Ahead of Wednesday's vote in the UK parliament on the government's plan to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system, the World Council of Churches' (WCC) general secretary, the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, has written to WCC member churches in the country praising and expressing support for their efforts to stop this.
The letter comes as opposition in the UK Parliament also grows to the Government's plans, with Stephen Pound, an aide to Labour chairman Hazel Blears, and Jim Devine, a parliamentary private secretary to health minister Rosie Winterton, indicating that they could leave the government rather than support the proposal.
"From outside the UK, it has been heartening to hear of opposition to the government's Trident plan from churches, from various sectors of society, and from the public at large," says Dr Kobia in a letter dated 9 March 2007.
The letter recalls the recent WCC executive committee statement "On the need for churches' vigilance against nuclear proliferation," in which the committee commended churches in the United Kingdom for their efforts in this matter and urged the UK government "to set an historic example of leadership for the whole international community in the above matter by fulfilling its disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty".
"Perhaps a reminder of international church concern may strengthen last-minute efforts to influence the vote of certain members of Parliament," says Dr Kobia in his letter.
As "nuclear affairs are global affairs," the continued existence of nuclear weapons "remains a challenge for churches around the world", he says.
The full text of the letter is available at: