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Northern Friends Peace Board

Published on: Published on: Friday 16 Nov 2018

Contributed by/From: Contributed by / From: Michael Elstub

When: @

This was my first attendance at NFPB since being nominated for the role. It was held at the meeting house in Lincoln and my challenge for the day was just in getting there and back. Northern trains were on strike again. Those few still running could get me there but not back, a problem faced by all from these regions, all chose to drive.

The day began with Quaker meeting and this gave a good chance to relax after the travel, and was followed by a challenging warm-up set, by Turning the Tide, with 3 Questions to be answered. These were:

1. What would you say are the key characteristics of Quaker action for peace in the world?
2. What support do we need to be more effective?
3. How may we get that support?

We worked at this in groups of five, giving a chance to network as the new boy. The answers we produced were different for each group, which was to be expected as we all speak from our own experience of life, but I will share our group’s results.

1. Speaking truth to power, and letting the spirit lead no matter the cost. Never giving up in promoting non-violent action. Seeing that of God in all people and being tolerant of other people’s views. Listening is often better than speaking.
2. Inner peace starts by looking after ourselves to avoid burnout. Peace work is a marathon not a sprint.
3. Ask to be relieved of roles we cannot fulfil because of being spread too thin. Ask for meeting’s support before it gets too late. Find others of similar views and share, do not burden with all responsibility on one person.

We next received a report from a member from Scotland about a week of peace protest and celebration at Faslane to bring international groups to join ICAN at the nuclear site. This lead to the validation of Scotland’s stance to eliminate the Monsters in the Loch, and the best rally at Faslane ever held.

On the return from lunch we had a report from a member of Lincoln Meeting who volunteers at the Bomber Command Centre, newly opened on the opposite side of the valley from the cathedral, used by many crews as the landmark of a safe return to home soil from wartime action over Europe. The centre has a 100 foot spire with the names of over 55,000 men lost in action on plaques, plus two peace gardens and a peace centre. A sculpture at the entrance remembers the 3R’s, Remembrance, Recognition, and Reconciliation. She then related helping at a dinner for drone pilots from a nearby base who were with their partners or wives. A speech given by the commanding officer asked for forgiveness and understanding from these, for the troubled home circumstances as a result of this work. PTSD was very much evident among those servicemen present.

The final report was of future plans for protest at the next huge Arms Fair in London, the second week in September 2019. Young Friends have requested that 1000 join their “Shoots of Resistance” protest at this event at the No Faith in War day of action.

Next meeting will be in Sheffield Meeting House in December. After further worship sharing we went our separate ways. I was able to return with the representative from Lancaster, who had travelled on the train from Skipton to Lincoln to find he could not get back. Good chatter on the way home.

Michael Elstub
NFPB representative.
Craven and Keighley AM.

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