Members of Pax Christi will be among hundreds of others taking part in a nonviolent blockade of Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield in Reading, from 7am on Monday 2 March. AWE Burghfield is one of two factories involved in the loading of nuclear warheads. AWE Aldermaston produce the ingredients and AWE Burghfield assembles them. Nuclear warheads move up and down between AWE Burghfield and Faslane submarine base in Scotland. The whole event is the initiative of Action AWE who hope that this will be the beginning of a more sustained blockade of the work of AWE Burghfield.
Pax Christi is coordinating a Christian presence at one of the entrances to the site where there will be formal prayers offered on the hour and silent prayer every half hour to take account of the varying traditions of those taking part.
Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: "This is the third witness we have made since January in our on-going challenge to the UKs nuclear weapons policy and Trident in particular. This is a critical time - the run -up to a General Election and also a time when decisions will be made in the months ahead as to whether to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons programme.
"Christians must act now to make it clear that nuclear weapons have no place in maintaining true security for our country or our world. We write letters, we sign petition and sometimes we need to take direct action to interrupt the 'business as usual' of nuclear war preparations."
Support for the blockade and witness have come a variety of Christian leaders including Pax Christi's International General Secretary, Jose Henrique, from Bishop Thomas McMahon who says: "In my view it is obscene to contemplate spending £100bn on replacing Trident when there are so many other pressing needs."
From Liverpool, Bishop Paul Bayes writes: "Christians are called to speak clearly, calmly and powerfully for peace. From time to time we are also called to stand up for peace, or to sit down for it. The replacement of Trident is a matter for national discussion and decision."
Pax Christi will be joined by members of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, the Religious Society of Friends, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and others.
For more information see: http://paxchristi.org.uk/