London: Ash Wednesday prayers at Ministry of Defence

 At 3pm on Ash Wednesday, Christians will gather for the twentieth year in succession to pray and witness at the Ministry of Defence to their deep concern at the British Government's nuclear defence policy. The event, supported by Catholic Peace Action, Christian CND and Pax Christi, will involve a gathering for prayers in Embankment Gardens followed by a procession with stops for reflection and prayer around the Ministry of Defence building in Horseguards Avenue. This will include the use of the traditional Ash Wednesday symbols of charcoal and ash - through these prayers and action those taking part will link their personal need for repentance with a call to the Government to turn away from the sin of nuclear war preparations. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: " While threatening countries which allegedly have or want to have their own nuclear weapons systems, we blatantly hold on to our own nuclear 'defence' system. This was made very clear in the December 2003 Defence White Paper which states that our nuclear deterrent capability, currently represented by Trident, is likely to remain a necessary element of our security. "As Christians we must challenge such notions of security and expose the hypocrisy of such policies." An integral part of the witness will involve the marking of the building with blessed charcoal and ash. This will take place during the Lenten period. Those taking part in this action risk arrest. For more information visit:

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