Quakers in Britain look back at 2015

By agency reporter
January 4, 2016

Quaker work is often hidden from the public gaze. As the year draws to a close, Quakers in Britain have "lifted the curtain" for a look at some 2015 initiaives which have quietly made a difference to areas of conflict, or sowed seeds of change in local communities.2015

Quakers believe in challenging the root causes of injustice and conflict. In Kenya they started a programme of conflict resolution. In London, they a commemoration of the Hiroshima bombings was organised, at which faith leaders committed to never letting the horror be repeated.

Throughout the year, Quakers in Britain revealed the hidden aspects of military coercion. The film, The Unseen March, catalogues the rise of militarism in Britain today. The White Feather Diaries and associated peace education resources tell the untold stories of conscientious objectors in WWI.

A Quaker presence on the political stage shifted in 2015 as new Quaker MPs, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West were elected at Westminster. Many Quakers were involved with the General Election and valued the  new 'how to' election guide.

In a politically energised Scotland, a new Scottish advocacy project was established The Quaker commitment to peace was emphasised by sending all MSPs and Scottish MPs a white peace poppy.

Quakers were formally represented at five of the party political conferences. Influential 'behind the scenes' conversations took place with MPs and peers. In March, to highlight the growing gap between rich and poor, Quakers around the country started 'Equality Week'.

Swarthmoor Hall  in Cumbria, the birthplace of Quakerism, underwent a major overhaul in 2015. Its new café, like its sister in Friends House, London, serves locally sourced food, and reflects Quakers' ethical values and commitment to sustainability. Swarthmoor's beehives have been around for some time, but Friends House acquired its first two hives this year. The  bees are thriving and produced enough honey to give a jar to each member of staff.

* Watch The Unseeen March here

* Read The White Feather Diaries here

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

*Quakers in Britain http://www.quaker.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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