This is a first update from Northern Friends Peace Board for 2017. We intend to produce these updates at least four times during 2017, for Quakers Meetings in the North and other supporting and interested individuals and groups. Please get in touch if you wish to be added to our mailing list or to tell us of email or address changes.
Recent and forthcoming meetings
NFPB members met in York at the end of November for our final meeting of 2016, being joined by a number of interested Friends from around the region. We had two speakers and time for discussion and sharing of information and ideas.
NFPB member and Edinburgh Friend Janet Fenton described the process that had led to the UN committing itself to working towards a global nuclear weapons ban treaty and encouraged us to take action in urging the UK government to take a positive and active role in the forthcoming negotiations. (see below)
Michael Elstub of Settle Meeting was our second speaker in York, on the subject of Veterans for Peace . Michael ‘s account of his time in the army and concern for peace was very moving. VfP continue to grow in the UK and their members are keen to speak to groups to help give a fuller picture of life in the armed forces. We ended our last session of the year in discussion and reflection, looking ahead and exploring priorities, opportunities and resources for our work. A fuller report of the meeting is available on our website at: http://nfpb.org.uk/news/2016-12-14/inspiring-speakers-important-challenges.
Our first meeting of 2017 will be at Bolton Meeting House, on Saturday 4th March. As well receiving reports, sharing information and developing our own work, we shall be welcoming Tim Gee, working for QPSW on the issue of Forced Migration, and Hannah Larn, also working for QPSW as a one-year peaceworker at the Tim Parry, Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Friends and attenders interested in joining us for all or part of the day are welcome to attend – please contact the NFPB office for further information.
Workshops – building peace together
We are in the process of designing workshops for Friends and others. The workshops will aim to provide a time…
– for reflection and support and
– for looking at how we work together and engage with the wider community in our concern to take positive action for peace.
If your Meeting or other group would be interested in having such a workshop, please contact the NFPB office (see contact details below).
Further workshop themes are in the pipeline and we will be sharing information about these with Friends. In the meantime, if your Meeting or Quaker event would like support from us in planning or facilitating a workshop on a peace-related theme, we would be very pleased to hear from you and to discuss this further.
Nuclear weapons ban treaty
[An article on our website includes this information and related web links and will be updated with additional material as appropriate see http://nfpb.org.uk/NW_Ban_Feb_news ]
International negotiations take place in 2017 on a treaty that would ban all nuclear weapons. The Network of Christian Peace Organisations (of which we’re a member) has just published a briefing for use by individuals, organisations and churches in preparation for these negotiations. The briefing is available via our website and in printed form from our office. In the introduction it states: “We believe the abolition of all nuclear weapons is a matter of faith and spirituality that speaks of how we live together in the world, how we see one another and how we understand security.”
We are also supporting from a distance the lobby of parliament on this issue, taking place on 1st March. CND have a web page for action on this, and have also produced a briefing
There is an international website – http://nuclearban.org (set up by ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) with further resources and an easy to send pro-forma email to send to your country’s UN ambassador. It states in part “I therefore urge you to confirm your government ‘s intent to participate actively and constructively in these negotiations with the goal of adopting a robust treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. And I hope you will encourage other governments to do the same.”
Timmon Wallis gave a talk on this as part of the Hexham Debates series on 11th February. A video of the talk and discussion can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/203621981
We have yet to finalise our accounts for 2016 but we want to say thank you to Area and Local Meetings in particular for their financial support during the year. We ended the year in a stronger position than we had anticipated. This has also been helped by additional contributions from individuals and grants from charitable trusts. Our annual report and accounts will be available later in the year.
We are always pleased to attend, either just as participants, or as speakers or facilitators, other Quaker and non-Quaker events. Please get in touch if you would like a contribution from NFPB at your event.
Our website and social media pages are regularly updated. Do visit them and do let us know if there are peace-related concerns and activities that we might help publicise through these tools.
NFPB Trustees – departures and arrivals
We appoint a small group of Friends to serve as Trustees, mostly from amongst the Friends who are representatives from their Area Meetings. At the end of 2016 we said goodbye to Jette Howard (Craven & Keighley AM), Chris Butler (Brighouse West Yorkshire AM) and to Philip Latham (Northumbria AM). Jette and Philip had made particular contributions as Clerk and Assistant Treasurer respectively.
In January we welcomed Allison Challen (Wirral & Chester AM), Matthew Guest (Northumbria AM) and Lyn Pardo (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire AM). Other trustees continuing are: Robert Keeble (Leeds AM), Douglas Shaw (West Scotland AM & Clerk to Trustees), Phoebe Spence (East Cheshire AM & Treasurer) and Jill Tutton (East Scotland AM)