|Interfaith fast calls for end to Iraq war|
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Sept. 24, 2007 | WASHINGTON (UMNS)
An interfaith fast for peace will be held from sunrise to sunset Oct. 8
and people of all faiths are urged to pray together for an end to the
war in Iraq.
Jim Winkler addresses members of the United
Methodist Board of Church and Society at their Sept. 13-16 meeting in
Washington. The social justice agency is calling for United Methodists
to join other people of faith Oct. 8 for a day of fasting and prayer
urging an end to the Iraq war. A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.
Joining in the call is Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
During the agency's Sept. 13-16 fall board meeting, Winkler said "the
war was wrong from the outset and it is wrong still. We must continue
to oppose the unjust occupation of Iraq."
Addressing members of the board, he said, "Sisters and brothers, we
gather here in Washington, D.C. in the midst of intense debate over the
war in Iraq. Although a majority of the U.S. Congress now opposes the
war, there still are not enough votes to bring it to an end. Four and a
half long years have come and gone and the death toll of Iraqis and
Americans continues to mount."
The Board of Church and Society "has been the most resolute and
consistent voice of opposition to the war in this the third largest
denomination in the nation," he noted.
Winkler pointed out Osama bin Laden has re-emerged, reminding the
United States of who was behind the attacks on Sept. 11. "The United
States fought the wrong people and did so willfully. That is morally
Winkler said planning meetings for the interfaith fast have taken
place in the United Methodist Building and Jewish, Christian and Muslim
leaders are inviting everyone to join together on Oct. 8.
"I pray not only that you will join us in fasting on Oct. 8, but that
you will return to your annual conferences and congregations and spread
the word there, too," he said.
The leaders of many faith communities are inviting millions of
Americans to organize joint interfaith events in local communities.
Groups may register their events at www.interfaithfast.org where
groups may also find an organizing toolkit to assist in putting
together such gatherings. A church bulletin insert on fasting for
Christians may also be found at the Web site.
"American culture, society, and policy are addicted to violence at
home and overseas," says the organizing statement. "In our time, the
hope of a decent future is endangered by an unnecessary, morally
abhorrent, and disastrous war. Ending this war can become the first step
toward a policy that embodies a deeper, broader sense of generosity and
community at home and in the world."
Among those religious leaders organizing or endorsing this event are:
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center, Philadelphia; Sayyid M. Sayeed,
Islamic Society of North America, Plainfield, Ill.; the Rev. Shanta
Premawardhana, staff executive for interfaith relations and the Rev.
Michael Livingston, president, National Council of Churches; Jean
Stoken, Pax Christi Roman Catholic peace ministry; Tarunjit Singh
Butalia, moderator of Religions for Peace USA; Rick Ufford-Chase,
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Christian Peace Witness, and Bishop
Christopher Epting, The Episcopal Church.
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com .
Christians arrested in march to end Iraq war
Ministry trades toys for toy guns in Iraq
Washington anti-war rally draws United Methodists
Will you fast on October 8th?
Interfaith Fast to End War in Iraq
United Methodist Board of Church and Society
United Methodist officials respond to U.S. transfer of power to Iraq