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NCC women's delegation hears from Iraqi, Palestinian refugees 

Jerusalem, May 21, 2007 While violence raged in Lebanon and Gaza this past weekend, 15 women leaders from several denominations of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) traveled through Israel/Palestine and Jordan. 

They finish their two-week visit Tuesday (May 22) which has focused on the plight of women and children suffering through hostilities in the Middle East. 

Linda Bales (pictured below), one of the delegation members from the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society, Washington, D.C., sent back some reflections of the trip which have been posted on the NCC website here.  

"One of the most profound meetings on our pilgrimage was meeting with Iraqi women who were living as guests in Jordan.  We met them at the Syrian Orthodox Church in Amman," wrote Bales. 

The "Rev. Sue Turley, an NCC delegate from the Swedenborgian Church, opened the meeting by saying that she was a 'Gold Star Mom'--a mother who had lost a son in the Iraq war.  Sue said we, as mothers, can help each other through our losses and work for peace." 

"With great emotion, the women sitting around the room extended their sympathies to Sue, hugged her, and then began sharing their own experiences as refugees in a foreign land," Bales continued.  "One couple reported having had a relative kidnapped for ransom in Iraq.  They felt threatened which resulted in their fleeing their homeland to Jordan in fear of their own lives."   

The delegation was led by the Rev. Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young, an at-large vice president of the NCC and vice president of the North American Baptist Women's Union. 

Bales' reflection quoted Chambers-Young:  "We need to hear the voices of women.  I believe when women in the U.S. can hear the voices of women and men in the Middle East, U.S. women will be motivated to work for a just peace." 

The delegation members came from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, American Baptist Churches (USA), National Baptist Convention, Presbyterian Church (USA), Progressive National Baptist Convention, The Swedenborgian Church of North America, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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