World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Mary Ann Swenson: It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons

Mary Ann Swenson: It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons

Mary Ann Swenson: It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson preaching at ecumenical memorial service in the Catholic Memorial Cathedral for World Peace. © Paul Jeffrey

05 August 2015

“It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons.  It is time to refuse to accept that the mass destruction of other people can be a legitimate form of protection of ourselves,” said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, addressing the Anglican-Catholic Peace Memorial Service at the Catholic Peace Memorial Cathedral in Hiroshima, Japan, on 5 August.

Swenson, from the United Methodist Church in the United States, and vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, is leading a delegation of church leaders currently on a pilgrimage in Japan to commemorate the atomic bombings on 6 and 9 August 1945.

Swenson in her address stressed that the churches have a “witness to make.”

“The church leaders on this World Council of Churches pilgrimage are from seven countries that say they are in favour of a world without nuclear weapons.  Yet, year after year, decade after decade, our seven governments stand ready to use nuclear weapons.  Seventy years after the destruction here, a total of 40 governments still rely on nuclear weapons,” she said.

“It is time to judge armaments and energy use by their effects on people and on God's creation.  It is time to confess that our desire for material comfort and convenience insulates us from concern for the source and quantity of the energy we consume,” Swenson added.

The church leaders in the Japan pilgrimage represent member churches of the WCC from the United States, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, the Netherlands and Pakistan. They are meeting with atomic bomb survivors, church members, religious leaders and government officials, working to bring international calls for action home from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Read full text of sermon by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson: “Peacemakers for Life”

Church leaders pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki: fact sheet

High resolution photos from the first day of the journey are now available at photos.oikoumene.org.

Video with impressions from the delegation's first day in Hiroshima

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

WCC project “Churches engaged for nuclear arms control”

Prayers for Peace and Justice on Hiroshima Day

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs