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Church spokespersons decry
'escalating futility' in Middle East

New York, August 1, 2006 The violence in the Middle East is escalating into heartbreaking futility, and spokespersons for the National Council of Churches USA have called upon Israel and Hezbollah to immediately cease hostilities.

The Israeli decision Monday to resume bombing Lebanon after Israeli missiles killed dozens of children and women Sunday in Qana "is both horrifying and a provocation of the conscience of the world," said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary of the NCC for International Affairs and Peace. "And we can't forget the unfortunate situation in Gaza, where the fighting continues."

"All sides in this conflagration are showing appalling indifference to the deaths and injuries of hundreds of innocents on both sides of the border and in Gaza," said the Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, Associate General Secretary of the NCC for Interfaith Relations. "The stated goals of each belligerent to eliminate the other is solidifying a hatred that will last for generations."

Kireopoulos and Premawardhana said neither side can shell its way to security and the shelling must stop immediately. They called upon individuals and congregations of all faiths and nations to unite their hearts and souls in prayer, calling upon the Creator in whose image all human beings are made to write this message of peace on the hearts of all who want war.

The NCC has launched an interactive Web page to enable persons of all faiths to add their prayers for peace: www.seasonofprayer.org

The National Council of Churches, its 35 member communions and sister organizations have a number of resource persons who can speak authoritatively on the churches’ quest for peace. Resource persons for the NCC are:

Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos
Associate General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace
National Council of Churches USA
tkireopoulos@ncccusa.org
212-870-3422 (office)
917-287-1144 (cell)

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations
National Council of Churches USA
shanta@ncccusa.org
212-870-2560 (office)
646-269-7620 (cell)

Other sources include:

David Weaver, Director
Mission Relationships and Witness Program
Church World Service
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
212-870-2430

Dr. Peter E. Makari
United Church of Christ/Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
700 Prospect Ave., #706
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-736-3227 (Office)
216-736-3203 (fax)

The Rev. Dr. Said Ailabouni
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL  60631
773-380-2630 (Office)
773-380-2410 (Fax)

Mr. David Wildman
United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1349
New York, NY 10115
212-870-3735 (Office)
212-870-3932 (Fax)

Jacob Kramer, Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Office 905-336-2920
Cell  905-515-1720

Dr. Reid Trulson
American Baptist International Ministries
800-ABC-3USA

Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA
800-222-3872, extension 2274
 


Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, pjenks@councilofchurches.org; Rev. Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252, dwebster@councilofchurches.org

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