Carluke church signs giant Christmas card urging UK Government to act for peace

While many people are singing for peace this Christmas, members of St John’s Parish Church, Carluke, are also calling on the UK Government to act for peace as it supports Christian Aid’s ‘Be A Peacemaker’ appeal.

Iris Nelson and Janis McBride, members of St John’s Parish Church, holding the card.
Iris Nelson and Janis McBride, members of St John’s Parish Church, holding the card.

With more than half of Yemen’s population on the brink of famine due to war, members of the church have signed a giant Christmas card to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia immediately, work with all parties to cease hostilities and allow humanitarian access to those most in need.

The card, depicting a dove made out of weaponry and ammunition, will join together with others from around the country to build pressure on the UK Government to stop fuelling the arms trade and instead spend more on peacebuilding.

The minister at St John’s Parish Church, Rev Elijah Obinna, said:

“We all have a deep longing for peace and that perhaps comes to the forefront at Christmas. But while we instinctively know that peace is essential for individuals and communities to flourish, it can be easy to overlook the role we have to play in building that peace.

“We can’t simply sing about peace at Christmas and expect it to happen, as Christians we believe we are given a task by Jesus to work towards a world where peace prevails alongside hope, dignity and respect.

“That is why we are supporting Christian Aid’s appeal this Christmas. They are not only supporting the work of everyday peacemakers in countries such as Colombia, South Sudan and Lebanon, but are also tackling the source of conflict by putting pressure on the UK Government to consider what it can do to build peace more effectively.

“Closer to home we will be pledging to act for peace whether it is through building trust, showing friendship, saying sorry or forgiving and we will of course be praying and singing for peace too.

“Everyone is welcome to join us this Advent or at any of our special Christmas services – we pray it will be a peaceful one for the people of Carluke and wider afield.”

Christian Aid Scotland’s Churches Development Officer, Mary Mulligan, said:

“We are delighted to have the support of churches like St John’s and others in Carluke who are seeking to extend peace this Christmas.

“Around 14 million people are affected by catastrophic food shortages in Yemen. According to the United Nations, 400,000 children are on the cusp of dying from hunger, 15,000 more than last year and yet the UK continues to sell arms to the Saudi-led coalition carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians there. This is in direct violation of its own international commitments to regulate its arms exports to states acting illegally and repressively.

“Any economic gain from arms sales for the UK has huge consequences for Yemen. What the country needs most right now is an immediate end to the fighting.

“It’s so important to make a stand for peace in a world where one child in every six will wake up in a conflict zone around the world. And if things continue the way they are, by 2030 more than half of the world’s poorest people will live in countries affected by high levels of violence.

“Our hope this Christmas is that we can show people affected by conflict that they are not forgotten and that together we can help build ‘peace on earth’.”

A donation of £10 could pay for arts materials for drama and storytelling therapy sessions for child refugees in Lebanon and £100 could pay for 30 women and girls to learn about protecting themselves from violence and harm in South Sudan. To donate to the appeal, visit the Christian Aid website.