||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.
||APRIL 8 - 13, 1998, in Baghdad,
Iraq, with travel from Amman, Jordan, on April 7.
||"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.
||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.
||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