United Methodist leaders support call to honor fallen soldiers
Aug. 25, 2005
A UMNS Report
By Ciona Rouse*
United Methodist leaders are joining the National Council of Churches in
a call for local congregations to ring bells Sunday, Aug. 28, in honor
of the men and women who have died in the Iraq war.
The appeal follows the NCC’s show of solidarity in mid-August with
military families holding a peace vigil outside President Bush’s ranch
in Crawford, Texas.
“To toll bells in solidarity with the vigil keepers in Crawford, Texas,
is a holy and spiritual matter,” said Jim Winkler, the top staff
executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society in
Washington. “Our concern is for the mothers who have lost their sons,
and for all who have died in Iraq over the past two and a half years.
Let us work and pray for a speedy end to this dreadful war.”
United Methodists have been part of that vigil, while other United
Methodists have joined a growing group of Bush supporters holding a
counter protest in Crawford, where the president has been vacationing. A
pro-Bush rally is planned in Crawford for Aug. 27.
The NCC issued the call to local churches Aug. 24, saying the ringing of
the bells would “symbolize national support for U.S. troops and their
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
The organization’s online effort, Faithful America, wants congregations
to continue tolling the bells beyond Aug. 28, weekly or daily, in honor
of the soldiers and as a way of continuing the tone of the vigil.
“I support the call to ring church bells this Sunday,” said Bishop
Gregory Palmer of the denomination’s Iowa Area. “It will remind us of
the sacrifice of those who have died in Iraq. The sound, across the
nation, will embrace the families who are feeling the pain of losing
loved ones. We stand pastorally with them in their grief.”
The National Council of Churches is an ecumenical organization with 36
member denominations, including the United Methodist Church.
*Rouse is a freelance writer in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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