From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
United Methodist Women oppose Iraq war
Tue, 22 Oct 2002 14:48:21 -0500
Oct. 22, 2002 News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212) 870-38037New York
STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) --The administrative body of the 1 million-member
United Methodist Women has joined other religious groups voicing opposition
to war with Iraq.
During their Oct. 18-21 annual meeting, directors of the Women's Division,
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, endorsed a September statement
in which the division's executive committee "reaffirms its opposition to war
as the instrument for resolving the continuing conflict with Iraq, presses
for lifting the sanctions against Iraq and urges all governments, most
particularly the U.S.A., and the Security Council of the United Nations to
pursue peaceful means in resolving conflicts with Iraq."
Division directors added that they would "pray for our leaders."
In their reports to directors, Genie Bank, division president, and Joyce
Sohl, chief staff executive, spoke of the threat of war with Iraq.
Bank, of Lexington, Mich., explained that the statement adopted by the
executive committee reflects the committee's understanding of the Social
Principles of the United Methodist Church, which finds war "incompatible
with the teaching and example of Christ" and insists "the first moral duty
of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises
between or among them."
The 2000 General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, also
supported lifting economic sanctions against Iraq, calling those sanctions
"the moral equivalent of waging war against a civilian population."
What is now United Methodist Women was born as a peacemaking organization
135 years ago, according to Sohl. Over the years it has asserted that
position in its strong support of the establishment of the United Nations,
its opposition to the war in Vietnam and its advocacy for eliminating
apartheid in South Africa.
Initially some were hesitant to speak out against a proposed war on Iraq,
but the debate is "picking up steam," Sohl noted.
"The general population do not want war because they have not heard a
convincing argument for such action now; because they do not want to do it
alone without allies' involvement; because the outcomes of such a war are so
uncertain and because we don't know the financial or human cost on all sides
of such a conflict," Sohl told directors.
She encouraged each of them to be a peacemaker by taking such actions as
writing letters, calling government leaders, voting and continuing the
In other business, Women's Division directors:
7 Signed onto the Campaign to End the Occupation of Palestine, a new
coalition of organizations and individuals focused on changing U.S. policy
toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to support freedom from occupation
and equal rights for all.
7 Learned that Michelle "Shelley" Cavaliere of Seattle has received
the 2003 Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizen Award for her
plan to spend three months in the Philippines and Thailand working with
sex-trafficking prevention programs.
7 Celebrated the conclusion of the 1996-2002 membership campaign for
United Methodist Women, which resulted in the organization of 979 units. Of
those, 627 are new units, 232 are reorganized units and 53 are district
units, a new category.
7 Noted the retirements of Claretta Nesbitt, after 33 years of
service, and Annette Funk, after more than 10 years of service and the
transfer of Betty Gittens from Health and Relief, Board of Global
Ministries, to serve as executive secretary for research and hospitality
centers at the denomination's U.N. offices.
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United Methodist News Service
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