On Sunday 3 June, Christian peace activists across the UK will participate in the 15th Annual Arms Trade Day of Prayer. The Day of Prayer is organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade's (CAAT) Christian Network, a non-denominational group of Christians opposed to the arms trade.
This year's Day of Prayer falls on the eve of the International Day for Children as Victims of War, and prayers will focus on children throughout the world affected by the conflict and oppression of war.
Christians are encouraged to highlight the impact of this trade on the lives of innocent people around the world, particularly children, and call on the government to change its attitude.
There is no prescribed mode of prayer or worship and all Christian gatherings and individuals are welcome to join in. The Christian Network has produced a Day of Prayer Pack which includes suggested readings, prayers and hymns, plus additional materials on the International Day for Child Victims of War and on the UK's role in the arms trade.
In 2011 the Arms Trade Day of Prayer took place two days before the DSEi arms fair - one of the largest such events in the world – and very poignantly on the ten-year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre. Over 80 members of the CAAT Christian Network took part in efforts to involve their communities in prayer for an end to the arms trade. Three UK churches, the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, also issued a joint statement calling for a more peaceful world and an end to the arms trade.
CAAT have already been notified of events taking place in Suffolk, Berkshire and Kent this year, and expect many other services and conversations to take place elsewhere.
The Rev Hazel Barkham, a retired United Reformed Church Minister, peace activist and co-ordinator of the CAAT Christian Network said: "I really hope that churches and groups will find CAAT's Day of Prayer Information Pack useful. The Arms Trade Day of Prayer is a great opportunity for Christians to join the call for an end to the destructive global arms trade. I hope this year's Day of Prayer is even more successful than in 2011."