The National Council of Churches is urging all Christian congregations in the United States to participate in special Candle Lighting Peace Vigils, beginning March 16. The NCC is joining with Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Win Without War coalition in calling for a Global Candle Lighting Peace Vigil at 7 p.m. local time March 16. That same night, a peace rally and concert will be held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, featuring folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Tutu and the Rev. Robert Edgar, top staff executive of the NCC.
Churches are being encouraged to continue the vigils with every worship service thereafter. So far, nearly 3,200 vigils have been scheduled in 100 countries for March 16, according to the NCC's Web site.
"In the next few days and weeks, decisions will be made at both the White House and the United Nations, which may or may not lead our nation into war with Iraq," said the Rev. Robert Edgar, a United Methodist clergyman. "These difficult days call for special prayers and peace vigils to remind ourselves and our Christian brothers and sisters that we must still pray and work for peace."
The NCC's Web site at www.ncccusa.org offers prayers, responsive litanies and Bible readings for congregations to use.
"It is hoped that these Candle Lighting Peace Vigils will serve to remind all of us of the importance of working for peace and give us courage and strength to continue the fight for justice," Edgar said. "... Maybe we can start a run on candles instead of duct tape!"
By Albert H. Lee