Inspired by Isaiah’s vision of a “peaceable kingdom,” the church must honor the dignity of every person and the intrinsic value of every creature. It is our sacred calling to pray and work for the day when none “labor in vain, or bear children for calamity” (Isa. 65:23). We do so as disciples of the One who came “that [all] may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). We do so based on the directions of peacemaking among all nations in the Confession of 1967, which is grounded in God’s covenant of grace. Responding to our Creator, we celebrate the full humanity of each woman, man, and child, all created in the divine image as individuals of infinite worth. Remembering that Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt. 5:9), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) affirms that peacemaking is the believers’ calling.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations have long recognized the need to honor the deep connections within our human family and to awaken a new spirit of international community. They have seen the United Nations playing a key role in that regard. The 155th General Assembly (1943) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America adopted a Statement of Principles on a Just Peace, two of which spoke of the need for world organization:
“We believe that international cooperation should be organized to preserve peace, maintain international law, provide-adaptations to changing conditions, and that it should be directed towards cultivating the will to peace and progress” (Minutes, PCUSA, 1943, Part I, p. 167).
“We believe that by expanded collaboration of the United Nations an international conference, representative of all sovereign peoples, should be convened to work out with deliberation a comprehensive plan for a dynamic peace” (Minutes, PCUSA, 1943, Part I, p. 168).
The 156th General Assembly (1944) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America expanded this understanding:
“The usefulness, of international organization in preventing recourse to force in the settlement of international disputes will depend greatly upon the scope of responsibility entrusted to it. Such a world organization must be given responsibility broad enough to exercise a constructive influence upon the life of the nations ... international organization should likewise be endowed with curative and creative responsibilities commensurate with at least the most pressing issues that arise in the relations between nations . ... The provisions of peace must rest upon justice among the several races and of [humanity]” (Minutes, PCUSA, 1944, Part I, pp. 226-27).
General Assemblies since that time have reaffirmed support for the United Nations, and called for a strong United States commitment to and participation in the United Nations.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds special consultative status through the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations inspires, equips, and connects Presbyterians for ministry as faithful disciples of Jesus in the global community. The ministry advocates for peace and justice to the United Nations, based on the policies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assemblies.
As the 207th General Assembly (1995) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) notes: “The commitments of the church have been grounded not only on its encounter with the world, in witness and service, but in its theological understanding of the sovereignty and love of God, and the redeeming, reconciling, peace-bringing ministry of Jesus the Christ” (Minutes, 1995, Part I, p. 489).