The Rev. Dr Chang Sang at the Nuclear Disarmament Symposium, Hiroshima. © Paul Jeffrey/WCC

The Rev. Dr Chang Sang at the Nuclear Disarmament Symposium, Hiroshima. © Paul Jeffrey/WCC

“The first thing that is required of us is to live the courage of our convictions. For the World Council of Churches (WCC), our conviction is that the world must be freed of nuclear weapons,” said the Rev. Dr Sang Chang, WCC president for Asia, in her address at the Nuclear Disarmament Symposium held in Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August.

Chang, from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, was speaking at the event’s session titled “Actions for Nuclear Disarmament Hereafter: War Never Again”.

She is member of a WCC delegation of church leaders, currently on a pilgrimage in Japan, commemorating the atomic bombings on 6 and 9 August 1945.

Speaking on the theme of nuclear weapons, Chang said that churches are “challenged to move beyond rhetorical denunciations of violence, oppression and injustice, and to incarnate their ethical judgments into actions that contribute to a culture of peace.”

“We believe that this responsibility for action is grounded in the goodness of all that God has created, and in the essential goodness of all of humanity by virtue of being made in God’s image,” she said.

Chang explained that WCC approach to nuclear weapons draws from the foundation that rejects nuclear weapons categorically, considering them a challenge to humanity, churches and societies.

Chang urged the people of faith to raise their voice on issue of nuclear weapons, encouraging them to work within their own religion, with civil society organizations and governments.

“Religious leaders must provide leadership. People of faith from every walk of life must take action.”

“Nuclear disarmament now – on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings – requires us to focus faith, ethics and morality on the need for an urgent new international law. That law is a legal ban on nuclear weapons, achieved with the widest possible international backing,” Chang added.

Read full text of speech by Rev. Dr Sang Chang: “What is required of us?”

Read also: WCC pilgrims remember atom bomb’s deadly destruction 70 years ago in Hiroshima (WCC press release of 6 August 2015)

WCC encourages churches to pray on Hiroshima Day (WCC press release of 6 August 2015)

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

WCC project “Churches engaged for nuclear arms control”

Video: Excerpt of Rev. Dr Sang Chang's speech "What is required of us?"

High resolution photos from Japan are available free of charge at