In the cities of Glasgow, Liverpool and London, Ash Wednesday (14 February) will be celebrated by Christian peacemakers making public the invitation to repentance and change with a special focus on turning away from current Government policies on nuclear war preparations.
In Glasgow the witness will be held at the Faslane Trident Naval Base. In Liverpool a service begins at St Luke's, the city's bombed-out-church and will continue with a procession through the town centre. In London a prayer gathering and symbolic acts of witness will take place around the Ministry of Defence Building in Whitehall.
This year the acts of witness will recall the words of Pope Francis, made the November 2017 Vatican Conference on nuclear disarmament: "the threat of their (nuclear weapon) use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. For they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race"
In London participants will also highlight the success of the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty and call the UK Government to sign up to the Treaty. 122 white ribbons, representing the countries who supported the Treaty and 73 black ribbons, representing those who have not signed, will be tied to the railings around the building. Among those joining the London gathering are students and staff from Trinity Catholic School, Leamington Spa and members of peace groups from South Korea. A copy of the liturgy that will be used in London can be found here:
Gathering of prayer and resistance such as this began in London in 1982 and have continued annually. In past years the Ministry of Defence building has been marked with blessed ash and charcoal as a part of the witness, inviting the Government to change heart and policy on nuclear weapons and to seek security through justice and pursuit of the common good.
Liverpool. Gather at St Luke's church, city centre, 12 noon. organised by Pax Christi Liverpool http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/ash-wednesday-event-liverpool/?instance_id=747
Glasgow: Gather at Faslane South Gate at 2.45. organised by the Glasgow Catholic Worker http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/ash-wednesday-gathering-glasgow-catholic-worker-faslane/?instance_id=748
London: Gather in Whitehall Gardens at 3.00pm organised by Pax Christi, the London Catholic worker and Christian CND http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/ash-wednesday-service-repentance-and-hope-in-our-nuclear-age/?instance_id=746