1 March, Ash Wednesday tomorrow, sees the 35th year of Christian witness and protest to nuclear war preparations at the Ministry of Defence in London. Similar liturgies and actions will take place in Liverpool city centre and at the Faslane naval base in Scotland.
Seventy-two years since the first use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is in an ever more fragile state in relation to nuclear weapons. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) has maintained a Doomsday clock as a symbolic countdown to possible global catastrophe. For 2017 they have set the clock at two and a half minutes to midnight.
While the majority of the world's countries are soon to begin meetings at the UN in New York that will negotiate a nuclear ban treaty, the UK Government has to date, said that it will not participate in these negotiations. In July 2016 the UK Parliament voted to renew Trident, the UK nuclear defence system.
Those taking part in the activities on Ash Wednesday: Pax Christi, Christian CND, London Catholic Worker, Glasgow Catholic Worker and Pax Christi Liverpool believe that Christians must take personal responsibility to speak out against policies and plans that challenge Gospel values and the teaching of the Catholic Church on nuclear weapons. They will pray, use symbols of ash and charcoal, confront the state publicly in their liturgies on Ash Wednesday.
The liturgies will draw on the words of Pope Francis in his World Peace Day message 2017: "I plead for disarmament and for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons; nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutual assured destruction are incapable of of grounding us in
an ethics of fraternity".
See the liturgy being used in London here: http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2Ash-Wed-2017.pdf
London: gather in Embankment Gardens at 3pm for service of ashing and then process around Ministry of Defence Building
Liverpool: gather at 12.45 at St Luke's Church. Procession with prayer and reflection in city centre.
Glasgow: vigil starts at the car park next to the South Gate at Faslane at 2:45pm.
All are welcome. There may be transport available from Glasgow.
Email for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org