Posted on 26 March 2023
This an update of the work carried out by the Northern Friends Peace Board (NFPB) in 2022.
COP27 – Loss and Damage
The NFPB welcomed Lindsey Fielder Cook to the November meeting, sharing her first-hand experiences and insights from the recent COP27 climate conference in Egypt, which she attended on behalf of Friends internationally.
The main success story from COP27 was the pledge for a creation of a Loss and Damage fund to financially support lower-income nations who have been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. This fund would be paid for by wealthier nations, who have historically been the biggest polluters.
COP27 ended in extra days with a last-minute agreement to establish the loss and damage fund which Quakers alongside many others have been calling for, but without specific agreements to phase out fossil fuels by developed nations which was considered a key clause to ensure rising temperatures remain within 1.5°C.
In an interview with the World Council of Churches, Lindsey Fielder Cook explained “We are here just for a small moment, and we are here to help bring God’s love into that world. We don’t have all the solutions ourselves, but we have that strength through our faith to love, to be compassionate and to have a vision.”
Fellowship of Reconciliation
The NFPB also had a talk given by John Cooper, the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR). He gave a brief overview of the history of the FOR and how the English Quaker Henry Hodgkin c-founded the organisation in 1914 with the belief that, “We are one in Christ and can never be at war”.
The FoR was founded according to the following statements:
That love as revealed and interpreted in the life and death of Jesus Christ, involves more than we have yet seen, that is the only power by which evil can be overcome and the only sufficient basis of human society.
That, in order to establish a world-order based on Love, it is incumbent upon those who believe in this principle to accept it fully, both for themselves and in relation to others and to take the risks involved in doing so in a world which does not yet accept it.
That therefore, as Christians, we are forbidden to wage war, and that our loyalty to our country, to humanity, to the Church Universal, and to Jesus Christ our Lord and Master, calls us instead to a life-service for the enthronement of Love in personal, commercial and national life.
That the Power, Wisdom and Love of God stretch far beyond the limits of our present experience, and that He is ever waiting to break forth into human life in new and larger ways.
That since God manifests Himself in the world through men and women, we offer ourselves to His redemptive purpose to be used by Him in whatever way He may reveal to us.
John then spoke about how these values connect closely to the values of the NFPB and how ties could be strengthened in the future.
DSEI will take place in London this September, 2023; and Quaker Roots are preparing ourselves and strengthening our community to build a creative, vibrant and radical Quaker response. As a core-group, Quaker Roots is currently looking at supporting a Faith day of Action during the set-up of the arms fair, working with others on a Peace Pilgrimage, and witnessing as the the arms fair begins.
Several online sessions are planned in the build-up to September. These will focus on the following:
- Hear more about our plans;
- Share where you are currently feeling led;
- Connect with each other;
- Begin planning for DSEI and beyond!
If you wish to take part and want more details, please visit the Quaker Roots: Resisting The Arms Trade page.
War in Ukraine Update
As the war has continued, so has the NFPB’s commitment in calling for both an immediate ceasefire and peaceful resolution to the conflict. Our testimony manifests as a cumulative set of actions, continually tested and added to over centuries. These actions are diverse in form, but have been broadly united by:
Quakers are a people who follow after peace, love and unity. Our peace testimony is our witness to the Truth as we experience it.
- Refusal to kill,
- Relief of suffering,
- Building the institutions of peace, and
- Supporting peacebuilding and removing the causes of war
At the onset of the full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Friends World Committee for Consultation issued a Christian Call for Peace, affirming that invasion and occupation are the opposite of Christ’s universal call to reconciliation and unity, and echoing church statements in many countries, including Ukraine, calling for an immediate ceasefire replaced by a peacemaking dialogue. This call would echo the Golden Rule, which is a foundational value of all major world religions, has the potential to eliminate violence, and helps us to recognize one another.
Almost by definition, peacemaking often involves engaging with people making war and understanding the reasons they do so. Nevertheless, our vocation as a peace church is to seek and make real the peaceful alternatives to armed conflict, which with God’s help, are possible, and to ensure that the long-lasting human costs of war are not forgotten or neglected.
We continue to uphold the right to refuse to kill. We stand with conscientious objectors on all sides of this conflict, with the people in Russia who stand up against their leaders’ belligerent actions, and the people in Ukraine employing creative forms of nonviolent civil resistance.
If you wish to read previous statements made by Quakers about the war in Ukraine then please see visit the War In Ukraine page.
Network of Christian Peace Organisations
NFPB joined with other members of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations in writing to the UK government on the occasion of the second anniversary of the TPNW (the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) coming into legal force. The letter states “This Treaty represents the global majority who live without nuclear weapons and wish to see them eradicated. We are writing to you to urge the FCDO to attend future TPNW review meetings with a view to signing the TPNW.“