06 August 2015

Church leaders commemorate Hiroshima bombing saying ‘never again’

At an interfaith commemoration service held today (6 August) at the Friend's Meeting House in Central London, religious leaders from many faiths, including several Christian denominations, gathered to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The overriding message of the meeting was clear: 'Never Again'; the British faith leaders called on the international community to develop a robust plan of action designed to lead to a world that is free of nuclear weapons.

The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council said: "The use of and threat to use nuclear weapons are inherently evil. Security policies based on the threat of the use of nuclear weapons are immoral and ultimately self-defeating."

During the service Jehangir Sarosh, OBE, Director of Religions for Peace, read out a statement that has been signed by 26 faith leaders and to which others have since added their support online www.endnuclearweapons.org.uk

Speaking about the 1945 bombings and the lessons to be learned, Ms Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Mission) of the United Reformed Church, said: "As we remember the tragedy of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we remain convinced that the way to address the problems we face as a global community is by building trust and co-operation, not accumulating and threatening to use nuclear weapons.

"The use of such weapons will always have devastating humanitarian consequences and as such they violate the principle of dignity we believe all people possess as children of God. The only way we can be sure that nuclear weapons are never used again is to ensure their complete elimination.

"Many of our churches will be marking this tragic anniversary in some way in their services this weekend and, on this 70th anniversary, we join with people of all faiths and none in calling on political leaders to develop a plan of action that will free the world of nuclear weapons." 

The commemorative service in London is just one of many events around the world where churches are joining with other faith and civil groups to mark the 70 year anniversary.  UK church representatives are attending Japanese events in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Rachel Allison, a former intern in the Joint Public Issues Team, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July.  She said: "Having visited Japan I feel that we have lost our passion and drive to eliminate nuclear weapons and become too comfortable with their existence around the world.  Chatting to young people here I have been struck by their astonishment that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki we in the UK still have not learnt that nuclear weapons have a devastating human cost which affects us all."

The Joint Public Issues Team has created a set of worship resources designed to help churches to pause, remember and pray about the events of 1945.  

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