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V. General Suggestions for Study and Action
International Engagement & Building Peace

To assist in the process, the Commission and Social Witness (CSW) and the Peacemaking Study Action Issue (SAI) Implementation Committee, is developing a curriculum and study process that will be piloted this spring and available for congregation use by September 2007.

The CSW and Implementation Committee are looking for congregations that would be willing to assist in using the pilot materials and helping to refine them. If interested, please contact John Hooper, jhooper [at] optonline [dot] net, or Judy Morgan, judymorgan71 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Meanwhile, we encourage all Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, groups, and individuals, to use the Resource Guide for study and discussion through next fall, when the curriculum will be available. Any feedback on the Guide and the overall Congregational Study/Action Process would be most welcome; a feedback form is available.

A. For Congregations

  • Gather a group of people together who are interested in discussing peacemaking to listen to a speaker, watch a video, read an article, or otherwise discuss the issue. Have each person take responsibility for one or a few of the resources listed in this packet and share findings at a future meeting. Ask each other what was surprising about what was learned, what puzzled them, what intrigued them, what action they feel called to take.
  • Form a covenant group within your congregation to discuss peacemaking. Think of ways to involve other members of the congregation in a larger discussion. Make sure to bring the work of this group to the congregation as a whole, through a service or special event of some sort. For more information on covenant groups, see:
  • Host a speaker or hold a forum. Have multiple presenters for a balanced perspective.
  • Find out what organizations and religious groups in your community are doing on the issue. Brainstorm possible partnerships.
  • Have a Peacemaking Sunday, with a combination of education, worships, and action for people of all ages.
  • Write an article for your congregation's newsletter telling people about your Peacemaking study group and what is learned and discussed.
  • Communicate your positions to elected official through visits, letters, and phone calls. Clearly articulate the religious and moral dimensions of your position. See Advocacy Tips for more on lobbying, writing letters, and calling your officials.
  • Conduct an issue-based letter-writing campaign with your study group and others from your congregation. Write to your elected officials and local newspapers. Be sure to include the religious dimensions on the issue you are addressing. Identify yourself as a Unitarian Universalist. 
  • Develop a step-by-step congregational conflict resolution process that can be used in dealing with conflicts among congregation members or groups.
  • Organize or participate in marches, demonstrations, or vigils as a congregation. Carry signs declaring your moral position on the issue and the name of your congregation. Sing hymns and encourage ministers to dress in robes.
  • Form partnerships with other congregations, minority-based organizations, interfaith organizations, advocacy groups, and/or coalitions.
  • Form an ongoing task force to work on the issue.

B. For Ministers

  • Preach on peacemaking, raising questions to consider and possibilities for action. Talk about your own peacemaking values and the importance of religious witness.
  • Write letters to the editor or op-eds for the local newspaper, giving the religious dimensions of peacemaking. Look for opportunities to get on TV or radio and talk about peacemaking and the actions your congregation is taking to address conflict and violence.
  • Support your congregation's efforts to study and act on the issue. Help with conflict management.
  • Find out what other clergy in your area are doing and what opportunities for collaboration exist.
  • Learn about and discuss with your congregation the historical debate over peacemaking. What have Unitarian and Universalists contributed historically to the debate?

C. For Religious Educators/Youth Group Advisors

  • Plan a discussion for the youth group. Encourage them to talk about their own experiences with conflict/peacemaking and the way that peacemaking is addressed in American society. Use videos and speakers as catalysts for study and action.
  • Encourage the youth group to participate in peace marches, demonstrations, or vigils as a youth group and as a part of the congregation.
  • Lead a children's chapel or intergenerational service on the topic.
  • Provide a public space for young people to speak about their particular experiences, such as a congregational forum or community forum (including non-UUs as well).
  • Contact the YRUU Youth Office of the UUA and talk with current Working Action Managers about what UU Youth are doing to promote UU peacemaking.

Submit Your Comments and Suggestions

The Commission on Social Witness is very eager to receive your comments and suggestions on the issue of Peacemaking. You can access the Peacemaking Feedback Form and either fill out the online version or download the pdf version.

You can fill out the form as a district or a congregation. On the form you can share how you have engaged with the issue of Peacemaking, what you have found, what resources were helpful, why you think it is an important issue, what you found most interesting, and what should be included in a statement of conscience on Peacemaking. The deadline for submission of this form is March 1st, 2008.