Ash Wednesday call to repent and resist Britain's nuclear weapons plans

 As the government approaches the critical parliamentary vote in March on the issue of the replacement of Trident, Christians will gather in Central London on Ash Wednesday, 21 February, to make known their rejection of such replacement. For twenty-three years Christians have come together at the Ministry of Defence in this way on Ash Wednesday to call the Government to repent and reject nuclear weapons and nuclear war preparations, through a powerful liturgical witness and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience which use the traditional symbols of the day - blessed ash and charcoal. The Ministry of Defence building will be marked again this year during the process of the liturgy. This action is supported by Pax Christi, Catholic Peace Action and Christian CND. This year, with messages such as 'Choose Life not Death: Christians say No to nuclear weapons' and ' Replace Trident with projects that bring life to the poor' Christians will add their voice to that of the many Church leaders who have spoken against Trident replacement in the past year. In January 2006 Pope Benedict XVI called government policies that relay on nuclear weapons as a means of ensuring security 'baneful and also completely fallacious'. In July 2006, 20 Anglican Bishops wrote in a national newspaper that 'nuclear weapons are a direct denial of the Christian concept of peace and reconciliation'. Such messages have been repeated by church leaders of all denominations in Scotland, England and Wales. Following the witness at the Ministry of Defence, postcards, addressed to Mr Blair, bearing a messages that challenge the replacement of Trident, will be presented at Downing Street by members of Pax Christi, Christian CND and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Pax Christi has distributed 10,000 such postcards in just three weeks to those wanting to make their views known to Mr Blair. Gathering takes place in Embankment Gardens at 3pm for the start of the liturgy which will then take the form of a procession with several points around the Ministry of Defence in Horseguards Avenue. Hand-in at Downing Street at 4.45pm For more information contact: Pax Christi 0208 203 4884 or see:

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