Braving wind and freezing temperatures, nearly three thousand Christian protestors filled the National Cathedral for an early-evening service before making the two-hour march down Embassy Row to the White House.
The event, entitled ‘Christian Peace Witness for Iraq’, was sponsored by the Washington, DC-based Sojourners/Call to Renewal, as well as dozens of other protestant and catholic groups from around the country. Preceded at 6:45 by a moment of silence and solemn organ playing, the church service began at 6:53 with a procession of clergy representing the sponsoring churches.
The Very Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of the National Cathedral, welcomed the “3,000 prophets” from “forty-eight states” who with “peace and non-violence will bring this war to an end.” The rest of the service was followed by prayers, music, scripture, and emotional speakers reading letters of soldiers and Iraqis, and giving personal testimony to the agony and tragedy of the Iraq War.
After nearly two hours, the service was concluded by a call to action given by Reverend Jim Wallis, president and executive director of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, and participants left the warm Cathedral to the wind and snow of the DC night to head downtown for a prayer service by White House.
Holding candles and signs, while singing and chanting, marchers congregated at Lafayette Park for a small rally before participants dispersed for the evening. Others stayed to march around the perimeter of the White House, and 225 were arrested after stepping forward to pray in an act of civil disobedience.