The United Methodist General Boards of Church & Society (GBCS) and Global Ministries (GBGM) have updated “Working for a Just & Lasting Peace in Israel and Palestine,” a 36-page resource designed to answer questions about the Middle East conflict and promote actions to seek resolution.
The advocacy packet was created in response to a resolution by the 2004 General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-setting body. Resolution #312 instructs the two agencies to work with interfaith organizations to develop advocacy packets for use in local congregations to promote a just, lasting peace, and human rights for all in the region.
This packet answers questions about the conflict and provides specific actions congregations and individual can take to help bring an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The packet is divided into two sections:
- “What You Should Know” contains background information, maps and links to personal testimonies from people in the region, church statements, and resources for additional study.
- “How You Can Help” provides detailed advocacy resources for churches and individuals.
The creation of a just peace in the region can be achieved by focusing on principles of justice and human rights, according to the resource.
We have a role in the cycle of violence and, as such, a responsibility to speak out about injustice.
“As U.S. citizens, it is important that we recognize the influence — sometimes counterproductive — that U.S. policies and financial assistance have had on the region,” the resource states. “As citizens and taxpayers, we have a role in the cycle of violence and, as such, a responsibility to speak out about injustice.”
“Working for a Just & Lasting Peace” points out that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be a contentious topic for local churchgoers in the United States. Strong views about the region and misinformation about the current situation can lead to heated discussions and angry confrontations. The packet is intended to channel discussion away from such heated debate toward a more reasoned one.
United Methodist statements
While providing a comprehensive list of other contacts, both Jewish and Palestinian, the resource emphasizes the United Methodist Social Principles and denomination resolutions and statements on the conflict. It has been updated with 2012 General Conference decisions.
There is also a section on how to “Take Action,” which is broken down into prayer, giving, studying and engaging before advocating. The giving section includes United Methodist Advance Special projects in the region and GBGM missionaries.
The appendix offers a list of DVDs/Videos and suggested readings.
Updating the resource was directed by Mark Harrison, GBCS director of Peace with Justice, and David Wildman, executive secretary, Human Rights & Racial Justice at GBGM.
“Working for a Just & Lasting Peace in Israel & Palestine” can be downloaded free from the GBCS website at advocacy packet.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference.
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. The denomination has launched more than a dozen new or renewed Mission Initiatives in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America since the 1990s.