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Bells to ring June 24-25 for those who lost lives in Iraq

June 20, 2006

A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*


In remembrance of those who have lost their lives in Iraq, bells will ring in houses of worship the weekend of June 24-25.

St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa, does not have a bell in a steeple, but the 440-member congregation will ring a musical bell instead, according to the Rev. Dick Clark, pastor.

The time of remembrance will be linked to the prayer time and sharing of joys and concerns during Sunday morning worship.

“After that, we’re going to have a tolling of the bell,” Clark said. “That will be done in memory and in honor of both the U.S. troops that have died and all the others who have died.”

The congregation — which “tends to be on the cutting edge in terms of social issues,” according to Clark — also views the action as a prayer for peace.

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Photo courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery

The "Ring on Remembrance" tribute will honor those who have lost their lives in Iraq.
The “Ring on Remembrance” tribute honors both the American dead and the thousands of innocent Iraqis who have lost their lives. It is being organized by FaithfulAmerica.org, an online community of the National Council of Churches, and DemocracyRising.US, an organization founded by Ralph Nader.

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is joining those groups to encourage people of faith – churches, synagogues, mosques and peace organizations – to be part of the bell-ringing effort.

Besides bell-ringing, people of faith can make some type of gesture, such as lighting candles or gathering in silence, to remember the fallen and encourage world leaders to consider alternatives to the open-ended occupation of Iraq.

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The Rev. Robert Edgar
The U.S. government announced June 15 that 2,500 American troops had died in the Iraq War. That same day, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives began an intense debate over the conflict.

The Rev. Bob Edgar, a United Methodist pastor and the NCC’s chief executive, called the announcement of the 2,500th death “a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened” and added that the “young men and women who paid the ultimate price of their government’s call to arms will be mourned by everyone.”

Vince Isner, director of FaithfulAmerica.org, told United Methodist News Service the war in Iraq has been too costly.

“In precious lives lost, both military and civilian, in dollars diverted away from programs that nourish personal growth and distinction, in broken covenants, and in shattered trust, this war has taken the best and the dearest we have and misspent it on the most misguided of ambitions,” he said.

“The highest honor people of faith and conscience can pay to those who have died is to stand unequivocally for peace — a kind of peace that every prophet, sage and savior would recognize and embrace.”

FaithfulAmerica has 101,000 registered members, according to Isner. Although many have not specified their faith affiliation, he said, United Methodists are the largest Protestant group among the known membership affiliations.

Houses of worship can sign up at www.faithfulamerica.org to receive resources and information about participating in “Ring on Remembrance.”

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 
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