General Synod passes Nuclear Ban motion

The Church of England General Synod has passed a motion on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons following a debate in York on Sunday 8 July.

The Bishop of Chelmsford moving the motion in York

The Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell moved the motion, which was passed by an overwhelming majority. The motion calls on the UK government to “respond positively” to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was agreed at the United Nations in July 2017 with the support of 122 states. The government position up to now has been not to support the Treaty.

Let us simply be guided by this question: What would Jesus do – Bishop Stephen Cottrell

The Church of England adopted a position against the replacement of Trident in 2007 and now joins other churches including the Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, Baptist Union and the Quakers in calling on the government to respond positively to the Treaty. The Holy See has already signed and ratified the Treaty at the UN.

During a fascinating debate speakers from across the country spoke on the motion. The majority of speakers supported the motion. Those speaking in favour included Rev Rachel Mann from Manchester, Hannah Grivell from Derby and the Bishop of Coventry. Members of the Armed Forces spoke about those currently serving.

An amendment, proposed by Sean Doherty, would have called on the government to sign the Ban Treaty. It was narrowly defeated after a debate which saw a number of speakers in support.

On Saturday Christian CND held a fringe meeting with Synod members and Elizabeth Minor from Article 36 who has been involved in the Treaty for some time. Saturday also marked exactly one year since the Treaty was agreed at the United Nations.

Synod member Sean Doherty speaks at Christian CND fringe meeting in York

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The full text of the motion which has been passed is:

That this Synod, mindful that a faithful commemoration of the centenary of the 1918 Armistice must commit the Church afresh to peace building; and conscious that nuclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination across the world:

(a) welcome the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the clear signal it sends by a majority of UN Member States that nuclear weapons are both dangerous and unnecessary;
(b) call on Her Majesty’s Government to respond positively to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by reiterating publicly its obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its strategy for meeting them; and
(c) commit the Church of England to work with its Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners in addressing the regional and international security concerns which drive nations to possess and seek nuclear weapons and to work towards achieving a genuine peace through their elimination.

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