Resolution to REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE

Submitted by the Department of Mission 2013

 

A Resolution To Reduce Gun Violence from the Norwich Congregational Church, 2 UCC, as approved at its annual meeting, February 10, 2013

Whereas Jesus commanded us to love and respect one another:

(John 15:12, “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 6:27-31, “Love your  enemies....Do to others as you would have them do to you.”) and

Whereas Jesus taught us to show this love and peace by taking care of the least among us: (Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”) and

Whereas Jesus valued the practice of peacemaking: (Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”) and

Whereas the teachings of Jesus speak against the use of violence: (Matthew 26:52 “All who take the sword will perish by the sword.”) and

Whereas Jesus told us to follow the commandments and to not commit murder: (Mark 20 10:18, “You shall not commit murder.” ) and

Whereas Jesus preached that we cannot participate in or acquiesce to sin without being complicit in it, removing temptation if necessary: (Matt 5:30 “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.”) and

Whereas Jesus taught us to see and understand our own reality when we consider judging others. (Luke 6:41 “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye?”) and

Whereas Scripture and experience teach us that all humans are sinful, capable of acting with hostile aggression toward their neighbors and

Whereas Scripture teaches us that life is precious, and human beings have a moral responsibility to advocate for peace and justice for all, and

Whereas an average of 30,000 Americans die each year as a result of gun violence in accidents, suicides, and murders. In 2010 in the United States 31,076 people died and

73,505 people were treated for gunshot wounds. This was over 286 people killed or 39 wounded for each day of the year. This is almost 12 people during a one hour worship service.  (*see end note) and

Whereas Jesus calls on us to stop sitting silently by while this violent plague destroys countless lives and families, and wounds many communities therefore

Be it resolved that the Vermont Conference, United Church of Christ calls upon individuals, congregations, and the Conference Office (** see end note) to:

+prayerfully consider actions which lessen the prevalence of gun violence in our communities and
+contact State and Federal legislators, Governors, and the President and ask those officials to support legislation which would:

-Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
-Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America.
-Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers” (those who arm criminals).

Be it further resolved that the Vermont Conference submit this resolution to the National Synod of the United Church of Christ asking for a similar effort on a national level.

End Notes

*Nat’l Center for Injury Prevention & Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS) Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010, for National, Regional, and States (Dec. 2012), http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/dataRestriction_inj.html

**Members of the Norwich Congregational Church, UCC will assist in this effort.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Adopted June 1, 2013


Resolution on DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Submitted by the Department of Mission 2012

WHEREAS God has promised, that if we "satisfy the needs of the afflicted…Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in." Isaiah 58: 10, 12, and

WHEREAS God calls us to comfort God’s people. Isaiah 40:1, and

WHEREAS the Disaster Ministries Guidelines of the United Church of Christ state that "Each Conference, drawing upon the gifts of its local congregations, determines how best to serve as denominational and ecumenical partners, and witnesses of hope when disasters occur in their geographic area. A network of Conference Disaster Coordinators assists in developing preparedness measures before crises occur. Coordinators help to organize volunteers for clean-up and rebuilding efforts; as well as participate in response and long term recovery efforts in communities affected by natural disasters." and

WHEREAS "We look … to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper us in creative and redemptive work in the world." Constitution and Bylaws of The Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ, Preamble. and

WHEREAS in Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, 2011, we saw the great and immediate need for a prepared response in the face of disaster;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ will put into place structures and policies that will enable it to respond quickly and effectively in time of need. To that end :

1. The Conference will establish, train, equip and maintain a Vermont Conference Disaster Response Team (VTCDRT) that will report to the Department of Missions Council and oversee Disaster Preparedness

2. The VTCDRT, working with National UCC Disaster Ministries and local partners will:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference, through the VTCDRT, will ask each Association to appoint liaisons to local/regional Long-Term Recovery Committees (LTRCs) and the VTCDRT. and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference, through the VTCDRT, will ask each Local Church to:

 

Adopted June 2, 2012

 


Resolution on CONTINUATION OF DILLARD HENDERSON SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Submitted by the Department of Mission, 2012


Whereas we are called "To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God," (Micah 6:8) and Jesus prayed that "they may all be one."  (John 17: 21); and

Whereas Dillard University in New Orleans is a Historically Black College, founded as Straight University in 1869 with the support of the American Missionary Association of the Congregational Church, now the United  Church of Christ; and

Whereas Dillard University is a partner of the United Church of Christ and a Full Member of the United Church of Christ Council on Higher Education; and

WHEREAS the Vermont Conference, UCC committed itself to supporting African American education in the 1999 Resolution, "…TO SUPPORT AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATION" and affirmed (99AM34) in a vote that one half of the 204th Annual Meeting offering go toward the Dillard University Scholarship; and

WHEREAS George Washington Henderson, after receiving education in Underhill and Barre, graduated from UVM in 1877, first in his class and the first African American initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1880 was awarded a Master of Arts degree, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1896 both also from UVM, and served as an educator in schools in Jericho, Craftsbury, and Newport; and

WHEREAS George Washington Henderson beginning in 1890 was university pastor and chair of theology at Straight University; and

WHEREAS the Vermont Conference has since 2004 contributed to the Dillard University Henderson Scholarship fund reaching the $25,000 level in 2010.


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference commit ourselves to expand the Dillard Henderson Scholarship Fund by dedicating the odd-year Annual Meeting offerings to the Dillard Henderson Scholarship Fund for the next 20 years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference, through its Department of Mission, will encourage Associations and local churches to do fund raising and make donations to further expand the Dillard Henderson Scholarship Fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference through the Department of Mission Diversity Committee encourage and seek ways to enter into meaningful relationship with the Dillard Community to our mutual benefit, education and growth in grace and wisdom.

Adopted June 2, 2012

 


RESOLUTION ON RE-AFFIRMING THE VERMONT CONFERENCE AS A JUST PEACE CONFERENCE

Submitted by the Department of Mission

Whereas Christians in every age and place are called to bear witness by word and deed to the vision of God’s realm as the Holy Spirit enables them to discern God’s purpose; and

Whereas scripture reveals God’s will for creation to be covenantal harmony, wholeness, and well-being having its source in God; and

Whereas Just Peace is characterized not merely by absence of war, but by right economic and social relationships among people (Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8), a right relationship between humanity and nature (Is. 11:6-9, 32:15-20; Ezek. 34:25-29), and a right relationship between humanity and God (Jer. 31:31-34); and

Whereas the church, despite often failing to challenge the structures and institutions that perpetuate violence and injustice, and despite often failing to resolve its own conflicts nonviolently, is entrusted with the message of justice and peace revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:38-44; Matthew 25:31-40; Luke 4:16-21); and

Whereas the threat posed to the environment and to human life by modern warfare raises profound moral and theological questions about the justness of any resort to military force, and preparation for and engagement in war diverts resources away from pressing human needs; and

Whereas we affirm the reality that peace is not possible if injustice exists, holding with Isaiah the understanding that justice precedes righteousness and peace (Isaiah 32:15-18); and

Whereas the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ in 1985 affirmed "the United Church of Christ is to be a Just Peace Church," defined Just Peace as "the interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence," placed "the UCC General Synod in opposition to the institution of war, " and called upon "Conferences and national bodies of the United Church of Christ to organize their common life so as to make a difference in the achieving of a Just Peace and the ending of the institution of war"; and

Whereas the Seventeenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ in 1989 adopted as a priority "Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace," acknowledging that integrity of creation, justice and peace is encompassed in the biblical vision of shalom and is central to the Christian identity of members of the United Church of Christ; and

Whereas the Twenty-fifth General Synod of the United Church of Christ in 2005 supported "a denomination-wide peace with justice movement among local churches, associations, conferences and the national setting which promotes a multi-issue, multi-racial, and multicultural approach to justice and peacemaking"; and

Whereas the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ at its 1993 Annual Meeting declared itself to be a Just Peace Conference, calling on local churches "to organize their common life so as to make a difference in the achieving of Just Peace and the ending of the institution of war"; and

Whereas since becoming a Just Peace Conference the Vermont Conference has adopted several other resolutions addressing Just Peace issues, such as Uprooting Racism (1999), Clergy of Color (2002), Open and Affirming Conference (2002), War in Iraq and Future Plans for Peace (2004), Health Care for All (2005 and 2009), No Attack on Iran (2007), Anti- Poverty Work (2007), Summer Lunch Programs (2007), Fair Trade Conference (2007), Multiracial/Multicultural Conference (2008), Christian/Muslim Dialogue (2009), and Charter for Compassion (2010); and

