(Grafton, MA) Following the vote for Divestment from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories in the United Church of Christ (“UCC”), a group of UCC clergy has organized to present an alternate vision to the denomination.
The group, “UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace,” believes that a more balanced, fair and realistic approach to peace and justice in Israel and Palestine is necessary in order for the UCC to be an effective and credible voice.
According to Rev. Jane Willan, pastor of the Congregational Church of Grafton and one of the leaders of this new group, “the UCC’s decision to divest from these companies will in reality have no impact on the conflict in Israel and Palestine. It will not end the occupation, it will not bring peace or security. The main problem is that in the UCC we have listened to one side and one side only in this conflict. So we have developed a pretty skewed perspective. The vote for divestment was an unhelpful move and one which we believe the UCC will ultimately reverse. ”
Rev. Joanne Marchetto a pastor from Pennsylvania, who spoke from the floor at the UCC General Synod where the divestment resolution passed, is hoping for a broader, more inclusive witness to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict within her denomination. She is disturbed that “it does not seem that we really allow Israelis to tell their side of the story. We ignore the efforts Israel has made to end the occupation. We have named the enemy and we do not allow them to have a voice at our table.”
UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace is looking forward to bringing a more balanced voice to the UCC. They welcome like-minded UCC clergy to join them.