Saturday, May 25, 2002

Local church leader seeks peace

Christ Church dean will be at Jerusalem session

By Richelle Thompson,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Despite the hostile stand-off in the Middle East, the Very Rev. James Diamond believes peace can prevail.

        The dean of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati, the Rev. Mr. Diamond returns to Jerusalum Monday as part of the Alexandria Conference of Interfaith Leaders.

        The group, which includes top Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders from the Middle East and around the world, signed in January the Alexandria Declaration. The proposal included a pledge to establish a permanent committee of representatives from the three religions to work for peace in the Holy Land.

        The group also was charged with setting up a framework for discussion about the holy sites.

        “There will be no peace in Jerusalem until the holy sites are settled,” said the Rev. Mr. Diamond, 57, of Anderson Township. “Once you stop the exchange of ammunition and work out the issues of borders between the Israelis and Palestinians, you still have left the issues of the holy sites.”

        During the five-day trip, the delegation also is expected to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

        The Rev. Mr. Diamond is involved in the process through his role as president of the Community of the Cross of Nails in the United States, part of an international reconciliation group that began in England in World War II.

        In March, the Rev. Mr. Diamond and other faith leaders presented the Alexandria Declaration to Pope John Paul II. They also met with Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat at his headquarters, where he had been under virtual house arrest.

        The Rev. Mr. Diamond acknowledged the danger of traveling to the Middle East.

        “I also realize that one has to do this out of a commitment to reconciliation and out of love for God,” said the Rev. Mr. Diamond. “These are religious people who are around a table desperately trying to find a way of living together ... and a way of leading their people into both peace and reconciliation.”

        For the Rev. Mr. Diamond's reports on the peace process starting Tuesday, check, keyword: peace.


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