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HMS Vanguard carried out the first Trident missile test firing in May 1994

The United Reformed Church the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, and the Quakers have said that the proposals to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system are 'unwarranted' and 'unethical.'

This announcement comes in advance of the Parliamentary debate on Trident, where the UK Government will seek approval to spend £41 billion on building new submarines to carry nuclear weapons.

Read more: Don't replace 'unwarranted' and 'unethical' Trident, say Churches

In its Monday morning business session, the United Reformed Church General Assembly passed resolution 14, which authorises elders and accredited lay preachers to preside at the sacraments if a willing minister is not available. After lengthy discussion, resolution 14 was passed, recognising disagreement.

The accompanying resolutions – 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 – all of which enable and support the authorised elders resolution – were voted on together; they also passed, recognising disagreement.

Read more: Assembly affirms authorised elders

Resolution 33 concerned the URC giving support to an international Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty which would operate in a similar way to other treaties banning indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs.

Convenor of the mission committee the Revd Tracy Lewis put the resolutions into context reminding Assembly that since 1983 the URC has made clear commitments to peacemaking supporting multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties.

Ms Lewis said: 'In an era where there are new threats in the area of nuclear warfare such as cyber-terrorism, there is an opportunity for the United Reformed Church to give a clear moral perspective in a contentious area.

Read more: URC supports Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty