The Churches Together Justice and Peace Group was formed in 1998 and was meeting regularly to discuss issues and plan events that can inform our local community. Like everything else this ended with Lockdown in March 2020 Then sadly the Chair of the group, Maureen Matthews died in August. Sadly two other group members died and three moved elsewhere in the country so the group did not get going again. This page is attempt to keep informed about the issues we might have considered at meetings
Contents: Environmental issues
Peace Issues –
Nuclear Weapons Treaty
Migrants and Refugees
The local CAM group works on the climate crisis, biodiversity and other issues concerning the care of our planet. The group meets on the second Monday of the month at Marple Methodist Church at 7 pm/
See CAM website https://www.climateactionmarple.org.uk/
A GARDEN TOUR of the Bethlehem Palestine Museum of Natural History. It features the gardens, animals, sustainable growing practices and much more. The film is narrated by Mazin Qumsiyeh the founder of the museum.
urge the UK government to work to de-escalate the Middle East crisis
Oct 24th, 2023
As the death toll in Gaza, from Israel’s ongoing bombardment, has reached over 5,000, including more than 2,000 children, and more than half the population have had their homes destroyed – and there has been a dramatic increase in evictions and killings of Palestinians in the West Bank – the Network of Christian Peace Organisations has written to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly MP urging the UK government to use its influence to calm the violence.
Dear Foreign Secretary,
We write to you in response to the outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. We urge the UK Government to use its influence to help create space for de-escalation and meaningful dialogue in the coming days and weeks, to urgently avert a deepening humanitarian crisis and military conflict that could cost many more lives than have already been tragically lost.
Indiscriminate attacks on civilians violate international humanitarian law. We condemn the Hamas attacks on civilians and the taking of civilian hostages. We also condemn the response of the Israeli Government in bombing of Gaza and targeting of the civilian population. The increased restrictions and complete cutting off of water, electricity, food and fuel constitute collective punishment and will create an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza, exceeding that which already exists as a result of the 16-year blockade.
We are deeply saddened by the continued violence in the region and urge you work for dialogue and de-escalation. We ask you to support measures for the immediate protection of civilians including a ceasefire, adherence by all parties to international law, and the UN’s call for humanitarian corridors.
Long held concerns about land, peace and security have not been prioritised by the international community. The only way to break the cycle of violence and build a lasting peace is to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza and create conditions of justice, equality and peace for all Israelis and Palestinians.
As people of faith, we stand against the Islamophobia and antisemitism many individuals in this country may face as a result of violence in the Middle East. We will do what we can to de-escalate these tensions.
We ask you to avoid supporting polarised arguments and apportioning blame. We ask you to support measures that do not rely on military security but instead build a lasting peace based on justice and equality for all.
Ann Farr, Chair, Pax Christi England and Wales
Sue Claydon, Chair, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
Rev Dr Barbara Glasson, President Methodist Peace Fellowship
Deacon Angie Allport, Secretary, Methodist Peace Fellowship
John Cooper, Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Simon Barrow, Director of Ekklesia
Oliver Robertson, Head of Witness and Worship, Quakers in Britain
Philip Austin, Coordinator, Northern Friends Peace Board
Andrew Fox, British Isles Mission Centre President, Community of Christ
Charlotte Marshall, Director, Sabeel-Kairos UK
Lydia Funck, General Secretary, Church and Peace – Ecumenical peace church network in Europe
Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive, Pax Christi
Rev Ruth Harvey, Leader, The Iona Community
Rhun Dafydd Chair of Cymdeithas y Cymod (Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales) Wales
Martin Tiller, Co-Chair of Christian CND
Jan Benvie Convenor of Creation, Justice, Peace Steering Group, Third Order Society St Francis
You can find links to other statements from groups connected with NCPO or related faith bodies here
Read regular updates on Israel Palestine
“The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves the crushed spirit. ” Ps 34:18
WHERE IS PALESTINE? A STORY OF LOSS, INEQUALITY AND FAILURE. This report from Christian Aid shows how more than two decades since Palestinian and Israeli leaders signed the first Oslo Accord, there is no peace, with daily life for Palestinians worsening on many measures.
Report author, William Bell, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy, said: “Palestinians face an even more grim future than many currently experience if governments and those with influence do not act now and embrace justice and accountability as an essential precursor to a lasting peace. Without justice and equality there will be no Palestine and without Palestine neither Palestinian nor Israeli can enjoy the security, dignity and prosperity that all need to thrive and survive.” Read a summary HERE
Download a pdf of the report HERE
A PRAYER FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST from The Very Reverend William B Lane is a retired Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem PA and is presently active in the Episcopal Church in Delaware. He is a founding member of Delaware Churches for Middle East Peace and has been in Palestine/Israel on numerous occasions.
Let Us Pray: Almighty God, we pray that the blessings of justice and peace be realized in the land of Israel/Palestine; and that our nation be an instrument in achieving, not hindering, those blessings. May the sword give way to the plowshare and hostility to respect. You have created Palestinian and Israeli alike in your image, establishing the dignity and humanity of both. One is not more precious in your sight than the other. So, may the peacemakers not grow weary, and the seekers of justice not give up the search. The acceptable time for justice and peace is always now, there is never an unacceptable time. In the words of your servant Amos: Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Holy God, hear our prayer. Amen.
