From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: Leaders Urge Prayer for Resolution to Iraq Crisis

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Fri, 24 Jan 2003 12:24:10 -0500

American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 1/24/03)--With actions
crucial to the response toward Iraq of both the U.S. and the United Nations
set for next week, many American Baptists are urging a concerted effort of
prayer for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

The U.N. Security Council will receive a major progress report from chief
U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix on Jan. 27.  The following day President
George W. Bush will deliver the annual State of the Union address before the
U.S. Congress, most certainly highlighting his assessment of current
conditions regarding the crisis and detailing likely U.S. actions. 

In response to those reports and to the escalating crisis, a group of
national coalitions are calling for Wednesday, Jan. 29 to be a day of local
actions to protest military intervention in Iraq. 

The Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the American Baptist-related
National Council of Churches of Christ, issued a call to prayer and fasting
yesterday: "I am calling on all people of faith to observe Monday, January
27, 2003 as a national day of prayer and fasting for a peaceful resolution
of the Iraq crisis. This day is the first of three days of events that will
help determine history.... I urge people of faith to pray for President
Bush, for all our nation's leaders, and for our military personnel, their
families and friends.  Let us pray for the suffering people of Iraq and all
others in the region and around the world who may be affected by war.  And,
believing that no one stands outside of prayer, let us pray also for Iraq's
leaders, including its president, Saddam Hussein.... let our hearts, our
minds and our prayers be as one, witnessing to the ways of peace; witnessing
to the fact that war is not the answer...."

The Rev. Dwight M. Lundgren, director of Reconciliation Ministries for
American Baptist National Ministries, is calling for American Baptists to be
in prayer: "The Psalmist admonishes and challenges us to be a people who
'seek peace and pursue it.'  Mindful of that and the prospect of war in
Iraq, the General Board at its November meeting passed a Declaration of
Importance calling for a period of prayer to avoid war as the instrument for
Iraqi disarmament and increased stability in that part of the world.  I
strongly endorse the call by Rev. Bob Edgar and the National Council of
Churches to observe Monday, January 27, 2003 as a time of prayer and fasting
for a peaceful resolution not only to the Iraqi crisis but to the suffering
of all the people of the Middle East.  May all our prayers and efforts
breathe the petition: 'Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace....'"

The Rev. Rothangliani R. Chhangte, director of Ecumenical Formation for
American Baptist Churches USA, also endorsed the initiative: "One of the
wonderful gifts of being a Christian is that we become world citizens, which
means that all who have accepted Christ in their lives become our brothers
and sisters in Christ, including those who live in Iraq.  Therefore I
believe that we have to seriously think about what a war with their country
would do to the Christians living in Iraq.  Having worked with refugees for
many years I have seen first hand what war does to people, families and
children.  As Christians we have a responsibility to work for peace and to
value all of human life.  I fully endorse this call to prayer and fasting
because I believe that there is a God at work who hears our prayers and who
can stop this war and bring a peaceful resolution."


American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320;;

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