QUAKERS IN ACTION

Quakers let their faith nurture the whole of life and so worship is not just a Sunday activity. Quakers have from their earliest times been concerned to live in the real world & try to use their faith work to heal society. The belief that all people are truly equal is central to their action. 

  • Truth - with love, about integrity, speaking or acting openly and honestly, open to new insights, challenging prejudice.
  • Peace -about positively seeking to listen and to understand other people, and how to address conflicting views, non- violently 
  • Equality - Governing all our human relationships, about valuing the Divine spark in ourselves and each other, accepting differences and respecting one another's contribution to the well being of the community
  • Simplicity - about choosing a lifestyle that puts the quality of relationships before the quantity of of possessions - values before valuables. It is about adjusting to a sustainable life and being actively concernedfor the future of the planet.


From Elizabeth Fry and her concern for prisoner’s rights in the 18th century to the work of Amnesty International with prisoners of conscience today, Friends have been influential. You will find them as key players in many of the major international Charities; – Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children for example - as well as quietly working away with local grassroots concerns. They don’t make a big noise but they will certainly be getting things done. Talking about it is not enough; action speaks louder than words in most cases.

Peace
Peace work is an area Quakers are probably best known for. Most, though not all, will probably call themselves pacifists
but how they practically express that will vary a lot. During WWII, many Friends were conscientious objectors & some were imprisoned for refusing to take up arms, but plenty served the war effort in other ways. The
Friends Ambula
nce Unit went right into the thick of the action to pick up the injured, dying and dead from the frontline. Quakers attitude to peace has always been an active one. It is not simply just the absence of war but more about finding alternatives to violence, whether we are talking about world wars, ethnic conflicts across the globe or local grassroots neighbours disputes. Its about trying to quell the seeds of conflict, resolve differences and encourage both sides in communication.  Quakers continue to be at the forefront of peace and reconciliation work in conflict zones internationally including Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. Currently Quakers in Britain manage the UK arm of the World Council for Churches project “Ecumenical Accompaniers Programme in
Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)..              

Quaker
Peace and Social Witness
EAPPI is a World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative which was established ten years ago in response to a call made by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, and Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. The mission of the EAPPI is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their nonviolent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation, monitoring the West Bank and Palestinian borders.
 The role of participants in the programme includes:

* Monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law

* Supporting acts of nonviolent resistance alongside local Palestinian and Israeli activists

* Offering protection through nonviolent presence

* Engaging in public policy advocacy

* Standing in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation. 


Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW), part of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, co-ordinates the EAPPI in Britain and Ireland, under the auspices of the World Council of Churches. Since August 2002, hundreds of Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) from twenty countries have served in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Nearly 140 of these EAs were from Britain and Ireland. A further 20 from Britain and Ireland are serving in 2012. The EAPPI is co-ordinated internationally by the World Council of Churches. Visit the WCC's EAPPI website [offsite link] for more information about the programme as a whole.