In mid-March, our staffers were busily putting the final touches on plans for the Christian Peace Witness, an event organized by 39 Christian organizations (including Sojourners/Call to Renewal) to call for an end to the war in Iraq. Registrations were taken, buses coordinated, permits requested, porta-potties ordered, candles lit (well, batteries inserted)?and then the weather forecast came in: Strong chance of snow and rain. But how bad could it be?
Well, it was pretty bad. The sleet and snow prevented several hundred from making the trip to D.C., but it didn't keep more than 3,000 people from filling Washington National Cathedral and New York Avenue Presbyterian Church for a worship service. Afterward, most of those hearty souls braved howling winds to march down to the White House, hoping to pierce this dark war with something of Jesus' light.
Among them were Whitworth College students Nicola Crawford, Zach Dahmen, Michael Vander Giessen, and Eric Colby (who graduated last year). The four set out on the 2,500-mile journey from Spokane, only to end up in a car accident 100 miles outside of D.C. They were unhurt but minus one car, so they hitchhiked the rest of the way to the cathedral. They were among the 222 people later arrested for civil disobedience in front of the White House.
The following pages contain stories from many others who participated in the event?in what one man called a new nonviolent "call to arms." How can we be the arms of God to a hurting world, to each other, to those who suffer most from this war?