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 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 10:07 GMT
Church issues prayer against Iraq war
Dr David Hope, Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York has joined chorus against war
The Church of England has issued a prayer for the people of Iraq, warning that a war could unleash "crimes against humanity".

Designed to be used by parishes and congregations across the UK, it is a further move by religious leaders to deflect a war.

Called For the Peoples of Iraq, by Fleur Dorrell from the Mothers' Union, it has the backing of the Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope.

Prayer in full
Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq facing the horror of a full-scale war, and for those people who may be called upon to fight. Help us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations. Help all of us: individuals, nations, governments and world leaders to remember the unnecessary loss of life for millions of innocent people, the scale of human suffering that war brings, the right of Iraqi people to determine their own future, the gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity that are committed in the name of war, nobody has total power over any country or its people but God alone. Let us be open to God's words in our forthcoming decisions and try not to be God ourselves

For the Peoples of Iraq
It contains the lines: "Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq facing the horror of a full-scale war, and for those people who may be called upon to fight.

"Help us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations."

It goes on that the people of Iraq have the right "to determine their own future" and that "nobody has total power over any country or its people but God alone".

The prayer is one of a selection which have the theme of world peace and are available on the Church of England website, An Invitation to Prayer.

It follows anti-war rhetoric in particular from the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams used his Christmas address to make clear his deep unease about the potential conflict.

And in a letter sent to parishes a week before Christmas, the Archbishop of York said: "In October the House of Bishops `urged the British Government and the international community to pursue all available peaceful means towards resolving the crisis with Iraq' and `that to undertake a preventative war against Iraq at this juncture would be to lower the threshold for war unacceptability'.

He added: "I am writing to encourage parishes, congregations and individuals to pray for peace at Epiphany (January 6). This is an appropriate season in which so to focus our prayer."


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25 Dec 02 | Europe
24 Dec 02 | Middle East
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