Thirty Friends gathered online on 20th February, for the first of this year’s periodic NFPB informal meetings. NFPB members and others who share our concerns used the opportunity to introduce themselves – with a good number of new NFPB representatives being amongst them – and to reflect on areas of inspiration and hope.
Following a week of warmer weather, Friends were pleased to note the first signs of spring, alongside cautious hope that we could see an end to the period of lockdown and the worst of the current phase of the pandemic. It has been a hard year, with Friends both valuing the ability to keep connected through video conference, whilst also acknowledging its and our own limitations.
Political changes in the United States and the coming into legal force of the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons were felt as hopeful signs on the bigger stage. There is a lot more that needs to change in both contexts and we hope that NFPB can support Friends in following up the widespread celebration of the treaty.
We heard from a number of Friends who are active in supporting refugees and asylum seekers, with support from Quaker Meetings and other churches. There was also activity in different parts of the North to develop understanding and action on issues around black lives matter and white supremacy.
Looking ahead, Friends were realistic about the continuing harsh reality of violent conflict, and expressed disappointment that the UK had not followed the United States in ending its support for Saudi Arabia in that context. We had been encouraged to hear news the previous day of QPSW and AFSC’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination of CAAT and Mwatana for Human Rights, working in Yemen to defend human rights. We were urged to continue to raise our concerns with members of parliament.
We concluded our time together online with a short period of worship, looking forward to the first full meeting of NFPB, taking place online on 6th March from 9.30am