The Iraq war: pastoral letter and joint statement

A Pastoral Letter From The Bishop Of Southwell

Bishop's Manor, 20th March 2003

Now that the war against Iraq has begun I write as your Bishop to urge you to pray for all involved and for a just and peaceful solution to the conflict. I urge that you pray for:

  • The leaders of the nations that they may do all in their power to bring a swift end to hostilities
  • The members of the armed forces in the Gulf region, that they may act with courage, restraint and good judgement
  • The families of members of the forces as they await news of their loved ones
  • That the numbers of casualties will be as few as possible
  • For the international community and especially for the United Nations Organisation
  • The people of Iraq and for the establishment of justice in their land
  • Those killed, wounded, made homeless or refugees
  • For those who work in the relief agencies
  • For peace in our own country between faith groups and communities affected by the conflict.

I urge you to work and pray for reconciliation in your communities and to reach out to those marginalized by these events. Please offer friendship to the families of members of the armed forces living in your district and keep your parish clergy informed of any needs to which the Church can respond.

In these difficult days it is not easy to see the hand of God but we know that He is involved with all His suffering people, of all races, throughout the world. As Christians let us pray for one another that we may make the love of God real where we live and that we may play our part in rebuilding a just and peaceful world.

I pray that God will help us to get through the days ahead in the faith that good will ultimately triumph, in the power of Jesus Christ.

George Southwell +

Joint Statement of Faith Leaders in Nottingham
following military action against Iraq

The outbreak of military action at any time is a profoundly sad and worrying event, and represents a tragic failing in human relationships. We deeply regret that, in the context of the present international crisis, the very serious issues that are adjudged to have brought us to this point have not been resolved through peaceful diplomatic means. The human cost of war is always suffering, destruction and death, and that is to be deplored.

However, the present conflict with Iraq has added dimensions. For some it is interpreted, rightly or wrongly, as part of a wider conflict between cultures and even between religions. Given the rich mix of cultures and faith communities that exist in this country, the potential for tension and violence between different sections of the community is real. That potential clearly exists here in Nottingham.

As leaders of faith communities in Nottingham, acknowledging a range of views among us about the justification for war with Iraq, we nonetheless stand united in our determination to continue to build strong bonds of peace and friendship between our various faith traditions. We will firmly reject any attempt to create divisions between our communities on the basis of race, culture or faith. We will oppose anyone who seeks to foment disharmony in our city, or who seek to scapegoat minority faith communities in any part of the world. And we commit ourselves to working together and alongside all people of goodwill in our city to ensure the continuation of the excellent community relations that exist here.

In the face of the terrible suffering that may be inflicted on the ordinary and innocent people of Iraq, we pray for them, for members of the armed forces and their families and for political leaders, that there may be a swift end to the conflict, and a determination to create lasting peace and justice for all the people of the Middle East.

  • The Reverend Wesley Blakey, Chairman of the Methodist District
  • The Right Reverend George Cassidy, Bishop of Southwell
  • David Leaning, Dean of Southwell Minster
  • The Reverend Colin Mark, Ecumenical Officer, Methodist Church
  • The Reverend Malcolm Hanson, Provincial Moderator, United Reformed Church
  • The Right Reverend Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham
  • The Reverend Steve Mantle, Regional Minister, Baptist Association
  • The Right Reverend Alan Morgan, Bishop of Sherwood
  • The Reverend Canon Eddie Neale, St Mary's, Nottingham
  • The Very Reverend Tom McGovern, Administrator, St Barnabas Cathedral
  • Major John Needham, Divisional Commander, East Midlands Division, Salvation Army
  • The Ven. Gordon Ogilvie, Archdeacon of Nottingham
  • The Reverend John Pettifor, The Christian Centre, Talbot Street
  • The Reverend Phillip Webb, Counties Ecumenical Development Officer
  • The Reverend Stephen Morris, Area Dean, Nottingham Central Deanery
  • The Reverend Neil Stacey, Superintendent Minister, Nottingham West Methodist Circuit
  • The Reverend David Bignell, Ecumenical Officer, Diocese of Southwell
  • The Reverend Canon Andrew Deuchar, St Peter's and All Saints' Nottingham
  • The Reverend Trevor Hatton, St Nicholas, Nottingham
  • The Reverend Peter Willis, Methodist Central Mission
  • The Reverend Clifford Wilton, St Andrew's with Castlegate URC
  • The Reverend DM Hopkins, West Bridgford URC
  • Santokh Singh Nijran, Nottingham Inter Faith Council
  • The Reverend Simon Mason, St Nicholas, Nottingham
  • The Reverend David McCoulough, Chaplain to Commerce and Industry
  • The Ecumenical Chaplaincy Team, Nottingham University
  • The Society of Friends, Clarendon Street, Nottingham
  • Dr Musharraf Hussain, Imam and Director of Karimia Institute and the two mosques in Forest Fields
  • The Reverend James Stapleton, Open Christian Fellowship
  • The Reverend Christian Weaver, The Pilgrim Church
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 5th April 2003