Clerics will call for steps to end suffering in Bosnia and...


December 03, 1992

Clerics will call for steps to end suffering in Bosnia and Somalia

Appeals for governmental action to end the violence and suffering in Bosnia and Somalia will be heard this weekend in Maryland's churches, mosques and synagogues.

The combined religious response to the bloodshed, torture and starvation will begin with Muslim worship at noon tomorrow and in the Jewish community tomorrow evening and Saturday morning as part of what is called a Sabbath of Prayer and Concern for Bosnia and Somalia.

Sanford V. Teplitzky, president of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said the purpose "is to enlist wide support for a more assertive U.S. government to end violence and help the many thousands of refugees at risk in both countries."

The prayers and statements of concern will continue at Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant services Saturday and Sunday.

The appeal is an outgrowth of a joint declaration by Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, described at a press conference in New York Tuesday as their first common expression of policy on the warfare in the Balkans and in eastern Africa.

Mr. Teplitzky said all clergy in the Baltimore area have been asked to join in the comments from pulpits across the nation about the human rights violations in Bosnia and Somalia and "to make their feelings known to President Bush, President-elect Clinton and members of the Congress and Senate."

The statement backed by the National Council of Churches, U.S. Catholic Conference, National Council of Mosques, Synagogue Council of America and other national Jewish groups agreed that President Bush should "move expeditiously through the United Nations and/or other international organizations to establish effective mechanisms for timely interventions wherever civilians are at risk of mass death." However, there was no specific agreement on the use of military force.

Some Jewish leaders are calling for U.S. military intervention to prevent another Holocaust and some Protestant and Catholic leaders have opposed military action.

An announcement by the American Friends Service Committee said that the Quaker organization, "consistent with its pacifist principles, opposes military intervention by the United Nations or any other forces to resolve the political crisis in Somalia."

Nevertheless, "the international community must vigorously seek ways to ensure safe delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance," a Baltimore spokesman for the Quaker group said, adding that Somali clan leaders could help resolve the crisis.

O'Connor appointed:

Cardinal John O'Connor of New York has been named moderator of Catholic-Jewish relations for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He succeeds Baltimore Archbishop William H. Keeler, who has held the interreligious affairs post since 1988. Archbishop Keeler was elected president of the bishops' conference last month.

Cantor honored:

Saul Z. Hammerman and other performers of Jewish liturgical music will participate Sunday evening in a program honoring Mr. Hammerman's 40 years as the cantor of Pikesville's Beth El Congregation.

Pianists Vladimir Feltsman and Aileen Hammerman, the cantor's wife, are among the other musicians who will be heard at the concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the synagogue, 8101 Park Heights Ave.

The concert will include Sephardic music to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

For ticket information, call 484-0411.

Baptist pageant:

Woodbrook Baptist Church, at 25 Stevenson Lane near Towson, will present its 17th annual outdoor Nativity pageant at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 19 on the front lawn of the church. The public is invited to gather for the traditional event featuring live animals, costumed actors, music and a script based on the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

There is no admission charge. For more information: 377-2350.

On death:

Daniel Callahan, co-founder and director of the Hastings Center in Briarcliffe Manor, N.Y., will present the 11th annual Sister Margaret James Lecture at 4 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Alagia Auditorium of St. Agnes Hospital, 900 Caton Ave.

Dr. Callahan's subject is "Living With Mortality: Should We, Can We, Accept Death?"

The Hastings Center, founded in 1969, examines ethical issues of medicine, biology and the professions.

The free, public lecture honors the late Sister Margaret James, an administrator of St. Agnes Hospital.

Send religious news items -- about events, local personalities, etc., from Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford counties -- to Religion Notes, c/o Frank Somerville, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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