Just Peace Team Guiding Principles and Meeting Notes
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Just Peace Advocacy Guiding Principles
There are several core values that guide and inspire our work as a Bethel community. Among these are integrity, respect, discernment and acceptance. We see ourselves as peacemakers. We value mercy, compassion and charity. The community of Bethel and our broader communities are life-giving to us. We work to appreciate dissent in the process of social change. Micah 6 calls us to justice, kindness and humility. We strive to not only care for the disenfranchised but to name the issues and systems that keep people and communities disenfranchised, and work for change of those issues and systems. This attitude is based in Isaiah 59. Above all, we look to the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule to influence our actions in loving others and loving creation.
Our values are communicated to our broader communities in several ways. We participate in policy advocacy, protests, the annual Crop Walk, Peace Village, Gorge Ecomenical Ministries (GEM) forums, Interfaith Advocacy Day, and seasonal celebrations. Particular areas of interest have been health care and climate change. We actively support direct services to those in need through the creation of a food bank garden, local warming shelters, Programs for Peaceful Living, the Mount Adams Ministerial Association (MAMA) emergency fund, and by sharing our building. Our art communicates our values, as evidenced by our banners, our Catch the Spirit sculpture, and Janet Essley's women in the sanctuary. Outreach to our youth occurs through two open youth groups and our support of the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum. Our members routinely write letters to the editor, and other letters to policy makers supporting our faith-based approach to social and environmental change. Our recent pastor, John Boonstra, has been instrumental in planning several ecumenical events, such as the Faith Forum. We continue to support the United Church of Christ (UCC) conference regionally and nationally.
The purpose of this document is to serve as a guide for future discourse with the broader communities in which we participate, as a member of a faith-based group. We have worked collaboratively to list the following guidelines:
Just Peace Planning Retreat 4/20/14
On April 20th, members of the Bethel community held a Just Peace Planning Retreat to map out our goals for the coming year. We reviewed ideas from Rev. Jim Antal’s keynote speech at the Rise Up – Climate Change Conference gathering addressing how churches can adopt spiritual practices aimed at Caring for Creation.
We considered the question: How do we make Just Peace issues a greater part of Bethel’s ministry?
Our discussion identified the following goals:
The group discussed how we prioritize our work and the over-arching principle and guidelines we should use to bring focus to our efforts. These discussions led to the following agreement:
Umbrella Goal – Build a Resilient Community.
Guidelines – Local, Practical & Multigenerational
The group then did a poll of the one issue that we wanted to focus on in the coming months.
Food and Hunger emerged as the preferred issue.
Some possible ideas for consideration in addressing this issue: