Pancakes for peace

Stuck for inspiration this Shrove Tuesday? Look no further.  We’ve created a little resource to help get your party started.  We’ve pulled together a recipe, made a little quiz and even written a prayer just for you (and God).

If you’re already making pancakes on Tuesday, invite your neighbours and share the fun!

It’s free to download, just let us know if you’d like any extra FoR resources by emailing
There are Gift Aid forms on the second page – please print out as many as you need.

Happy flipping!

Pancakes for Peace resource – PDF

Address causes of war, says Bishop

We rounded off our centenary last Saturday, 17th January, with a service to remember the witness of FoR members and supporters over the last 100 years and to give thanks to God for guidance and strength. The sermon was delivered by David Walker, Bishop of Manchester

A copy of the press release, which has been sent around to various media contacts, is available here.

People were very moved by David Walker’s sermon and as people have been asking for a copy, we’re posting it on our website. He’s happy for it to be distributed, but please mention who said it and that it was on this occasion. You can read it online below, or download as a PDF

Sermon by David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, at FoR centenary service
St Mary the Virgin University Church, Oxford on 17th January 2015

Our reading from St Luke a few minutes ago described Jesus entering into Jerusalem. He wept over a city that even though its name described it as a place of peace didn’t know what would really make for its peace. I was in Jerusalem myself just a few weeks ago, for the first time in my life. Whilst it was wonderful to visit so many holy sites, it was no more peaceful in 2014 than it was 2000 years ago. We took refuge in a Franciscan church one morning whilst we heard the noise of firecrackers and military weaponry just a few metres away from us, as young Palestinians clashed with the Israeli Armed Forces. Later that same day I breathed in teargas for the first time, when I was caught up in an attack at a tram stop in the centre of the city. Into other incidents that same day people simply waiting for their tram to arrive were killed when vehicles were driven into the queues.

You don’t need to be caught up in armed and violent conflict to understand the urgent need for peacemaking, but it helps!

The Fellowship of Reconciliation began 100 years ago just as Europe was plunging itself once again into war. My grandfather, though he must’ve been extremely young at the time, fought in that war. Some of my earliest memories are of him as an old man, suffering from serious mental illness, as the effects of what he had seen, and what he had taken part in, so many years previously, came back to haunt him. A large part of the final year or two of his life was spent in a mental hospital somewhere near Stockport. I remember visiting him there with my grandma and my parents.

You don’t have to see the life-long damage caused by war in your own family members, in order to understand the urgent need for peacemaking, but it helps!

The UK, it has to be said, remains a pretty safe country for most of us most of the time. Whilst there may be a heightened sense of risk from terrorism, I can recall as a teenager living through the height of the IRA bombing campaign in mainland Britain. Nevertheless, what happens here, now just as much as in the 1970s, is attributed to what has been done by way of military action, in the name of our country and its perceived allies, elsewhere. Whether it be Ireland just across a short body of water, or the Middle East, much further away.

You don’t have to make that link between what is done in the name of our country far away and what then occasionally is brought home to our own streets in order to understand the urgent need for peacemaking, but it helps!

So thank you for what you are, thank you for what you do, and thank you for having done it consistently for 100 years, often in the teeth of public opinion. A radically pacifist approach has never been at the mainstream of British public life, and may never be so, but you hold an important part of the debate. You keep all of us thinking about both the impact of conflict and the urgency of making peace. You challenge what G K Chesterton famously spoke of in his hymn as, “the lies of tongue and pen” to which most human beings for much of the time remain enthralled.

So let me encourage you to go on with the task of radical peacemaking as you begin your second century. And as I do so, let me draw upon the privilege you have given me in allowing me to address you today, to suggest some of the key aspects of that peacemaking which will be necessary for the 21st-century.

Tackling the causes of war

The twentieth century saw the causes of war shifting from imperial ambition, to economic markets, and then on to natural resources, in particular oil. A few months ago I met with the Chief Fire Officer for Greater Manchester. First he showed me the latest technological advancements that would allow his officers to put out fires faster, and with less risk to their lives and safety than ever before. Then he explained that less and less of his firefighters’ work is about putting fires out. Their primary focus has moved to preventing them from happening in the first place. He would rather have staff fitting smoke detectors in people’s homes and reminding us to be careful with the chip pan than extinguishing blazes.

Seeking to prevent wars happening may well continue to include time honoured methods. There will always be a place interventions like the mass marches that attempt to forestall specific conflicts, as people did in their millions during the run up to the disastrous Iraq War of 2003. But how much better it is to come into the debate earlier. If the wars for access to natural resources in the last century focussed on oil, it is likely that in the current century the attention will shift to safe and secure supplies of water. A few weeks ago I walked down to the shores of the Dead Sea. It’s a slightly longer stroll than it was historically. The level of the sea has dropped alarmingly over recent years, as an increasing amount of the water that used to reach it is now being extracted further up the river, in order to irrigate recent settlements.

I know that you are keen to make Climate Change a thrust of your work this year. I would wish to endorse that as strongly as I can. It is also a major focus of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England, on which I sit.

Challenging the methodology of war

We are sold a myth about war nowadays. We are encouraged to see it as something that, even when it involves our own nation’s military, is more akin with a computer game than real life. Guided missiles and drones take out targets with apparently no cost on our side. And if occasionally the wrong target is hit, then that is written off in the weasel words “collateral damage”. Yet when our casual attitude to the consequences of our warfare are cited by terrorists as the grounds for their radicalisation and their atrocities, we act shocked and surprised.

Nuclear weapons have, to pick an ironic metaphor, largely dropped off the radar in recent times. But that doesn’t mean the fight for their elimination needs to be slackened. The same goes for biological and advanced chemical weaponry. The public narrative may be have moved away from these towards the much more low technology battles fought with Kalashnikovs and suicide bombing attacks, but the challenge to advanced weaponry needs to remain firm.

And let me invite you to consider a new priority. It was announced very recently that the latest joint war games between the UK and the USA are to focus on cyber attacks. The two countries will simulate attacks on each other’s systems and then seek to defend those assaults. They will learn a great deal about their defensive capabilities and robustness. They will also learn to hone their skills for potential future attacks against others. Don’t be fooled for a moment into imagining that cyber warfare only has virtual casualties. If major computer systems go down then lives, many lives, are put at risk.

Highlighting the human impact of war

A few years ago friend of mine was working as the chaplain at hospital ward which was the main UK location for treating service personnel who had been injured on the battlefield. It was a posting that nobody was expected to remain in for more than a maximum of about eighteen months, because the demands of spending every day with young military casualties and their families was just too much. Many of them had experienced life changing injuries. Some wished they had died on the battlefield rather than come home as badly and permanently scarred and maimed as they were. The distress, frustration and anger reached deep into their families: parents, fiancées, friends. The chaplain was often the only person on hand to soak up this emotional tidal wave.

UK squaddies are not the enemies of the reconciliation movement, more often they are the victims of war. In a few months’ time we will commemorate in Manchester Cathedral the centenary of one particular day when many hundreds of young men from Salford were killed going over the top of their First World War trench. Today, as it was a hundred years ago, most young people don’t join up because they want to kill and maim others, and certainly they don’t join up because they want to be maimed or killed themselves. They come from the poorest communities, where the life choices are the most limited. Military service offers them the potential of a way out.

Their stories need to be told and heard. Many of us are old enough to remember the attempts made by political leaders to prevent those who had been wounded in the Falklands Islands from marching in the end of war commemoration. I was honoured to be present at Manchester University recently when Simon Weston, who suffered disfiguring wounds in that conflict, was awarded an honorary degree. Try to make alliances with the charities and bodies that support wounded service personnel on issues you can work together on. At the same time you can respect the fact that you may have profound differences from these organisations on other issues.

A final word from my schooldays

The Grammar School I went to in Manchester took a very unusual line. All boys were taught history but none of us was ever entered for the O Level exam. The school didn’t like the examination curriculum offered. We learned about the history of our city and its people. We discovered how, in 1819, when the men who had returned from the Napoleonic Wars to massive unemployment went with their families to plead with the city authorities, they were mown down by the militia in what came to be known as the Peterloo massacre. When we came to study the First World War we paid no attention to the dates and places of battle, nor to the generals who commanded and their tactics. Instead we learned the songs of protest and lament that the men in the trenches composed and sang. And we learned the poems of men such as Owen and Sassoon. We discovered something of what the experience of war was really like. Those history lessons helped me to understand what my grandad had been through. Why the final years of his life had been as they were.

And why peacemaking remains as urgent today as when his generation were being massacred in Flanders fields.

Bishop to address peacemaking service

9/1/2015 – For immediate release

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Contact: Emma 01865 250781


Christian peace charity the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) will conclude its centenary year with a service led by Bishop of Manchester David Walker at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford at 2pm on Saturday 17 January 2015.

The ecumenical service will include contributions from FoR members and supporters, as well as stories from the UK and around the world. The service is open for anyone to attend and a retiring collection will be taken for the work of FoR.

Chair of Trustees, Richard Bickle said:

“As we reflect on the hundred years since the outbreak of World War One, the vital work of reconciliation has rarely enjoyed a higher profile featuring as it did in the Queen’s Christmas Message, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas sermon and the Pope’s New Year address.

The service provides an opportunity for members and supporters to give thanks for the work of Christian peacemakers and commit ourselves anew to work for peace and reconciliation.”

The service will include a presentation to retiring FoR Director Millius Palayiwa.

Richard Bickle said “Millius is retiring at the end of our highly successful Centenary Year, after four years of service. We recognise his significant contribution over this period and thank him in particular for the successful co-ordination of the Centenary celebrations and the raised profile of our organisation.”


Notes for Editors:
– The Fellowship of Reconciliation is a Christian peace charity. It was formed in 1914 to support people who held a belief that war in all its forms was morally wrong.
– Today the Fellowship works to support grassroots peacemakers in areas of conflict through its International Peacemakers’ Fund and equips its members to campaign, act and pray for peace.
– FoR in England is part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.
– Further information is available at

Air strikes – what next?

Devastatingly, UK MPs voted in support of carrying out air strikes in Iraq. This is a terrible result for the civilians in the area and for the country. We hardly need to mention Tony Blair’s mistakes to see that it was a bad idea in 2003 and it’s a terrible idea now. The result was 524 to 43. One of the people who voted against was an aide to the shadow defence secretary. They were sacked as a direct result.

There is still plenty that can be done to stop the situation escalating.

Via your MP
You can find out how your MP voted here. Write to your MP (find them here) either thanking them for voting against, or telling them that you object to military action; that you are opposed to the use of ground troops or military action in Syria; and that not taking military action is not the same as doing nothing.  Britain has been part of humanitarian aid efforts but now is counteracting that with strikes which could easily result in civilian casualties.

The Quakers wrote an excellent open letter to David Cameron. You could use this for inspiration, or take a look at Stop the War’s article on what can be done instead. Also check out their news interview. Very measured but firm responses.

Make it clear that something needs to be done about the situation, but that military force is never the solution.  There are some more examples of why it’s such bad news, in case your MP is one of those who seems to have a penchant for war.  Pax Christi International have said they fear the air strikes will “serve as little more than a recruiting tool for the extremist group”.

With your faith community
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said today in the House of Lords that, “in the here and now, there is justification for the use of armed force”.  Given an opportunity to witness to the gospel of the prince of peace, the head of the CofE came down on the side of violence and militarism.

The Quakers have already sent a clear message that Justin’s view is not the view of many Christians.  We need to carry on making this clear.
Talk to your elders. Hang a banner outside showing opposition to the air strikes. Talk to the children about nonviolence in Sunday School.
We need to show our support to local Muslim communities, who will no doubt become more and more marginalised. Extend the hand of interfaith friendship and let them know you realise that the atrocities being committed by extremists do not reflect Islam.

Here’s a prayer you might like to use in a vigil, a service, or in private prayer:

Christ, grant us your peace.
Help us find ways and means
Which bring safety and hope,
Not exacerbation of suffering.

Bear with us as we make mistakes,
Are slow to act and quick to wage war.
Help us to see people, not problems
And to seek justice, not victory.

Teach us to mend broken structures of power,
To hold leaders to account, to take our place in decision-making and
to stand up to violence and its preparation.


Publicity: marches and media
If you can, join Pax Christi’s vigil for Peace on 2nd October.  Stop the war have another March in London on 4th October at Temple Place at 1pm.

Speak to the media: there are conversations going on on the radio about it and we need to make sure the anti-war side is represented and has a loud voice.

Try calling LBC (London’s Biggest Conversation on 97.3 FM, telephone number 0345 60 60 973) & BBC Radio 5 Live (AM: 693 kHz, 909 kHz, telephone number 0500 909693.) For a list of local BBC stations, including in London –

If you see more useful information, or related events, let us know and we’ll put them up.

FoR postcard answers

You may have picked up one of our postcards with a quick quiz on. If you missed them, here’s what we were asking:

1. How many conscientious objectors were there in WWI?

2. How much is spent  in the UK on
militarising school education?

3. How many nuclear weapons are there in the world?

4. Who said, “The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”?

5. Which area is endorsed more by the UK government: health or “defence”?


If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now…






The answers?  Some are simpler than others.

1.  There were around 20,000 conscientious objectors in the UK during WWI.  In New Zealand there were 2,600 and in the USA there were 5,500.   Some COs died in prison. (1)  Figures for other countries are harder to find, but there was a widespread movement of resisting war across Europe and thousands of women took part in relief work.

2.  It’s hard to put an exact figure on it.  But here are some things which contribute to it:

  • £10.85million expanding Combined Cadet Forces in state schools (2)
  • £3.3million on “alternative provision with a military ethos” delivered by military people, for children permanently excluded from school. (2)
  • £250million spent by the MoD on “youth engagement” – ie recruitment.   Britain is the only country in the EU to recruit children into the military. (2)
  • £1.9million on Troops to Teachers – retraining ex-military as teachers.  This hasn’t worked out quite as well as planned, despite Gove saying that, “Every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos.” (3)

3.  Britain alone has around 200 nuclear warheads, housed in its four Trident submarines in Scotland. (4) and (5)  The nine states which have nuclear weapons clock up around 17,000 warheads – enough to obliterate the Earth a few times over and many of which are reay to be deployed at the flick of a switch.(5) and (6)

4.  United Nations Secretary-General, BAN Ki-moon, speaking in 2012 at the opening of the UN conference in Mexico. (7)  He went on to talk about how we need to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

5.  Given how much the NHS is being carved up and sold to the highest bidder, and considering the support the military gets in schools, it’s hardly difficult to see whether health or war, sorry defence, are supported more by “our” government.    The arms trade is subsidised by £700million per year and our new Foreign Secretary is the old Defence Secretary, so clearly there are loads of transferable skills between snuggling up with the military and talking with our neighbours.


So, how many did you get right?  Free copy of Outside Holiness – The spirituality of Resistance  to the first person to tell us that they scored 100%.









RUSI airpower conference

Event info from the RUSI airpower conference vigil on 9th July.  There are very good reports of it at the bottom of the page.

For press release click here.

Rusi air 2


So Church House conference centre is at it again: yet another arms-sponsored event.  A venue in Westminster owned by the church and raising revenue for the CofE.  The church investment policy rules out the majority of the sponsors, yet if they possibly can profit from these companies, they will. All this whilst ejecting disabled protesters from their land. Not much of a message of peace, huh?

This time, BAE, Lockheed, Finmeccanica et al will fund a conference of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a military think tank.  The “brains of the MoD” as someone put it.  In an article in the Church Times (27 June) about FoR and Pax Christi’s recent vigil outside the last arms-sponsored conference held at Church House just last month, the CofE, in an act of very poor impartiality, said that,

“The RUSI is a long-established and respected independent think tank.   As a research body and policy forum, it provides independent thinking and objective analysis on issues relating primarily to security and defence.”

This is not independent thought.  This is facilitating better and more contracts for arms dealers.  This is preparation for war.

It is cause for concern when the church defends an institution which goes hand-in-hand with arms trade sponsorship.  Saab sponsor their Land Warfare events.  Thales fund the Sea Power conferences.  Missile makers MBDA and drones manufacturers BAE sponsor Air Power conferences.

The conference is 9th-10th July, starting at 12pm.  We’ll have a vigil of resistance for an hour during registration on the first day (Wednesday), while people in military uniform are walking in to cosy up with arms dealers in Church property.

MEET OUTSIDE METHODIST CENTRAL HALL AT 10:45 to split into two groups.

