Christian CND Conference and AGM – Saturday 25 November

The 2017 Christian CND AGM and ‘Bring on the Ban’ Conference took place in the spectacular setting of St Mary Redcliffe Church in the centre of Bristol. Once described by Queen Elizabeth I as “the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England” it certainly lived up to that billing for our visit.

Christian CND members and supported travelled from Cornwall, Birmingham, Wales and elsewhere to take part in the day, making it one of the best-attended AGMs for some time.

The day started with a welcome by Revd Dan Tyndall, Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe. Revd Tyndall spoke about the weight of responsibility of working for peace which Jesus has given us. Revd Tyndall also prayed for the work of Christian CND and for peaceful solutions to the world’s current crises.

Revd Dan Tyndall

The first speaker of the Conference was David Cullen from the Nuclear Information Service. David spoke through the main provisions in the Nuclear Ban Treaty and the implications the Treaty could have for the UK. He highlighted that this is the first Treaty in the humanitarian tradition to place a responsibility on states that have tested nuclear weapons to clean up the environment they have damaged. It was also noted that the UK (or any other nuclear-armed state) would be able to sign up to the Treaty without having to disarm immediately, entering instead into multi-lateral negotiations.

David Cullen from NIS

We then heard from Martin Birdseye who briefed the meeting on the recent Nuclear Disarmament Conference held at the Vatican. Martin drew attention to an excellent contribution from Robert McElroy, the Bishop of San Diego on the role of the church on the journey to a nuclear-free future. Pax Christi have pledged to build on the momentum of the Conference and of course Christian CND will work closely with them, especially to encourage engagement from the UK.

Christian CND Martin Birdseye

The final speaker was Hannah Tweddell, Chair of Bristol CND. Hannah spoke about the work Bristol CND is doing in partnership with other groups, focussing on the cost of Trident and raising public awareness of the Ban Treaty. She reported that good relationships had been build with some of the local MPs and that discussions were ongoing.

Hannah Tweddell from Bristol CND

The afternoon workshop included an interesting discussion about how to get the message of the Ban Treaty into the churches of the UK and how awareness can be raised. There will be some exciting actions following in the next couple of months, so do keep an eye on the Christian CND website and social media.

The AGM section of the day resulted in an Executive of nine members remaining in place for a further year, whilst Martin Birdseye and Martin Tiller were re-elected as Co-Chairs.

Further information:
Find out more about the Nuclear Information Service
Find out more about Bristol CND
Read the Christian CND Annual Report
Join Christian CND today

Vatican position on nuclear weapons welcomed by Christian campaigners

Pope Francis has said that nuclear weapons reflect a “mentality of fear” during a two-day conference on nuclear disarmament at the Vatican. The conference saw the Catholic Church move away from conditional acceptance of the doctrine of “nuclear deterrence” and to push for nuclear disarmament. Statements that have been welcomed by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The conference was held from 10-11 November and heard from church leaders, diplomats, politicians and representatives of Nobel Peace Prizes winners the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Christian CND has been working closely with ICAN on taking the message of nuclear disarmament into the Catholic Church.

During the Cold War that Catholic Church had accepted “deterrence” as a balance between the major global powers, as long as it was seen as a step to disarmament. This position has now changed however, with Stephen Colecchi, director of the US bishops’ conference’s Office of International Justice and Peace saying the plans to modernise global nuclear arsenals means “deterrence is on very thin moral ground”

The Vatican initiative comes shortly after the United Nations agreed a ground breaking Treaty which will ban nuclear weapons and against a backdrop of increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula with both sides making inflammatory threats.

ICAN was the driving force behind the Treaty, with the support of Christian CND and others. During the negotiations of the Treaty Christian CND representatives met the Holy See delegation in New York and Vienna. The Holy See was one of the first states to sign and ratify the Treaty when it opened for signature in September.

Christian CND Co-Chair Martin Birdseye said: “Nuclear weapons have the potential to destroy God’s creation, and there can never be moral justification for that. The move of the Catholic Church is very welcome and Christian CND urges all believers to take this message into their communities. At a time when the use of nuclear weapons seems nearer than anytime in the past 50 years we must all be working and praying to be rid of these weapons.”

Christian CND is holding a conference on Saturday 25 November in Bristol where the Vatican Conference and the Ban Treaty will be discussed in more detail. More information is available on the Christian CND website.

Vatican Conference on Nuclear Disarmament

A major two day conference on nuclear disarmament is set to begin in the Vatican with experts and leaders from around the world coming together for discussion.

The conference will hear from representatives from the United Nations, NATO, governments and Nobel Peace Prize winners ICAN. Ahead of the conference Cardinal Peter Turkson said the event “responds to the priorities of Pope Francis to take action for world peace and to use the resources of creation for a sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all, individuals and countries, without discrimination.”

The conference follows the agreement of a new Treaty at the United Nations which will ban nuclear weapons. The Holy See was one of the first states to sign and ratify the Treaty. During the negotiations the Pope made statements in support and Christian CND were delighted to meet the Holy See delegation in New York. Pope Francis will meet delegates on Saturday 10 November.

Ahead of the meeting Christian CND is support Pax Christi in calling on Christians to fast and pray for a positive outcome. More information is available in the Prayer section of our website.

You will be able to hear more about the conference at the Christian CND AGM in Bristol later this month. Register for your free ticket on Eventbrite.