From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: Weiss Promotes Peace As Part of London Delegation
"SCHRAMM, Richard" <Richard.Schramm@abc-usa.org>
Fri, 21 Feb 2003 15:49:12 -0500
American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 2/21/03)--The Rev. Dr.
Daniel E. Weiss, former general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA,
was part of a delegation of religious representatives who met Feb.17-18 with
British political and religious leaders to discuss the crisis with Iraq and
encourage alternatives to war.
Weiss represented American Baptist Churches General Secretary the Rev. Dr.
A. Roy Medley, who currently is meeting with church leaders in India. Weiss
last week was part of a similar delegation that met with religious and
political leaders in Paris. (See release posted Feb. 14 on www.abc-usa.org.)
In total five delegations to Europe have been supported by the U.S. National
Council of Churches of Christ to share in dialog over peaceful alternatives
to war with Iraq. The London group was organized by Sojourners, the U.S.
Christian organization, and its executive director, the Rev. James Wallis.
The delegation held discussions with Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, met with church leaders and
attended a worship service for peace and justice.
In addition to Weiss and Wallis delegation members included the Rev. John
Chane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington D.C.; the Rev. Clifton
Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church, USA; and Bishop Melvin
Talbert, ecumenical officer of the Council of United Methodist Bishops. In
London the group was joined by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican
archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa; the Rev. Clive Handford, Episcopal
bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf; the Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal bishop
of Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria; the Rev. Keith Clements, general
secretary of Conference of European Churches.
The delegation met Feb. 17 at the Church Center for the Churches Together in
Britain and Ireland, where it held extensive discussions about the Iraq
situation with representatives of Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and
other churches. Weiss noted: "As a result of the addition of international
representatives to our delegation we found that the scope of our focus had
to be broadened. It is impossible to consider the Iraqi problem without
serious consideration of the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Bishop Abu
El-Assal reminded us frequently that the road to Baghdad goes through
Jerusalem. This was a theme reiterated by government officials in our
meetings with them the following day...."
Weiss said that the during the group's meeting Feb. 18 with Archbishop of
Canterbury Rowan Williams delegation members "communicated our deep concern
about the prospect of a precipitous rush to war and what its consequences
might be for international law, for humanitarian concerns, and for the
future of Christians in the Middle East."
The 50-minute meeting with Prime Minister Blair occurred only hours after he
had been part of "a very hard-hitting press conference," Weiss said. "While
he is extraordinarily outgoing, friendly and charming, one could see the
strain on him. In some respects, even though we had a very frank discussion
of the issues, it was something of a pastoral visit. I think that aspect was
appreciated..... We did plead with him to give leadership in finding another
way [and] explored a number of alternative approaches, including working
through the United Nations to empower the people of Iraq, strengthening the
process of weapons inspections, dealing thoroughly with the Palestinian
question, building global policy which addresses the gap between the rich
and poor, and building interfaith relations.... We also offered him our
prayers and told him we considered him to be a Christian brother whose basic
motivations come out of his faith commitments...."
Weiss said the delegation "did a great deal to cement good relations with
our counterparts in the British churches. The feeling was that if the
United States and the United Kingdom have a special relationship so should
the churches of each country. We also tried to be faithful in our witness
to the powers that be in the service of the Prince of Peace."
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; www.abc-usa.org;
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