Whereas the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ has demonstrated its Just Peace commitment in the past by supporting activities such as Bridges for Peace, witness against the death penalty, the Livable Wage Campaign, and the Uprooting Racism Task Force, and in the present through support of the Vermont Low-income Advocacy Council, Hunger Free Vermont, global partnerships, prison justice ministry, environmental justice ministry, and the celebration of just peace activities at the annual Peacemakers’ Breakfasts; and

Whereas the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, and the Vermont Conference Resource Center have available for local churches a plethora of resources for education, reflection and action on just peace issues;

Whereas no United Church of Christ congregation in Vermont has adopted the Just Peace designation since its inception in 1985;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ re-affirms its commitment to Just Peace and its role as a Just Peace Conference; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference calls upon the churches of this Conference to engage in education, reflections and actions that advance the realization of Just Peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Mission, through the Just Peace Advocates or other entity responsible for justice and peace concerns, commits itself to providing leadership and resources to assist the Conference, its associations and local churches in their efforts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference commits itself to work with other conferences and bodies of the United Church of Christ, members of other Christian denominations and other faiths, and all people of good will who seek to make Just Peace a reality.

 

Adopted June 4, 2011


RESOLUTION ON Becoming a GREEN Justice Conference

Submitted by the Department of Mission

Whereas The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, (Psalm 24:1) and God has from the beginning called humankind to tend the earth, to work it and to watch it. (Gen 2:15, Fox)

Whereas God has declared though the prophet Isaiah The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt. (Isaiah 24:5)

Whereas by resolution the Twenty-sixth General Synod of the United Church of Christ admits Christian complicity in the damage human beings have caused to the earth's climate system and other planetary life systems, and urges recommitment to the Christian vocation of responsible stewardship of God's creation, and expresses profound concern for the pending environmental, economic, and social tragedies threatened by global warming, to creation, human communities and traditional sacred spaces;

Whereas environmental disruptions fall disproportionately on poor and marginalized persons, communities and nations;

Whereas the United States imports more than half the oil we need, increasing our national debt and threatening national security; and domestic reserves of oil, gas and coal are increasingly costly to access and present increasingly greater environmental risks;

Whereas money saved by conservation can further the economic vitality and future ministry and mission of our conference and our churches;

Whereas our faith calls us to be responsible stewards of creation, in deed and in truth, and to offer transforming and hope-filled leadership for peace and justice in our broken world, responsive to the needs of coming generations;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ declare itself to be a Green Justice Conference of the United Church of Christ

  • In our buildings, programs and policies setting an example of sustainable environmental practices
  • Encouraging local churches to become Green Justice Congregations, following the guidelines of the Environmental Justice Ministries of the United Church of Christ.( attached)
  • Providing resources, training and support to local congregations through the Environmental Ministries Committee of the Department of Mission to help members and congregations find new and transforming ways to live, acting on our faith grounded in wonder, reverence, love, and respect for all of God's creation.
  • Providing public witness to the need for our governments at local, state and national levels to act in ways that are hopeful, restorative, and just as we face the challenges of environmental disruption and the need for sustainable and affordable life for all.

 

Adopted June 4, 2011

 

 

ADDENDUM: Becoming a Green Justice Congregation

From Environmental Justice Ministries of the United Church of Christ

WORSHIP AND EDUCATION

POINTS

TOTAL

Preach an environmental stewardship sermon

1*

 

Hold an annual "Earth Day" Sunday with appropriate liturgy and hymns

2

 

Conduct a six-week or Lenten Bible study, book study, or small group study on stewardship of creation

4

Show an environmental justice film

1*

 

Invite speakers on environmental justice to special church events

1*

 

Have your "Just Green Team" or others take a "toxic tour" and report back to your congregation what you learned

2

 

Measure the carbon footprint of the church facility and staff and pledge to reduce it by 10% per year

3

 

Set up a program to measure the carbon footprint of each family in the congregation

5

 

Send a member of your congregation to a UCC Center for Environmental Justice workshop or a Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (LED) training

3*

 

COORDINATION & COMMUNICATION

POINTS

TOTAL

Form an on-going church "Just Green Team"

5

 

Include a "Just Green" column in your church newsletter

2

 

Shift church communications from paper to electronic media – as much as possible

1

 

Sign up at least 50% of your congregational households to the Justice & Peace Action Network (JPANet)

