The Presbyterian Outlook is an independent weekly newsletter covering the life of the PC(USA). This series of articles provides a helpful overview of the actions taken by the 221st General Assembly.
Hudson River Presbytery was well-represented this morning at the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s Peace Breakfast. Rick Ufford-Chase welcomed the large crowd gathered in the Marriott-Renaissance Center’s Ballroom, acknowledged Former GA Moderator Susan Andrews, and gave a special shout-out about HRP’s Gun Violence Overture’s overwhelming success in the Social Justice Issues Committee. Rev. Jim Atwood, PCUSA gun violence spokesperson and supporter of our overture was presented with the 2014 PPF Peaceseeker Award. Following a powerful presentation on military drones by Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Welfare: Killing by Remote Control, PPF National Committee Member Peggy Howland invited the offering. It was a great event attended by several other Hudson River Presbyterians.
This morning, Rev. Peggy Howland, our Overture Advocate for the “On Peace Discernment” overture, spoke to Committee 11. She said:
“I’m Peggy Howland, teaching elder, Hudson River Presbytery, I’ll be 81 years old this summer. I was 11 when the atomic bombs obliterated most of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and our weapons grow ever more deadly.
The heart of this overture is in #3: We ask this General Assembly to:
“Recognize God’s call to the church to embrace nonviolence as its fundamental response to the challenges of violence, terror, and war.”
We are NOT saying: All Presbyterians must become conscientious objectors and never fight in a war again,although quite a few Presbyterians do make that choice.
We are NOT saying: We Presbyterians will never RESPOND TO VIOLENCE with violence, although many of us acknowledge Jesus taught this, and Christians in the early centuries of the church refused to fight in war.
What #3 DOES say is that violence, terror and war are DEEPLY CHALLENGING US TODAY.
It says we recognize that GOD CALLS US to respond to these CHALLENGES…. a CALL for the CHURCH to embrace nonviolence as OUR fundamental response to these challenges.
HOW do we do that?
We call our nation to find ALTERNATIVES TO WAR.
As the Church of Jesus Christ, we call our nation to seek nonviolent alternatives with as much investment, energy, intelligence, and commitment as we have put into weapons of mass destruction and the creation of ever more death-dealing arms.
We are not suggesting we disband the military or disarm the police.
As followers of Jesus, let us tell the world that GOD CALLS US to find OTHER WAYS to solve our differences and live together in this world. God calls us to lead our nation in seeking A BETTER WAY, with God’s help.”
By Noelle Damico, “Prayers for a New Social Awakening,” eds. Iosso and Hinson-Hasty, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008
Guard your church, O God
From illusions of grandeur
From obeisance to power
From vanity that demands notice
Guard your church, O God
From certainty that exterminates novelty
From uncertainty that precludes action
From neutrality that blesses what is