[Episcopal News Service] On January 26, the Executive Council adopted a resolution “expressing serious concern over escalating tensions and military reinforcements along the Russia-Ukraine border” and calling on bishops to join the day of prayer for peace, following the leadership of Pope Francis.
The resolution, proposed by the Joint Standing Committee on Ministries outside the Episcopal Church, “allows us as a church to talk about the beer crisis and raise our voices with others,” said South West Florida Bishop Dabney Smith, chairman of the committee.
The resolution cites a statement by then-Presiding Bishop Katharina Jeffers Schori in 2014 condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which Jeffers Schori said “puts the lives of many innocent people in danger and threatens peace and security far beyond that region of the world”.
Late last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin began positioning troops near his border with Ukraine, to which the United States and Western allies warned that it was hoarding for an impending Russian invasion of the former Soviet republic. President Joe Biden said this week that he was considering deploying thousands of U.S. troops to NATO allies in Eastern Europe after diplomatic talks with Russia stalled.
Pope Francis responded by calling for World Day of Peace on January 26, that “all people of good will … may offer prayers to Almighty God, that every political action and initiative serves the human brotherhood, not party interests.”
The Executive Council, the governing body of the Episcopal Church between meetings of the General Convention, joined the Pope and the World Council of Churches in their prayers for peace, extending the call to bishops in a resolution approved during its online meeting on January 25-27. “The Church calls on the United States to react wisely, condemning any violation of territorial integrity, while considering armed intervention as a last resort,” the resolution said.
– David Paulsen is the editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. It can be obtained at [email protected].