Building peace, from local to global

Report of NFPB’s meeting in Darlington on 14th October

The remit of NFPB is to promote ‘peace in all its height and breadth’. The range of issues addressed at our most recent meeting in Darlington shows the continuing relevance of this brief.

As with many of our meetings, we like to link with local peace initiatives. On this occasion we invited Peter and Carol Greenwood to talk about the White Rose Group in Darlington , which they set up as an alternative response to far right bigotry. Inspired by the words of Jo Cox – ‘we have more in common than that which divides’, the group is developing a range of activities to put those words into action in the town. After Carol and Peter’s input, we explored in greater depth issues about how we engage in our different communities, from personal encounters to group-level activities.

From the local to the global… NFPB member Janet Fenton has been active in the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons since it was set up. NFPB had supported Janet in getting to New York for the negotiations earlier this year that led to the agreement of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (known informally as the Nuclear Ban Treaty). She was there again the week before we met, exploring possibilities of specific work on nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. Janet outlined the possibilities that the Treaty now presents for national and international action to put into place the components of a nuclear free world.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the campaign is particularly welcome, Janet emphasised, in helping raise the profile of a Treaty that so much of the established media have decided not to report on. It will also give the campaign both encouragement and resources to take the campaign forward, turning the treaty into reality. Janet thanked NFPB for their support and gave advance notice of an international demonstration that is being planned, to take place around Faslane next September.

NFPB members reported and reflected on a range of other peace activities over recent months, from witness at the DSEI arms fair, to putting on talks and performances, linking up with other Sanctuary Meetings, working with Citizens UK and much more. Our Trustees reported on their work, including the decision to withdraw from the Pensions Trust, and the development of our workshops for Meetings.

NFPB has normally had four meetings a year. In 2017 we have had three, taking into account a particularly busy autumn of competing events, as well as our involvement in the Yearly Meeting Gathering. Members agreed to resume the pattern of four meetings for the next two years. We closed, as we had gathered, in worship, thanking Friends who have served the Board in different capacities and who were completing their time as Representatives at the end of 2017.

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