Vigil against renewal of Trident

Bury St Edmunds Quakers believe it to be a sin against our common humanity as well as an appalling use of money at a time when austerity measures threaten peoples' livelihoods. Inspired by three creative Friends, Bury Meeting carried out a silent vigil to protest against the possible replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system, which is to be decided on in 2016.

Quakers holding the "Bury Quakers oppose Trident" banner during their silent vigil. Phot credit: Jill Segger
Bury Quakers holding their vigil. Photo credit: Jill Segger

On Sunday afternoon, February 21st 2016 a group of almost 30 Quakers from Bury St Edmunds held a silent vigil around a rather special tree in the centre of the town. It's a tree that has seen a few Quaker vigils in its day, including 'Not in my name' at the time of the Iraq war, and others.

Of the Friends from our local Meeting who were involved three members were on hand outside the circle to give out leaflets and converse with any passers by wanting to engage with the subject, while the rest of us held banners and notices in prayerful silence. Close by stood a well-scrubbed wheelie bin, sporting a 'Bin Trident' sticker and containing a large and quite convincing 'missile', broken in half and sticking out of it to draw the attention of the public.

A strong spiritual practice

It's quite a strong spiritual practice to remain silent and prayerful when you hear quite aggressive people haranguing dear Friends who patiently listen and respond in measured, considered and deeply held convictions concerning peace and building a better world for all. The arguments that were held up against what we were doing were based on the premise that we would not have thought anything through and would naïvely leave the country defenceless to evil marauders with no thought for anyone's safety. The naïvety of imagining the world as somehow safer with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of our politicians was, strangely, not raised!

We stood for a couple of hours and enjoyed that deep communion with each other that comes from peaceful protest based on common understanding, rooted in love and care of our world and all in it. We were motivated by the need to demonstrate and express these feelings and to step up and be seen to do so.

Read how the vigil was covered in the press

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