Committee recommends study of new approaches to peacemaking, nonviolence

Closing 7 military bases in Colombia also recommended

July 7, 2010

The Peace and International Issues Committee of the 219th General Assembly (2010) recommended Tuesday that the PC(USA) engage in a study of “new approaches to active peacemaking and nonviolence.”

The measure, to be sent to the full Assembly for consideration, asks that the denomination’s General Assembly Mission Council appoint a steering team to lead the effort. The team is to invite participation of the broader church in the process and make recommendations to the 221st General Assembly (2014). The action calls on the Assembly to receive the report for a two-year period of study, then take final action at the 2016 meeting.

“We want to affirm the great work that is being done” by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program “and move it forward into the future in a way that’s relevant,” said the Rev. Randy Bush, an overture advocate from Pittsburgh Presbytery.

In response to an overture from Chicago Presbytery, the committee is recommending that the Assembly urge the United States to suspend use of seven military bases in Colombia. The bases, which the U.S. military began using in 2009, increase concerns among Colombians that conflict will erupt between Colombia and its neighboring countries, said Helis Barraza, a member of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia.

“It’s true that we need to combat violence and create peace, but peace is not created by violence,” he said.

In other actions, the committee:

  • amended an overture calling on the United Nations to encourage the protection of Christians in the Muslim world. The committee’s recommendation urges the U.N. to exhort government and religious leaders around the world to protect religious minorities;
  • voted to send to the full Assembly commissioners’ resolutions calling for the restoration of sustainable agriculture in Haiti and the restoration of democracy in Honduras and Madagascar.