Since 1982 Christians have gathered on Ash Wednesday at the Ministry of Defence in London, to pray for peace and a conversion of hearts and minds, away from nuclear war preparations, the destruction caused by nuclear testing and the wasted resources that are invested in nuclear weapons.
Again this Lent, 6 March 2019, there will be a service and pilgrimage around the Ministry of Defence building, to challenge the on-going policies of the UK Government which is set on maintaining the UK's independent nuclear deterrent. Those taking part will pray for their own need to change and take responsible action for peace as citizens .
Fr Joe Ryan Chair of Westminster Justice & Peace commission will bless and distribute ashes during the gathering. These will be used to mark out the word REPENT in the final prayer on the pavement in front of the Ministry of Defence building. Those taking part will process the whole length of the Ministry of Defence building, tying purple and black ribbons to the fence - these represent the 125 countries who have not yet signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Pat Gaffney, General Secretary says that the action is consistent with the spirit and meaning of the day. "For 37 years we have had a faithful nonviolent presence here, showing respect for our traditions and for those we meet. There is a special purpose in praying in this place: to challenge those things deep within us that cause us to be greedy or violent or indifferent to others - and we prayerfully bring that same challenge to those responsible for policies. We have a Prime Minister who has said that she would be willing to press the nuclear button. We have a government that has refused to even participate in talks to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As responsible citizens, we call our Government to have a change of heart with regard to security dependent on nuclear weapons and the destruction they bring."
On the same day, Pax Christi Liverpool will hold a service in Liverpool City Centre, beginning at 12 noon in the bombed out St Luke's Church. In Scotland the Glasgow Catholic Worker will meet at 2.45 at the Southgate Gate at the Faslane Naval Base near Helensburgh.
The London event is organised by Pax Christi, the London Catholic Worker and Christian CND.
See details of all events here: http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/ash-wednesday-2019-events-in-scotland-london-liverpool/?instance_id=814
Liturgy to be used in London http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Ash-Wed-2019.pdf
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