by Aleita Hass-Holcombe, First Congregational UCC, Corvallis, OR

just peace church thistlewaiteDid you know that the UCC celebrates 30 years as a Just Peace Church movement in 2015? ( Just Peace Pronouncement ) What does that really mean? For those of you who attended the social justice revival held in Vancouver, WA on November 8, 2014, there was a wonderful opportunity to hear about the legacy of the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries. The national staff was awesome and did a great job of “Stoking the Fires of Justice: A Revival for Social Change”.

In particular, the workshop with Michael Neuroth (National Policy Advocate for International Issues), Denise Andersen (Clackamas UCC Pastor) and Chuck Currie (Director of the Pacific University Center for Peace and Spirituality) was especially informative about the value of intentionally identifying as a Just Peace Church. 

Did you know that the following Central Pacific Conference (CPC) UCC churches have participated in an intentional process and created Just Peace Covenants?

Ainsworth                               Klamath Falls

Ashland                                   Medford

Bend                                          Salem

Bridgeport                              Vancouver

Christ the Healer                  Waverly Heights

Corvallis                                  White Salmon

Clackamas                               The Dalles

Gresham, Zion                       Boise First

If there were a contest for the percentage of Just Peace Churches in a conference, I think the CPC would already be in first place.  But that’s not the point.  Encouraging all of our CPC churches to intentionally develop covenants and to identify as Just Peace Churches is the point and the challenge.

In a December UCC Justice and Witness article by Michael Neuroth titled “Just Peace: Needed now more than ever”, he reminds us that, “In 1985…the paradigm of Just Peace was a holistic vision consistent with the UCC’s legacy of prophetic justice work, pointing to the root causes of violence stemming from social, economic, environmental and racial injustice.”

The vision of Just Peace is not outdated!  If your church is not on the list above, please contact Aleita Hass-Holcombe (aleita at cmug.com) or Denise Andersen (macinola at comcast.net) to learn more about getting started in the process of intentionally identifying as a Just Peace Church.  Make it a goal for 2015!

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