Pax Christi joins Stop Trident rally 27 February 2016
Pax Christi has encouraged faith groups to join with thousands of others at the Stop Trident demonstration in London on Saturday 27 February, challenging the Governments plans to renew or replace Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system. They will gather for a short time of prayer at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London before walking together behind the banner, ‘No Faith in Trident’
This is an opportune time to engage ordinary people in the discussion of the ethics and legality of nuclear weapons. The teaching of many faith traditions contradicts the idea of security through nuclear weapons.
At a rally to be held in Trafalgar Square at the end of the march, faith leaders will present a Multifaith statement on nuclear weapons. It states: “We must move beyond the division of our world into nuclear
and non-nuclear weapons states and ensure that all states make good their commitment to negotiations on the universal, legally verifiable and enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons. We call on all nuclear weapon states to join in this endeavour. We urge these states and the
international community to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Those presenting the statement in Trafalgar Square are:
- Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford
- Bishop Thomas McMahon, Emeritus RC Bishop of Brentwood
- Rachel Lampard, Vice President Designate, The Methodist Church
- Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
- Mohammed Kozbar, Vice President, Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
- Rev Nagase, representative of Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Community
The service and faith participation is coordinated by the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Methodist Peace Fellowship, Christian CND, Pax Christi, Quaker Peace & Social Witness
Ash Wednesday Witness at Ministry of Defence, London 10 February 2016
“Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states.” These words from Pope Francis to the Vienna Conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in 2014, formed part of the liturgy that took place at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London on Ash Wednesday. The action is at a time when the UK Government is undertaking a Strategic Defence and Security Review which includes the likely renewal of its strategic nuclear deterrent, Trident.
For more than thirty years Christians have gathered in this same place, bringing their prayer and the symbols of Ash Wednesday to the Ministry of Defence, calling for a change of heart, mind and policy in relation to nuclear war and deterrence.
This year around 100 people gathered, members of Pax Christi, Christian CND, London Catholic Worker, the Catholic Worker Farm, Westminster Justice and Peace and the Columban JPIC team, beginning with traditional opening prayers from the Ash Wednesday liturgy and then continuing in a procession which stopped several times for prayers and symbolic actions that recalled the suffering of war and the call to repent of nuclear war preparations.
Part of the witness included nonviolent civil disobedience in the form of marking the building with blessed ash and charcoal. Earlier in the morning Dr Ray Towey and Scott Albrecht marked the building and during the last part of the liturgy the building was marked by Fr Martin Newell and Henrietta Cullinan. There were no arrests.
Similar actions took place in Liverpool organised by Pax Christi Liverpool and in Scotland, the Glasgow Catholic Worker held a vigil at the North Gate of Faslane, the Trident submarine base.