UCC-General Synod

APPROVED RESOLUTIONS BY THE THIRTIETH GENERAL SYNOD 2015

  1. Dismantling Discriminatory Systems of Mass Incarceration in the United States

Therefore BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ identifies mass incarceration as a critical human and civil rights issues in the U.S. because of its disparate impact on and disenfranchisement of people of color, youth, people with mental illness and people with limited economic and other resources; and

Be it further resolved that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ reaffirms its commitment to speak and act prophetically to disrupt and dismantle the growing prison industrial complex in the United States by pursuing every public forum available;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, to turn this tide of institutionalized racism and economic injustice by mass incarceration in the United States that Justice and Witness Ministries, Conferences and local congregations are encouraged to provide opportunities for education, mobilization, public witness, and public policy, and to engage in a periodic review.

1b.  Dismantling the New Jim Crow

Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ supports and reaffirm prior resolutions and pronouncements calling the church to continue sacred conversations on race and to engage in prophetic speech and action directed at eliminating systemic racism in all its guises, ending the “War on Drugs,” stopping mass incarceration and the growth of the prison industrial complex, ending racial and class bias in arrests and sentencing, implementing justice in policing, housing, and employment for people who have served felony sentences, addressing inadequate legal representation for the indigent, providing training and rehabilitation for prison inmates, and restoring voting rights for people who have served their sentences;;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ identify the “New Jim Crow”, defined as disenfranchisement, marginalization, and re-subjugation of African Americans and accordingly the creation of a permanent caste of second class citizens, as a critical human and civil rights issue in the United States on account of its devastating political, legal and social effects upon African Americans, other people of color, youth, and people with limited economic and other resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ urges Justice and Witness Ministries, Conferences, Associations, and local congregations to provide opportunities for education, including a resource with information on the biblical and theological foundations on race, mobilization, public witness, and public policy advocacy to dismantle the New Jim Crow and to turn this tide of institutionalized racism and economic injustice.

  1. Resolution to Change the Racially Demeaning Name, Mascot, and Imagery of the Washington National Football League Team

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon the National Football League’s Washington franchise to change its team name and to refrain from the use of any images, mascots, or behaviors that are or could be properly deemed harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or peoples;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ will communicate in writing this resolution to the owner of the Washington National Football League team, Daniel Snyder, and to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and to the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ will communicate this resolution to the various conferences, affiliated and associated ministries, and instrumentalities of the United Church of Christ, and will proclaim it to the wider public through social and other media;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ urges individual churches and members of the United Church of Christ to communicate their concerns regarding this matter to both the Washington National Football League team and the National Football League by writing to: Daniel Snyder Roger Goodell

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ urges individual churches and members of the United Church of Christ to join a boycott of games played by the Washington National Football League team and not wear, display, or purchase any items with the Washington National Football League team logo until the name changes;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ supports the Oneida Indian Nation’s “Change the Mascot” campaign and will contact its staff to determine the best means of support and solidarity; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon other sports teams to eradicate the use of names, images, mascots, and behaviors that are or could be properly deemed harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or people.

  1. A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ:

CALLS upon United Church of Christ churches and church members to study thoughtfully the Kairos Palestine document, as well as other perspectives on the occupied Palestinian territories, to reflect upon the theological truths within the Kairos Palestine document, and to take heed of its call for non-violent measures pressuring Israel to end the occupation in solidarity with the Palestinian people suffering under occupation;

CALLS upon the United Church of Christ Board, the Pension Boards – United Church of Christ, Inc., United Church Funds, conferences, local churches, members, and other related United Church of Christ entities to divest any direct or substantive indirect holdings in companies profiting from or complicit in human rights violations arising from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel, including, but not limited to, Caterpillar, Inc., Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard Company, G4S, and Veolia Entrinomental and its subsidiaries until such time as these companies no longer profit from or are complicit in said human rights violations;

URGES the United Church of Christ Board, soliciting input from stakeholders in this issue, to develop and publish standards by which faith-driven investment, divestment, and re-investment decisions will be made in the future;

CALLS upon all entities of the United Church of Christ to boycott goods identified as produced in or using the facilities of illegal settlements located in the occupied Palestinian territories, including, but not limited to, Ahava skin care products, SodaStream products, and Hadiklaim dates, and upon church members to join boycotts of such goods in their local communities; and for such boycotts to end when these companies cease operations in the illegal settlements;

CALLS upon the United Church of Christ Officers and church members to persist in the request to Congress, previously made by a number of religious leaders, to ensure that the U.S. aid to Israel violates neither the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits assistance to any country that engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations nor the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense”,

COMMENDS United Church of Christ leadership for continuing to dialogue with major Jewish organizations and call for United Church of Christ-wide participation in a rigorous dialogue among the three Abrahamic faiths at all levels – in particular between local congregations – that will be resourced with materials from the Wider Church Global Ministries Middle East and Europe office in order to identify ways in which groups of congregations of different faiths can work in concert to promote sacred reconciliation among all people who are affected by the conflict in the Middle East and to influence public policies in ways that will promote peace and social justice for Palestinians and Israelis and end violence in all its forms;

CALLS upon the United Church of Christ Board to monitor the implementation of this resolution by all United Church of Christ national entities and to urge that those who manage the United Church of Christ Board’s own invested funds and who provide United Church of Christ Board employee health and pension benefits be in compliance with this resolution; and

ASKS the General Minister and President to provide an annual report to the whole church on the implementation of this resolution, including a summary of interfaith dialogue at various levels, along with examples of interfaith, congregation-to-congregation peace efforts.

  1. Transition From Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy

Therefore BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ place itself on moral record and implore its pastors, conferences and members to advocate with federal and state lawmakers to enact or extend incentives and renewable portfolio standards that will lead to the rapid transition to renewable energy sources, energy conservation and energy efficiency measures worldwide, with a goal of total transition as soon as possible but no later than 2040; eliminate immediately all fossil fuel subsidies; enact some form of a carbon tax; enact legislation that will eliminate as quickly as possible any further extraction of coal, oil and gas nationally or internationally, particularly by corporations chartered in the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod implore its pastors, conferences and members to advocate with federal and state lawmakers to enact an immediate ban on all gas and oil well hydraulic fracturing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod, through its General Minister and President convey our concerns about fossil fuels and hydraulic fracturing in writing, including a copy of this resolution, to all governors, appropriate regulatory agencies, and state and federal elected officials and to all appropriate denominational instrumentalities informing them of the United Church of Christ’s position, and implore its pastors and members to send this resolution to state and federal elected representatives; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod requests that Justice and Witness Ministries, through its Minister for Environmental Justice, establish a national task force and report back to all future General Synods the progress on all imperatives listed in this resolution; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the thirtieth General Synod encourage conferences to establish task forces working in conjunction with the Minister for Environmental Justice, as appropriate, to study, monitor, and report to the churches on justice issues relating to fossil fuel use and hydraulic fracturing-including but not limited to climate change; ecological protections of our lands, air and water; dangers to the public health and welfare; impacts on communities around issues such as crime and violence, housing, education, etc; and that these task forces be charged with educating and organizing congregants in their decision making and actions around these issues, and that such task forces also listen to the people in the pews with deep intent to hear the moral dilemmas facing our members about the relationship between the short term and the longer term implications; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ invites and encourages its members to inform and educate themselves about the issues pertaining to fossil fuel use, hydraulic fracturing, climate change and renewable energy by assessing personal and congregational carbon footprints and engaging in humble and open grassroots conversation, with particular sensitivity to energy consumption patterns and to our most vulnerable citizens, those without sufficient income to meet daily needs, as well as the long term needs for energy that all face; in the sharing of pertinent stories about the impasse that our dependency on non-renewable energy resources discloses; and in workshops and study groups that discern and express the theological, moral and economic and personal facets of the enterprises of fossil fuel use and hydraulic fracturing, with the above conversations designed to yield a renewable form of spiritual and moral energy to resolve our physical energy needs; and

Be it finally resolved that it is our belief that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy if among the most compelling and urgent moral issues of our times; that although some political and technological advances may take time, that where progress can be achieved more immediately that the UCC move with all deliberate speed to champion those objectives and that the UCC most not only insist upon swift and measurable action among state and federal governments, but that it model these commitments in all of its religious and administrative buildings, as well as its expenditures and allocations of resources and that we encourage other ecumenical partners do the same.

  1. A Call for Peace, Justice and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ, reminded that the Twenty-Fourth General Synod in 2003 resolved to advocate for “Peace and Reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula,” being grieved that the Korean people remain divided and disturbed disrupted by recurring violence and hostility more than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, faithfully joins our partners the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea, as well as responds to the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly, in recommitting our communion to work for peace and justice; and committing to work for reunification in the Korean peninsula;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod, recognizing that 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from occupation at the end of Second World War, and yet that the peninsula remains occupied by militarization and nuclear weapons, and believing that with “God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), advocate with that the U.S. government and international community commence a new process of peace-building across the Korean peninsula, that includes a commitment by all parties to replace the Armistice Agreement of 1953 with a permanent peace treaty, finally bringing an end to the state of war; and a mutual commitment to end provocative military exercises on the peninsula, to reduce military expenditures, and to eliminate nuclear weapons on the peninsula, establishing a model for peace and demilitarization in Northeast Asia;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod, trusting that Christ “has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Eph. 2:14), rededicates itself to accompany our Korean partners in their efforts, working with the governments in both North and South Korea, with the churches and Christians in both North and South Korea, and through religious, humanitarian and advocacy initiatives, to seek the reconciliation and restoration of families and communities long divided by conflict and hostility, so that social, spiritual and psychological

healing can occur among the people of Korea;

