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Middle East consultations postponed

[Episcopal News Service]  In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, two consultations on the crisis in the Middle East have been postponed.

In a memo to the 140 participants registered for the New York consultation, and over 100 for the Berkeley event, the Rev. Brian Grieves, director of Peace and Justice Ministries, said he had learned that Bishop Riah Abu el-Assal would not be able to get out of Jerusalem and all domestic flights have been cancelled, making it impossible to open the September 13-15 meeting in New York. After consulting with Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, he said that it was necessary to postpone the consultation. 'This is an agonizing decision,' Grieves said in his message on September 11. 'We also need time to mourn the loss of those who died today and to reflect on the wider implications of our role as peacemakers in the world.'

In a follow-up message a few days later, he thanked those who had sent 'many messages of support and understanding' and said that 'we are in discussion about rescheduling the consultations.' He added that 'it will be imperative to consider the implications of the tragic events on September 11 as the context for the work we need to do now more than ever.' He noted that staff members have been 'dividing our time to be with volunteers and victims' families at trauma sites in the city. The compassion of so many people in New York has been remarkable,' he said. 'And the enormity of this act of inhumanity is still impossible to fully grasp.'