When the Church of England General Synod meets in York over the first weekend in July, nuclear weapons are on the agenda for the first time in years. Christian CND will be there at this important time, but we need your support to make it happen.

Synod members will take part in a discussion on a motion from the Ministry and Public Affairs Council on ‘The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons’. The text of the motion is yet to be published. The last time nuclear weapons was debate at General Synod was in 2007 when members voted in favour of a motion which opposed the replacement of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system.

At the last General Synod in February Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, hosted a fringe meeting under the title “Can nuclear weapons be banned”. Those attending heard about the developments at the United Nations, where a new Treaty to ban nuclear weapons was agreed in July 2017.

Justin Welby at the fringe meeting hosted by Bishop Stephen Cottrell in February

Among those in attendance at the meeting was the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, as well as the Bishop of Manchester David Walker. They heard from Christian CND Exec member Caroline Gilbert who was in New York for the negotiations of the Treaty, as well an updated from around the world where the 122 states who voted in favour of the ban have been making progress towards ratification.

Christian CND is heading to York for the occasion and has a stall in the exhibition, where we will be speaking to Synod members and discussing both the Ban Treaty and the debate on Sunday. We are also hosting a fringe meeting on Saturday to support those participating in the debate. Please donate whatever you can towards this vital effort as we seek to secure the support of the Church of England.

The paper on which the debate will be based can be found by clicking here.

The text of the motion which will be moved by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell has been published:

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.