Ecumenical Efforts for Middle East Peace

Twenty Episcopalians from around the country joined an ecumenical coalition in Washington, D.C., May 6-8 to press for sustained diplomatic engagement by the Bush Administration to bring a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem. Lucy Chumbley of Washington Windows reports:

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of 22 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Catholic church bodies and organizations, held the conference for 150 attendees who participated in some 65 meetings with Members of Congress and key staff.

Before meeting with the law makers, the delegates worshiped together and attended “inside the beltway” briefings on related issues given by lobbyists, representatives of think tanks, academics and government officials.

A silent processional, broken only by the jingling of an incense censor, set a reflective tone for the opening prayer service at National City Christian Church, which included two songs of peace in Hebrew and Arabic, “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” and “Ya ar-Rub as-Salaami.”

“These are real heart songs of Jerusalem,” said Ann Staal, a CMEP board member representing the Reformed Church in America, who organized and led the service. “If you were to sing one of these on the streets of Jerusalem, I’m sure someone would join you.”

Homilies were offered by Roman Catholic Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Episcopal Church’s 25th Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold.

Lincoln D. Chaffee, an Episcopalian and former Republican U.S. Senator from Rhode Island was a keynote speaker for the event.

Read it all HERE at Episcopal Life Online.

Past Posts