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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 25, 2003
12:33 PM

CONTACT: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA 
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy: Renato Maiocchi,
Paolo Naso, Valerio Papini, Gaelle Courtens: 39-06-4825120
New York NCC: Carol Fouke (212) 870-2252

U.S. Church Leaders Against War on Iraq to Meet Pope John Paul II, Other Church, Government Leaders in Rome Feb. 26 - 27
 
WASHINGTON - February 25 - Feb. 26-27 in Rome, U.S. church leaders seeking alternatives to war with Iraq are scheduled to meet with Pope John Paul II, the Vice President of the Italian Congress and Italian church leaders.

The group carries a plea from the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) and Pax Christi USA that the Pope come to New York to address the U.N. Security Council on his opposition to the war. Acknowledging his frail health, they express their "desperation" and write, "(E)levating your moral voice could make all the difference ... in helping the U.S. pull back from the brink of war."

This mission is the fourth organized by the NCC to European members of the Security Council. Earlier delegations met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London and the French Foreign Ministry in Paris. A fifth delegation to Moscow March 3-5 has an appointment with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Host in Rome is the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, which also is coordinating visits with the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace.

Program (Subject to Change): Feb. 26 Arrive Rome 8 a.m. 10:30 a.m. - "Public audience" with Pope John Paul II (providing a brief but direct encounter). Noon - Meeting with Vice President of the Italian Congress, Honorable Fabio Mussi. Afternoon - Rest, other meetings.

Feb. 27 11:30 a.m. - Press Conference, Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (Federazione Della Chiese Evangeliche in Italia). Via Firenze 38, Ground Floor Conference Hall. 1 p.m. - Lunch with church representatives; meetings. 6 p.m. - Public worship, Baptist Church near the Parliament.

Contacts: Renato Maiocchi, Paolo Naso, Valerio Papini, Gaelle Courtens, Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy - 39 06 4825120; renato.maiocchi(At)fcei.it; Mobile Numbers: 39 347 6119436 (Renato Maiocchi); 39 335 5299892 (Paulo Naso); New York, Carol Fouke, NCC, 212-870-2252; news(At)ncccusa.org

Delegation Members:

-- Reverend Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, Deputy General Secretary, NCC, New York
-- Bishop William Boyd Grove, (Ret.) United Methodist Church, Charleston, W. Va.
-- Rev. Tyrone Pitts, General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
-- Rev. Dr. Victor Makari, Coordinator for the Middle East and Europe, Presbyterian Church USA, Louisville, Ky.
-- Fr. Joseph Nangle, Representative of Pax Christi, Washington, D.C.
-- Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Office of Ecumenicity, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

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