Evangelical Lutheran Church in America resolution on Justice in Palestine and Israel

Middle East Network Newsletter
August 22, 2011
Churchwide Assembly Votes to Affirm ELCA Commitment to Justice in
Palestine and  Israel
The Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA, meeting in
Orlando on August 18, voted to continue the ELCA’s strong
commitment to justice in Palestine and
Israel.   The Assembly decision demonstrates that the church has remained steadfast in its
commitments, in keeping with the original strategy for engagement in
Israel and Palestine adopted in 2005.

The action of the Assembly related to the Middle East – the full
text of which is copied below – includes an official reception of the Kairos Palestine
, the foundation of an initiative launched in
December 2009 in Bethlehem by
Palestinian Christians.   Referencing Bishop
Hanson’s statement
from the day the document was first unveiled,
the Assembly called Kairos Palestine, “an ‘authentic word from our
brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Christian community’ that ‘warrants our
respect and attentiveness.’”

The vote for this action was overwhelmingly
positive: 868 to 73.  Important and affirming floor statements were made by
several assembly members, including Bp. Richard Graham of the Metropolitan
Washington, D.C. Synod and Bp. Bruce Burnside, of the South-Central Synod of
Wisconsin and chair of the bishops’ Middle East Ready Bench.

This renewed
mandate is an encouragement to ELCA members, congregations, and synods to
redouble efforts among our network of committed volunteers throughout the
church, as well as among staff in the churchwide offices, to raise awareness
throughout the ELCA and to work for changes in U.S. policy that promote a just
and lasting peace for our neighbors in the Middle East.

Rev. Robert O. Smith, Ph.D.
ELCA Global Mission
Area Program Director for the Middle East
Coordinator, Peace Not Walls Campaign

Action of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly
Passed August 18, 2011

To receive with gratitude the memorials of the
Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lower Susquehanna, and Metropolitan Washington, D.C.,
synods related to investment for positive change in Palestine;

To encourage members, congregations, synods, and agencies of this church to:
1. seek ways to achieve a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including
the perspectives of other faith communities, and receive, read, and discuss the
Kairos Palestine document as an “authentic word from our brothers and sisters in
the Palestinian Christian community” that “warrants our respect and

2. affirm this church’s commitment to non-violent
responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Peace Not Walls
campaign’s efforts toward strengthening accompaniment, awareness-building, and
advocacy; and

3. consider making positive economic investments in those
Palestinian projects and businesses that peacefully strengthen the economic and
social fabric of Palestinian society;

To commend the policy, “ELCA
Economic Social Criteria Investment Screens,” to the members, congregations,
synods, and agencies of this church; and

To decline to undertake a review
of the investment of funds managed within the ELCA but to commend these
recommendations to the Office of the Treasurer, the Office of the Secretary, the
Congregational and Synodical Mission unit, the Mission Advancement unit, and the
ELCA Board of Pensions for consideration.


One response to this post.

  1. Note that they very specifically back off from the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions but provide specific “alternatives.” One can be sure that there was a very spirited debate in order to get this hammered out. We must trust that it is a positive spirit that is driving this, and be thankful for the debate. It will continue.



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