Churches highlight Arms Trade Treaty ahead of Peacemaking Sunday

As churches across Britain prepare to celebratePeacemaking Sunday on 23 September, church leaders have written toWilliam Hague, the Foreign Secretary, highlighting the importanceof the recent United Nations negotiations over the Arms TradeTreaty and noting the government's positive stance in thenegotiations thus far.

In the letter, Mrs Val Morrison, Moderator of the GeneralAssembly of the United Reformed Church; The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin,President of the Methodist Conference and The Revd JonathanEdwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain,call upon the foreign secretary to continue giving priority to theadoption of the treaty, saying: "We join with others in calling fora Treaty to be agreed as soon as possible with a text that iscomprehensive in scope, incorporates controls on the sale ofammunition … and is unambiguous in itsinterpretation." 

The United Nations' International Day of Peace iscelebrated on 21 September and Peacemaking Sunday on the Sundaynearest to it (this year, 23 September). Both provide anopportunity for individuals, communities and nations to focus onpeace and peacemaking in the world and within their ownlives.  This year the ongoing attempts to achieve acomprehensive Arms Trade Treaty provide a point of focus forPeacemaking Sunday. 

Churches are being encouraged to mark Peacemaking Sundayby using ecumenical worship resources provided by the Baptist Unionof Great Britain, The Methodist Church and the United ReformedChurch.

The worship resources compiled by the three denominationsinclude a meditation, prayers and biblical reflections and focus onthe strife in the world - riots, wars and financial crises - andthe church's response to them. The resources can be downloadedfor free here.

Mrs Morrison said: "Peacemaking is a Christian vocation -something not to be undertaken  lightly, but rather to be atthe centre of our thinking, actions and prayers throughout theyear. Peacemaking Sunday and the United Nations' Day of Peacehighlight our need to pray for peace in the many areas of conflictacross the globe, but also in our own lives andrelationships."

Mr Edwards, commented: "Peacemaking involves buildingrelationships in our communities.  Peacemaking Sunday gives usthe opportunity to reflect again on the challenge of how we mightrespond to Jesus' call to be peacemakers in our own context. Ourprayers are with all those working to achieve a comprehensive ArmsTrade Treaty."

Dr Wakelin concluded: "Our churches continue to wrestlewith applying principles from our rich Christian heritage to thecomplex issues of security in our world today. Peacemaking: AChristian Vocation was published in 2006 to help inform, inspireand guide. Today we are grappling with decisions over the future ofTrident and with the ethics associated with the use of armeddrones. We urgently need to create a culture of peace that deepensunderstanding and mutual respect - and I hope these resources willhelp Christians to affirm our fundamental commitment to seek peacein all our relationships."