The United Methodist bishops' pastoral letter on peace will be read Sunday at nearly all of the 400 United Methodist churches in Southern California and Hawaii.
The 1,100-word letter, "In Defense of Creation," was adopted by the Council of Bishops in April and received overwhelming endorsement at the denomination's subsequent regional conferences.
The letter concluded that "nuclear deterrence is a position that cannot receive the church's blessing." It is critical of U.S. and Soviet nuclear arms policies and urges a multilateral, mutually verifiable freeze on the production and deployment of nuclear weapons. The letter also rejects President Reagan's proposed Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars," missile defense system.
The reading is a prelude to the later study of a larger "Foundation Document," also prepared by the bishops, said spokeswoman Peg Parker. She said that many churches are planning that study during Advent or Lent. Some churches may be reading the pastoral letter at a later date because of scheduling conflicts, she said.