September 2018, saw Lincoln Friends host the quarterly meeting of the Northern Friends Peace Board for the first time.
Founded in 1913, the Northern Friends Peace Board connects Quakers together across the north of Britain to advise and encourage friends in, “The active promotion of peace in all its height and breadth.” The NFPB delivers comment and thinking on topical peace concerns, promotes peace building, provides resources and helps organize events.
There was feedback from recent current events supported by the NFB, which included:
- NAE Nukes rally at Faslane
- Ride for Equality and the Common Good
- Armed Forces Day
We also had a talk from a Lincolnshire friend who is a volunteer at the International Bomber Command Centre, near Lincoln, which is now a memorial. The friend spoke of the seemingly contradictory position of being a Quaker and volunteering at a place that had been responsible for the deaths of thousands during World War II.
However, the friend said that they shared the centre’s values of, “Remembrance, recognition, and reconciliation,” explaining that as a Quaker it provides a perfect opportunity to enter into a dialogue with visitors about finding peaceful solutions.
This lead onto an open forum about responses to the centenary remembrance of World War I ending and how friends can peacefully engage with the commemorations taking place around the country. The focus of the forum centered around the white poppy and making it as visible as possible, especially by sending them to schools with an information pack.
Next, a broad discussion saw stories shared on how we can make a difference to the peace movement on both an individual and collective basis. My favourite story came from a friend who recalled another friend saying that the most they do is have a Quaker poster in their front window. However, the poster became well known locally as it featured in a nearby school’s game of children going out and finding local places of interest. The “Quaker House” became one such place of local interest!
Moving onto planning for next year, the 2019 London Arms Fair was discussed and we heard about Roots of Resistance, a campaign to get 1,000 friends protesting at the event. We also heard about Shoots of Resistance, a campaign dedicated to engage young people in protesting at the arms trade.
Next there was a brief discussion on religion and violence that focused on interfaith relations and the day ended with consideration on how we identify with peace.
I had a great day at Lincoln Friends House learning about peace activism with the NFPB. The final words, spoken as ministry, were “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”