3

EQUIPMENT

POINTS

TOTAL

Put office machines on power strips and unplug rarely used appliances

1

 

Replace old heating/air conditioning units with energy efficient models

5*

 

Buy "energy star" appliances

1*

 

Install water saver or dual-flush toilets throughout the facility

1*

 

Install tankless or solar water heater(s)

4

 

Install ceiling fans in rooms for circulation and reset thermostat

2

 

STEWARDSHIP

POINTS

TOTAL

Assist members in reducing "junk" mail

1

 

Recycle paper/bottles/cans

2

 

Shift to reusable dishes/utensils in church kitchens and rooms

2

 

Shift to environmentally sensitive cleaning products

1

 

Review church investments for environmental justice impact

3

 

Shift to "fair trade" and environmentally friendly items for regular consumption

2

 

Shift to locally grown food as much as possible for church events

1

 

ENERGY USE

POINTS

TOTAL

Conduct a professional energy audit of the church facility

5

 

Clean radiators/heating ducts/refrigerator coils regularly

1

 

Turn off computers and other appliances overnight or when not in use

1

 

Install and use programmable thermostats

3

 

Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL’s

2

 

Insulate/weather-strip church pipes/walls/ceilings/doors/water heaters/wall outlets

2

 

Install energy efficient fluorescent lights/ballasts

2

 

Use blinds to help regulate temperature

1

 

Purchase "clean" or "green power" for the church

1

 

Replace old windows with energy-efficient windows

1

 

Replace old doors with energy-efficient doors or install storm doors

1

 

Install solar panels for electricity generation

5

 

TRANSPORTATION

POINTS

TOTAL

Institute "Walk/bike/carpool to church" days

1

 

Develop a car pool system for church activities

2

 

Install bike racks at your church

3

 

Intentionally carpool to local, regional, or state church events or meetings

2

 

NATURAL SURROUNDINGS

POINTS

TOTAL

Shift to organic lawn/landscape care

4

 

Establish a community garden at the church

5

 

Build a rainwater garden or landscape

5

 

Utilize xeriscaping for lawns/landscaping

4

 

Plant deciduous trees on South and West sides of church buildings

3

 

ADVOCACY

POINTS

TOTAL

As a congregation, join your state’s Interfaith Power and Light organization

4

 

Hold a letter-writing campaign to elected officials at local, state, or national levels to tell them that environmental justice should be reflected in public policy decisions

1*

 

Visit your elected officials at the local, State, or national levels to tell them that environmental justice should be reflected in public policy decisions

1*

 

Join with other congregations to pool resources and energy for community efforts towards environmental justice

3

 

Hold an educational/advocacy event about such groups as 350.org or Transition Towns

2

 

TOTAL POINTS

   

* Points are given per event, item, or action

Notes:

  1. Other events, items, or actions can earn points. We encourage creativity and actions customized for your setting. Write a brief description and estimate the points based on comparison with other criteria.
  2. Points begin accumulating each Easter Sunday morning for one entire year. Reports from each congregation are encouraged at every Conference meeting in the spring or early summer.
  3. Count points every year for actions you have taken to change facilities or energy use. For example, if you shift to organic lawn care, you may count those points every year as long as you continue the action.
  4. 20 points – Level 1; 40 points – Level 2; 60 points – Level 3; 80 points or more – Level 4

Resolution on A NEW APPROACH TO THE "WAR ON DRUGS"

Submitted by the Vermont Conference United Church of Christ Department of Mission

WHEREAS the United States of America and its states, including the State of Vermont, have elected to curb drug abuse by enacting draconian sentencing laws; and

WHEREAS those laws have not brought about a reduction in drug use but have resulted in surging prison populations, helping make this country the world's leading jailer; and

WHEREAS the number of people arrested each year on nonviolent drug charges exceeds 1.8 million, including more than 800,000 arrested for marijuana law violations; and

WHEREAS the continuing demand for illegal drugs in this country has resulted in the growth of violent drug cartels and gangs in Mexico, with Juarez, Mexico, the epicenter of Mexico's drug war, experiencing 2,200 murders in 2009 alone, the highest murder rate in the world; and

WHEREAS the policy of such sentencing costs this country approximately billion annually and results in annual revenues for the drug cartels estimated to exceed $20 billion; and

WHEREAS the approach of long sentences for those who are dependent on drugs is neither effective nor consistent with the teachings of Jesus, who healed those possessed of demons (Matthew 8:28-33);

and whereas in II Corinthians 2:5-8, we are urged, when someone has erred and been held accountable, to encourage that person, so that he or she will not become so sad as to give up completely;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ urges our state and federal legislators to reconsider the existing policies of draconian punishment and the unsustainable practice of incarcerating people who are addicted and who have not committed violent crime, and to consider reallocation of resources to provide more opportunities for substance abuse prevention and treatment and alternatives to incarceration.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be submitted to Vermont's Congressional delegation, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, the Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate.

