Churches Question Abbey Service for Nuclear Deterrent Anniversary

Mission work

Joint Scottish Churches Statement on the UK government’s decision to hold a Service to Recognise Fifty Years Of Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

As men and women of faith, and as leaders of the Christian communities in Scotland we offer our thanks and sincere gratitude to all the men and women of our nations’ armed forces for their service, and for the families and friends who support them in that task. However, as Christians, acknowledging our responsibility to be careful stewards of our world, and the moral questionability of nuclear weapons we consider it inappropriate to have a church service celebrating 50 years of Continuous-at-Sea-Deterrence of these weapons of mass destruction.

Since 1982 the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has condemned the use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons as immoral. In 2017 His Holiness Pope Francis noted that the very possession of nuclear weapons is to be firmly condemned. For over thirty years the position of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been that the possession, threat of use, or use of nuclear weapons is inherently evil. The 50th anniversary of the UK’s nuclear weapons submarines sailing out of Faslane, therefore, is not a moment for celebration but rather a point for lamentation and profound regret.

In following Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we continue to oppose the UK government’s possession of nuclear weapons, which are a daily reality for those of us in Scotland who live alongside them. We urge the government to take seriously its’ treaty obligations to work for disarmament, and recall the words of Isaiah, “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

+William Nolan
Bishop of Galloway
President, Justice and Peace Scotland

Rt. Rev. Susan Brown
Moderator of the General Assembly
Church of Scotland