1998 NCC News Archives

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Church World Service to Deliver Medicine
to Suffering Iraqis at Easter

WHAT: A trip of compassion to Iraq on Easter weekend sponsored by Church World Service (CWS), to bring badly needed medicines to suffering Iraqis. 34 U.S. denominations (combined membership: 52 million) work through CWS, the humanitarian relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of the National Council of Churches. CWS works with indigenous partner agencies in more than 70 countries, including the United States.

CWS and church representatives also will worship with Christians in Baghdad, visit hospitals and service agencies which have received CWS aid, converse with church and religious leaders, and meet with government officials in Baghdad to discuss the humanitarian impact of the economic sanctions against Iraq.

WHEN: APRIL 8 - 13, 1998, in Baghdad, Iraq, with travel from Amman, Jordan, on April 7.
WHY: "We are going to express our Christian compassion and solidarity for the churches and people of Iraq at Easter time, the time in our shared faith tradition which represents the hope of new life after suffering and adversity," said David M. Weaver, CWS/NCC Middle East Office Director.
WHO: The Rev. Dr. Rodney Page, CWS Executive Director, will lead the group. Also going from CWS: Mr. Weaver; Rick Augsburger, CWS Emergency Response Office Director, and Mel Lehman, CWS Constituency Information and Development Director. Other participants include: Kara Newell, Executive Director of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Kenlynn Schroeder, Director of Grants, Emergencies and Material Resources for Lutheran World Relief (LWR), and Riad Jarjour, General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). Mike Nahhal, Relief Coordinator for the MECC, will join the group in Baghdad.
HISTORY: CWS began providing emergency relief in 1991 to victims of the Gulf War in Iraq and elsewhere and has provided nearly $3 million in humanitarian aid to date. CWS is now focusing its efforts upon aiding those still displaced and vulnerable, particularly those whose needs have been exacerbated by the United Nations-imposed sanctions. Most recently, in response to a February 1998 appeal from Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, the global ecumenical relief network, CWS sent $325,000 worth of in-kind donations to Iraq, including 56,000 blankets, layettes for 20,000 newborn children and school kits. CWS raised $150,000 to go toward operational costs and for the purchase of medicines. $100,000 worth of medicines, including aspirin and antibiotics, will be delivered during this trip.

Contacts: In U.S.: Wendy McDowell, NCC, 212-870-2227,
or Mel Lehman, CWS, 212-870-3004 (before 4/5)

In Amman, 4/6-4/7: Mel Lehman or David Weaver,
Radisson SAS Hotel, Tel. 962-6-560-7100
In Baghdad, c/o Mike Nahhal, MECC, Tel. 964-1-548-3799


Writer: Wendy S. McDowell

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