EPF Anti-War Action Group Statement on Situation in Ukraine: Pray for Peace

We share in the deep concern with the rising tensions in Ukraine caused by Russian massing of troops and military hardware on their border. We offer the following as our statement on the current circumstances in Eastern Europe:

The Episcopal Church has stated in their recent Executive Resolution, in part:

“Resolved, That the Church urges the United States to respond wisely, condemning any violation of territorial integrity while holding armed intervention to be a last resort; and be it further Resolved, That the Executive Council gives thanks for Pope Francis’s call for a day of prayer for peace” “… and urge all members of The Episcopal Church to continue to pray, individually and in their congregations in the coming days, with the hope of averting conflict.”

According to the EPF Personal Commitment to Peace:

“In loyalty to the person, teaching, and Lordship of Jesus Christ, my conscience commits me to God’s way of redemptive love: to pray, study and work for peace and justice, and to renounce, so far as possible, participation in war, militarism, and all other forms of violence.

"In fellowship with others of like mind, I will work to discover and create alternatives to violence and to build a culture of Peace. As a member of the Holy Catholic Church, I urge the Episcopal Church in accordance with our baptismal vows, “to renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God,” and to wage peace across all boundaries, calling upon people everywhere to repent, forgive, and to love.”

The Episcopal Church in 2014 joined together in a joint statement, in part

“In the name of the churches we serve, we join our voices in solidarity with those of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches in pleading for an end to military aggression in that land. We call on all of those involved — whether governments, movements, or individuals — to repent of aggression and violence, and turn instead to the way of peace through dialogue."

Bishops of Poland and Ukraine Call for Peace:

“Differences in interests must be resolved not by the use of arms, but through agreements. The international community should unite in solidarity and actively support endangered society in all possible ways.”

Acts of Convention 2003

"The Episcopal Church, by resolution 2003-A033, calls for the use of centuries-old Just War Criteria “…in order to override the strong presumption against the use of force”

In conclusion:

We are deeply concerned that the United States and other countries have embarked on large-scale arming of Ukraine as a “deterrent” to an invasion by Russia. Other peaceful means of deterrence and diplomacy must continue unabated by all parties. A cautionary note that militarization as a professed deterrent may, in fact, operate in these volatile circumstances as a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to hair-trigger military responses to a benign event or statement. Therefore we pray that, following the Prince of Peace, we do not engage in or call for armed intervention.

(As a side note, Germany has refused to send arms to Ukraine in order not to further disrupt any ongoing diplomacy. “The Russian government would be more impressed by the threat of heavy economic consequences than 2,000 anti-tank weapons," according to Marcel Dirsus, of the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK).

Photograph: Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock 
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