Adopted June 4, 2010


Resolution on affirmation of: CHARTER FOR COMPASSION.

SUBMITTED BY: Vermont Conference Department of Mission

WHEREAS, the diverse religions and cultures of the world are often critical and unaccepting of each other and sometimes even violent and destructive toward those different from themselves, and 

WHEREAS, religious leaders from around the world are highlighting this tragic impasse: for example, Muslim leader Salman Ahmad states that business, government and other world leaders need a guiding principle for working together, "…especially when the world is colliding into each other every day."  And Sister Joan Chittister states that "In a world where force is too often the response to differences of opinion, culture, and ideas of the divine, compassion is its one universal antidote." and,

WHEREAS we, as Christians, are called to "Love the Lord your God…Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39), and to "…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…" (Matthew 5: 43-44), and to "…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3: 12), and

WHEREAS, the recognized scholar and author on world religions and the nature of God, Karen Armstrong, in 2008 called for a renewed emphasis on the principle of compassion which lies at the heart of all religious, ethical, and spiritual traditions. and,

WHEREAS, world religious leaders, including Bishop Tutu, the Dalai Lama and many others, joined with Karen Armstrong to develop the four paragraph CHARTER FOR COMPASSION  and launched it throughout the world for affirmation and adoption in November, 2009.  Armstrong describes the CHARTER FOR COMPASSION as a "grassroots movement of people interested and involved in religion" so that "the voices of extremism can be drowned out by the compassionate voices " which treat others with respect as they work for justice. "It is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking, but COMPASSIONATE ACTION to the center of our lives."

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference affirm and accept the CHARTER FOR COMPASSION as a guide for thoughts, prayers and action by individuals and collectivities recognizing that this call is also that of Jesus Christ’s invitation to love our neighbor as ourselves and to love our enemies.

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that delegates will encourage their churches and church members to also affirm and commit to the CHARTER FOR COMPASSION in their personal and community living and action. Also, that the Department of Mission through its Global Ministries Committee will develop resources and then follow up with churches to encourage them to act and to learn about their implementation.

 

Adopted June 4, 2010


 

Resolution on Health Care for All

WHEREAS there are a minimum of 65,000 persons in the State of Vermont, of whom 3,500 are children, who have no health insurance and as such they are without access to adequate, affordable health care, and

WHEREAS the vast majority of the people who have lost their jobs have also been left without any help to pay for the cost of health care, and

WHEREAS an unknown number of people delay or avoid seeking medical services because of cost or lack of sufficient coverage until they are gravely ill. Then they go to an emergency department, where they are served at a great cost which is more than twice what it would have been had they sought help at the first sign of illness and

WHEREAS the cost of health care is rising exponentially, insurance premiums are increasing at warp speed, deductibles are being increased with each annual renewal of a policy and

WHEREAS the cost of prescription drugs increases annually, both in changes in retail prices and an increase in co-pay, frequently by 90%, and there are no controls or limits on these increases and

WHEREAS the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ resolved to support adequate health care for all in 2005, a goal which has still not been approached.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the assembled delegates to this Conference Annual Meeting return to their churches and associations and spur study, understanding and action within their communities to bring about a working system of health care for all, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Mission will make regular use of E-KIT to send action alerts to local churches and encourage members to contact their elected representatives, both in the state of Vermont and nationally by letter or toll free phone call to urge the passage of legislation necessary to reach the goals of guarantees of health care which is accessible, affordable, and adequate for all.

