Interfaith meeting to mark Hiroshima anniversary, London
October 6, 2015
A collaboration between ICAN Nigeria and ICAN UK resulted in a unique meeting in London recently bringing together people from a wide range of faith backgrounds to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and call for a ban on nuclear weapons.
Representatives of the British Quakers, Soka Gakkai Buddhists, Pax Christi, Lutheran Church of Great Britain, Christian CND, Council for African and Caribbean Churches, Baptist, Church of Scotland, Methodist and United Reformed Churches, all met at the Provincial Headquarters of The Church of The Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide in South London on 25 September.
Brother Adebayo Anthony Kehinde, International Vice President of the Youth Ministry of The Church of The Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide, and active with ICAN Nigeria, welcomed everyone. He talked about the role young people of the church are playing in advocating for a ban on nuclear weapons and working with churches and faith movements around the world.
Lisa Cowan, youth leader of Soka Gakkai International UK, a Buddhist movement for peace, spoke on behalf of ICAN. She showed the short film It takes courage to change the world, and spoke about the significance of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; about why a ban treaty on nuclear weapons is the most important goal right now; the role of faith communities; and the importance of empowering young people. One of the points which came out of the discussion was that we can each find some way to advance the vision of a world without nuclear weapons – educating ourselves, talking to people, summoning hope, signing petitions, being creative, using social media. Ending on a positive note, Lisa said, “my faith teaches me to be a person who makes effort to bring light to places that have been dark for many years…. Every generation is remembered for something. We are the generation who will be remembered for having abolished nuclear weapons.”
Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser at The Joint Public Issues Team (Baptist, Church of Scotland, Methodist and United Reformed Churches), said “It was great to be a part of this interfaith event on nuclear disarmament. Lisa Cowan of SGI took us through the damage done by nuclear weapons. She pointed out that nuclear weapons are unsafe because, even if a government does not intend to use them, they could be used by miscalculation or could cause a nuclear accident. She stated that people of faith want their governments to influence not through the threat of mass destruction but through building co-operation. It was pointed out that ICAN have some excellent short videos on their website, that can be shown at meetings or circulated on social media. In addition, those present were invited to sign up to the UK interfaith statement on nuclear weapons at www.endnuclearweapons.org.uk.”