From the Worldwide Faith News archives

MLK Jr., Day Service Draws 3,200 to Washington National Cathedral

From "Nat'l Council of Churches" <>
Date Tue, 21 Jan 2003 14:21:21 -0500

National Council of Churches
Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2252;
Photos:; 202-328-8745

'We Can Still Stop This War' -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Service Draws
3,200 to Washington National Cathedral; Peace March Follows

January 20, 2003, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An estimated 3,200 people filled the
Washington (D.C.) National Cathedral Monday afternoon (Jan. 20) to pray for
a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis.  Afterward, worshipers marched
down Massachusetts Avenue with candles and "War Is Not the Answer" placards
to take that message to the White House.

"Today we pray to God and plead with our national leaders to avoid the
destructiveness of war and find a better way to resolve the very real
threats involved in this conflict with Iraq," said the Rev. Jim Wallis,
Executive Director of Sojourners and the Convenor of Call to Renewal, one of
the service's keynote speakers.  "We believe that is possible, and we
believe we can still stop this war before it starts."

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Prayer Service for Peace and Justice
focused on the connection between war and poverty.  "With the potential for
war with Iraq on the horizon, we pray that our leaders will honor the legacy
of Dr. King and remember the teachings of Christ: That the real wars we must
fight are against poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice," said
the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington. "We gather
not to demonstrate, but to bear witness, through our prayers and presence,
to the importance of seeking new ways to move beyond the age old sin of

In his introduction to the series of readings and meditations on peace,
racism/poverty and global community, Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the
National Council of Churches, recalled hearing Martin Luther King, Jr., in
February 1968 at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.
The concern then: the Vietnam War.

"Afterwards, he said, we walked arm in arm with Dr. King to the White
House, much as we will do today.  The words of Dr. King that we will read
today aren't from that February 1968 event, but from the pulpit of this
cathedral, from which Dr. King preached four days before he was
assassinated. As you listen, hear how prophetic these words are for today."

The service was co-sponsored by the National Council of Churches, Children's
Defense Fund, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Call to Renewal and


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