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Letter to member churches of the WCC in the UK

09 March 2007

Greetings to you and to your churches. This letter is going to the WCC member churches in the United Kingdom in view of the Trident nuclear weapons decision now nearing a key vote in the parliament of the UK. 

The WCC Executive Committee last week issued a statement on church vigilance against nuclear proliferation. The statement outlines current threats to the international control of nuclear arms as well as signs of progress such as the recent creation of a new nuclear-weapon-free zone, in Central Asia. 

Among its recommendations to member churches and the international community, the Executive Committee recognizes the recent advocacy for disarmament by UK churches and references the decision facing UK authorities: 

"d) commends churches in the United Kingdom for their efforts to stop the replacement of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system and adds the voice of churches around the world in support of that goal.  

"e) urges the UK government to set an historic example of leadership for the whole international community in the above matter by fulfilling its disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. To do so would effectively challenge the other nuclear weapons states to abandon their own double standards regarding the legitimacy of weapons of mass destruction and would clearly remove an incentive for non-nuclear-weapons states to proliferate."   

We share this action both as an expression of support now and in the spirit of the WCC Assembly "Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms" last year. Perhaps a reminder of international church concern may strengthen last-minute efforts to influence the vote of certain members of Parliament.  

From outside the UK, it has been heartening to hear of opposition to the government's Trident plan from churches, from various sectors of society, and from the public at large. A decision to delay the Trident decision would be welcomed in the UK and far beyond. We pray that your government may still be able to respond to this larger and increasingly important framework for its actions. Nuclear affairs are global affairs.  

Thank you for the broadly ecumenical public witness that churches in the UK are making in this matter. May it be sustained until the matter is resolved consistent with the spirit and the letter of the NPT. The continued existence of nuclear weapons remains a challenge for churches around the world.  

Yours in the Name of the Prince of Peace, 

Sincerely yours, 

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary