The Common Good

Thousands from Across America Worship and Protest to End Iraq War

Date: February 20, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Katie Barge 202-481-8147 / 202-243-8289 kbarge@faithinpubliclife.org ; Dan Nejfelt 202-745-4654 dnejfelt@sojo.net ; Jack Pannell 202-745-4625 jpannell@sojo.net

           

Thousands from Across America Worship and Protest to End Iraq War

Christian Peace Witness set for March 16th; Worship to be Followed by Procession to White House and Peaceful Protest

Washington, D.C. ----- (Tuesday, February 20, 2007) Thousands of Christians---Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics--- from across the country will worship together on March 16th to mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War with public prayer, a candlelight procession through the center of the nation’s capital, vigils in cities and towns throughout the country and a protest culminating with 1500 Christians surrounding the White House with the light of peace. The Christian Peace Witness, organized by a broad cross section of Christian denominational peace groups and organizations, is expected to be the largest peace gathering of Christians expressing opposition to the war since it began four years ago.

Prominent religious leaders and peace activists, including Jim Wallis, Celeste Zappala, Bernice Powell Jackson, and Raphael Warnock will speak at a  worship service, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C on Friday, March 16, 2007.

“The mistaken war in Iraq can only be mercifully ended, in ways that cause the least damage to everyone involved: the Americans and the Iraqis, the volatile surrounding region, and a world longing for security,” says Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and bestselling author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.

After the worship service, thousands of Christians will make a two-mile candlelit procession to the White House, where a solemn, prayerful vigil will dramatize the Christian call for peace in Iraq. Following the vigil, hundreds of participants, including many clergy members, will encircle the White House with a band of candlelight to express their conviction that the teachings of Jesus call unequivocally for an end to the war.

“Jesus taught us that nothing could be more impractical, or more foolish, than responding to violence with more violence,” says Rick Ufford-Chase, convener of the national steering committee of Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. “Congress needs to act swiftly and boldly to challenge the escalation of the war in Iraq. We will pray, worship and protest on March 16th and send a message to our leaders and the world that peace and reconciliation stand at the very heart of the Christian message and our respective traditions.”

Thousands more Christians yearning for peace will organize simultaneous rallies and vigils throughout the country. And to date, 20 bus loads of peace pilgrims are traveling from cities throughout the country.

WHAT:  Christian Peace Witness

WHEN:  March 16, beginning at 7 p.m. (admission tickets required, visit www.christianpeacewitness.org)

WHERE: Washington National Cathedral

WHO:

  • Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal
  • Celeste Zappala, a peace activist and United Methodist mother whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004
  • Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President for the North American Conference of the World Council of Churches
  • Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.

SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

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Please visit Christian Peace Witness for Iraq for more information.