Report from FUMCOG Vigil in Philly

The mood at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown was somber on Wednesday evening, August 17, as people entered the church for a vigil showing solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and mother of Casey, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq. Sheehan has been camping outside George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas waiting to get answers as to why her son and many others are really losing their lives in this war.

Last night’s vigil in Germantown was one of hundreds across the country. Organized by groups such as, the vigils drew large crowds of Americans, who are growing more and more disenchanted by the war in Iraq. A very diverse crowd of approximately 100 people attended FUMCOG’s prayer service and candlelight vigil.

FUMCOG pastor Beth Stroud opened the service with a prayer for peace and introduced the evening’s program. Also offering a prayer, artially in Hebrew, was Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center in Mt. Airy. Faith communities represented among the attendants included Mishkan Shalom, FUMCOG, Unitarian Universalist Society of Germantown, St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, Germantown Friends, Mennonite Church of Germantown, St. Vincent’s Catholic Church, Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church, the New
Covenant Church of Mt. Airy as well as atheists and agnostics.

Celeste Zappala, foster mother of Sherwood Baker, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and member of FUMCOG, also spoke about camping in Crawford with Cindy Sheehan and waiting to speak with the President. As she spoke about her son and her fight for an end to
the war, Zappala tearfully pointed to the baptismal font in the front of the church where her son had been baptized thirty years ago.

After the hearing the speakers, the attendants filed quietly out of the church and lined Germantown Avenue holding candles and standing quietly as cars passed by. Many people stood at the corner of Germantown Avenue and High Street with large signs asking for an
end to the war and a demand for peace. Several cars drove by the line of people and honked showing their agreement with the peace movement and some gave the crowds a thumbs up.

Now that people have started realizing the quagmire that Bush administration has gotten the country into, opposition to the war has grown. The vigils last night were proof that the American people are getting tired of all the lies, want the troops to come home from
Iraq and don’t want to see anymore families to lose their loved ones in this war.


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