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Oil lamps sent to Iraq to show solidarity

Jan, Steve, and Emily Johnson

Elkhart, Ind.—From left, Jan, Steve, and Emily Johnson, hold three lamps that Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen recently dedicated. Daryl Byler, Mennonite Central Committee Washington office director, carried the oil lamps to Iraq. In her sermon, Brenda Sawatzky Paetkau used the lamps to symbolize the trinity and our empowerment for ministry through the communion of the trinity. Byler presented these oil lamps with the Mennonite Church logo along with letters from Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada to leaders of Orthodox and Evangelical churches. This gift will remind Christians of Iraq that during the increasing tensions between our countries, Mennonites in the United States and Canada are praying for them often.

The blessing reads, in part: "Today we dedicate these lamps as a symbol of our choice for light and love. And in the tomorrows to come, we will continue to light candles to symbolize our decision to reflect God's love and to pray unceasingly. We hold our Iraqi sisters and brothers, the leaders of our governments and ourselves in prayer before our God of justice and peace. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Mennonite Church congregations in the United States and Canada are invited to dedicate their own lamp (and candles for home use) using a prayer found at, and light it each Sunday as they pray for peace between our nations.

Mennonite peace staff from Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, Mennonite Mission Network, and Mennonite Central Committee are developing a comprehensive education and advocacy strategy to oppose further U.S. military action.