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Bush invited to join Gold Star families at
interfaith prayer service Friday outside his ranch
New York, August 16, 2005 – The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches is urging President Bush to join with Gold Star families and religious leaders in an interfaith prayer service outside the Bush ranch at noon (CDT) Friday,
The prayer service has been called by Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan “as an opportunity for Americans and others across the world to pray for our soldiers in Iraq, their families and in particular the mothers of our fallen.”
Sheehan, along with United Methodist laywoman Celeste Zappala and other Gold Star mothers, has been waiting outside the Bush compound to meet with the President since his five-week vacation began.
“I urge the President and the First Lady to join this brief and simple service,” said the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary. Edgar visited the Gold Star mothers and their families outside the presidential ranch and conducted a worship service on August 12. The visit was at the invitation of his fellow United Methodist, Celeste Zappala, whose son Sherwood was killed in Iraq.
“This war, like any war, has generated terrible losses, immense pain and sharp divisions in our country,” Edgar said. “Each day we see the pain in the faces of the Gold Star mothers and their families. It’s evident that President Bush, who has faced agonizing decisions in this war, feels the pain as well.”
“Whether or not we agree with Mr. Bush’s decisions,” Edgar said, “and whether or not he agrees with us, we can agree that we’re all feeling a heavy burden of grief. Let’s suspend the rhetoric for a few minutes on Friday and join together – commander-in-chief and families of the fallen – to seek strength from the God who sustains us all.”
In an open letter to religious leaders August 15, Sheehan urged those who cannot attend to host a prayer vigil in their cities. “We ask you to join us in a simultaneous moment of silent prayer to honor all who have been affected by this war.”
The service will take place at “Camp Casey,” an impromptu encampment outside the Bush compound named for Sheehan’s son, Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004. Camp Casey, which displays white crosses named for those who have been killed in Iraq, has become a gathering place for Gold Star families and their supporters.
The full text of the Sheehan August 15 letter to religious letters follows:
Interfaith Prayer Service
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