Columbus, GA - Although most Christians around the world commemorate Holy Thursday by going to church and sitting in quiet prayer, Jeff Moebus, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, is standing outside a military installation. He is beginning a 42-day fast and prayer vigil on Holy Thursday at Ft. Benning, Ga., to remember the victims of graduates of the School of the Americas (SOA), recently renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). Moebus said that the purpose of the juice and water-only fast is "to offer up a personal sacrifice as an act of remembrance, repentance, and reconciliation for all victims of the SOA/WHISC."

Jeff Moebus begins his action at the main entrance to Ft. Benning today at 2 pm and continues until May 24. "I have spent many Holy Thursdays in the company of my fellow professional soldiers. Now it is time for me to spend Holy Thursday in this act of solidarity with my brothers and sisters of Latin America. They understand the cross, the suffering Christ, and the meaning of this Easter season." Moebus retired from the U.S. Army in 1998 after 28 years of service, including 22 on active duty.

Moebus emphasizes that he will be holding a Prayer Vigil as opposed to a Protest Vigil. "We seek to avoid the prayerless-ness, and veiled or open hostility and resentment that often characterizes protest actions," Moebus said. "The purpose of the Prayer Vigil," he continued, "is to bring spiritual and faith-based forces to bear on the process by which the WHISC/SOA will either be transformed into an agent and agency of true peace, justice, liberty, equality, reconciliation, and love, or it will be closed down."

Moebus says he looks forward to engaging the WHISC, Fort Benning, and Columbus Christian communities in dialogue about the meaning of Holy Week and Easter. "Would Jesus carry an M-16 against the farmers in Colombia? Would he teach others how to use one? Can a body, mind, and heart trained to kill a neighbor still have the ability to follow the central Christian commandment to LOVE that neighbor? These are questions I want to discuss with the good people who pass by this gate, who take courses on this base, and who live in this town."

As an expression of his faith, Moebus will also be inviting Fort Benning soldiers to consider alternatives to military service, including exploring conscientious objector status. He also hopes to impact the lives of at least one or two of the Latin American soldiers attending the WHISC, perhaps leading them to re-consider their choice of profession within the context of their faith.

Moebus is 54, and lives on a sailboat with his wife near New Orleans, Louisiana.