As of our annual Congregational Meeting on January 28, First Congregational United Church of Christ is a “Just Peace” congregation. This follows nearly a year of conversation and study, prayer and drafting and editing covenant statements.
Here is the Just Peace covenant:
In 1985, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ made a landmark decision to become a Just Peace Church and called on congregations to become communities of Just Peace. Just Peace, as used in this covenant, is our understanding of God’s will for all people and is based on the concept of peace expressed by the Hebrew word shalom, a communal well-being in which God’s creation is justly ordered and in which all aspects of God’s creation play their individual roles harmoniously for the good of the whole.
Just Peace expresses our commitment to engage in practices to resolve conflict at every level — in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in our world — without violence whenever possible.
Just peace is grounded in covenant relationship. God creates and calls us into covenant: “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezekiel 37:26.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Matt. 5:9
We are, and shall continue to be, a Just Peace Church.
In following the non-violent example and teachings of Jesus, we will strive to learn how to resolve conflict through non-violent means and to promote a Just Peace world for the well-being of all people.
We know neither real security nor Just Peace exists without justice. Therefore, to the extent we are able, each member of our congregation will work as a peacemaker in various ways and in many different areas to promote justice for all people. We can start by learning to manage our own anger, providing a loving and safe family, and reaching out in our community to care for the earth and provide clean air, clean water, food, health, housing, employment, education, religious freedom, physical safety, equality, and economic justice for all.
As a Just Peace congregation, we will strive to use our time and resources to encourage, teach, and support our congregation members to be peacemakers in their personal lives, at their jobs, in the church, in the community, and in the world. We will consider how our actions promote Just Peace.
As a Just Peace congregation, we will consider where and how we can best use our time, talent, and resources to follow the peacemaking example of Jesus in our programs, education, and worship.
We acknowledge that even as our understanding of God is ever-evolving, so too is our understanding of what it means to become a Just Peace Church. May God guide us on the ever-changing journey as we work for peace and justice.