. Peacemaking These new overture must be ratified by the Presbyteries In Matthew 5:9, Jesus blesses peacemakers and exclaims before they can be implemented. they will be called “children of God.” 2010 marks the Additionally, the General Assembly stood by its 30th anniversary of the “Peacemaking the Believer’s traditional concern about wars throughout the world. Calling” initiative in the life of the church. Presbyterians It approved a proposal that the US government shift to have supported peace initiatives since 1946. Through non-combat operations in Afghanistan and that interna- the 50’s and 60’s we supported peace seeking activities tionally-guided reconstruction be accelerated to increase of international organizations while calling upon the the chances of social progress after US withdrawal. U.S. government to work for peace, justice, and mutual Overtures were also approved concerning illegitimate understanding throughout the world. government takeovers in Madagascar and Honduras, The emphasis on peacemaking begun in 1980 is a renewed civil wars in Sudan, and the use of seven bases reflection of a deepened concern of the gravity of in Columbia which deepen US drug investment in a the world’s situation. In response to a letter from the country known for its violation of human rights. National Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response,” The Persecuted the PCUSA reaffirmed “Peacemaking: The Believer’s In light of Jesus statements blessing those who are Calling” and set peacemaking as a high priority recom- persecuted for righteousness sake and those who hunger mending that the leadership of each congregation adopt and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:10-11), the Presby- a “Commitment to Peacemaking.” Thousands of con- terian Church USA presented a study at this GA entitled, gregations have studied and ratified the “Commitment “On Living a Human Life Before God.” This study to Peacemaking.” This means they promise to pray for commends an ethic of responsibility and looks at human peace, seek peace in the local church and communities, life from the biblical understanding of “blessing.” The and practice peacemaking in personal relationships. paper is a response to an earlier overture to update the 1981 study “The Nature and Value of Human Life.” This Since the 1980’s several other papers emphasizing peace paper is to be used as a study tool in congregations as and justice have be issued and in 1999, the 211th they deal with issues such as abortion, biomedical ethics, General Assembly directed the Worldwide Ministries human rights, and violence within society. Division to develop recommendations to enable the PCUSA to implement programs of nonviolent, direct action in situations of conflict, and to include Christian The Pure in Heart Peacemaking Teams within each Presbytery. Jesus also blessed those who were pure in heart. We believe children to be part of that group. Our de- The 219th General Assembly (2010) furthered the nomination has developed a child advocacy program. peacemaking effort by: It is called Presbyterians in Covenant with Children and covenants with children in intentional ministries of justice and compassion with and for children in SR-00-WA-10-P-The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Social Justice Issues©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • www.livingthegoodnews.com • 1-800-242-1918
  2. 2. Winter A • 2010-2011 The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Social Justice Issues congregations, communities, our nation, and the world In 2010, the General Assembly reported that 87 percent through worship, education, service, and advocacy. of U.S. children attend public schools. The report Individual congregations can become part of that advocates a reversal of the current trends of underfund- network through a three-session discernment study, ing and re-segregation which “seem likely to weaken creating a covenant, and sending the completed covenant education further.” to the Office of Child Advocacy of the denomination. “Peacemaking is a central declaration of the gospel. Though Jesus Christ, God grants us the gift of grace. We experience God’s grace as peace. God’s peace restores, sustains and heals. In response to this good news, Christians go into the world to proclaim and become part of God’s peace giving as peacemakers.” ––Swords into Plowshares: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program 2©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • www.livingthegoodnews.com • 1-800-242-1918

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