Radical Sunderland priest performs ‘symbolic exorcism’ at world arms fair

Rev Chris Howson performing exorcism at London arms fair
Rev Chris Howson performing exorcism at London arms fair
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A REVEREND made a stand against military weapons at the world’s biggest arms fair by performing an exorcism.

Chris Howson, chaplain at Sunderland Minster, performed the “symbolic exorcism” of militants and greed for around 100 people at the event, which opens in London’s Docklands today for four days.

Hundreds of protestors turned out to show opposition against the weapons fair, run every other year by the Defence Security Equipment International (DSEI) at London’s ExCel.

Rev Howson helped organise the protests – spearheaded by the Occupy movement – along with various groups including Christianity Uncut, Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and Christians Against the Arms Trade.

“It is important that the church makes a stand against violence and all that leads to violence,” said the priest, who has been involved in Christian peace making issues for more than a decade. “This event is organised by a government which is happy for weapons to be sold to these countries around the world.

“We are asking people to pray and act against the preparation for war.”

The weapons fair coincided with US secretary of state John Kerry’s visit to London.

“We visited Downing Street because he was there,” said Rev Howson, who is one of the founding members of the group Wear for Peace.

“And I performed the exorcism.

“There will also be a big peace initiative lead by the Quakers which will involve Buddhist monks, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders.”

The arms fair – which will have 1,500 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors – is held with the support of the department for UK Trade and Investment as well as the Ministry of Defence.