 

Approved May 29, 2009


Resolution on Christian-Muslim Dialogue

WHEREAS the United Church of Christ affirmed its relationship with the Muslim community at its 1989 General Synod calling upon "…all local congregations and regional judicatories of the United Church of Christ to actively engage in dialogue with the Muslim community in order to establish relationships of trust and cooperation and to participate in joint witness against injustice in our local communities and in the world." and

WHEREAS in October 2007, 138 Muslim leaders representing all denominations and schools of thought of Islam prepared and sent an invitation to the Christians of the world to enter into mutual faith study and friendship-building based on the core faith positions of both religions, namely, love of God and love of neighbor, in a document entitled "A Common Word Between Us and You," and

WHEREAS this invitation was received positively with answers of acceptance by the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the Catholic papacy, and by many Protestant denominations including leaders of the United Church of Christ. In his letter of acceptance, UCC President Rev. John H. Thomas stated that: "Our Church is particularly eager to develop a process for deepening relationships and strengthening friendships and making new friends. As we see it, this means theological and textual discussion and dialogue, as well as relational and practical interaction." and

WHEREAS Dr. Peter Makari, Middle East and European Executive for Global Ministries, Co-Chair of the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and Co-Convener of the National Muslim-Christian Initiative in North America has stated: "This initiative of Muslim and Christian leaders sends a message to those in North America: We co-exist in vibrant communities where awareness and cooperation will be our common future together."

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ endorse and accept the invitation of UCC President John H. Thomas for UCC entities, seminaries, churches and others, to enter into mutual study and friendship building in response to the Muslim invitation: "A Common Word Between Us and You," by:

  1. Encouraging churches and the Vermont Conference UCC to engage in Christian-Muslim study approaches and friendship-building activities, and
  2. Calling on the Global Ministries Committee of the Vermont Conference Department of Mission to develop resources helpful to churches for Christian-Muslim study and friendship building.

 

Adopted May 29, 2009


Resolution on Becoming a Multiracial and Multicultural Conference

WHEREAS in Genesis 1:27 we are called to recognize the oneness of all of humanity, created equally in the image of God, and

WHEREAS God’s gift of humanity in Creation is full of the richness of unity and diversity, and

WHEREAS in John 17:21 are the words adopted by The United Church of Christ in its symbol "that they may all be one," and

WHEREAS the racial and ethnic makeup of Vermont is changing, and its communities are becoming increasingly diverse, and

WHEREAS the United Church of Christ in its 19th General Synod in 1993 issued a pronouncement calling the United Church of Christ to be a multiracial and multicultural church, and

WHEREAS the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ has repeatedly supported actions and resolution calling upon its churches to become more racially and culturally inclusive, including:

A resolution passed at the 1996 Conference Annual Meeting regarding the indigenous people of Vermont, calling on churches to "make a strong and faith centered effort to remove the burden of racism, racial intolerance and negative stereotyping that has been the experience of the indigenous peoples of Vermont for over 200 years" and

A resolution passed at the 1999 Conference Annual Meeting on Uprooting Racism in Vermont, in which the Conference resolved to continuously encourage full inclusion and participation of people of color within our churches by intentionally including non-European traditions of worship, music, and language affirming that the God of Creation has equally called all humanity into being, and

A resolution passed at the 2002 Conference Annual Meeting to increase the number of Clergy of Color in our Vermont churches, calling on local churches of the Vermont Conference to begin to work, and actively seek assistance as needed, to prepare their congregation and community to accept a pastor of color at a time when an opening in pastoral leadership may occur,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ commit itself to becoming a multiracial and multicultural Conference, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference encourages all churches within the Conference to declare themselves multiracial and multicultural churches as defined in the 1993 General Synod pronouncement. Through the process of self-examination the churches may develop a change of vision toward new ways of being together that would include culturally diverse forms of worship and fellowship.

 

Adopted May 30, 2008


Resolution on Vermont Interfaith Action

WHEREAS the Vermont Conference, U.C. C. supports the work of certain ecumenical and interfaith organizations in our mutual work for peace and justice;

AND WHEREAS we find substantial authority for seeking and working for justice in such scriptures as Micah 6:8; Amos 5:24; and Matthew 25:34-36:

AND WHEREAS Vermont Interfaith Action is a grass roots, statewide 501 (C) 3 organization founded in 2004 – 2005 with a clear focus on working for long-term systemic change toward a more just and equitable social order;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference, U.C. C. commend the work of Vermont Interfaith Action by sending a Letter of Commendation in care of its Executive Director, Rev. Debbie Ingram.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Conference Office makes information about Vermont Interfaith Action available to local churches or associations at their request.

 

Adopted May 30, 2008