[saymaListserv] Steps toward Peace

Daryl Bergquist earthsteward at urisp.net
Wed Oct 9 22:52:58 JEST 2002

Dear Friends in SAYMA,

Copied below is a message I recently sent.  The candlelight peace vigil
mentioned occurred on Monday night with 27 adults of three generations
and at least four faith communities participating.  The majority of the
people present were Blount County natives, though the four of us who
organized it are transplants.  Seven people who have participated in
Royal Worship Group activities were present.  There was a deep spiritual
tone to the gathering.  We will evaluate next Tuesday and likely do
something again.



Dear Members of the Executive Committee and staff of the Southeastern
Regional Office,

At the meeting in September, the Board of Directors of the American
Friends Service
Committee requested of the AFSC General Secretary, Mary Ellen McNish,
that she work with
other organizations and employ the appropriate resources of the AFSC
toward a peaceful
resolution of the conflict between the United States and Iraq.  The
clerk of the AFSC Board,
Paul Lacey, was charged with writing a letter to the President of the
United States, George
Bush, in our behalf, explaining our understandings and requesting an
opportunity to talk with
him in person. This letter and one to United Nations Secretary-General
Kofi Annan are
available on the AFSC web site    www.afsc.org     The members of the
AFSC Board agreed to
act on this concern individually.  This is a report of my efforts toward
a peaceful
resolution of the conflict between the United States and Iraq, and the
resources I have found
helpful in this work.  I am sending this to you that you may also find
inspiration and hope in
the action of speaking out in these troubling times.

1)  I registered my strong opposition to an increase in the war with
Iraq with the office of
the President of the United States by calling the White House comment
desk at
202 456-1111.  This was easy.

2)  I sent email letters to my United States Senators using the FCNL
website  www.fcnl.org

Recently, I also used this website to find the phone numbers for my
senators since the
capitol switchboard was busy when I tried that.  Senator Shelby's aid
told me she shared my
perspectives and that the majority of the calls she received were
against the war.  (When
Sara called shortly afterward the aid she talked with said the calls
were split about 50/50
and that Shelby supported the President's position.)  My conversation
with Senator Session's
aid was not as positive, but they did agree to register my opinion.

3) I forwarded the "Joint Statement in Response to Threat of War with
Iraq from the General
and Executive Secretaries of Five Quaker Organizations" to the
Birmingham Friends Meeting.
This can be found on the AFSC website    www.afsc.org

4)  I signed the Iraq Peace Pledge on website   www.peacepledge.org
The Iraq Peace Pledge,
a collaborative effort begun by AFSC, Fellowship of Reconciliation and
Pax Christi is
accessible by link from the AFSC website.  The verification process and
the information
requested gives me the impression that this could be a useful step,
unlike signing an email

                                         The Iraq Peace Pledge
              I support peace for Iraq. I grant permission to use my
              and city publicly as an opponent of the ongoing economic
              and bombing war on Iraq, and of any escalation of that

5)  I have joined my partner, the deacon of the Catholic Church, the
minister of the United
Methodist Church and others in our county in organizing a Candlelight
Peace Vigil scheduled
for Monday evening on the steps of the Blount County Courthouse.  This
will be the first public
peace activity we have been involved in or know of our rural county.
Beth Lavoie, Iraq
Program Assistant,    Beth Lavoie <BLavoie at afsc.org>   , and Sarah Gill,
Peace Generalist,
   Sarah Gill <sgill at afsc.org>   in the SERO have been very helpful in
taking this step.
Beth provided me with "US Conference of Catholic Bishops Letter to Bush
Opposing Iraq War"
and "United Methodist Statement against Bombing Iraq" which have been of
great help in
talking with my colleagues in this effort and Sarah modified a flier for
our use. Both have
been personally supportive.

These small steps have been empowering to me.  They may not make a
difference, but they
may.  Regardless of the outcome, I feel compelled and uplifted by right
action, and I commend
the same to you.

In love toward a just and peaceful world,

Daryl Bergquist,  Co-clerk of the SERO Executive Committee and member of
the AFSC Board

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