1997 General Synod Resolution: Jerusalem City of Life
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6. Resolution “Jerusalem city of life”
Moderator Dean called on Ms. Sonia Baker (CAL.S), Chair of Committee Four, for their report.
Ms. Baker thanked the members of the Committee Four and those who assisted them with their work. She then reviewed the items of business assigned to the Committee. Ms. Baker spoke about the work of the Committee and moved the adoption of the Resolution “Jerusalem City of Life.” Ms. Baker spoke to the Resolution.
Mr. Hugh C. McLean (ConN) spoke in support of the Resolution.
The Rev. Ronald T. Evans (ConN) asked if the intent of the Resolution was, in any way, an intent to give emphasis to the notion of Jerusalem being declared the Capital of Israel. Ms. Baker stated that the Committee emphasized theological points about Jerusalem, not political points.
Moderator Dean called for the vote.
97-GS-51 VOTED: The Twenty-first General Synod adopts the Resolution “Jerusalem- City of Life.”
Resolution “Jerusalem: city of life”
WHEREAS, the 1980 National Council of Churches Middle East Policy Statement affirmed in 1981 at the General Assembly (Christian Church, Disciples of Christ) and the General Synod (the United Church of Christ) stated that the issue of Jerusalem was an issue not only of shrines, but also of people;
WHEREAS, the peace of Jerusalem is inseparable from the extension of justice to all of its people;
WHEREAS, the peace in Jerusalem, for which we pray, is a peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike;
WHEREAS, in March 1995, Paul H. Sherry, President of the United Church of Christ, and Richard L. Hamm, the President and General Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), affirmed the appeal to U.S. President Bill Clinton by eight US Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant church leaders that the U.S. take initiative to insure that the future of Jerusalem not be preempted by the actions of any one party;
WHEREAS, the November 18-20, 1996 meeting of the Common Global Ministries Board unanimously requested the 1997 General Synod (UCC) and the General Assembly (Disciples) to take further action on the issue of Jerusalem;
WHEREAS, on December 21, 1996, Presidents Paul H. Sherry and Richard L. Hamm joined over 600 other Christian leaders in signing an ecumenical full page advertisement in the New York Times that declares support, as Christians, for a negotiated solution for Jerusalem that respects the human and political rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the rights of the three religious communities of the city;
WHEREAS, in December 1996, the President of the United Church of Christ, Paul H. Sherry, and the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Richard L.Hamm, issued pastoral letters about Jerusalem to the churches as follow up to the action of the Common Global Ministries Board; and
WHEREAS, Presidents Paul H. Sherry and Richard L. Hamm have sought an appointment with President Bill Clinton to express concerns about Jerusalem and the need for a consistent strong stand by the United States, in accord with the terms of this Resolution;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United Church of Christ, in collaboration with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) should: 1) examine our theological understanding of the significance of Jerusalem and 2) deepen our relations with Jews, Muslims and Palestinian Christians locally and internationally;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United Church of Christ, in collaboration with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), encourages our members to seek dialogue with people of diverse faiths and cultures in their practice of tourism and pilgrimages in and to the Holy Land; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-first General Synod of the United Church of Christ joins in affirming the text of the December 21, 1996, Churches for Middle East Peace statement Heritage, Hope and Home of Two Peoples and Three Religions:
“Jerusalem is a sacred city to Jews, Christians and Muslims, the Children of Abraham. All long for Jerusalem to be the City of Peace. Now the ancient hope for peace can become reality through negotiations.
Israeli leaders hold that Jerusalem should be Israel’s capital under the sole sovereignty of the State of Israel. Palestinian leaders hold that traditionally Arab eastern Jerusalem should become the capital of a new State of Palestine.
As Christians committed to working for peace, we support a negotiated solution for Jerusalem that respects the human and political rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the rights of the three religious communities. We urge Jews, Christians and Muslims to open dialogue on these issues.
Jerusalem at peace
Cannot belong exclusively
To one people one country or one religion.
Jerusalem should be open to all,
Shared by all …
Two peoples and three religions.
We urge the United States government to call upon negotiators to move beyond exclusivist claims and create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a symbol of reconciliation for all humankind.”