War In Ukraine

The war in Ukraine was the main topic for the Northern Friends Peace Board’s (NFPB) first meeting of 2022.

30 Friends gathered online, with new members joining us and most Area Meetings being represented. Some Friends were unable to stay for the whole meeting as they were supporting peace witness in different parts of the country.

About the Meeting

In considering the NFPB’s continuing work, we were only too aware of the likely effects on this of the war. From work on nuclear weapons abolition, to challenging military spending to promoting rethinking security, the work goes on but will need to adapt and change. We heard a number of suggestions for what else might be required of us in the coming period and NFPB members will continue to meet to reflect and to develop ideas for action. Trustees reported on a small increase in financial contributions from Friends in 2021, and also presented a revised governing document which was accepted by members.

In small groups and in the whole meeting, Friends had time for listening to feelings and responses to the international crisis that had developed over the previous ten days, reflecting on the implications for the world and for our work in the world. Friends acknowledged fears, distress and a sense of feeling powerless.

We were reminded of the importance and value of finding practical ways of taking action, from supporting young people, to collecting and sorting out materials for refugees, to continuing the work of building peace where we are. In some ways, what we are led to do is simple: Love. Pray. Make Peace. We heard that these words had been put on display at a Leeds Meeting House. But we also know and were reminded that neither our peace testimony nor pacifism have ever been simple; and they are not now. There was a concern that the intense media coverage of the war can be emotionally difficult to deal with; we need to look after ourselves and one another.

We need to be ready to listen, creating spaces for hearing others, acknowledging the fears and uncertainties. Building empathy and recognising our common humanity, how might we be led to take action to reach across barriers? We were reminded that this is not the only war nor the only crisis facing the world. Militarism and war are linked to other crises, from climate change to racism, from political corruption to inequality.This gives an added imperative to continue to promote and build change towards a radically different type of security. Sharing our vision and hope can encourage others who are seeking and trying to walk a different path.

Peace Vigils

The NFPB is encouraging Friends to hold peace vigils and has provided the following text in the form of a flyer to hand out:

“We stand here out of deep concern at the prospect of further major war in Europe. Our continent has seen too many periods of intense violent conflict and we know that the consequences have been devastating for those affected immediately and for subsequent generations. Humankind faces many uncertainties at this time. But we are also living at a time of great potential. There are skills and ingenuity that can be used to build a safe future for all people and for our planet. We urge all those who have influence to use this to shape a better future for the generations that come after us. War is, ultimately, a reflection of a failure in resolving differences and injustices through peaceful means. We hold in our hearts everyone facing fear and uncertainty,
and express our profound hope that war can be avoided at this time. “

Further Zoom Meetings

Throughout the day’s discussion there was a clear feeling that there should be more dedicated NFPB Zoom sessions open to all Friends, possibly in the format used by Quaker Roots (the campaign against DSEI and the wider UK arms trade). This format is to have themed meetings based around discussion, reading groups guest speakers, and spiritual growth.


The NFPB is looking for feedback on what else it can do to help Friends show support for peace in Ukraine, so if you have any suggestions then please leave a comment below.


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