Interview with Julia Mercer here
Christian campaigning groups and church leaders are putting increasing pressure on the Government over its White Paper proposing to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent.
There will be a General Synod debate at its next sessions (26 February-1 March) on a report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council entitled The Future of Trident.
Last month, the Bishop of Southwark, Dr Tom Butler, chairman of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, called for a debate on the future of Trident, after the publication of the White Paper (News, 26 January). He said that the £20 billion that would be spent on the replacement could be better used in equipping Britain’s defence forces to deal with existing threats.
The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, will be one of the main speakers at a CND Trident protest meeting next Monday at the Methodist Central Hall in London. He will share the platform with the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and John Vidal, the environment editor of The Guardian.
The public meeting is less than a fortnight before the CND national demonstration, “No Trident/Troops out of Iraq”, in London on Saturday 24 February. Christian campaigning groups are urging their members to turn up for the rally, and to attend an ecumenical service at Hinde Street Methodist Church, north of Oxford Street, at 10.30 a.m.
“Trident is a major concern for many Christians,” said Anthea Cox, the co-ordinating secretary at the Methodist Church. “We want to create a space for Christians to share their concerns about the renewal of Trident. The demonstration is a wider event, bringing together many groups. We want to enable people to put it in a Christian context by coming together for a short service beforehand.”
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church have all spoken out against the replacement of Trident, and are supporting the goals of the demonstration on 24 February.
Bishop Cottrell will also lead a eucharist at the Faslane Trident base in Scotland, when the group Clergy Against Nuclear Arms takes part in the Faslane 365 protest on 8-9 March.
On Saturday 17 February, Christian CND is organising a day- conference, featuring speakers from various faith communities at Methodist Central Hall.