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Methodists mark 100 years of Conscientious Objection

Sun 20 Mar 2016
By Antony Bushfield

A church service is being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the right to refuse to fight in war.

Englesea Brook Chapel in Crewe will welcome people from across the country to remember the Conscientious Objection law introduced during World War One.

Led by the Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal, former President of the Methodist Conference, part of the commemorations will be a service including prayers and reflections on the change in legislation that occurred while WWI was raging 100 years ago.

The Methodist Church joined other denominations in supporting the government after war was declared but many felt uncomfortable with the violence.

Some Christians felt they could not go to war because the Bible taught them not to kill.

Dr Jill Barber, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, historian and Director of Englesea Brook Museum said: "At the start of the First World War, many Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists were challenged to reconsider their attitude to war and peace.

"Methodists such as Bert Brocklesby and Jack Foister faced prison, rebuke from their families or church community, and even death, for their principled refusal to take up arms.

"As a result of their courageous stance alongside others, Britain became the first nation to enshrine in law the right to Conscientious Objection."

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