NCC delegation heads to Rome
2/25/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
Head-and-shoulders photographs of Bishop William Boyd Grove, the Rev.
Robert Edgar and Bishop Beverly Shamana are available at
YORK (UMNS) - A National Council of Churches delegation going to Rome
will tell Pope John Paul II that it supports a request that he visit the
United Nations to address the U.N. Security Council about the situation
The delegation, which will include United Methodist
Bishop William Boyd Grove of Charleston, W. Va., will arrive Feb. 26 in
Rome and proceed immediately to the Vatican to be part of a papal
During its Feb. 24-25 meeting, the NCC's executive
board agreed the delegation should lend its support to a Feb. 18 letter
from Pax Christi USA to the pope, asking for his presence at the United
"Both media and governmental leaders here (in the United
States) have been dismissive of the expressions of anti-war sentiment
from countries around the world, instead reinforcing the insulation of
U.S. policy-making from outside critique," wrote Dave Robinson, national
coordinator for Pax Christi USA, a Catholic peace movement. "Your moral
voice and presence here could break through. You could bring the
desperately needed wisdom on how the U.S. could be a world leader,
without the dependence on military might and policies of global
The Rome trip is the fourth NCC-sponsored delegation
to European capitals, part of an effort by U.S. religious leaders to
spread a message of peace and forestall military action against Iraq.
The group members, led by the Rev. Eileen Lindner, a Presbyterian and
NCC executive, will express their concerns to Italian government
Other members of the Feb. 26-28 Rome delegation are the
Rev. Tyrone Pitts, Progressive National Baptist Convention; the Rev.
Victor Makari, Presbyterian Church USA; the Rev. Gwynne Guibord,
Episcopal Church; and the Rev. Joseph Nangle, Pax Christi.
emphasis on peace also is being carried over into the NCC's focus on
poverty in March, beginning with a March 2 event in San Francisco.
"We're going to connect our peace work with our poverty work," the Rev.
Robert Edgar, a United Methodist and the NCC's chief executive, told
executive board delegates.
The March 2 "Poverty March for Peace"
will highlight the connections between poverty and war. Among the
participants in a 3 p.m. interfaith prayer service at Grace Cathedral in
San Francisco will be United Methodist Bishop Beverly Shamana; Rabbi
Stephen Pearce, Congregation Emanu-el; and Omar Ahmad, Council on
After the service, worshippers will march through some of the poor neighborhoods of San Francisco, Edgar added.
NCC's second annual "Poverty March" is a month-long initiative
highlighting the work of faith communities in overcoming poverty.
Beginning March 1, the NCC's Web site, www.ncccusa.org, will have a
special section offering fact sheets and information for each week's
topic. The topics throughout March are jobs and income, health care,
hunger, and housing and homelessness.
Special events include a
series of national and local activities during "Cover the Uninsured
Week," March 10-16, co-sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
faith groups and other organizations; a congress on urban ministry in
Chicago; and a seminar on sustainable rural communities in Waveland,
Worship resources for the first four Sundays in Lent also are available. Visit www.micah6.org for more information.
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