Seeds of peace, witnessing against weapons

NFPB member Jette Howard in conversation with Mashuda Shaikh

We met on Saturday (28th Feb) at Carlton Hill meeting house in Leeds, this being the first of our members’ meetings of the year. In our worship, we remembered Geoffrey Carnall and Christine Davis who had died recently. Representatives came from North Scotland, Nottingham and all areas between. Other Friends from Leeds and the surrounding area also joined us.

Our speaker in the morning was Mashuda Shaikh, who works as Heritage Officer for Kirklees Local Authority and has also been part of our project group on ‘Building Peace in Diverse Britain’ for the past four years. She talked from a personal perspective as a Muslim woman growing up in West Yorkshire, about her work promoting mutual understanding, peace and participation and in particular about the importance of empowering women and supporting young people in becoming active citizens. Her commitment to working for good in her community and beyond shone through in her talk, and many Friends spoke of being inspired by her and by the work and activities she described.

During an extended lunch break we supported Leeds Friends in manoeuvring a large silouhette of a trident submarine onto the steps of the nearby University buildings for a short act of witness. We later considered a number of peace concerns in relation to the General Election, hearing from Friends who are or had been candidates and identifying key messages and questions to explore with candidates. As well as Trident, areas of focus included: Sustainable Security, Peace and Prejudice, Policing, and Militarism. A Northern Friends Peace Board leaflet addressing some of the questions related to Sustainable Security is available as a PDF .

As usual, Friends had the opportunity during the day to share information and accounts of peace concerns in their areas and to engage in conversation. We concluded the day with a period of worship, during which we reflecting on the seeds of peace that we can each plant and nurture.

The next members’ meeting of NFPB will be in Glasgow on 13th June.

dove..