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Resolution on Preventing War with Iraq, October 2002
Congregational Action, Congregational Stories & Best Practices in Social Justice

First Unitarian Oakland

When many congregations were acting to prevent war in Iraq, members of First Unitarian in Oakland felt strongly that they wanted to pass a resolution and make a strong public statement in a fairly short period of time. They modeled a careful and inclusive process for passing resolutions. First, the justice council gathered extensive feedback from their 400 member congregation prior to drafting a resolution. They reported that in “over less than four weeks the minister preached on the subject twice; we held three after-church forums; conducted a written poll (150+ responses) on whether church attendees agreed with a statement from a local anti-war coalition; telephoned 40 church members to discuss their personal views, paying particular attention to those who felt security issues might justify force; and held numerous face-to-face conversations with church members. The congregational core team supported the feedback process by conducting most of the telephone conversations.” They also held forums questioning the moves toward war with the People’s Nonviolent Response Coalition during this time.

The resolution was very short and specific: “First Unitarian Church of Oakland is opposed to a unilateral pre-emptive strike by the United States against Iraq at this time.” It was passed unanimously and the congregation joined The People’s Nonviolent Response Coalition.