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod calls upon its members and congregations to accompany our partners in Korea by praying for peace with the peoples and churches of Korea, recognizing the Sunday before August 15, Korean Independence Liberation Day, as the “Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula”; by expressing solidarity through bridge-building relationship building trips, in partnership with Global Ministries as their ecumenical partner, to churches in North and South Korea; by supporting efforts such as the World Council of Churches’ Tozanso Process and complementary initiatives to foster dialogue, reconciliation, and mutual support between the North and South; and by advocating with that the U.S. Congress and Administration change U.S. foreign policy and military strategy and pursue policies of peace and reunification.

  1. Developing Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged Congregations for Mental Health

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Thirtieth General Synod encourages United Church of Christ congregations to adopt covenants to be WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, Engaged) Congregations for Mental Health.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod encourages congregations to work to eradicate stigma around mental illnesses/brain disorders, and to offer support to persons with and those impacted by mental health challenges, including their family members, loved ones and others concerned.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod encourages advocacy by all settings of the church for broader and more just access to quality mental health services including private and public insurance coverage. This advocacy includes services for all persons with mental illness who are falling through the fraying safety net, especially persons in jails/prisons, and persons who are homeless.

  1. Responsible Stewardship of the Outer Space Environment

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ praises God for the majesty, mystery and complexity of the whole of creation, from the Earth to the outer reaches of the universe, and acknowledges human responsibility for the stewardship of planet Earth, its ecosystems and the larger cosmological systems of which it is a part.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ expresses its concern about the pollution and degradation of the outer space environment and its dangerous implications for humanity and all of God’s creation;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ requests that Justice and Witness Ministries recommend educational materials for the churches on the subject of outer space sustainability;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ request that educational materials recommended by Justice and Witness Ministries be presented to the Thirty-First General Synod with suggestions for how the United Church of Christ might undertake various forms of action;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ requests that Justice and Witness Ministries send copies of this resolution and supporting materials to its global ecumenical, interfaith, and civil society partners and invite them to join the United Church of Christ in its efforts to promote outer space sustainability;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon the members of the United Church of Christ to educate themselves on this issue and advocate with members of Congress to adequately fund NASA to lead the nations of the world in working together to reduce the volume of debris in low Earth orbit;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ expresses its support for efforts by the United States and other nations to negotiate international agreements that encourage responsible behavior in space.

  1. Resolution Urging Socially Responsible Investment Practices

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon all Members, Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, Agencies, and Associated, Affiliated and Covenanted Ministries to examine and adopt socially responsible investing practices appropriate to their individual assets, retirement accounts, and endowments, as guided by the Holy Spirit’s call for justice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod urges all settings and ministries of the United Church of Christ to implement investment and financial policies and practices that promote socially responsible investment, guidelines and commitments, and to continue socially responsible investment for social justice witness on issues that the UCC has made known in past pronouncements and resolutions of General Synod in ways that are appropriate to each one; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls for a range of Socially Responsible investing practices and actions taken at many levels, including but not limited to —

  • Proactive investment in socially beneficial endeavors, behaviors and opportunities
  • Dialogues with corporate leadership in pursuit of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) changes
  • Shareholder resolutions that call for better practices and more complete disclosures
  • Exclusionary screens which seek to limit or avoid investment in certain industries for moral or performance bases divestment when deemed appropriate; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod acknowledges, recognizes, respects and affirms that each setting and ministry of the church has unique and appropriate ways of responding to the call to implement strategies of socially responsible investing within each setting’s particular charter, purpose, restrictions and resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod recommends to all settings and ministries of the United Church of Christ the partnership inherent in the ministries of United Church Funds and the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ, which offer socially responsible investing vehicles; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in order to bring to life God’s vision for the world, a choice to investing a socially responsible manner should not stand alone, but should be complemented by those other acts of witness that speak truth to power — using the ways and means available to each individual or organization to demand justice, by sharing efforts, policies, results and experiences of social justice witness through socially responsible investing and through regular reporting and presentations at future General Synods as an important overall witness of the UCC to advocate for justice, peace, human rights and the environmental well-being of the planet; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Thirtieth General Synod, affirming its covenantal relationships, requests future General Synods develop a procedure to allow for collaboration and communication between authors of resolutions concerning socially responsible investment practices and appropriate implementing bodies prior to committee consideration.