With the threat of a Russian invasion looming in Ukraine, faith communities are uniting in their message to Congress and the Biden administration, calling for leaders to protect human lives and prevent war. The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has joined other Christian denominations and interfaith groups in sending a joint letter to Congress and the Biden administration. The letter, dated Jan. 27, 2022, urged leaders in the US, Russia, and Ukraine to invest in diplomacy, reject a militaristic response, and act to prevent human suffering.
The full text of the letter follows:
Statement by Faith Groups on the Situation in Ukraine
As people of faith, we are united in our conviction that we must do all we can to achieve and secure peace when there is the threat of conflict. Political leaders must do everything in their power to protect human lives and prevent war.
We are gravely concerned by Russia’s apparent preparations to conduct a military invasion of, or to otherwise attack or destabilize, Ukraine. We urgently call on all parties, including the U.S., to invest in efforts that will prevent violent conflict and to avert actions that will likely lead to grievous and unnecessary human suffering, long-lasting environmental destruction, and widespread economic harm.
To this end, we reject the threats and intimidation that escalate tensions and the likelihood of war. Rather than relying on militaristic approaches, our leaders must invest in efforts to sustain peace and prevent harm to those who would suffer the most from the devastating and long-term impacts of conflict. Only by vigorously pursuing all avenues for peace can we fulfill our sacred duty to respect the equal dignity and worth of every person.
American Friends Service Committee
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Council of Churches
Religions for Peace USA
The Episcopal Church
The United Methodist Church–General Board of Church and Society
Presbyterian Church (USA)
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
In related news:
The National Council of Churches (NCC) has released the following appeal for peace for the people of Ukraine:
“Let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.”
— 1 Peter 3:11
“The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) joins with the World Council of Churches in an urgent call for peace for the people of Ukraine. We fervently pray that a diplomatic solution will be accepted, and that Russia will remove the troops on three sides of the Ukraine without resorting to a destructive and deadly conflict. Every possible means must be attempted to prevent the escalation of this confrontation into an armed conflict and the devastating threat of nuclear retaliation that it could bring to all the people of the world.
“As the NCC has long upheld peacemaking as one of its core principles, we implore the US government to work tirelessly toward a strong response that protects the people of the Ukraine from harm without resorting to war. We agree with the use of diplomatic tactics instead of warfare, including the Biden administration’s use of a novel export control focused on Russian industries, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and civilian aerospace. We applaud President Biden’s efforts to diffuse the situation including his reassurance that the Ukraine will not be joining NATO in the near term. We support the US stance against the placement of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and encourage the enactment of a formal agreement prohibiting nuclear weapon placement by either NATO or Russia. Additionally, we call on the US to rejoin the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and for Russia to return to compliance of that treaty, which will prohibit intermediate- and shorter-range land-based missiles and allow inspections to ensure compliance.
“At this crucial moment, we pray for the safety of all who live in Ukraine and join with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, one of our member communions, in asking, “May God hear our loving petition and soften the hearts and minds of all, within and without Ukraine during these dangerous times.”
(Find this statement posted online by the NCC at https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-appeals-for-peace-for-the-people-of-ukraine.)
The World Council of Churches’ acting general secretary has released an urgent appeal for peace for the people of Ukraine:
“The World Council of Churches, with its member churches throughout the world, urgently appeals for peace for the people of Ukraine. As we follow the news of the mad progression towards war, we plead for a different logic than one based on geopolitical competition–a logic that considers the death and suffering that any armed conflict would inevitably visit on the children, women and men of Ukraine. We pray for a change of hearts and minds, for de-escalation, and for dialogue instead of threats. God’s people–and members of the ecumenical fellowship–find themselves on both sides of the current confrontation. But our God is a God of peace, not of war and bloodshed. Though the things that make for peace may be hidden from the eyes of those driving the march to war, we pray that they may yet be opened, and that peace may yet prevail.
“Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Acting General Secretary
World Council of Churches”
(Find this statement posted online by the WCC at www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/statement-on-ukraine.)
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