From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodists among those requesting meeting with Bush

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Fri, 31 Jan 2003 14:41:39 -0600

Jan. 31, 2003  News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212) 870-38037New York

By United Methodist News Service

A group of 46 religious leaders, including 24 United Methodists, has asked
President Bush for a face-to-face meeting on Iraq.

In a Jan. 30 letter to the White House, the leaders of 11 denominations and
four religious organizations told President Bush they want to "bring to you
the insights and perspective of one of the largest segments of the Christian
community of our country" regarding any military action against Iraq. The
president is a United Methodist.

"Because you are weighing the prospect of war on Iraq and all the terrible
consequences that war involves, you will have faced firsthand the truth that
war is not only - or even primarily - a military matter," the letter said.
"It is a moral and ethical matter of the highest order, one that we have made
a priority for many months as the possibility of war has loomed on our
national horizon."

As representatives of tens of millions of Protestant and Orthodox Christians,
the leaders said they have been in touch not only with their own church
members on the matter, but also with counterparts in Europe and around the
world, even with people of faith in Iraq. "We draw on the tenets of our
Christian faith in all these encounters, seeking a way toward peace that is
both prophetic and practical," the letter stated.

"It is with the utmost urgency that we seek a meeting with you to convey face
to face the message of the religious community that we represent on the moral
choices that confront this nation and your administration," the leaders wrote
to Bush.

"You are no doubt well aware of our activities to slow the rush to war and
our continuing uneasiness about the moral justification for war on Iraq. What
we ask now, as fellow believers and as the spiritual leaders of Americans in
congregations in every community of our great nation, is a pastoral
opportunity to bring this message to you in person."

The signers included 20 United Methodist bishops, some serving as current
leaders of particular regions and some retired. They include Bishop Kenneth
Carder of Jackson, Miss.; Bishop R. Sheldon Duecker, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Bishop
William Boyd Grove, Charleston, Va.; Bishop Kenneth Hicks, Little Rock, Ark.;
Bishop William Hutchinson, Baton Rouge, La.; Bishop S. Clifton Ives,
Charleston, W. Va.; Bishop Rueben P. Job, Goodlettsville, Tenn.; Bishop
Charles Wesley Jordan, Upland, Calif.; Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly, San Mateo,
Calif.; and Bishop James Lloyd Knox, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Also, Bishop Felton Edwin May, Washington; Bishop Marshall L. Meadors,
Atlanta; Bishop Fredrick Mutti, Topeka, Kan.; Bishop Don Ott, Pewaukee, Wis.;
Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, Sun Prairie, Wis.; Bishop Roy Sano,
Washington; Bishop Jack Tuell, Des Moines, Wash.; Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker,
Lakeland, Fla.; Bishop Richard P. Wilke, Winfield, Kan.; and Bishop Joseph H.
Yeakel, Smithsburg, Md.

The other United Methodist signers were the Rev. Robert Edgar, chief
executive, National Council of Churches; the Rev. Bruce Robbins, chief
executive, United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious
Concerns; James Winkler, chief executive, United Methodist Board of Church
and Society; and Ray Buchanan, director and founder of Stop Hunger Now.

The remaining signers included the Rt. Rev. John Chane, Episcopal bishop of
Washington; His Grace Bishop Dimitrios (Couchell) of Xanthos, Greek Orthodox
Diocese of America; the Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop, Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America; and Elenie K. Huszagh, NCC president.

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United Methodist News Service
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