The Episcopal Diocese of Washington has made the quest for peace a priority for the coming year.
Responding to a request by Bishop John T. Walker, delegates to the diocese's annual convention last weekend established a special commission charged with finding ways to further the cause of peace. In his annual address to the convention, Walker said that "preaching, working and demonstrating for peace are all acceptable ways for the church to act in a broken world."
As a beginning, Walker urged all church members to join "in prayer and fasting for peace in the world." Such a vigil will take place every Wednesday at the Washington Cathedral, with prayers every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Walker announced.
He urged that similar services take place "in parishes, at home or where possible, at work. Certainly all can participate in a light fasting lunch, or where you are so moved, no lunch at all," he said.
Walker, who will complete his fifth year as head of the diocese this year, told the clergy and lay members gathered for the convention that "the church must always be present where the struggles of humanity take place. It must be where the unemployed live a precarious existence. It must be where the aging suffer from loneliness, fear and are sometimes malnourished."
In business sessions of the convention, Marion Henry of Chevy Chase was elected chairman of the diocesan standing committee, the elected body of clergy and lay persons who assist the bishop in governing the diocese. She is the first woman and the first lay person to hold the post.
William Franklin Graham III, who is called by his middle name to minimize confusing him with his more famous father, was ordained to the ministry last month by his father, Billy Graham.
Franklin Graham, 29, serves on the board of his father's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association but he heads two support organizations for overseas missions. They are Samaritan's Purse, which provides special aid to missionaries and Christian nationals confronted by unexpected emergencies such as illness, and World Medican Missions, which recruits Christian physicians in this country to volunteer a few weeks of their time to spell missionary doctors overseas.
Young Graham holds membership in a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Boone, N.C., where he went to college, but still retains ties to the Southern Presbyterian Church in Montreat, N.C., where he was raised. The elder Graham is a Southern Baptist. After graduating from Appalachian State University in Boone, he spent a year in a Bible college in Colorado. He has not gone to seminary.
The elder Graham said of his son: "He is a very powerful speaker and Bible teacher and very authoritative in the pulpit. . . . He has a presence about him." There is some speculation that the younger Graham may be being groomed to follow in his father's footstepts.
Some 200 Christian leaders who gathered here last weekend under the auspices of the National Council of Churches resolved to launch a consciousness raising campaign among their constituencies back home to pressure the Reagan administration to change its policies regarding Haitian and Salvadoran refugees in this country.
The church men and women called for the immediate release and resettlement of 3,200 Haitians currently detained in this country. They also criticized the U.S. government's refusal to grant asylum to Salvadorans fleeing violence in their country.
And the church leaders agreed to ask member churches to seek to persuade Congress and the Reagan administration to end all economic and military aid to the present government of El Salvador.
The positions are essentially in harmony with stands already taken by many Roman Catholic leaders in this country.