Methodists called to prayer over Iraq crisis

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

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

"Since the summer of 2002, wehave urged our Government to actthrough the United Nations to give every reasonable opportunity forthe government of Iraq to comply with the resolutions of the UNSecurity Council. The work of the Weapons Inspectors is crucial. Sois continuing diplomatic activity to find a peaceful resolution. Ifmilitary force against Iraq should be judged to be politicallynecessary, it should be used only as a last resort. It isessential that such action is authorised by a new resolution of theUN Security Council."

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

In the letter, the President and Vice President report that oneof their deepest concerns in recent months has been the increase inreligious and racial tension in British society. They go on to callupon the whole Church to pray for all who are involved in thecurrent international crisis.

Read the full text of the Pastoral letter to all Methodist churches onIraq