Presiding bishop, interfaith leaders to pray for nuclear abolition at UN

April 29, 2010

Religious leaders and peace activists will gather in New York May 2 at 12 noon at the Church Center for the United Nations for an interfaith convocation to call for nuclear disarmament in advance of the U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference May 3-28.

"We find common ground in our steadfast commitment to abolish nuclear weapons," said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. "From many religions, we come together for those who have been profoundly impacted by the deployment, testing, and storage of nuclear arms."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will join Roman Catholic Archbishop of Nagasaki Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan; Haruko Yaguchi, coordinator of Japanese Religionists for Peace; the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, and Swami Parameshananda, international representative of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, in the convocation.

The convocation will involve the sharing of the voices, sacred texts, and faith-based statements on nuclear arms and nuclear war of many different faith traditions and faith communities. The gathering will include readings, music and singing, dance, chants and prayers. Following the service, there will be a walk and rally ending on Second Avenue and East 47th Street in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the International Peace & Music Festival.

In July 2009, the Episcopal Church's General Convention adopted Resolution D060 commending President Obama's invitation to nations to scale down the world's nuclear weapons stockpile; calling upon U.S. policy makers to determine a timely process for the dismantling the nation's nuclear weapons while urging other nations to do the same; and urging the president and Congress to explore a moratorium on production of new nuclear arms.

In his January 27 State of the Union Address, Obama referred called nuclear weapons perhaps the "greatest danger to the American people." He convened a 47-nation conference on nuclear security in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

"We are encouraged by President Obama raising the issue of the nuclear threat in this year's State of the Union message, and we support his recent efforts with 40 other nations to work toward nuclear disarmament," said Johnson. "But we must abolish such weapons altogether. Millions of petitions will be delivered next month to the White House and U.N. calling for abolition; this convocation is an example of the religious community's participation in the global disarmament campaign."

The May 2 interfaith convocation and rally are part of a larger schedule of weekend events taking place in New York in advance of the U.N. conference.

Larry Bringing Good, a Cheyenne Arapahoe/Otoe Missouria, of Troy, New York, is part of an interfaith peace walk en route to New York for the interfaith events. The group began its walk at the West Valley Nuclear Waste Site near Buffalo.

"Erosion is going to cause nuclear waste to leak into the Great Lakes and contaminate the water,” he said, in a news release.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation invites local faith communities to utilize worship resources prepared for the interfaith convocation. A litany, a prayer, and a benediction are posted online on the "Disarm Now! For Peace and Human Needs" website here.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation, founded in 1915, is the oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in North America. More information, click here.