Support treaty banning nuclear weapons

Charissa and Steve nuclear 2A two-minute film calling on Christians to safeguard God’s world by working towards a future free of nuclear weapons was released this week.

The United Reformed Church along with four other Christian denominations – the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the Quakers, and the Church of Scotland – is distributing the film to thousands across the world in a joint call to action.

The video, created by the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) explains, in simple cartoons, the basis for the churches’ support for the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and people are invited to submit their names and an image of themselves holding the #nuclearban sign to a picture petition that will be delivered to the UK government in February. Reform magazine's  production and marketing officer, Charissa King, and editor, Steve Tomkins, along with Ms Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Mission), and the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries, joined in the campaign by posing with the sign.

‘Even a limited nuclear conflict would have devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences killing innocent people,’ said JPIT policy adviser, Steve Hucklesby, on behalf of the Churches.

‘Relying on nuclear weapons for your security poses unacceptably high risks. It encourages proliferation and cannot form the basis of a just peace.’

Mr Hucklesby continued: ‘This short video shows that there is another way. The UN treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the product of a new global movement. We hope that people will watch this video, share it with friends, and support a more equitable and safer future for all.’

On 20 September, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the UN. It places nuclear weapons in the same legal category as biological and chemical weapons and is supported by more than 120 countries. Unfortunately, the UK has not signed the treaty.

Francis nuclearThe petition will ask the government to ‘urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the first opportunity.’ It also states that ‘the continued threat of use of nuclear weapons by a few governments is contrary to the genuine peace that Christians and others seek to build.’

Once ratified, the Treaty will make the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.  

The Churches’ call to action comes in the same week that ICAN (the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons) will be presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for their role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

Michael Jagessar nuclearAlongside the film, JPIT has produced an Advent reflection for churches and their congregations. It explores the story of Setsuko Thurlow – a survivor of Hiroshima who has worked with ICAN – as an example of what it means to prepare the way for Christ.