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Friday, February 24, 2017
Lent to begin with calls for peace around the UK
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¬†Acts of Christian witness and civil disobedience at the Ministry of Defence in London have been taking place on Ash Wednesday since 1984. This year again, Christians will gather around the country and through prayer, symbols, silent witness and actions, link their own personal need for and expression of repentance with a call to the Government to turn away from nuclear war preparations and to work for peace. At some sites there will be acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. As the superpowers of the world seek out nuclear weapons of mass destruction in Iran and elsewhere, in their so-called fight against terror, the British Government goes ahead with its own nuclear weapons programme, costing £1.5 billion a year. We have so far failed to deliver on promises made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to 'accomplish the total elimination of all nuclear arsenals'. Nuclear Weapons States were reminded of this duty by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's observer at the UN when he spoke at the Committee on Disarmament in October 2004. He said: "The nuclear weapons states have a duty to engage in negotiations leading to the elimination of their nuclear weapons. on the contrary, attempts are being made to modernize nuclear weapons and to give them a war-fighting capacity. This situation is becoming increasingly unsustainable and unacceptable. Progress will be made only when strategic choices towards nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and a reconsideration of nuclear policies are undertaken by all parties". In London a service will begin at 3pm at Embankment Gardens and will be followed by a pilgrimage/liturgy at the Ministry of Defence in Horseguards Avenue. Contact Pax Christi 020 8203 4884 In Oxford people will gather at the War Memorial in St Giles, Oxford at 10.30 a.m. After a liturgy, they will proceed to the Armed Forces Recruitment Office for a vigil and acts of non-violent direct action at the office. Contact Clive Gillam at In Cambridge, there will be a vigil between 12.30 - 1.30pm outside the Guildhall in the City Centre. Contact Stewart Hemsley on 01223 315585 In Newcastle, there will be a vigil between 5.00 pm - 6.30 outside St Thomas a Beckett Church, opposite the Haymarket Metro. Contact Christine Wickens, 0191 281 4168 Other Lenten Vigils at the Ministry of Defence, Horseguards Avenue, Whitehall take place on: 16 February 8.30 - 9.30, co-ordinated by Pax Christi 23 February 12.00 - 13.00, co-ordinated by Christian CND 2 March 8.30 - 9.30, co-ordinated by Pax Christi For more information call Pax Christi on 0208 203 4884.
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