The denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board has approved a “Resolution on Christian Minority Communities” and recommended it to the 2015 Annual Conference for adoption.
The resolution, adopted without discussion, focuses on “the destruction of Christian communities in regions where Christians are targeted as religious minorities,” citing Romans 12:5, “We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another,” and Galatians 6:10, “So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”
“While we are deeply concerned about the persecution of religious minorities regardless of religion or tradition, we feel a distinct call to speak out on behalf of those who are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ,” the resolution says, in part.
Areas where Christian communities are suffering severe persecution, are rapidly diminishing, or are in danger of disappearing altogether include northeast Nigeria, other areas of north Africa, and the Middle East particularly Palestine and Israel, Iraq, and Syria.
“Additionally, in this year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide,” the document states, “we reaffirm our commitment to stand with targeted minority groups across the world and call not only for increased awareness of their persecution, but for renewed efforts by the church and the international community to build solidarity and protect minority religious groups who are under threat.”
The resolution identifies seven steps for Brethren to take in response:
— praying for sisters and brothers in Christ across the globe;
— learning about the experience of Christians in places of persecution and conflict;
— extending expressions of love and support to those communities;
— committing to participate in interfaith dialogue and peace initiatives;
— supporting advocacy efforts of the church in places where it is in danger of disappearing;
— developing relationships with Muslim and other religious communities in the US in an effort for mutual understanding; and
— reaching out “with hospitality and welcome to those in our own communities who have entered the United States in search of refuge from persecution, violence, and threats to their lives and their faith.”
Read the full resolution at www.brethren.org/mmb/documents/2015-3/exhibit-6-resolution-on-christian-minority-communities-mmb.pdf .