From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Methodist leaders from around world call for peace
Tue, 1 Oct 2002 15:44:47 -0500
Oct. 1, 2002 News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert7(615)742-54707Nashville,
NOTE: For related coverage of the World Methodist Council's executive
committee, see UMNS stories #419 and #420. A photograph is available with
By Kathy Gilbert*
OSLO, Norway (UMNS) - Methodists around the world are being asked to pray
and "use every means at their disposal" to bring about a peaceful resolution
to the violent situations in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Israel,
The World Methodist Council's executive committee adopted three resolutions
on peace during its Sept. 16-22 meeting.
The resolutions, brought by the council's social and international affairs
committee, note that Oslo is the host country of the Nobel Peace Prize. The
World Methodist Peace Award, given annually by the council to individuals or
organizations that have acted significantly in peacemaking, "expresses the
conviction of the people called Methodist that the way of peace is the way
of our Lord," read a statement following each resolution.
The president and general secretary of the World Methodist Council, along
with leaders and members of all Methodist churches, are called upon to
contact the United Nations to urge Iraq to comply with U.N. security
resolutions. The United States, United Kingdom and any other nation
threatening to take pre-emptive action are asked to comply with the U.N.
charter of 1945, which states that a sovereign nation may not go to war
unless the Security Council has taken measures to maintain peace.
"Everyone in this room is concerned with the rhetoric that is taking place,
even as we speak, not just about the threat of war, but the actual
preparation and planning for war," said the Rev. George H. Freeman, top
staff executive of the council, in his report to the executive committee.
"The church has the moral right to speak to this issue and to insist that
every available channel for peace and reconciliation be taken."
In a resolution on the Middle East, the executive committee urges the United
Nations to send an international peace delegation to visit government
leaders in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and encourages regional
and intergovernmental bodies to send human rights monitors to the area.
The committee also called upon the government of Zimbabwe to find peaceful
and just ways to resolve its land crisis, noting in the resolution that
indigenous communities in the southern African country have been deprived of
their historical lands.
"We acknowledge with deep remorse that we have been too silent on the issues
of land dispossession. This has neither been helpful nor God-pleasing," the
committee stated in its resolution. "We call upon all member churches to
pray for all Zimbabweans as they seek to deal with the land crisis and also
as they now encounter the devastation of drought and famine."
At the conclusion of the meeting, Ann M. Connan, a laywoman from the Uniting
Church of Australia, said, "There was an openness and understanding that the
church is changing and that the World Methodist Council will have to change
"It was a very good meeting," said the Rev. Jill van de Geer, of the New
Zealand Methodist Church. "People were ready to address issues, and the
social and international affairs committee put up three strong resolutions."
"I was very impressed with the energy among committee members. The group
came together and dealt with some sensitive issues," said the Rev. W. Darin
Moore, a pastor with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New
The World Methodist Council represents more than 37 million people from 78
member churches in 132 countries.
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*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service.
United Methodist News Service
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