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Dear Friends in SAYMA,
<p>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.
<p>Dear Members of the Executive Committee and staff of the Southeastern
<p>At the meeting in September, the Board of Directors of the American
<br>Committee requested of the AFSC General Secretary, Mary Ellen McNish,
that she work with
<br>other organizations and employ the appropriate resources of the AFSC
toward a peaceful
<br>resolution of the conflict between the United States and Iraq.
The clerk of the AFSC Board,
<br>Paul Lacey, was charged with writing a letter to the President of the
United States, George
<br>Bush, in our behalf, explaining our understandings and requesting an
opportunity to talk with
<br>him in person. This letter and one to United Nations Secretary-General
Kofi Annan are
<br>available on the AFSC web site <a href="www.afsc.org">www.afsc.org</a>
The members of the AFSC Board agreed to
<br>act on this concern individually. This is a report of my efforts
toward a peaceful
<br>resolution of the conflict between the United States and Iraq, and
the resources I have found
<br>helpful in this work. I am sending this to you that you may also
find inspiration and hope in
<br>the action of speaking out in these troubling times.
<p>1) I registered my strong opposition to an increase in the war
with Iraq with the office of
<br>the President of the United States by calling the White House comment
<br>202 456-1111. This was easy.
<p>2) I sent email letters to my United States Senators using the
FCNL website <a href="www.fcnl.org">www.fcnl.org</a>
<p>Recently, I also used this website to find the phone numbers for my
senators since the
<br>capitol switchboard was busy when I tried that. Senator Shelby's
aid told me she shared my
<br>perspectives and that the majority of the calls she received were against
the war. (When
<br>Sara called shortly afterward the aid she talked with said the calls
were split about 50/50
<br>and that Shelby supported the President's position.) My conversation
with Senator Session's
<br>aid was not as positive, but they did agree to register my opinion.
<p>3) I forwarded the "Joint Statement in Response to Threat of War with
Iraq from the General
<br>and Executive Secretaries of Five Quaker Organizations" to the Birmingham
<br>This can be found on the AFSC website <a href="www.afsc.org">www.afsc.org</a>
<p>4) I signed the Iraq Peace Pledge on website www.peacepledge.org
The Iraq Peace Pledge,
<br>a collaborative effort begun by AFSC, Fellowship of Reconciliation
and Pax Christi is
<br>accessible by link from the AFSC website. The verification process
and the information
<br>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 name
and city publicly as an opponent of the ongoing economic
and bombing war on Iraq, and of any escalation of that war.
<p>5) I have joined my partner, the deacon of the Catholic Church,
the minister of the United
<br>Methodist Church and others in our county in organizing a Candlelight
Peace Vigil scheduled
<br>for Monday evening on the steps of the Blount County Courthouse.
This will be the first public
<br>peace activity we have been involved in or know of our rural county.
Beth Lavoie, Iraq
<br>Program Assistant, <a href="Beth Lavoie <BLavoie@afsc.org>">Beth
Lavoie <BLavoie@afsc.org></a> , and Sarah Gill, Peace Generalist,
<br> <a href="Sarah Gill <firstname.lastname@example.org>">Sarah Gill <email@example.com></a>
in the SERO have been very helpful in taking this step.
<br>Beth provided me with "US Conference of Catholic Bishops Letter to
Bush Opposing Iraq War"
<br>and "United Methodist Statement against Bombing Iraq" which have been
of great help in
<br>talking with my colleagues in this effort and Sarah modified a flier
for our use. Both have
<br>been personally supportive.
<p>These small steps have been empowering to me. They may not make
a difference, but they
<br>may. Regardless of the outcome, I feel compelled and uplifted
by right action, and I commend
<br>the same to you.
<p>In love toward a just and peaceful world,
<p>Daryl Bergquist, Co-clerk of the SERO Executive Committee and
member of the AFSC Board