180 Clerics Slam Westminster Abbey Service of Thanksgiving to mark 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD)

Posted: 27th April 2019

In response to National CND’s campaign to persuade the Church of England to reconsider its Thanksgiving Service at Westminster Abbey on May 3rd, Salisbury CND has written to both the Bishop of Salisbury and the Dean of Westminster Abbey to state our absolute opposition to the service.  You can read our letters at the bottom of this page, together with an article from the Church Times defending the rationale for the service.  The latest National CND information is directly below.  Some of us have plans to join the protest at Westminster Abbey, should the service go ahead.  Please consider joining us there.



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 APRIL 26, 2019

180 clerics slam Westminster Abbey nuclear service

A statement which calls on the Dean of Westminster Abbey to “urgently reconsider” a planned National Service of Thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons system has been signed by 180 Anglican clerics. (1) (2) (3)

The statement, co-ordinated by Christian CND, says the Westminster Abbey service to mark 50 years of Britain’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent should be cancelled because it is at odds with the Church of England’s policy to “work tirelessly” for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has said it will hold protests outside the Abbey on the 3rd May, the day of the service, and will perform a ‘die-in’ to represent the victims of nuclear warfare.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“Surely Westminster Abbey must now realise it has made a very serious error of judgement.

“The Abbey should listen to these members of the clergy and listen as well to the thousands of members of the public who have written to the Dean to make clear what ought to be obvious, that nuclear weapons should not be celebrated.

“Listen to members of the House of Lords who, in a report out this week, said the threat of nuclear war is dramatically rising. Every level of church, government and society should be engaged in efforts to de-escalate nuclear tensions. A thanksgiving service to honour nuclear weapons is absolutely the last thing we need.

“We say to the Dean, it is not too late to cancel the service. It’s right to cancel it, and millions would respect the church for having listened and taken action to correct a mistake.”

Notes

  1. Clergy statement on Westminster Abbey, co-ordinated by Christian CND
  2. Invitation to CASD service at Westminster Abbey
  3. Royal Navy press release
  4. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson statement on CASD commemoration (Hansard)
  5. The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons –  General Synod of the Church of England – Sunday 8 July 2018

What you will see at the protest on 3rd May

  1. Protesters will gather outside the Abbey at 11am on Storey’s Gate in Westminster
  2. A large “No Thanksgiving for Nuclear Weapons” banner and placards
  3. Protesters performing a die-in (from 12am)
  4. Christian CND alternative service with Bruce Kent (from 12am)
  5. CND rally (from 1pm)

Salisbury CND letter to the Bishop of Salisbury

Salisbury CND letter to the Dean of Westminster Abbey

Church Times article