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Jewish Peace Lobby sends letter to national...


Jewish Peace Lobby sends letter to national candidates

An hour before the Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to debate Sunday at the University of Maryland College Park, the Jewish Peace Lobby will urge them to continue current Mideast peace efforts.

The group will release an open letter that asked the candidates to pledge themselves to two actions: proceeding with President Bush's peace initiatives and pursuing a halt to new Israeli settlement of the West Bank and Gaza territories as vigorously as the Bush administration is doing.

The Jewish Peace Lobby, headquartered in Silver Spring, advocates ceding Israeli-occupied land for the creation of a Palestinian state as way to achieve peace in the region.

Matt Gerber, an administrative assistant for the lobby, said about 250 rabbis from all over the country have signed the letter so far. Most come from the Reform and Reconstructionist traditions of Judaism, he said.

The Democratic candidates should have received the letter by now, Mr. Gerber said. He said he hopes they will issue statements in response to it Sunday.

The Jewish Peace Lobby will release the letter at 4:30 p.m. at the university Jewish Center.

Growing churches:

Church Growth Today, a publication for pastors and church leaders, has identified two Baltimore churches as among the eight fastest growing Protestant and independent churches in Maryland.

The bulletin said that worship attendance at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, at Druid Hill Avenue and Lanvale Street, grew from 4,000 to 4,400 from 1989 to 1990. However, Bethel says attendance actually was higher in 1990, at 4,600.

Church Growth Today also said Grace Fellowship, an independent congregation that meets in Roland Park Country School gymnasium, rose from 900 to 1,100.

The bulletin, published at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., studies issues and trends in how churches grow.

The other fast-growing Maryland churches it listed were: Emmorton Baptist Church in Bel Air; New Life Assembly of God in Capitol Heights; Washington National Church of God in Fort Washington; Harvest Church in Mount Rainier; First Korean Baptist Church in Silver Spring, and Chesapeake Presbyterian Church in Sunderland, Calvert County.


Since last week's Religion Notes item on a conference on involving religious organizations in rehabilitating abandoned housing, the starting time has been changed. The conference begins at 1:30 p.m. March 8 at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road.

Panel discussion:

The Black/Jewish Forum of Baltimore, known as BLEWS, is trying to stir discussion of Mideast issues. The group is putting on a panel discussion this evening, offering perspectives from a variety of experts.

The program runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Social Work, 525 W. Redwood St.

Retreat recruitment:

Baltimore Clergy and Laity Concerned is seeking members from area religious congregations to take part in two weekend retreats, "Proclaiming the Beloved Community," that will deal with issues of racism.

The first retreat, March 6-7, will deal with racism at the personal and family level. The second, May 1-2, addresses the subject at institutional levels. The retreats will be in the Weber Retreat Center at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Wilkens and Caton avenues.

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