This is an overview of some recent meetings and activities, with pointers to current and new resources relating to our work.
NFPB members met – still by video conference – in June and September. At our June meeting, We reflected together on the situation in Israel and Palestine, following the recent escalation of violent tensions and attacks. We heard from Friends who have been active in a number of different ways, from dialogue groups to Palestine solidarity campaigning in the UK, to serving as EAPPI volunteers. Particular concern was expressed about how much British mainstream news media do not report about the situation. We heard of the profound and widespread distress that many Palestinians feel as a result of the ongoing occupation and other policies of the Israeli government. Friends were reminded of the range of nonviolent initiatives that are seeking to build justice and peace, many of which are listed at:
In September, we were pleased to welcome David Gee, introducing a session on the importance of hope in our work for peace. David began by reflecting on the fragility of hope. He suggested that hope is a response to the need for realignment, responding to the old stories of success with a different vision. He acknowledged the sense of loss and despair that we often feel, but in activism these often sit alongside hope and joy, affirmation of those things that are life-giving. It can feel messy, but sometimes hope and history do rhyme. He asked us to reflect on how we cultivate that middle-space. In groups and in further reflection with David, Friends heard of the importance of community, of getting together, of balancing the sense of urgency with a need to slow down, of giving ourselves the things that we need in the midst of action, of self-love and being the change we wish to see. Of living in the spirit. David has written further on this theme in his recently-published book, Hope’s Work.
As at all of our meetings, we build in time for personal connection and for sharing information and news of peace concerns. Our members have been active on- and off-line, valuing the possibilities of meeting with others from further afield and also of being active again locally and with other peace campaigners. The arms trade has been a particular focus, with witness in London during the DSEI arms fair, and also at different locations of arms sales events and arms production. Acts of public witness in relation to nuclear weapons, climate change and other concerns have also been taking place. See our calendar, for forthcoming opportunities.
We have been able to run a number of workshops for Friends, including those during the Yearly Meeting Gathering, and for Friends in the North West of England, online and in person, focussing on different aspects of militarism and security. We are also contributing to collaborative work through a number of networks on these concerns (see links below), and producing regular information resources for NFPB members and other interested Friends (see our Peace Round-up mailings)
At our September meeting, NFPB’s trustees asked those present for guidance on when, how and whether to resume in-person meetings. Friends want to meet again, either locally and/or as a full group. It is likely that the next NFPB meeting on 27 November will be a hybrid meeting, with the possibility of smaller regional opportunities for NFPB members to meet up as well.
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Links to some of the peace initiatives and actions with which we are involved, through NFPB members and our paid staff.