Church leaders commemorate Hiroshima bombing saying ‘never again’

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

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

The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church ofScotland's Church and Society Council said: "The use of and threatto use nuclear weapons are inherently evil. Security policies basedon the threat of the use of nuclear weapons are immoral andultimately self-defeating."

During the service Jehangir Sarosh, OBE, Director of Religionsfor Peace, read out a statement that has been signed by 26 faithleaders and to which others have since added their support onlinewww.endnuclearweapons.org.uk. 

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

"The use of such weapons will always have devastatinghumanitarian consequences and as such they violate the principle ofdignity we believe all people possess as children of God. The onlyway we can be sure that nuclear weapons are never used again is toensure their complete elimination.

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

The commemorative service in London is just one of many eventsaround the world where churches are joining with other faith andcivil groups to mark the 70 year anniversary.  UK churchrepresentatives are attending Japanese events in both Hiroshima andNagasaki.  Rachel Allison, a former intern in the Joint PublicIssues Team, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July.  Shesaid: "Having visited Japan I feel that we have lost our passionand drive to eliminate nuclear weapons and become too comfortablewith their existence around the world.  Chatting to youngpeople here I have been struck by their astonishment that afterHiroshima and Nagasaki we in the UK still have not learnt thatnuclear weapons have a devastating human cost which affects usall."

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