The Middle East Study Committee (MESC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released the second of three parts of its final report to the 219th General Assembly (2010).

The second part of the report, which contains biblical and theological reflections, is available at the Middle East Peace website.

“Scripture and Reformed theology are the foundations on which we build,” said the Rev. Ron Shive, a pastor in Salem Presbytery and chair of the committee. “The good work our committee has done on this section makes it clear that our words and actions need to stem directly from our faith commitments.”

After nearly two years of study, travel and vigorous discussion, the committee submitted its final report on March 5. The report, “Breaking Down the Walls,” is being released in three parts because of the time needed to copy edit and format the approximately 150-page document for the assembly.

The topics of covenant, land, Zion and reconciliation are addressed in the second part of the report. Shive points out that it is the thread of justice that runs throughout the piece.

“All of these themes are central to our conversation,” said Shive. “Reconciliation is the hope for which we pray and work, and we know that reconciliation is achieved most faithfully when it partners with justice for the sake of all of God’s people.”

The remainder of the report, including the committee’s policy recommendations, will be released on Wednesday, March 10.

The report will be considered by the 219th General Assembly (2010), first in committee and then on the floor of the full assembly. If the General Assembly as a whole approves the report and recommendations, it will then become official PC(USA) policy.

The MESC was established by the 218th General Assembly (2008) to “prepare a comprehensive study, with recommendations, focused on Israel/Palestine within the complex context of the Middle East.” The Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly, appointed the nine-member committee in consultation with the two previous moderators.

In addition to Shive, the committee members are the Reverends Susan R. Andrews (Hudson River Presbytery), John Huffman (Los Ranchos Presbytery), Rebecca Reyes (New Hope Presbytery), Marthame Sanders (Greater Atlanta Presbytery) and Byron Shafer (New York City Presbytery) and elders Frederic W. Bush (Los Ranchos Presbytery), Nahida H. Gordon (Muskingum Valley Presbytery) and Lucy Janjigian (Palisades Presbytery).

The 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will meet July 3-10, 2010, in Minneapolis.