World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Message of support

05 December 2003

Letter to Dr Bob Edgar, General Secretary of NCCCUSA, 5 December, 2003

Dear Bob,

Being aware of your initiative to intercede before the US authorities so that the
visit of Ms Adriana Pérez Oconor and Ms Olga Salanueva Arango to their husbands
Mr Gerardo Hernández Nordelo and Mr René González Sehwerert, detained
in federal prisons in the US, is granted, I would like to express my support for your
action. This visit, which has not been authorized since 1998 in the case of Ms Pérez
Oconor and 2000 in the case of Ms Salanueva Arango, should be granted for humanitarian
reasons, especially in the present time of preparation for Christmas.

Christmas reminds us of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, under the
astonished gaze of Mary and Joseph. It is, without doubt, a time for family gathering,
for strengthening relationships among family members, among friends and
communities, and even nations. As I have recently written, "the Christmas message
of ‘peace on earth' is about overcoming hopelessness and resignation and giving
people courage to take both small steps and long strides forward." I believe
your initiative is a step strongly based in the Christmas spirit.

As I send you on behalf of the World Council of Churches our best wishes for
a Holy Christmas for you, your family and the National Council of the Churches
of Christ in the USA, I remain yours in Christ,

Konrad Raiser
General Secretary

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