Church leaders support peace walker
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St. Andrew's & Edinburgh, Dr. Allison
Elliot, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the
Right Rev. Brian Smith, Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh today gave their
endorsement to a young Edinburgh student as he sets off on a two month "walk
The Church leaders lent their support to Ben MacPherson (20) a student of
Politics and Philosophy at the University of York who lives in Edinburgh as
he began a lone walk which will see him arrive in London on 21 September -
the United Nations International Day of Peace. They will join Ben at 1pm on
Saturday 24 July 2004 as he leaves from the gates of Edinburgh Castle to
walk down the Royal Mile at the start of his journey.
Ben aims to raise awareness of the Day of Peace an aim the Church leaders
fully endorsed. In a joint statement, they said;
"We welcome the fact that a young Scot has decided to raise the profile of
the United Nations International Day of Peace. As conflicts rage around the
world and seem to dominate the media, it is all too easy for us to accept
that violence and aggression are inevitable and unstoppable - they are not.
The cessation of violent conflict, even for one day, as envisaged by the UN
resolution, is a noble goal it is one which we endorse and applaud.
We pray that the cause of peace and non-violence will find a place in
people's hearts around the world and that communities in Scotland and
England along the route of Ben MacPherson's walk will welcome him and share
our hopes for a non-violent world."
Welcoming the support from the Church representatives, Mr MacPherson said,
"I greatly appreciate the commitment shown to the International Day of Peace
by Cardinal O'Brien, Dr Elliot and Bishop Smith and am delighted that they
will join me at the start of my walk."
"I have decided to embark on this walk, because:
* because I believe in humanity
* to get people thinking and talking about the concept of a global peace
* to inform individuals and organisations across the UK of the UN
International Day of Peace, 21 September,
* to maintain that this international day of ceasefire and non-violence is
something relevant to everyone - regardless of nationality, race, religious
faith or political affiliation
* to encourage unity, optimism and positive human interaction .
* to ask others to optimistically ask themselves on the 21/09 "what can I do
to decrease the amount of violence around me and in the wider world?"
* to ask those who are cynical about the prospect of world peace, to believe
that if we can't get to a complete situation of global unity then we can at
least get a lot closer to a global ceasefire (and to ask them to act
accordingly in the promotion of cooperation). To propose a shift in
consciousness from the common view that "global peace will never happen" to
"well, even if that is perhaps the case, let's do what we can, especially on
the 21/09, to TRY and make it happen". Even if the concept of a complete
ceasefire is an idealistic one, we can definitely take practical, political
and social steps to getting closer to achieving that goal, even if it's just
for one day.
* to maintain that, on the whole, people, including young people, do care
about the world in which we all live and about our relationships with each
other, locally and internationally - and that as individuals, and together,
we can really make a difference through our thoughts, words and actions.
Hope this is ok. Feel free to pick what suits. Looking forward to meeting
you on Friday.
Notes to editors:
1. Benn will leave from the front gate of Edinburgh Castle at 1pm (just
after the one o'clock gun is fired) and walk down the Royal Mile - he will
be met at the Castle Gates by Cardinal O'Brien, Dr Elliot and Bishop Smith
who will walk with him to St. Gile's Cathedral
2. You are invited to send a photographer/reporter to the Castle Gates at
12.45pm or to St. Gile's at @ 1pm
3. Ben MacPherson - 07977 779814 (full details of walk itinerary at;
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