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Ecumenical council exec calls for fast, prayers for peace


NOTE: A head-and-shoulders photograph of the Rev. Bob Edgar is available at

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The Rev. Bob Edgar, staff head of the National Council of Churches, is calling on people of faith to fast and pray for peace Jan. 27, which he terms "the first of three days of events that will help determine history."

That day, the United Nations Security Council is to receive a progress report on weapons inspections in Iraq. The following day, President Bush delivers the annual State of the Union address. And for Jan. 29, Win Without War and other national coalitions are calling for local actions against military intervention in Iraq.

Edgar, a United Methodist clergyman, issued his statement Jan. 23. The United Methodist Church is a member denomination in the National Council of Churches.

"I am calling on all people of faith to observe Monday, Jan. 27, 2003, as a national day of prayer and fasting for a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis," he said. "This day is the first of three days of events that will help determine history."

He called for the United States to search for alternatives to war. "I urge people of faith to pray for President Bush, for all our nation's leaders, and for our military personnel, their families and friends," Edgar said. "Let us pray for the suffering people of Iraq and all others in the region and around the world who may be affected by war. And, believing that no one stands outside of prayer, let us pray also for Iraq's leaders, including its president, Saddam Hussein.

"Together, on Jan. 27, let our hearts, our minds and our prayers be as one, witnessing to the ways of peace; witnessing to the fact that war is not the answer. Together, on Jan. 27, let all people of faith join in a national day of prayer and fasting as we seek peace in our day."

The full text of Edgar's statement, along with information on peace activities, can be found at online.

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