Just Peace Covenant
We, the members of the Guilford Community Church, UCC, declare ourselves to be a Just Peace congregation.
In describing the marks of a Just Peace theology, the pronouncement adopted by the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ affirms that “a Just Peace is a basic gift of God and is the force and vision moving human history. The meaning of a Just Peace and God’s activity in human history, especially the life and witness of Jesus, is understood through the Bible, church history, and the voices of the oppressed and those in the struggle for justice and peace. Nonviolent conflict is a normal and healthy reflection of diversity; working through conflict constructively should lead to growth of both individuals and nations.”
As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, we recognize the importance of promoting justice and peace throughout the world, in our nation, in our community, and in ourselves. We therefore covenant among ourselves and with God to seek the ways of justice and peace in order to make a difference in our lives and the lives of all who experience injustice and violence.
As a community and as individuals, we commit ourselves to embodying Just Peace in the following ways:
- Supporting racial equality and indigenous rights
- Standing in solidarity with, and advocating for, the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed
- Embracing people of all backgrounds, abilities, and sexual orientations
- Working to promote the ethical use of environmental resources
- Engaging in self-reflection and honestly confronting our own privilege and shortcomings
- Finding effective ways to work through conflict
- Resisting divisiveness and injustice; rejecting violence
- Serving as witnesses for Just Peace in our community
- Acting as true neighbors to all people
We believe that peace is possible.
For Christ himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14
Church Faith and Covenant
This Church acknowledges as its sole head the Universal Christ. It acknowledges as sisters and brothers in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. This Church claims as its own the faith of the historic church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own. Each person has the obligation to study and understand the following Statement of Faith of the United Church of Christ and to interpret it according to the dictates of individual conscience.
- Statement of Faith
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being, and set before each of us the ways of life and death.
You seek in holy love to help people find a purpose in life and to save people from sin.
You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.
You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, and binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, and to join in his passion and victory.
You promise, to all who trust you, forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your holy presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm, which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
We, who feel called by God to join ourselves into this Church, do hereby solemnly covenant to walk together in all of God’s ways made known, or to be made known, to us. We do this in the name of Jesus Christ and we ask for his grace to help us. With that help, we will do our best to fulfill this Covenant, no matter what the cost. Specifically, we covenant
- to seek to live supremely for God and to consecrate ourselves, our households, and our property to God;
- to submit to the Gospel discipline of this Church and to labor for its peace, purity, and usefulness;
- to exercise and promote Christian fellowship with all sister churches of the common head;
- to respect other faiths and seek community that is inclusive of ALL people
Including but not limited to:
- conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- believers and agnostics,
- those of all races and ethnicities,
- those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- those of all classes and abilities;
As a Just Peace Church in the United Church of Christ, we will:
- strive for peace and justice among all people;
- strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; and
- commit to a path of lifelong learning, compassion, and selfless love.
We seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit; to love one another; to listen respectfully to each other; to be forgiving and kind; to respect diversity; to be down to earth and unpretentious as we strive to live out our faith and our Covenant.
Open and Affirming Agreement (May, 2003)
The Guilford Community Church, United Church of Christ, acknowledges that those who have become members and those who actively participate in the church community share a variety of beliefs, yet remain joined in Christian love and respect.
The Guilford Community Church is open to all. It affirms the spirit of God found in those who seek fellowship, comfort, and guidance here whatever their age, race, gender, ethnicity, education, disability, sexual orientation, financial situation, national origin, or any other circumstance that has historically been a barrier to a full life, participation, membership, mission, work, and ministry in the United Church of Christ. We embrace those brothers and sisters as equal partners in the Body of Christ with full access to every opportunity to serve God.
The pastor is confirmed in the discretion, after proper counseling of the couples, to perform weddings and civil unions at the Guilford Community Church.