21 February 2003

Methodists called to prayer over Iraq crisis

The President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference have written to explain the position of the Church in the midst of the current Iraq crisis. In a letter to be read out at Methodist church services across Britain this weekend, they warn against a rise in ethnic or inter-faith tension and issue a call to prayer.

The letter, written by Conference President, the Rev Ian White, and Vice President, Professor Peter Howdle, explains the position that the Methodist Church has adopted:

"Since the summer of 2002, we have urged our Government to act through the United Nations to give every reasonable opportunity for the government of Iraq to comply with the resolutions of the UN Security Council. The work of the Weapons Inspectors is crucial. So is continuing diplomatic activity to find a peaceful resolution. If military force against Iraq should be judged to be politically necessary, it should be used only as a last resort. It is essential that such action is authorised by a new resolution of the UN Security Council."

The Methodist Council, which met earlier this month, invited the President and Vice President to write a pastoral letter to be read out in all Methodist churches in Britain on Sunday 23 February.

In the letter, the President and Vice President report that one of their deepest concerns in recent months has been the increase in religious and racial tension in British society. They go on to call upon the whole Church to pray for all who are involved in the current international crisis.

Read the full text of the Pastoral letter to all Methodist churches on Iraq

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