Monday, December 05, 2005

A call to prayer for captured peacemakers

I just received the following news from our local interfaith peace group.

A Call to Prayer for Peacemakers

Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Baghdad were kidnapped recently and are held hostage in Iraq. CPT is an ecumenical peacemaking agency associated with the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers. Its members are deeply committed to non-violent peacemaking and are willing to put their lives on the line to make it happen.

The four hostages are: Tom Fox, 54, Clearbrook, Virginia, Norman Kember, 74, London, James Loney, 41, Toronto, Canada, Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, a Canadian. More information on them are found at the Christian Peacemaker Teams website:

Tom, Norman, James and Harmeet are in Iraq for the sole purpose of bearing witness to the love of God as it is expressed through the sacrificial presence of the Prince of Peace. Because of their lifelong commitment to Jesus and the holy calling of peacemaking, these our brothers live to bear witness to the fact that violence is a sin against God. Indeed, they have consistently carried that message to the Coalition forces, first by condemning the political decisions to make war and later by expressing horror at the degrading violence the war begets. Long before the media reports, they were the first to protest the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib Prison. Their message of peace was also expressed to those whose attacks on Coalition forces escalated the violence and whose suicide bombs took the lives of thousands of innocent human beings.

In consultation with CPT, and in view of the delicate nature of the situation, we have refrained from making a statement about this situation and discouraged other American religious and peace groups from doing the same. Alternatively, we have leaned on international groups, particularly >Arab Muslim leaders to express their support for CPT.

On Wednesday, Jerusalem Post reported that leaders of Palestinian political factions gathered in Hebron to issue a statement in Arabic about their experiences of seeing the CPT working in Palestine, and their personal knowledge of the three kidnapped members and their important work on behalf of the Palestinian people. Read their statement is here:

he World Council of Churches also made the following statement:

Today we call on our churches to take time in their Sunday worship services to offer special prayers for the peacemakers. We invite other religious communities meeting for worship this weekend to similarly offer prayers, and encourage friends wherever possible to remember our brothers in interfaith vigils.

Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252,; or
Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350,