Pax Christi celebrates women peacemakers

By staff writers
June 8, 2015

At its Annual General Meeting iwhich took place in London on 6 June, Pax Christi celebrated women peacemakers and the work of its General Secretary, Pat Gaffney.

Anna Kobayashi from Brentwood Diocese, Sue Scott from Birmingham Diocese and Sheila Gallagher from Westminster Diocese received the 2015 Pax Christi Peace Award. The award, which was presented by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi, is given to affirm the work of grass roots peace activists.

Anna Kobayashi campaigned for many years against the arms trade, joining the blockade at AWE Aldermaston in prayerful witness at the Tadley Gate. She is an active member of Pax Christi, CND and CCND, Trident Ploughshares, the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp and supporter of Catholic Worker groups. Anna takes part in the Pax Christi Ash Wednesday witness at the MOD in London.

In her parish in Wickford in Essex she was a prominent supporter of the Traveller community at Dale Farm, situated next door to the Catholic Church and has been instrumental in dispelling the unjust and prejudicial feelings towards travellers and promoting peace in that respect.

She is a central figure in the organisation preparing and celebrating the annual peace service on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sue Scott has been a Pax Christi member for many years. She was also a founding member of the Midlands branch of the Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam support group.

She has been a supporter of the Palestinian cause as well as of the beatification of Franz Jaegerstaetter. She has made two exposure visits to Palestine with Pax Christi, most recently the 2015 World Assembly in Bethlehem

She keeps in contact with a group of people similarly concerned with peace issues, informing them by email of news of conferences, lectures and other events. Sue has been part of the Birmingham Circle of the Newman Association and a local choir performing at charity fund raising events.

Sheila Gallagher was nominated for the Peace Award because of her involvment with peace and justice issues since the early 80s. She was a founder member of the North London J+P (Justice and Peace) Network, for some years as its Co-ordinator. The Network lobbied for a J+P Commission for the Westminster Diocese and was a founding member.

A few years ago Sheila became aware of the need for food banks and founded the Chipping Barnet Food Bank together with her ecumenical contacts in the area.

Sheila planned and established a Peace Garden in the grounds of St.Peter's church, acknowledging the financial support from the Christian Peace Education Fund.

She frequently takes part in marches and demonstrations for peace and justice related issues and also takes part in the Ash Wednesday witness in Whitehall, London. Her example is, to many people, the embodiment of Christ's message to "do unto others as we wish done to ourselves."

The meeting also celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pat Gaffney's work with Pax Christi. Pat began working with the organisation in 1990. Jose Henrique, General Secretary of Pax Christi International who attended from Brussels, said that the British Section brings light into the international movement. Pax Christi International recently celebrated its 70th anniversary with a World Assembly in Bethlehem, Palestine. (

* Ekklesia sends warm wishes and congratulations to Pat Gaffney on her 25 years of witness for peace and non-violence.


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