Comprehensive Digest of Social Witness at the 220th PC(USA) General Assembly



Item 14-05: Encountering the Gospel Anew: An Invitation to Discernment and Witness (from the Peace Discernment Steering Team and ACSWP)

Approved by the Assembly. This report encourages Presbyterians (as individuals, congregations, presbyteries, colleges, and seminaries) to participate in churchwide discernment on current matters of peace and violence in light of the witness of Jesus Christ and Christian teaching. In 2010, the 219th General Assembly began a six-year process to update peace-related policies and reinvigorate the peacemaking work of the church, recognizing the major changes in the world since the influential Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling, a 1980 statement framed in the time of the Cold War, the nuclear freeze movement, increasing globalization, and the end of the Vietnam War. The process is intended to engage a wide range of Presbyterian views, from the Just War and Just Peacemaking traditions to nonviolence and pacifism. It asks Presbyterians to “meet the Prince of Peace again, as if for the first time.”

See the ACSWP Salt & Light summary, and participate in the discernment process (where you can download a response form). Download the Interim Report (as a PDF).

Item 15-04: On Supporting a Peaceful, Diplomatic Solution to U.S.-Iran Issues

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This item expresses support for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the tensions developing as a result of Iran’s nuclear program. It calls for direct, unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran; opposes preemptive military action; and calls for efforts to overcome tensions between the American and Iranian people at all levels, as part of efforts for the common good. The amendment broadens the nation-state players to include European Union nations, Iran’s Arab neighbors, and Israel; affirms the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Act and its application to all nations without double standards (i.e. including Israel); and names the longer goal of reestablishing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran.

Item 15-12: Commissioners’ Resolution on Prayer and Action for Syria

Approved with amendment by the Assembly. This resolution responds to the ongoing virtual civil war in Syria. While calling on the church to pray, raise awareness, and stand with global partners, it urges the U.S. government “to support a mediated process of cessation of violence by all perpetrators; to call for all outside parties to cease all forms of intervention; to support a strong and necessary role for the United Nations, possibly including observers and peacekeeping forces; and to refrain from military intervention in Syria.” The amendment deleted the reference to churches in Syria and Lebanon helping Christian refugees from Iraq.

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