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"Just Peacemaking" Resolution, Other Peacemaking Matters Pass
PCUSA NEWS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
21 Jun 1998 05:54:33
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"Just Peacemaking" Resolution, Other Peacemaking Matters Pass Assembly
by Nancy Rodman
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The General Assembly on Thursday afternoon acted on an
array of matters related to peacemaking and international service and
The Assembly renewed its commitment to its previously established
principles of peacemaking when it approved "Just Peacemaking and the Call
for International Intervention for Humanitarian Rescue," a comprehensive
resolution grounded in trust in the sovereignty of God in World affairs and
the conviction that Jesus Christ is central to all peacemaking activities.
Among the principles reaffirmed by the Assembly are nonviolent means of
conflict resolution and social change, the importance of human rights,
religious liberty, and democratic principles, the strengthening of
international cooperation through the United Nations, and the promotion of
racial and gender justice.
The resolution also affirms criteria concerning military intervention
for humanitarian purposes. These criteria include genuine need that cannot
be met by means other than intervention, reasonable chance of alleviating
the conditions it seeks to overcome, and minimum coercion.
The General Assembly Council, agencies, and divisions of the
denomination will develop study materials on "Just Peacemaking and the Call
for International Intervention for Humanitarian Rescue" and organize an
ecumenical consultation on these topics to be held in conjunction with the
211th General Assembly.
Church Reaffirms Its Commitment to Universal Human Rights
December 10, 1998, is the 50th anniversary of the United Nations'
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that has inspired
worldwide efforts to improve the quality of human life, and in this
anniversary year the General Assembly has reaffirmed its commitment to the
human rights principles to which it has long given witness.
In its resolution on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Assembly commends the UN for its human rights leadership and calls on the
U.S. government to meet its financial obligations to that body and to
support the efforts of the UN to create an effective International Criminal
Court for crimes of war and crimes against humanity.
In a related matter, the Assembly directed the stated clerk to publish
the "Human Rights Update 1997-98" with a study action guide, and to
distribute it to middle governing bodies and sessions, calling special
attention to Human Rights Day on December 10, 1998, and requested prayer
and advocacy for all victims of human rights abuse and for those who
Assembly Calls for End to Economic Sanctions Against Iraq
The General Assembly has called for an end to all economic sanctions
against Iraq that make it difficult or impossible for essential items, such
as food, medicine and hospital supplies, school books and other supplies,
and materials needed to provide drinkable water, to reach the people of
Iraq. Safeguards, such as military sanctions, that are designed to prevent
the government of Iraq from acquiring or developing the means of mass
destruction, would be maintained in such a way that the delivery of
essential items is not prevented.
Comprehensive efforts by the United Nations, the United States, and the
governments of the Middle East are called on to remove all weapons of mass
destruction from the region as a part of the worldwide effort to eliminate
such weapons and end their development. The government of Iraq is called
on to redirect its resources from developing and deploying instruments of
destruction to enterprises beneficial to the Iraqi people.
The resolution also calls for prayer and advocacy for the people of
GA Signs on To International Year of Older Persons
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will celebrate 1999 as the
International Year of Older Persons, commending and joining with the United
Nations in this time of celebration, ministry, and study.
During the International Year of Older Persons, congregations and middle
governing bodies will be encouraged to provide opportunities for
interaction between the generations, leadership development, and resources.
Older adults will be encouraged to seek out new opportunities for service
to the church and all who are involved in Older Adult Ministry will be
invited to become members of the Older Adult Ministry Network. Theological
seminaries will be asked to include courses, field education opportunities
and internships in their curriculum. Materials supporting the
International Year of Older Persons will be made available.
The ministry of caregiving in a rapidly aging population which includes
those with debilitating and/or fatal illnesses will be the subject of study
and a report by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. ACSWP
will consult with the Office on Older Adult Ministry and report its
findings and recommendations no later than the 213th General Assembly in
Gifts of Women Reaffirmed
The General Assembly restated its pubic commitment to honor women's
gifts of ministry while recognizing that relations between the genders in
the United States and other developed nations are complex. The News
Service of the PCUSA is requested to make public the church's positive
understanding of women's equality in church and family.
Out of sensitivity to ecumenical relations and a recognition that this
action could be seen as a direct response to the recent action on the role
of women by the Southern Baptist Convention, a comment was attached to the
resolution acknowledging this concern and suggesting that Presbyterian
concerns be presented to our Southern Baptist sisters and brothers so that
dialogue on the matter might begin.
Assembly Acts on Related Matters
The General Assembly took these actions on other matters related to
peacemaking, international service and concerns:
Called for United States economic and military aid to Israel to be
contingent on Israel's
fulfilling the terms of the Oslo accords.
Agreed to continue to work for peace and reconciliation on the Korean
dialogue with North Korean and U.S. government officials.
Called on the church to pray urgently for the people of Colombia, to
become aware of the
issues and concerns there, to support the Presbyterian Church of
Colombia with financial
contributions to Presbyterian Church extra commitment opportunities and
Addressed the situation in Kosovo by calling for prayer, cessation of
attacks on ethnic
Albanians by the Serbian government, and international arbitration and
Added Burma to the list of countries where there are major violations of
human rights and
massive human suffering, called for prayer for the people of Burma, and
UNOCAL, TOTAL, and ARCO to end their corporate involvement there until a
government is in place.
Revised the General Assembly Military-Related Investment Guidelines that
have been in
effect, with refinements, since 1982. Under the guidelines, it is the
policy of the PCUSA
not to invest in the securities of publicly-traded corporations engaged
production and provides for a waiting period of one year before
divestment and for dialogue
with the corporations.
Endorsed and supported the Jubilee 2000 campaign calling for the
definitive cancellation of
international debt in situations where countries with high levels of
human need and
environmental distress are unable to meet the needs of their people.
Expressed concern regarding the situation of 15 Puerto Ricans serving
for criminal actions that took place in the 1980s and directed the
stated clerk to request the
Attorney General of the United States to authorize a review of the
sentences and to seek
clemency if that is appropriate.
Called for a church-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the One
Great Hour of
Sharing in 1999, giving thanks for 50 years of faithful witness through
OGHS, rejoicing in
the ministries the offering has supported, and giving thanks for all who
have supported it.
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