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Pentecost Peace Witness at Faslane 2016

Categories: Articles:Nuclear Weapons | Published: 17/05/2016 | Views: 2309
Justice and Peace Commission member, Grace Buckley reports on the Scottish Christians Against Nuclear Arms, peace witness which took place at Faslane on 14 May 2015.

For once it was a gloriously sunny day at Faslane for the ecumenical peace service and picnic – in the past we have had rain, wind and even snow!  It was good to see such a range of ages present from veterans of many decades of peace campaigning to young children with their parents.

The service was, as usual, a mix of prayer, song and speaker input.  Wild Goose were unable to be present this year, due to another commitment with the Iona Community in Glasgow, but Rev. David McLachlan bravely took responsibility for rehearsing and leading the music.
The speakers were Carol Clarke of the National Justice & Peace Commission of the Catholic Church, and Very Rev. Alan McDonald, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.  Carol began by saying that she had been asked to say a few words on why she was at Faslane.  Her response was that she was there for the same reason as everyone else present, to protest against nuclear weapons at Faslane. 

This year was particularly important as a decision was expected soon by the UK parliament on the replacement of Trident.  CND have provided a new briefing showing an increase in estimated costs of the replacement system to £205bn and are organising a mass lobby of Parliament on 13 July.  It is also the year when the US votes for a new President whose finger will be on the nuclear button.

Alan McDonald reminded us, with a quote from Matthew 5 – blessed are the peacemakers – that it was really important to remember what we were doing at Faslane and from where we derived help for our work.  Referring to the refrain of the prayer which we had just completed – “We have a dream” -  he pointed out that the civil rights movement in the US had had moments when it thought it would never achieve its goal.  The same was true of the churches in East Germany struggling against the Iron Curtain and the anti-apartheid campaigners in South Africa struggling for human rights.

The message for us today was that our struggle is not just something for us to finish.  It is God’s work and he was convinced more than ever that the day will come when these arms will be smashed into children’s toys.  His challenge to us was to remember that God’s power is working in us – a challenge indeed when we might wonder whether we are making any impact.

I did have some odd thoughts about alternative uses for the Faslane site and its razorwire.  Looking at the beautiful scenery, I thought that Faslane with its personnel accommodation could provide a great tourist facility with self-catering flats and a marina facility, while the razorwire would make for a great art installation in the Tate!  A modern take on beating swords into plough-shares!
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