From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Young missionary calls for peace with 95-mile walk

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Tue, 17 Dec 2002 15:08:35 -0600

Dec. 17, 2002 News media contact: Tim Tanton7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

NOTE: A photograph is available.

A UMNS Feature
By Tricia Schug*

TACOMA, Wash. (UMNS) - Concerned about global violence and the prospect of a
U.S. war with Iraq, United Methodist missionary Adam Bray, 23, decided to do
something more than just write letters to Congress.

Bray, a US-2 missionary assigned to the campus ministry program at the
University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, embarked on a 95-mile "peace walk" from
Seattle to Olympia, Wash. His four-day journey in support of peacemakers was
inspired by the 211-mile peace walk from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. in
late October by Mennonite pastoral intern Peter Eash-Scott.

Bray began his walk on Thanksgiving as a symbolic gesture. "I think I'm
guilty for taking what I have for granted. I rarely consider how lucky I am
for having access to necessary things like food, shelter, water and the
luxury of transportation," he says. "I wanted to reflect on what it means to
be thankful and to cultivate feelings of peace and gratitude in my heart." 

During his 25-mile-a-day journey, Bray ate the rations allotted to an average
Iraqi citizen - meager amounts of rice, flour, oil, beans and cheese - and
relied on the hospitality of United Methodist churches along his route to
provide overnight shelter. He was joined at times by other walkers who shared
his message of peace and his concern about the prospect of war with Iraq.

On the brisk, foggy morning after Thanksgiving, retired pastor Arthur
Campbell walked alongside Bray and offered him encouraging words. "What
you're doing as a young person brings hope to me and for my future
grandchildren," Campbell told him. "I'm reminded of that story that says that
when a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, it causes a hurricane in Texas.
What you're doing here can make a difference in places you least expect."

Bray hopes his walk will prompt United Methodists to speak out against
injustice. "I don't believe you can have peace in this world without
justice," he says. "Wars and terrorism will continue to persist so long as
inequality and intolerance are prevalent."

A graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., Bray received
his US-2 commission from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. He
had already served as an intern with the United Methodist Board of Church and
Society, where he felt called to dedicate his life to working for social

"I'm encouraged by the stance our United Methodist Church takes against war,
as well as the recent statements issued by our Council of Bishops and
denominational leaders against what appears to be impending war with Iraq,"
he says. 

"But I was surprised that the most frequent reaction I received from people
during this whole experience was a polite indifference," he says. "I think
this is tragic. The Bible warns us against being lukewarm, and Jesus offers
us a terrific model for speaking out and acting out against injustice.

"In this time of military buildup and rumored war, it is imperative that our
churches care less about being sensitive to differing political views or
losing members and just do what is morally right," he says.

Bray arrived at First United Methodist Church of Olympia on Sunday, Dec. 1,
several hours ahead of schedule, weary and changed.  

"I feel like I did a lot of growing along the way, although it feels too
early to process all of it just yet," he says. "But one thing I'm certain of
is that I am committed to working for social justice. I know I'll be doing
similar things like this walk in the future."

# # #

*Schug is former director of communications in the Pacific Northwest
Conference. She is a free-lance writer living in the Seattle area.

United Methodist News Service
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