The Acts of Convention

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Full Legislative History

Resolution Number: 1997-D016
Title: Take Actions to Express Church's Support of Religious Freedom
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred As Substituted and Amended
Final Text:

Resolved, That this 72nd General Convention declare the Episcopal Church's solidarity with those who experience persecution by reason of the practice of their faith; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention reaffirm the 1988 General Convention's "support of the United Nations' work for religious freedom worldwide" as it is carried out by the United Nations' Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom, and High Commissioner for Refugees; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention affirm the mission partnership of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, responding to their guidance as to the most appropriate help this Church can provide to combat religious persecution in their home countries; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Peace with Justice to review the most appropriate ways in which this Church can respond to religious persecution abroad, taking into consideration the Anglican mission partnership and previous resolutions of the General Convention and Executive Council on religious liberty; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention urge the United States Government to increase the admission of refugees to the United States to respond to those refugees escaping religious persecution, while maintaining the current or higher levels of admissions for other refugee categories; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention:

- Encourage the Anglican and Global Relations Office of the Episcopal Church to continue its sensitive and persistent response to the needs of Anglican churches experiencing persecution;

- Encourage the office of Episcopal Migration Ministries to continue to advocate for victims of religious persecution;

- Commend to the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief the material needs of Anglican Churches and other Church bodies experiencing persecution;

- Request the Standing Commission on Peace with Justice to explore ways in which the sufferings of persecuted Christians and other religious groups can be addressed through international diplomacy;

- Encourage Diocesan and Parish groups concerned with international mission to develop links of communication, prayer, and support with those experiencing religious persecution;

- Commend to the Church the Consultation on Persecuted Churches to be convened by the Episcopal Council for Global Mission in April 1998; and

- Request the Planning Committee for the 1998 Lambeth Conference to include the sufferings of persecuted Christians as a major item for discussion and action for the bishops of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention request the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations to explore, in concert with the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies, ways in which inter-religious understanding can be advanced in specific situations so as to alleviate the persecution of Christians and other religious groups.

Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of...The Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, 1997 (New York: General Convention, 1998), pp. 780-781.