Northern Friends Peace Board (NFPB) was set up in 1913, after a conference of Quarterly Meetings (the then regional groupings and main administrative unit amongst Quakers in Britain) in February of that year. The conference minuted that the Board was to….
‘advise and encourage Friends in the North, and through them their fellow Christians and citizens generally, in the active promotion of peace in all its height and breadth.’.
That same minute requested that those Northern Meetings should provide sufficient funds for a full-time Secretary. This has been done since that time. The current Co-ordinator (the job title changed in 1986) is the seventh to work for the Board over that period.
The work of the Board has inevitably varied over this time, but common threads throughout are:
Provision * of information, comment and thinking on topical peace concerns, including work on exploring the conditions necessary for building peace in the world.
- Publicising peace-building as an alternative to prevailing military-orientated thinking.
- Supporting individuals and organisations in responding to current challenges — including those facing (during war-times) conscription..
- Making Quaker peace concerns visible and bringing Quakers together to reflect and to develop insights and thinking.
- Building bridges between individuals and groups.
Initially a concern just of some of the Northern English Quarterly Meetings, our supporting membership soon expanded to include Friends in Scotland, in North Wales and in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire. The Quarterly Meetings were replaced by General Meetings in 1967 and at this point the responsibility for providing Representatives to, and funding for, our work was passed onto the Monthly Meetings in the area covered. In 2007/8 these became Area Meetings.
In 1985 the Board committed itself to:
- developing as a resource for supporting Friends in Meetings
- acting as a catalyst for action and thinking on peace, from the international to the personal levels
- ways of working that reflected our Quaker foundation and commitment to peaceful means and ends.
“We need to be both realistic and visionary” they minuted, reflecting on the gifts that individual Friends can each give to the endeavour and to the corporate discipline and clarity that need to be nurtured and developed.