Christians prepare for Day of Prayer before London arms fair

By agency reporter
July 23, 2013

Christian communities throughout the country will take part in a Day of Prayer on Sunday 8 September, two days before the scheduled opening of one of the world's largest arms fairs, Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) at London's ExCel Centre.

The day will enable Christians to reflect on the death, destruction and waste created by the arms trade and to pray for a less militarised and more peaceful and creative society.

On the following evening, a multi-faith vigil near the ExCel Centre will provide a quiet and contemplative interlude before the arms fair opens its doors the next morning.

The Day of Prayer is one event in a week of activities organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) as part of Stop the Arms Fair Coalition. CAAT calls for an end to arms sales to repressive regimes and an end to government support for the arms industry. The previous DSEi in 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, saw military delegations from regimes engaged in repression turn out in force to view and purchase the weaponry on display.

CAAT's Christian Network, a non-denominational group of Christians opposed to the arms trade, has produced a Day of Prayer Pack with suggestions for worship, including prayers, Bible readings, hymns and service sheets, plus background briefings on arms fairs and the UK's role in the arms trade. There is no prescribed mode of prayer or worship and all Christian gatherings and individuals are welcome to join in.

The Rev Hazel Barkham, a retired United Reformed Church Minister and peace activist in the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, said: "The DSEi arms fair in London enables countries with poor human rights records to buy deadly weapons which can be turned against their own people or against neighbouring countries. This should be of huge concern to Christians who have been involved in recent campaigns for food security, peace and justice. I hope that we can be equally passionate in our prayers and actions to Stop the Arms Fair."

She concluded: "The Day of Prayer is an opportunity to reflect with our faith communities on peace and hope for an end to conflict; to raise awareness about the devastating arms trade; and to engage with others in action to challenge the arms fair."

[Ekk/4]

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