Faslane (Her Majesty’s Naval Base) on the Clyde above Glasgow is where Britain’s nuclear weapons are kept in the form of nuclear submarines armed with Trident missiles.
Quaker Meeting for Worship is held outside the main gates of Faslane every other month. Quakers meet in silent worship for 45 minutes, anyone can minister (speak). It is a time for worship but also silent protest. It’s one of many peace vigils held across the UK.
When we were there in June the police came past in cars and on foot to check what was happening. One Friend stepped out of Meeting to explain what was going on.
After Meeting for Worship we were invited to take a tour of the base, from the outside of course!
It was interesting to see the base from up above as have never seen that view and suddenly you see how immense it is. Interesting also to see the police response to us, they arrived as we stood on a hill above the base and then kept appearing, keeping an eye on our activity.
We were fortunate to have Janet and David, two experienced activists, guiding us, we were also shown maps of the site which were very useful to help us understand the base and its operation.
The police at Coulport were obviously very bothered by our presence, they did not want us to park or stop there. I felt too intimidated by them to get a proper photo. When we parked further away and walked back they asked us to stand behind a short metal barrier ‘for our own safety’ yet behind them were nuclear weapons capable of mass destruction.
Finally we looked at Peaton Glen Wood, a piece of land bought by a peace activist Georgina Smith, strangely enough acquired from the Ministry of Defence. It is a few yards from the Coulport nuclear bunkers but a little haven of nature and peace, used for summer peace camps and other events. It’s on the edge of the loch and reminds us what this place was like before the Faslane base arrived and will be after it goes.
We are called to live ‘in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars’. Do you faithfully maintain our testimony that war and the preparation for war are inconsistent with the spirit of Christ? Search out whatever in your own way of life may contain the seeds of war. Stand firm in our testimony, even when others commit or prepare to commit acts of violence, yet always remember that they too are children of God.