Christians from a range of backgrounds held a service in London yesterday evening to thank God for a major success in campaigning against the arms trade - the shutting down of the government-backed DESO.
The service was held at 6.00pm yesterday (26 September 2007) in Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London.
Those present gave thanks for the closure of the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), a Government unit which promotes sales for private arms companies.
Christian groups, including Ekklesia partner SPEAK (a network of students from a mainly evangelical background), worked with people of all faiths and none in the campaign to shut DESO. The result was Prime Minister Gordon Brown announcing in July that it would be closed by the end of 2007.
However, there is still much work to do, say campaigners. The PM has also allowed a massive Saudi arms deal to go through, in spite of a corruption scandal and instability in the Middle East.
The service was attended by people from across Britain, including members of Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Quaker, independent Evangelical, United Reformed and Mennonite churches.
It was organised by the Christian Network of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) with support from the Fellowship of Reconciliation and SPEAK. All three organisations have long campaigned against DESO, which is often seen as a channel through which arms companies are able to exercise undemocratic influence over Government policy.
Alun Morinan, Co-ordinator of the CAAT Christian Network said:
"The arms trade fuels war and poverty around the world, and yet we may sometimes feel that there is little we can do to challenge it. This year we have been reminded that with God's grace our campaigning can make a difference."
He added: "DESO is to close after 40 years of promoting arms sales with no regard to human rights or real security. We pray that DESO's closure will be the beginning of the end of arms companies' unhealthy influence over the UK Government."
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade. CAAT includes people of all faiths and none. The CAAT Christian Network is a nationwide grouping of Christians who support the campaign.