From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
United Methodist women begin prayer campaign for peace
Wed, 18 Dec 2002 15:21:12 -0600
Dec. 18, 2002 News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212)870-38037New York
By Kelly Martini*
NEW YORK (UMNS) - As violence continues across the Middle East and the United
States considers pre-emptive strikes against Iraq, the million-member United
Methodist Women's organization is taking up arms in prayer.
The group's new prayer campaign, "Christian Women Pray for Peace from Advent
to Easter," grew from a suggestion by a Washington state member who wrote to
the Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in
November. The division has administrative responsibility for United Methodist
"Imagine if the world heard that the churches in the United States cared
enough to pray that there will be no war," she wrote. "We could revolutionize
the way some other countries look at America."
Plans for the prayer campaign emerged after a brainstorming session of United
Methodist Women conference leaders and staff at a training event in St.
Across the United States, women are being asked to:
7 Write a prayer for peace on a postcard some time between Advent and
Easter and mail it to the Service Center, General Board of Global Ministries,
The United Methodist Church, 7820 Reading Road, Caller No. 1800, Cincinnati,
7 Designate a day for prayer or form a 24-hour prayer chain in each
church, asking members to sign up for one hour when they will pray for peace.
7 Hold prayer meetings for peace in local, district and conference
United Methodist Women groups and encourage women of other denominations to
do the same.
7 Collect prayer postcards in "prayer boxes" stationed in public
gathering places, such as stores, restaurants and churches, and send all
postcards to the Service Center.
On Easter weekend, the Women's Division plans a demonstration for peace in
Washington. Church executives expect to deliver thousands of prayers for
peace on postcards to the White House.
A Web site, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/prayers4peace.html, is being developed
for the campaign. Ongoing news, advocacy efforts and prayers for peace will
be posted there.
Lois Dauway, a Women's Division executive, reminded church members of the
urgency for prayer and the fact that no prayer is too small.
"God hears our prayers," she said. "If each of us takes the time to pray for
the leaders and decision makers of the United States and countries suffering
from instability ... and if we take time to pray for the people in these
countries who are neglected, ignored and forgotten ... then our prayers will
not be ignored. Our small prayers become large prayers and voices that are
heard around the world. We must pray without ceasing."
The campaign is part of an ongoing effort by United Methodist Women to work
for peace in the world. In October, Women's Division directors adopted a
statement opposing a U.S. unilateral strike against Iraq.
"The Women's Division 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
United States and the Security Council of the United Nations, to pursue
peaceful means in resolving conflicts with Iraq," the statement said.
United Methodist Women also has been working closely with Churches for Middle
East Peace, circulating a petition titled, "A Christian Call for Peace." Last
July, Women's Division directors joined the organization in calling on
Congress and the Senate to increase U.S. funding for the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency, which is primarily responsible for providing
schools, health care and essential humanitarian services to Palestinian
refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.
# # #
*Martini is executive secretary for communications with the Women's Division
of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
United Methodist News Service
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