14 February 2003

US Methodist Bishops to lobby British politicians and churches over Iraq crisis

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) is hosting a visit of US Church Leaders to London at the start of next week to lobby political and church leaders to support peaceful means of resolving the crisis over Iraq.

Jim Wallis of the Sojourners Community, who is organising the delegation, said: "At the midnight hour before a war against Iraq, Christian leaders from the United States are travelling to the capitals of important European members of the United Nations (London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Berlin). It is a last minute plea, in the name of peace, to seek a resolution for the current crisis with Iraq by means other than war."

In each city, the delegation will seek to:

  • meet with their religious counterparts to thank them for opposing the rush to war and to strategize together,
  • reaffirm to the religious community and the people of each country that we in the U.S. churches also oppose a war with Iraq,
  • hold a joint prayer service for peace (if possible),
  • seek to hold meetings with top political leaders to urge them to resist the momentum to war,
  • hold a press conference and other media efforts to report on the delegation visit and affirm the possibility of peaceful solutions.

The first of these visits took place last week in Berlin, where US and European church leaders met together and with Chancellor Schroeder.

The US delegation to London will include Bishop Felton May of the Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Conference and Bishop Melvin Talbert, Ecumenical Officer of the Council of United Methodist Bishops. There will also be leaders from the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches. They hope to meet with leaders of the Christian Churches - including the Archbishop of Canterbury - as well as leading political figures including the Prime Minister.

The delegation will take part in a service of peace and justice at St. John's Church, Waterloo. This takes place on Monday 17 February at 5.15pm, led by the Anglican Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price.

Further information can be obtained from CTBI on 020 7620 4444.

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