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Bruce Kent’s funeral will take place on 4 July at 11.00am. 

Here is the link to the live streaming of the service 

https://vimeo.com/event/2241142/ad71d50939    This will open at 10.50 on the day.

The funeral booklet is available at:

2022 Bruce Kent Funeral booklet.pdf or here.

For tributes and more background on Bruce to go  http://www.bruce-kent.com   where you can also add your own tributes.

Peace Education

Do take a look at our Peace Education resources. If you have links with children and young people – as parent, grandparent, teacher, school governor or catechist – you will find ideas for peace education here … and our Schools and Youth Education Officer would be glad to add you to her mailing list education@paxchristi.org.uk .

Armed Forces Day, Saturday 25 June

Image from Peace Pledge Union

The Peace Pledge Union claims that ‘over a quarter of public events for ‘Armed Forces Day’ are promoting activities aimed at children’.

It commends Leicester, where the local authority prevents armed forces from inviting children to handle weapons, following a campaign by local residents.

Tell us what’s happening in your area and what protests have been made against these activities.  More from Peace Pledge Union.

2022 Annual General Meeting Report

Rev. Mary Gregory

Pax Christi’s AGM (18/6/22) was an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to think about being peacemakers in a time of war. We were given helpful guidance to do this in inspiring talk Engaged, Wounded: Reframing Ourselves for Peace and Reconciliation given by the Reverend Mary Gregory, Canon for Arts and Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. A recording of her talk will be available soon.

Members of Executive with President: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

At the AGM Ann Farr was re-elected to serve as Chair, John Dowbekin was elected as Treasurer. Matt Jeziorski, Maria Lee and Fr Joe Ryan were re-elected to serve on the Executive for a further two years. Kathryn Lydon was elected for two years and Joan Sharples remains Vice-Chair for another year.

A report of the day by Ellen Teague featured in Independent Catholic News as did the Chair’s Report.

Bruce Kent, peace campaigner, has died

We are deeply sorry to hear that Bruce Kent, a Vice-President of Pax Christi England and Wales died on 8 June. 

A  peace campaigner who has inspired so many of us over many years he was  still  actively speaking out against militarism and nuclear weapons until very recently. 

We will miss his outspokenness, his example and his sense of humour. May he Rest in Peace.

We send our condolences to Valerie and to all Bruce’s family and friends.

His family have sent the following:

Photo by Lawrence Archer

It is with great sadness, but deep gratitude for his life and gifts, that Bruce Kent’s family announce his death, on 8 June after a short illness.  He would have been 93 on 22 June.

At the time of his death Bruce was a Vice-President of CND, a Vice-President of Pax Christi, and Emeritus President of the Movement for the Abolition of War.

After national service in the Royal Tank Regiment and a law degree at Brasenose College, Oxford, Bruce Kent was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Westminster.  Between 1958 and 1987 he served in several London parishes, as secretary to Cardinal Heenan, and as the RC Chaplain to the University of London.

It was his Christian faith that brought him to reject nuclear weapons as fundamentally immoral because, even without their use, nuclear deterrence itself depends on a willingness to commit mass murder.  As a leading spokesperson for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s, Kent became well known as a formidable opponent of Margaret Thatcher’s defence policy at a time when public opposition to the acquisition of Trident, and Cruise missiles, was escalating.

With his warmth and wit, Bruce Kent was a popular speaker with audiences of all ages from primary schools to pensioners’ groups.  His commitment to innumerable peace and human rights campaigns over many decades included the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, for the reform of the United Nations, and the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (which came into force in 2021).  He was always actively concerned about the welfare of prisoners, especially those maintaining their innocence, and prison reform.

Among his heroes was Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian farmer who was executed in 1943 for refusing to fight in Hitler’s army.  As recently as 15 May, Bruce Kent took part in the annual ceremony in Tavistock Square, London, to honour conscientious objectors throughout the world.

He was an Honorary Fellow of Brasenose College, and in the past year was awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism.

Bruce Kent is survived by his wife, Valerie Flessati, his sister Rosemary Meakins, sister-in-law Ruth Kent, and their extensive families.

More biography here:  http://bruce-kent.com/biography.htm

Immediate tributes:

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC 

I have known Bruce Kent since my student days in the early seventies when he was Catholic Chaplain to London University.

He was a huge influence on my life and his commitment to peace and human rights was inspirational. He wanted a more compassionate and inclusive Church and a more decent and just society. He lived out his faith in everything he did – for the marginalised and the poor – and he gave his all with such a great sense of fun. He was one of the finest human beings I have ever met. 

Malcolm McMahon op, Archbishop of Liverpool, and President of Pax Christi England & Wales

Peacemakers across the world will saddened to hear of the death of Bruce Kent who made a lasting contribution to the peace movement within the Christian churches and much farther afield. Bruce became well known and influential in his national role in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and with Pax Christi, the international Catholic Peace Movement. His clarity of thought and deep Christian faith brought light and direction to many people wrestling with the complex arguments around war and peace.  Personally, I’ll miss him for being a wonderfully warm human being.  May he now rest in the Peace of Christ to which he dedicated his life.

Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and President of the Movement for the Abolition of War.

For more than fifty years Bruce was an utterly determined advocate for peace, and a relentless campaigner against the idiocy of nuclear weapons.   He never let up and was forever optimistic and inspiring, even at the most difficult of times.

Reiner Braun, Executive Director of the International Peace Bureau

It is seldom we call someone a ‘peace hero’ because, as peace activists we are generally against such terms.  But Bruce was one of these historical peace figures with his deep, lifelong, emotional and argumentative engagement for peace. We are doing everything to continue the work in his spirit.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Bruce Kent transformed the scope and confidence of the anti-nuclear movement beyond all recognition. His leadership of CND in the 1980s was the embodiment of integrity, creativity and sheer determination. Bruce’s razor-sharp intellect, together with his humour, tireless work, intolerance of flannel, and total commitment to his faith and principles, made him a leader of our movement beyond compare. He will be much missed.

