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

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

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

In each city, the delegation will seek to:

  • meet with their religious counterparts tothank them for opposing the rush to war and to strategizetogether,
  • reaffirm to the religious community and the people of eachcountry that we in the U.S. churches also oppose a war withIraq,
  • hold a joint prayer service for peace (if possible),
  • seek to hold meetings with top political leaders to urge themto resist the momentum to war,
  • hold a press conference and other media efforts to report onthe delegation visit and affirm the possibility of peacefulsolutions.

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

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

The delegation will take part in a service of peace and justiceat St. John's Church, Waterloo. This takes place on Monday 17February 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 76204444.