Peacemaking Commitment of the UU Society of Geneva
Unanimously approved at the Annual Congregational Meeting, May 16, 2010
As a force for compassionate social justice in the community, members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva endorse a variety of principles and values. Among these values, we recognize that social justice is essential for peace. The following document is intended to clarify our peacemaking values in a variety of contexts.
A) Inward Peacemaking
We seek to develop peace and acceptance within ourselves. To this end, we recognize the importance of
• Taking time to look within, to know and respectour own needs and feelings, and to develop a sense of centeredness around our own deepest values
• Educating people of all ages about effective approaches to inward peacemaking
In addition, we support efforts of the church to
• Provide opportunities for learning how to deeply meditate and for practicing it
• Sponsor groups which focus on meditation
B) Interpersonal Peacemaking
We seek to communicate in a way that acknowledges the “inherent worth and dignity” of the other, no matter how much we disagree with their beliefs. To this end, we commit ourselves to
• Listen thoughtfully and respectfully to others’ needs and feelings
• Communicate our own needs and feelings verbally and nonverbally in positive, clear ways
• Use nonviolent approaches to resolving conflict whenever possible
• Build greater trust and understanding among ourselves
In addition, we support efforts of LRE and the Hospitality committee to provide opportunities for families and others to spend time together.
Further, we seek to nurture and support the bonds among people. To this end, we endorse efforts of LRE and Social Justice
• To present information about patterns and resources for coping with stress, conflict, and crisis
• To offer classes and other opportunities that support spiritually grounded relationships based on shared values, trust, respect, and appreciation
And we support efforts of UUSG’s ministries – both professional and lay – to help people develop and strengthen committed relationships.
C) Congregational Peacemaking
We are committed to having our congregations be a model of clear, honest, respectful communication, and peaceful handling of differences. To this end, we support
• Efforts of our Lifespan Religious Education to offer education across all age groups on communication
and conflict resolution including clarifying our positions, actively listening to others, and considering win-win solutions, while avoiding power struggles and factions
• Efforts of UUSG’s “Caring Team” to oversee implementation of policies relating to the prevention, reporting, and response to issues of abuse, harassment, behavior problems, and similar matters.
• Efforts of Boards, Councils, and Committees of the church to use decision-making processes which ensure that all perspectives are heard and respected.
• Choices of our members and their children who participate or have participated in the armed forces of our country as well as those who choose conscientious objection.
D) Societal Peacemaking
We endorse changes needed to end oppression and/or systemic violence. To this end, we support efforts of our Lifespan Religious Education to provide education which
• Challenges racism, classism, sexism, etc.
• Promotes respect and acceptance rather than glorifying verbal and physical violence.
Furthermore, we support efforts of our Social Justice Committee to
• Conduct collections for organizations which seek to build a just and peaceful society by promoting economic justice and human rights and by caring for those who are victims of injustice and violence.
• Provide opportunities for people to volunteer for organizations which promote justice in our society
• Promote events such as movies, speakers, and peace vigils which focus attention of the community on justice and peace.
• Collaborate with other churches and organizations which promote justice and peace.
E) Environment and Peacemaking
We understand our interconnectedness with the web of all life, and recognize that we must consider how our actions have consequences for life on earth. To this end, we support efforts of our Green Sanctuary committee to
• Identify potential legislation for Action Alerts as the need arises regarding policies that promote
o the sustainable use of resources so that there might be just and equitable access to these resources
o efforts to reduce dependence on oil and other nonrenewable energy resources while increasing the use of renewable resources
o a reduction of global warming
o preservation and reverence for natural places and beings
• Identify ways in which we can assume individual and collective responsibility for reducing our “carbon footprints."
F) International and Inter-Community Peacemaking
We endorse efforts to build a global culture of peace based on empathy, compassion, and justice that comes from honoring universal human rights to education, a healthy economy, energy resources, food, water, and other natural resources. To this end, we support efforts of our Social Justice committee to
• Include international organizations which support universal human rights among the recipients of Beyond Our Walls collections.
• Identify potential legislation for Action Alerts regarding policies supporting universal human rights and respectful communication
And we support efforts of Lifespan Religious Education to
• periodically offer opportunities/programs/activities that promote a clearer understanding of religions and cultures that are different from our own. Since the curricula for youth already contains elements of peacemaking and justice, opportunities offered to youth would enhance, but not replace, these materials.