The Quest for Lasting Peace

The Quest for Lasting Peace

Update on the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and its work for human rights

This report by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines relates to its activities, theology, and particularly its work in human rights.

Human rights violations in the Philippines have increased in recent years, and 2005 saw a sharp increase in violence that specifically targeted church leaders and human rights activists.  Our partner, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), has issued a report titled “The Quest for Lasting Peace” by Edna J. Orteza (December 12, 2005).  The report shares many of the struggles that have been felt in individual churches and within the UCCP in the context of violence, economic crisis, globalization, and the ongoing “war on terror.”  Some have called for churches and church leaders to refrain from political and humanitarian activities and confine their work to the realm of evangelization and spirituality.  However, following the mandate of Luke 4:18-19, the UCCP continues to engage in social issues as part of the ministry of the church.

We can no longer continue to shield ourselves in fragile human sanctuaries, maintaining inner peace, rejoicing in our comfort zones, and celebrating our perceived blessedness in praise and thanksgiving.  To be a church in the world requires a correct reading of reality, a profound discernment of God’s redemptive presence and activity in history, and taking responsibility for human iniquities.  How can the gospel be preached if it is perceived simply as a book or a written instrument about people who experienced God’s grace and love?  The gospel is to be lived out and shared as a fulfillment of God’s promise of a meaningful and abundant life for all.”

“Let us affirm our commitment to the establishment of justice and peace in the world, and let us strive to make this a reality for all peoples.  To the spirit, memory and legacy of those who have offered their lives before we could even discern the truth.”

Who can prevent
wafting fragrance
with a fence?
Who can cut
the coming rays
with a knife?
Sunshine cannot be stopped
by the darkness of clouds.
Wounded branches
will give forth flowers.
silent faces
will shine…


The full text of the report can be found here.