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White House Response Received.  Full Text Follows:

March 5, 2003

Dear Dr. Edgar:

President Bush asked me to thank you for your letter inviting him to discuss the war on Iraq with members of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.

The schedule for the next few months has necessitated some difficult decisions.  Unfortunately, I must decline the invitation and do not forsee an opportunity to add this event to the calendar.. I know this reponse is disappointing but want to assure you that your letter received every consideration.

The President appreciates the support your invitation represents and always welcomes your comments and suggestions.

Bradley A. Blakeman
Deputy Assistant to the President
and Director of Appointments and Scheduling

Four More Signatures Added as of 2/25/03, Bringing Total to 50 Leaders of 13 Denominations and 5 Organizations.

46 U.S. Religious Leaders, Uneasy About the Proposed War on Iraq,
"With Utmost Urgency" Ask President Bush for Face-to-Face Meeting

Leaders of 11 Denominations and 4 Organizations;
Signers Include 20 United Methodist Bishops

January 30, 2003, NEW YORK CITY - Citing the "utmost urgency" of their request, 46 U.S. religious leaders who have been working "to slow the rush to war" with Iraq today petitioned President Bush for a face-to-face meeting.

War is not only a military matter, write the leaders - from 11 denominations and four organizations, including 20 United Methodist bishops. "It is a moral and ethical matter of the highest order, one that we have made a priority for many months as the possibility of war has loomed on our national horizon."

The 46 leaders of tens of millions of Protestant and Orthodox Christians across the United States note that they are in communication with their clergy, lay leaders and church members across the nation and with their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere around the globe on this issue.

Active in the search for peaceful solutions to the Iraq crisis since August, religious leaders "have become all the more alarmed as U.S. military activity keeps escalating," said Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, which facilitated circulation of the letter for signatures. "We want to meet with the President before he decides to go to war with Iraq."

The full text of the letter follows.

January 30, 2003

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We greet you-our President, our nation’s highest military leader, and a member of the community of faith-in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

At a time when our nation, and you as its leader, face unprecedented challenges affecting the security of the United States and of the entire world, we wish to bring to you the insights and perspective of one of the largest segments of the Christian community of our country.

Because you are weighing the prospect of war on Iraq and all the terrible consequences that war involves, you will have faced firsthand the truth that war is not only-or even primarily-a military matter. It is a moral and ethical matter of the highest order, one that we have made a priority for many months as the possibility of war has loomed on our national horizon.

As leaders of tens of millions of Protestant and Orthodox Christians across the United States, we are in touch with our clergy, with lay leaders and with church members everywhere on this issue. We are also in communication with our counterparts in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. Several of us have traveled to Iraq in recent years, and even in recent days, to speak with Iraqi people of faith. We draw on the tenets of our Christian faith in all these encounters, seeking a way toward peace that is both prophetic and practical.

It is with the utmost urgency that we seek a meeting with you to convey face-to-face the message of the religious community that we represent on the moral choices that confront this nation and your Administration. You are no doubt well aware of our activities to slow the rush to war and our continuing uneasiness about the moral justification for war on Iraq. What we ask now, as fellow believers and as the spiritual leaders of Americans in congregations in every community of our great nation, is a pastoral opportunity to bring this message to you in person.

Be assured of our prayers always for you and the members of your Administration, that God may keep and guide you.

The following religious leaders have signed this letter.

Mr. Ray Buchanan
Stop Hunger Now
2501 Clark Avenue, Suite 301
Raleigh, NC 27607-7213

Bishop Kenneth L. Carder
United Methodist Church
321 East Mississippi Street - 39201
PO Box 931
Jackson, MS 39205-0931

The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Chane
Bishop of Washington, DC, Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church House
Mt. St. Alban/ National Cathedral
Washington, DC, 20016

The Rev. Roberto Delgado
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Calle King 122-A
Aguadilla, PR 00603

His Grace Bishop Dimitrios (Couchell) of Xanthos
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
10 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10021

Bishop R. Sheldon Duecker
United Methodist Church
8625 Sweet Blossom Court
Fort Wayne, IN 46835-9625