Read his comments on ‘The Promise of Oslo, 30 years later’ on https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/47948
Marple for Ukraine was formed to help the Ukrainian families arriving in Marple https://www.facebook.com/groups/705649667128556/members/
UK STOCKPILE OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS TO INCREASE 196 to 260
Christian CND writes…The publication of the Integrated Review of Defence and Security Policy has confirmed that the UK’s nuclear warhead stockpile will increase to 260 by the middle of the decade, ending over 30 years of gradually declining stockpile numbers.
Christian CND will be joining other faith groups and broader civil society in opposing these plans. They hope you will join them as they continue to work and pray for a nuclear weapons-free world. https://christiancnd.org.uk/
TREATY ON PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS TREATY
On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty which was ratified in October 2020 came into force.
CHURCHES SUPPORT THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TREATY
Many Christian traditions and denominations in the UK have supported the idea of a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons for some time. The Baptist Church, Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and Quakers have long-standing positions opposing nuclear weapons and have welcomed the Treaty. https://christiancnd.org.uk/ban/
Anglican Bishops sign historic letter on UN Nuclear Weapons Treaty.
More than 30 Church of England bishops, including the archbishops of Canterbury and York, have put their names to a public letter urging the UK government to sign the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons which was ratified recently and comes into force in January 2021.
The letter was published in The Observer on Friday, 13 November 2020. Read the full text follows:
A joint statement from the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales and Scotland has called on the UK Government to “forsake its nuclear arsenal” and to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,
The statement quotes from a message from Pope Francis’ to the UN calling the complete elimination of nuclear weapons a “moral and humanitarian imperative”. It also urges the UK to “strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.”
The full text of the statement is shown below:
Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force. This is a historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet.
In setting out the “moral and humanitarian imperative” for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that “international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.”
We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal. The resources spent on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading these weapons of mass destruction, should be reinvested to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, for the Common Good of all peoples.
At the same time, we implore the government to strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.
Above all we pray: “Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity; pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit. Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.”
Bishop of Clifton Chair, International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop of Galloway Commission for Justice and Peace, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
+William Kenney Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
 Message to the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination (23 March 2017) vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2017/documents/papa-francesco_20170323_messaggio-onu.html
 Statement on nuclear weapons (4 August 2020) cbcew.org.uk/statement-on-nuclear-weapons/
 Fratelli Tutti vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html
BACKGROUND On Saturday October 24th 2020 the treaty making nuclear weapons illegal was finally ratified at the United Nations. The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) opened for signature three years ago. The treaty needed 50 countries to ratify it before it before it could come into force. On Saturday night that milestone was reached. The Treaty will now officially enter into force on January 22nd after 50 countries ratified the agreement, with a further 84 signing.
The terms of the TPNW only apply to the countries that have signed and ratified the agreement. Although the nine nuclear-armed states ( US, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) currently state they will not support it, the treaty is a significant pointer towards changing international attitudes to nuclear weapons. Previous treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons helped to stigmatise them in the minds of the public. This is now taking place with nuclear weapons. see https://www.icanw.org/the_treaty
MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
10 short films from the library archives to help us understand life as a refugee
Hanadi, 17, tells us about her life in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. https://youtu.be/uZMXv7WU8ME
When you don’t exist is Amnesty International’s campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders. https://youtu.be/_OUpsWCvE38
Hiba Al Nabolsi, age 10, a refugee from Syria, at a center in Macedonia where UNICEF helps tells her story https://youtu.be/7QVmXX62_H0
Little Hamze was uprooted from his home in Mosul, Iraq when ISIS swept through the area in 2014. Now, he and his father have made it to Idomeni, Greece where they await safe passage to Germany and hope to be able to send for Hamze’s mother and sister. https://youtu.be/tkkVnQEB1mE
Short Animation -Help refugees and asylum seekers
6 .Filmmaker Lior Sperandeo captures the raw emotion of life as a refugee. According to the UN, 865,000 refugees and migrants reached Greece by sea in 2015. See a harrowing landing in this striking short film that captures the poignant story of Syrian people seeking safety and those that come to their aid.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiujzFNgHcE
7. The refugee crisis isn’t just a story on the news – it’s happening here and it’s happening now https://youtu.be/nKDgFCojiT8
8. This film project documents an extraordinary project in which five people from the Netherlands and Belgium were brought into a state of hypnosis, so they could gain deeper insight into the journey of a Syrian refugee. Under the guidance of a professional hypnotherapist, the participants experienced the journey of 29-year-old Marwa, from Syria, as she made her way to safety to the Netherlands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8pJKs4u_Q8
9. Twenty years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that four minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, Amnesty International Poland decided to carry out a simple experiment where refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other’s eyes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By_BHbskg_E
10.Hanadi, 17, tells us about her life in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Thank you to Pauline Howell for drawing my attention to this information.
LIFE WITHOUT A SAFETY NET: What it means to be a refugee
Egypt hosts more than 256,000 registered asylum-seekers and refugees from 56 different countries mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt are largely concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and several towns on the North Coast. In recent years, Egypt’s challenging economic conditions have considerably increased the vulnerability of both refugees and host community members. Our Partner organization Refuge Egypt, a ministry of the Anglican Church in Egypt, provides immediate support in the form of food parcels and clothing for newly arrived refugees, as well as offering employment training and job placements to help them find their place in Egyptian society, as well medical care and treatment for those with chronic conditions or complicated pregnancies. Read the full report https://embraceme.org/blog/life-as-a-refugee
Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK. We work in partnership with churches, and with people in poverty themselves, to tackle the root causes of poverty. https://www.church-poverty.org.uk/
Christians against poverty
Churches across the UK are committed to tackling the causes of poverty in their local area by partnering with CAP and providing free debt help and community groups . https://capuk.org/