From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Encourages Negotiated Solution in Holy Land

Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 19:28:26 -0500


August 12, 2003

ELCA Assembly Encourages Negotiated Solution in Holy Land

     MILWAUKEE (ELCA) -- The Churchwide Assembly of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Aug. 12 voted
overwhelmingly to encourage a negotiated solution in the Holy
Land and to endorse a declaration signed last year by religious
leaders in the Holy Land that calls for an end to violence there.
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,500 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     By a 958 to 18 vote, the assembly acted:
     + To endorse "The First Alexandria Declaration of the
Religious Leaders of the Holy Land," a document signed in
Alexandria, Egypt, in January 2002 following a summit of Muslim,
Christian and Jewish religious leaders in the Middle East.
     The Alexandria Declaration says, in part, "According to our
faith traditions, killing innocents in the name of God is a
desecration of His Holy Name, and defames religion in the world.
The violence in the Holy Land is an evil which must be opposed by
all people of good faith.  We seek to live together as neighbors
respecting the integrity of each other's historical and religious
inheritance.  We call upon all to oppose incitement, hatred and
misrepresentation of the other."
     + To "encourage a negotiated solution among the parties in
the Holy Land, with the hope that the Quartet's, 'Road Map' will
lead to an end to the occupation, terrorist attacks and all other
violent forms of conflict, and both a viable, contiguous,
independent Palestinian state and a secure Israel."  The
reference is to the so-called road map to peace issued in May by
the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United
     + To "encourage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
to continue its interfaith activities in the United States to
promote mutual understanding, cooperation and respect."
     The resolution also thanked the ELCA Delaware-Maryland Synod
for bringing the issue to the churchwide assembly via a
"memorial" adopted by the synod assembly last year.
     The Rev. Munib A. Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Jordan (and Palestine), at the churchwide assembly to
lead a Bible study, was offered the opportunity to speak before
the vote was taken.  He commended an amendment that added an end
to terrorist attacks and other forms of violence as hopes for the
"Road Map."
     Younan, a member of the Permanent Committee for the
Implementation of the Alexandria Declaration, also said that a
two-state solution is the only viable solution to ending conflict
in the Middle East.  He called for a "viable, contiguous,
independent Palestinian state," which led to similar language
being added to the resolution.
     Brian Rude, Cool Valley, Wis., church council member and co-
chairman of the Memorials Committee, brought the "Peace in the
Holy Land" memorial before the assembly.  Before he did so, he
announced that at the request of voting members of the assembly,
the committee had removed six memorials from a list to be
considered "en bloc" and would instead be considered
     The six memorials that will be added to another eight that
already had been recommended for individual consideration address
pastoral care for gay and lesbian people; working against racism;
pension equity; exception to policies on the installation of
bishops; composition of the ELCA Church Council; and a proposed
amendment to a constitutional provision having to do with
relationships of congregations to their synods.
-- -- --
Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at
http://www.elca/org/assembly/03 on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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