The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar
General Secretary
National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Dr., Rm. 880
New York, NY 10115

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting
Bishop, Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Bishop William Boyd Grove
United Methodist Church
109 McDavid Lane
Charleston, WV 25311

The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Hamm
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
P.O Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206

Bishop Mark Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, Illinois 60631-4197

Bishop Susan W. Hassinger
United Methodist Church
276 Essex Street
Lawrence, MA 01842

The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey
Alliance of Baptists
1328 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Ms. Karen Hessel
National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Drive, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10115

Bishop Kenneth Hicks
United Methodist Church
3909 South Lookout
Little Rock, AR 72205-2027

Ms. Elenie K. Huszagh, Esq.
National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Dr., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10115

Bishop William W. Hutchinson
United Methodist Church
527 North Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5720

Bishop S. Clifton Ives
United Methodist Church
900 Washington Street East, Room 300F
Charleston, WV 25301

Bishop Reuben P. Job
United Methodist Church
4900 Huffman Ro
Goodlettsville, TN 37072-9612

Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan
United Methodist Church
1014 Deborah Street
Upland, CA 91784-1206

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr.
President Elect
National Council of Churches
109 Holcomb Street
Shreveport, LA 71103
(318) 424-2980

His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
260 Elm Avenue
Teaneck, NJ 07666-2323

Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly
United Methodist Church
316 N El Camino Real Ste. 112
San Mateo, CA 94401-2529

The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Presbyterian Church (USA)
100 Witherspoon St.
Louisville, KY 40202

Bishop James Lloyd Knox
United Methodist Church
6848 15th St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705-6024

The Rev. Dr. Felton Edwin May, Bishop
United Methodist Church
100 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 510
Washington, DC, 20002-5611

The Rev. John L. McCullough
Executive Director
Church World Service
475 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10115

Retha McCutchen
General Secretary
riends United Meeting
101 Quaker Hill Drive
Richmond, IN 47374-1980

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors
United Methodist Church
Candler School of Theology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322

The Rev. A. Roy Medley
American Baptist Churches in the USA
PO Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851

Mr. Bishoy M. Mikhail
Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of America
3127 Sparrow Flight
Seven Hills, OH 44131

Dr. Audrey Miller
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Mr. Don Mosley
Jubilee Partners
PO Box 68
Comer, GA 30629-0068

Bishop Fredrick Mutti
United Methodist Church
4201 West 15th Street
PO Box 4187
Topeka, KS 66604-0187

Bishop Donald Ott
United Methodist Church
N22W24040 Cloister 3D
Pewaukee, WI 53072-4677

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader
United Methodist Church
750 Windsor Street, #303
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

The Rev. Judy Mills Reimer
Church of the Brethren
451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robbins
United Methodist Church
General Secretary of General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns
475 Riverside Dr., Room 1300
New York, NY 10115

Bishop Roy Sano
United Methodist Church
110 Maryland Avenue NE Box 1
Washington DC, 20002

The Rev. John H. Thomas
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Bishop Jack M. Tuell
United Methodist Church
816 So 216th St #637
Des Moines, WA 98198-6331

The Rev. Lydia Veliko
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Mr. Jim Wallis
Call to Renewal/Sojourners
2401 15th Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
202-328-8842 x 225

The Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1986

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker
United Methodist Church
1122 East McDonald Street - 33801-5641
PO Box 1747
Lakeland, FL 33802-1747

Bishop Richard B. Wilke
United Methodist Church
904 North Clyde Drive
Winfield, KS 67156-1517

The Rev. Robina Winbush
Presbyterian Church (USA)
100 Witherspoon Street, Room 4412
Louisville, KY 40202

Mr. James Edward Winkler
United Methodist Church
General Secretary of the General Board on Church and Society
100 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

The Rev. Bertrice Y. Wood
United Church of Christ
847 Arboretum Circle
Sagamore Hills, OH 44067

Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel
United Methodist Church
14137 Windy Haven Road
Smithsburg, MD 21783-1126

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