NCC Delegation to Seek Papal Assistance Against War

Feb 26, 2003 04:49 PM EST

NEW YORK – The National Council of Churches will send its delegation to Rome in support of the Feb 18. letter from the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi USA, asking that Pope John Paul II visits the United Nations to address the situation in Iraq. The delegation will arrive in Rome Feb. 26, and will immediately proceed to the Vatican to be a part of the papal audience. "Both media and governmental leaders here (in the United States) have been dismissive of the expressions of anti-war sentiment from countries around the world, instead reinforcing the insulation of U.S. policy-making from outside critique," wrote Dave Robinson, national coordinator for Pax Christi USA.

"Your moral voice and presence here could break through. You could bring the desperately needed wisdom on how the U.S. could be a world leader, without the dependence on military might and policies of global dominance." The NCC’s executive board agreed to the trip during its Feb. 24-25 meeting; the trip marks the fourth NCC sponsored delegation to European capitals as part of the anti-war movement among U.S. religious leaders. Leading the delegation is Rev. Eileen Linder from the Presbyterian Church; Linder serves as an NCC executive. Other members include the United Methodist Bishop William Boyd Grove of Charleston, W. Va.; the Rev. Tyrone Pitts, Progressive National Baptist Convention; the Rev. Victor Makari, Presbyterian Church USA; the Rev. Gwynne Guibord, Episcopal Church; and the Rev. Joseph Nangle, Pax Christi.

The Feb. 24-25 conference also presented a movement towards eradicating Poverty domestically. Their emphasis on peace will be carried over to a focus on poverty, beginning with a March 2 event in San Francisco. "We’re going to connect our peace work with our poverty work," said the NCC’s chief executive, Rev. Robert Edgar.

The participants will gather for a worship service at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, then will partake in the second annual “Poverty March for Peace

” by walking through some of the poor neighborhoods of SD.

The Poverty March effort is part of a month-long initiative highlighting the work of faith communities in overcoming poverty. Special events include the

“Cover the Uninsured Week,” March 10-16, a series of national and local activities sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, faith groups and other organizations. The NCC will also hold a congress on urban ministry in Chicago and a seminar on sustainable rural communities in Waveland, Miss.

By Paulina C.