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. 

Has War Become Dysfunctional?

By Jeanine Elliott, Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ

Just-Peace banner smIn 1971, Robert Moss, then second president of the UCC, wrote in the United Church Herald, “In our kind of world, war has become dysfunctional. We now need to put as much effort into defining a just peace as we have done in the past in defining a just war.”[1]

Today we don’t even know what a war is.  On any given day, we can list conflicts between nations or peoples that result in death and injury of civilians and military alike.  This day we see Kiev, Bangkok, Syria, Central African Republic, Caracas, Iraq, and Afghanistan in conflict. Next week we may have a different list. We know our political leaders and those around the globe must wake each morning to see what parts of the world are on fire. At the same time, civilians in those areas may have no idea the anxiety, pain, and suffering the day will bring for them.  Most of these conflicts are not defined as wars.  Civil unrest hardly seems a big enough term to describe them.  Armed conflict may not reflect the imbalances of power.