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Call to a Time to Reflect

NCC Urges Peace Vigils Nationwide During March 
to Mark First Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

The first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a time for people across the United States -- indeed, around the globe -- to take stock, to mourn the dead, to pray for all affected by the war and by the decades of dictatorship and sanctions that preceded the war, and to direct their energies toward a more peaceful future.  The National Council of Churches USA is encouraging houses of worship churches, synagogues and mosques -- to commemorate the March 20 anniversary by holding peace vigils sometime during the week of the anniversary date, or in the days following. 

We hold in our hearts and prayers:

* The more than 130,000 U.S. troops in danger in Iraq, the hundreds who have died, and the many who have returned with physical and mental injuries. Many of these soldiers and their families are members of our congregations.

* The hundreds of thousands of others who have lost their lives in Iraq -- during the past year and during the long years of brutal dictatorship and devastating economic sanctions that preceded the war.  We are mindful that a number of the dead and injured are family and friends of members of U.S. congregations.  Three of the Iraqi religious leaders with whom a National Council of Churches delegation met last year have been assassinated.

* The hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and around the world whose lives have been diminished by the Iraq War but who are not included in any official count of the casualties: people living in poverty, veterans whose benefits have been cut, children whose schools have no books, and families with no health insurance.  Let us all heed the reminder that in the grim economy of war, the cost of destruction in one place is paid for by deprivation in others.

Together let us raise our prayers for peace and justice everywhere in God's creation. Inspired and informed by our faith, let us transcend the uncertainties and insecurities of this moment in history. Assured of God's love, let us think and plan and work toward the kind of world that reflects God's will for humanity.

Resources for Peace Vigils

Background From 2003 "Season of Peacemaking"


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