NFPB members met for their last meeting of the year (and of the first 99 years of this Quaker committee) in Liverpool at the end of November. Members from all parts of the North shared in worship, in telling one another about current peace concerns and activities in their area and reflecting in more depth on a number of issues. We were pleased to support the letter to the Foreign Secretary by Paul Parker on behalf of British Friends, calling for all parties to end the violence in relation to Gaza and to work for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine.
With the Centenary of NFPB in 2013 being closely followed by the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, we heard more detail of plans to mark the first of these and discussed how we could support this. We also began to think about 2014 and how we might, with others, promote a message that is not one of glorifying war. This also tied in with a concern that is growing in our membership about the role of the military in schools. Will McCallum from Forces Watch provided us with some valuable background information about this, whilst also describing the work that ForcesWatch is undertaking. There is interest in exploring how we might work further on this, collaborating with ForcesWatch, QPSW and others.
Our members have been energetic in their efforts to engage Friends’ interest in the NFPB centenary, initially through distributing and selling our centenary calendars (copies still available). We hope that 2013 will be a year for us all to engage in discussion and reflection on the range of peace activities that NFPB has undertaken and that we are called to undertake today. A pack of materials will be sent to Meetings and we hope this will be helpful for Friends in their own learning and as an opportunity to raise the profile of Quaker peace concerns in local media and other settings.