The final of our four members’ meetings of 2022 was to have been at Lancaster Meeting House at the end of November, with a zoom link. Unfortunately, it coincided with a day of industrial action by rail workers, meaning that few Friends would have been able to get there. The meeting online worked well, however.
We were very pleased to welcome Lindsey Fielder Cook to the meeting, sharing first-hand her experiences and insights from the recent COP27 climate conference in Egypt, which she attended on behalf of Friends internationally. She gave a fascinating insight into the process and reported on significant small openings and signs of positive change, alongside the enormity of the challenge in building safety and security for all. See also: https://fwcc.world/quakers-push-for-justice-at-un-climate-talks/
The meeting was also joined by John Cooper, the Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) in England and Scotland. FoR is one a number of groups and networks that are, with NFPB, part of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations. John reminded Friends of the foundations of FoR, with Quaker Henry T. Hodgkin’s handshake and commitment to Friedrich Siegmund-Schültze at Cologne station, stating “We are one in Christ and can never be at war”. John reflected on the activities of FoR since then, and on some of the current challenges and openings for collaboration between our two organisations, drawing attention to their new strapline: ‘Building Peace, Seeking Justice, Bringing Hope’
As we have reported previously, the NFPB office had to move by mid-December. We are grateful for the welcome by Bolton Quaker Meeting in making a room available at the town-centre Meeting House. We had been based in the Methodist’s Victoria Hall since the 1990s and had to reduce our office contents for the move to a smaller space; NFPB members have helped with this and with the move itself. Whilst working-from-home was a necessary alternative for much of 2020-21, it is good to be able to access and use the resources housed in the office, and we look forward to further in-person work with Friends in 2023.
NFPB is very grateful for the continued generous support from Friends across the North of Britain in funding our work, during a time of many challenges for individuals and Meetings. During the coming year, our aims include:
• Developing ways of meeting and working that enable wider participation.
• Continued collaboration with Quakers and non-Quakers in promoting awareness, understanding and action for peace.
• Making effective links between urgent issues of climate, and social and economic justice and peace.
We hope we shall have the opportunity to contribute to, learn from and support peace action by Friends and Meetings. Please do get in touch with news to share, enquiries about resources or other ways in which we might support you. NFPB can be a valuable network for exchange and collaboration, through our members and directly. We look forward to hearing from and meeting many of you in the coming year.