From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Peacemaking panel finishes work - at last

Date 20 Jun 2002 09:17:40 -0400

Note #7287 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Peacemaking panel finishes work - at last

by Nancy Rodman

COLUMBUS, OH - The General Assembly Peacemaking and Global Issues Committee voted to recommend GA approval of a rewritten "Resolution on the Challenges to Global Security: Threats to the International System Controlling Arms and Their Development." 

Elder Daniel Raisch, a member of the rewrite team, said: "The original document contained much material important for the church to consider, but portions incorporated language that some felt was inflammatory, and included what appeared to be unfounded or opinion."  

The committee wanted to make the resolution more accessible to the people in the pews. It worked with the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) to refine the document. Raisch said the revised document is "clearer and less likely to be dismissed," and therefore the important concerns it raises are more likely to be appreciated."

The committee also will recommend that the Assembly strengthen its recruitment and retention of long-serving mission personnel. After some debate about whether it should recommend the rehiring of 34 mission personnel whose positions were eliminated in a recent round of budget cuts, the committee members voted to add a comment urging the General Assembly Council to restore funding for mission as funds become available.

The committee voted to recommend that a report on Presbyterian Church (USA) participation in last fall's World Conference Against Racism be offered for study but declined to commend its principles and priorities for study and action.

In a narrow vote, members decided to recommend that the Assembly endorse the creation of a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace to coordinate the government's efforts to promote peace. Legislation to create such a department has been introduced in Congress.

The panel will also ask the Assembly to authorize a study on violence and terrorism by ACSWP. If authorized, the study would examine the relationship between religion and violence and U.S. military, political and economic actions that may contribute to global problems.

It also recommended:

* Approval of "The Commitment to Peacemaking" and commendation of sessions that have adopted it; 

* A statement of recommendations on travel to the Middle East; and,

* Resolutions calling for a sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace, support and justice for the new nation of East Timor, and U.S. support of the United Nations Population Fund. 
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