While many people were singing for peace this Christmas, members of St James' URC called on the government to act for peace as it supported Christian Aid’s ‘Be a Peacemaker’ appeal.
With more than half of Yemen’s population on the brink of famine due to war, members of St James’ URC 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, joined together with others from around the country to build pressure on the UK government to stop fueling the arms trade and instead spend more on peacebuilding.
St James' URC also seeks to offer peace to those locally who face difficult situations of food poverty, debt or family conflict by supporting Epping Forest Foodbank, Buckhurst Hill Money Advice Service and hosting a Child Contact Centre.
Louise Woodcock, Christian Aid Representative for St James', 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."
Christian Aid regional coordinator for Essex, Ben Selfe, said: “We are delighted to have the support of churches like St James' URC who are seeking to extend peace this Christmas.
“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."