The Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches held an exceptional meeting, as the Council's Twelfth General Assembly was scheduled to take place at this time. However, the exceptional circumstances imposed by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inability of direct meeting between members from different countries and churches, and replacing it with virtual electronic means for the member churches in Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Cyprus, produced a legal agreement on this exceptional meeting, which was hosted in Lebanon by His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi - Patriarch of Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke with the participation of His Beatitude Youhanna X - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and president of the Council for the Greek Orthodox Family, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church who is the president of the Council for the Eastern Orthodox Family, and Right Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, President of the National Evangelical Union Lebanon and president of the Council for the Evangelical Family. His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako – Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans and president of the Council for the Catholic family, participated electronically from Iraq. And in a generous initiative, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II - Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church hosted members of the Committee from the various churches in Egypt at the Papal Headquarters in the Coptic Orthodox Church of in Cairo.Read more
Global Ministries among 14 Christian churches and agencies urging Adminisration to extend relief from sanctions in light of COVID-19
This week, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ was one of 14 Christian denominations and agencies to send a letter to President Trump, Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin, and Secretary of State Pompeo. The letter, dated March 25, urged the lifting of US-imposed sanctions on Iran, Syria, and Gaza--sanctions that impede local response to the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to exacerbating an already dangerous public health crisis for the people who live there.Read more
Last week the Senate passed one of the pieces of legislation we have been advocating for - a bill that puts a serious limit to endless war! Senator Tim Kaine’s Iran War Powers Resolution (S.Res. 68) passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the House of Representatives. The resolution would require the President to remove any US troops from military hostilities against Iran within 30 days without authorization from Congress. Although President Trump has threatened to veto it, it is critical that Congress asserts its authority and continues to push toward peace with Iran.
Act today to thank the Senate for passing this bill and call on the House to pass it and send to the President’s desk.
As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ has long advocated for diplomatic and peaceful engagement with Iran. We have spoken out on multiple occasions in opposition to inflammatory rhetoric and direct provocation that could ultimately lead to war. In response to events that occurred around the New Year, our UCC leadership issued a call to prayer and fasting for peace during the season of Epiphany, to bring us back from the brink of war with Iran.
A return to diplomacy is the only way forward. We must remind our officials of the shared humanity between our nations and find creative ways to build peace. Let us pray and fast for peace with Iran and use our collective voice as people of faith to stop the drumbeat to war.
Escalating tensions with Iran in the last two weeks verging on war resulted in the Iraqi parliament voting overwhelmingly to expel US troops from the country. The vote was received with a strong rejection by the US, despite President Trump having campaigned on a promise to bring US troops home. Having been present as an occupying army since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the vote called renewed attention to US military presence in the region. But the US has done more to militarize the Middle East than station troops there. It has provided military arms and equipment, allocated military aid, and approved arms sales to the region in staggering quantities.
Please contact your representatives in Washington, urging them to constrain the US military presence in the Middle East in the form of troops, military aid, provision of arms, and arms sales approvals.Read more
The work of Al Amana Centre is based on 125 years of collaboration between Christians and Muslims in the Sultanate of Oman. The Reformed Church in America began collaborating with the people in Oman already in the year 1892. In schools and hospitals, they worked together with Omanis to educate and treat people.
We know you have been following the news from the greater region of the Middle East over the past days. We certainly do that here as well. How things are here? How could people of faith pray for the region? What could be done in the US and around the world by the churches?
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’
—Psalm 46: 5-6, 9-10
Anger and animosity. Threats. Murder and assassinations. Military bluster and belligerency. Calls for revenge and retaliation. In the past several days, we have witnessed the rapid escalation in hostilities verging on all-out war between the United States and Iran.Read more
As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ has long advocated for diplomatic and peaceful engagement with Iran. We have spoken out on multiple occasions in opposition to inflammatory rhetoric and direct provocation that could ultimately lead to war. In response to recent events, our UCC leadership has issued a call to prayer and fasting for peace during this season of Epiphany, to bring us back from the brink of war with Iran.Read more
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
Faith leaders across the USA, including Disciples and UCC leaders, released on 9 July a jointly signed statement entitled “Back from the Brink: Faith leaders call for diplomacy, not war, with Iran.”
Coordinated through Sojourners, the statement describes a USA-Iran war as an unmitigated disaster as well as morally and religiously indefensible. Global Ministries' Co-Executives, the Rev. Dr. Julia Brown Karimu and the Rev. Dr. James Moos, are among the signatories.Read more
In 2015, the Obama Administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the other UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany, which the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) supported in a 2015 General Assembly resolution. This deal (called the Iran Nuclear Deal) did a lot to slow Iran’s path to acquiring nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief, and is consistent with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which the US and Iran are both signatories. However, in May 2018 President Trump decided to pull the US out of the deal. Now, in May 2019, Iran has decided to stop complying fully with the deal as well. Our European allies still have hope for the JCPOA and want it to succeed, but without US involvement, there is a limit to what it can achieve.Read more