Further Tributes to Bruce Kent

From Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

A warm tribute to Bruce Kent from our National President, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon. At the start of Sunday programme (12/6/22): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00187d4

From Cardinal Vincent Nicholls

Cardinal Vincent writes in his tribute reported in Independent Catholic News (10/6/22) of Bruce’s ‘passion, determination and power of argument’.

Ellen Teague writes…

Ellen writes a warm and moving reflection on Bruce’s long life and his legacy in Independent Catholic News (11/6/22).

For more tributes to Bruce, see our website page, Remembering Bruce Kent and the website  http://bruce-kent.com/biography.htm

Joint Statement on Refugee Flights

Bishop Paul McAleenan is Lead Bishop for Migration Issues for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Pax Christi Scotland and Pax Christi England and Wales deplore the UK Government’s policy to deport people seeking asylum offshore to Rwanda. See the full statement here.

Pax Christi Scotland: ‘Challenging the Hostile Environment’

This online conference featured distinguished speakers: Sophie Cartwright (Jesuit Refugee Service); Brendan Woodhouse (Refugee Rescue Activist) and Sabir Zazai (Scottish Refugee Council). The three powerful speakers can be heard on this recording.

The Killing of Journalist, Shereen Abu Aqleh

Patriarch Michel Sabbah issues statement (16/5/22) on the latest violence in the Holy Land in which he says:

“We mourn all the victims of this unending bloodshed, claiming the lives of Israeli Jews, Palestinian Arabs and others who have died. We continue to cry out that violence is wrong and will not bring a solution but only more violence”

Read the full statement on Independent Catholic News here.

A very strong statement was issued from the Roman Catholic and other Church Leaders in Jerusalem at a press conference this morning (16/5/22): 

“We, the Bishops and the faithful of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land, hereby condemn the violent intrusion of the Israeli Police into a funeral procession of the slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, as it was going from Saint Joseph Hospital to the Greek-Melkite Cathedral Church.”

https://www.lpj.org/posts/statement-concerning-the-violence-at-st-joseph-hospital-during-shireen-abu-aqleh-s-funeral.html

Read the Call to Prayer for Palestine issued by Pax Christi Chair, Ann Farr on the day of Shereen’s funeral in this report in Independent Catholic News.

Pax Christi International condemned the killing of the Palestinian Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh…Read more here.

Expressing its shock at the death of Shereen Abu Aqleh, the Latin Patriarchate asks for a thorough and urgent investigation of the killing which took place at Jenin on 11 May, 2022. More here.

Nuclear Weapons

An Independent Catholic News reports that in a phone call on 4 May between Pope Francis and the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wish was expressed for an end to nuclear weapons.

ACTION: Parliamentary CND is now tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM) to call on the government to decline to host these weapons of mass destruction and to use all possible diplomatic efforts to de-escalate current nuclear tensions.

You can help by writing to your MP, urging them to support EDM 98 by following the link here

Nuclear Ban Treaty

We all celebrated in 2021 when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. Now there’s a campaign to get Britain involved with the agreement so it can take steps to join the global majority in support of a nuclear weapons-free world.

ACTION: Support the Talks not Bombs day of action on Saturday 11th June.

The states parties to the TPNW will meet for the first time in Vienna between 21st-23rd June, 2022. As a non-signatory, the UK can attend as an observer, but it is refusing to do so.

Help  put pressure on the Foreign Secretary to commit to attending, like other NATO states Norway and Germany. See lots of actions athttps://cnduk.org/talksnotbombs/

National Justice & Peace Conference, 22-24 July

The Pax Christi Team will be at Swanwick exploring the theme Hope! A verb with its sleeves rolled up. Speakers: Philip McDonagh, Fr Patrick Devine SMA, Tim Livesey and some interesting workshops. More information and bookings here.

Give Peace: First Communion and Confirmation

Do take a look at the children’s gifts in our ‘shop’. The olive wood crosses from Palestine and the book ‘A Little Moment of Peace‘ would make meaningful presents.

Vocation for Peace

The summer issue of the Columban Social Justice newsletter Vocation for Justice explores the theme ‘war is a choice, but so is peace’.

Ukraine – Resources for Understanding, Prayer and Action

Pope Francis: “May the Lord send his spirit to make us understand that war is a defeat of humanity”. (8/5/22)

Pope Francis has once again appealed for peace in the world, entrusting his prayers to Our Lady. See article in Independent Catholic News

Resources are available on the News Reports 2022 page of the website.

Prayers for Peace in Ukraine

Pax Christi Members will be joining with friends from the Fellowship of Reconciliation who are holding an online Prayers for Peace in Ukraine on each Friday at 7.30pm. All welcome. Useful prayer resources are also available – Register Now

CAFOD supporting Caritas in Ukraine & Poland

Pax Christi members may wish to learn of the humanitarian work CAFOD is supporting and respond to its appeal for donations.

February – March Justpeace

In this latest edition of Justpeace, Pax Christi supporters write on the work of art, music, or literature which had influenced them to work for peace and justice.

Continuing to promote the Message of Peace…

The resources produced to promote Pope Francis’ 2022 Message for World Peace Dialogue between Generations, Education, Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace can be used any time of the year. they can be found here.

People Putting Peace Into Action

Peace – based on justice.  A world where human rights are respected, basic needs are met, people feel safe and valued in their communities and we care for our common home

Reconciliation – a process which begins when people try to mend relationships – between individuals or whole countries after times of violence or dispute

Nonviolence – a way of living and making choices that respects others and offers alternatives to violence and  war

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