From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Iraq Crisis - U.S. Church Leaders on Peace Mission Meet Tony Blair

From "Carol Fouke" <>
Date Tue, 18 Feb 2003 18:47:30 -0500

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

Media Contacts: New York, Carol Fouke, W:212-870-2252/H:212-662-9999;
London: Anne van Staveren, 020 7523 2137/mobile 07939 139 881

U.S. Church Leaders Meet Blair in Third of Five NCC-Led Peace Delegations

February 18, 2003, LONDON -- U.S. Christian leaders spent 50 minutes with
British Prime Minister Tony Blair today (February 18) to convey a message of
widespread opposition to war with Iraq and to explore alternatives.

The visit was the third of five urgent meetings with European leaders by
delegations organized by the National Council of Churches, New York City.

The ecumenical delegations are finding strong support among European church
leaders for the "Win Without War" approach advocated by most major U.S.
faith groups.

A February 5 visit to Berlin included a meeting with German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder. In Paris (Feb.10-11), the delegation met with the French
Foreign Ministry. Upcoming are visits to Moscow (March 3-5), including a
meeting President Vladimir Putin, and a multi-faith visit to Rome

Following the private meeting with Blair, the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick,
Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church USA, Louisville, Ky., said they had
explored alternative approaches including working through the United Nations
to empower the Iraqi people, strengthening the process of weapons
inspections, dealing deeply with the Palestine question, building global
policy which addresses the gap between rich and poor, and building inter
faith relations.

Jim Wallis, Executive Director and Editor of Sojourners, Washington, D.C.,
led the delegation on the NCC's behalf.  He said, "American church leaders
agree that the threat of Saddam Hussein is very real and that Iraq must be
disarmed, but we also believe that the unintended and unpredictable
consequences of war could be catastrophic. American and British leaders have
reminded the world of how terrible Saddam is, but the churches must remind
the world about the realities of war."

Wallis said the Prime Minister had listened to them cordially.	They said
they believed Britain is in a unique position to influence the decision
about War with Iraq, more than any other country in the world.

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland facilitated the London visit.

Besides Wallis and Kirkpatrick the delegation included Bishop John Chane,
Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.; Bishop Melvin Talbert, Ecumenical
Officer, Council of United Methodist Bishops, Nashville, Tenn.; and the Rev.
Dan Weiss, Immediate Past General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA,
Marco Island, Fla.  They were joined by British, Middle Eastern and South
African church leaders.

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