Bring your friends. Bring your dog. Bring people you haven’t seen for a year but know they too want arms dealers out of the church.

If there are enough of us, we’ll gather then split into two groups to cover (prayerfully, not blocking) both entrances: one opposite Methodist Central Hall, the other round the back on Great Smith St.

Bring banners!  No need to keep them polite but nothing abusive – we’re all about the nonviolence, yo.

For ideas of what you can do before the day, whether or not you’re able to come, see the Action Sheet: Word document (save to view) or PDF (click to view).

Sign the petition, which will go to Justin Welby, here:

More info including for a copy of the press release email or call 01865 250781

Read a couple of great write-ups by Ekklesia and Symon Hill.

Vigil at church house #Land

Photo: Dan Barnes-Davies for FoR England

Photo: Dan Barnes-Davies for FoR England


The vigil outside the RUSI Land Warfare conference today was a success, hoorah!  Eight Christians turned out for a vigil in protest against Church House (owned by the CofE) hosting a military conference funded by arms dealers.

We were asked to move a few times (including a warning about calling the police), but the most entertaining was from the security chappy sporting a British Legion pin and a Help for Heroes lanyard.  He asked us to move because “political protests” were not allowed on the private land.  Clearly, raising money for those injured by weapons is a completely different, non-political matter to objecting to their production in the first place.

A man from RUSI offered us the chance to go inside and take part in the conference.  We politely turned down his offer, saying we’d rather draw attention to the sponsorship rather than sit at the back while it goes ahead.  One of our number, Christian writer Symon Hill, asked whether we could come to the “Chief of Air Staff’s Air Power Conference” on the 9th July.   He was more hesitant about that, so we’ll follow up with an email and see if we are allowed to see what of sort event BAE, Lockheed, Finmeccanica et al are funding.  We’re fairly confident it’s not going to be non-military attitudes to conflict transformation.

Other than that, the general public were curious about what we were speaking out against, many took photos and lots of thumbs-up.  They seemed as surprised as we were that a church building welcomes arms dealers…

We then went to Methodist Central Hall for breakfast and were asked to leave our banners in the porch, “because the church has to be neutral at all times”.  Says who?!*

Do come to the vigil at the (sigh) next arms-sponsored conference at Church House, on 9th July at 10:45am. 

*I wonder if they know about the great stuff the Methodist church does about arms and violence in general?

The event was covered in the Church Times:

no. 7893, p9

no. 7893, p9

Silent Vigil – Land Warfare conference

RUSI, the military think tank, have a history of organising arms-sponsored conferences in Church House, a conference centre which raises money for the Church of England and under the care of the Archbish.  The CofE’s investment policy rules out arms manufacturers, so we’re baffled as to why they’re happy to host a conference sponsored by weapons makers let alone profit from it.

Two years ago, there was a conference about “The Future of Air Power”, to which many people objected:

Church house 2

However, despite many letters, newspaper articles and general nonviolent fist-waving, they’re hosting TWO MORE.  The first is tomorrow, on the wonderful theme of “Land Warfare”.  More info on their website.

Join FoR, Pax Christi, Christianity Uncut, Ekklesia and CAAT Christian Network on Tuesday 24th June at 8am for a silent prayer vigil to welcome the delegates to the two-day conference.

We’ve written to various people in charge of bookings at Church House, so let’s hope they decide to cancel the Air Power conference on 9th-10th July.  Its sponsors include (you couldn’t make this stuff up) BAE, Lockheed Martin, Finmeccanica and General Atomics.  Looks like it’ll be about drones, then.

The arms trade supports conferences like this in order to push for more military intervention and “security” rather than funding nonviolent methods of conflict transformation.  While we recognise the humanity of each and every arms dealer, their profession has no place in a house of prayer.

There are facebook events where details will appear: For the Land warfare vigil and the Air Power conference.

Symon Hill, Christian activist and author of Digital Revolutions: Activism in the Internet Age commented:

“Two years ago, thousands of people, including many Anglicans, voiced their dismay at the willingness of Church House to host an arms dealers’ conference. I met with a senior member of Church House staff and shared my concerns. Now, it’s happening again. The Christian Church cannot be neutral in the face of sins such as militarism and the arms trade. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, resisted injustice with active nonviolence. Let’s seek to give our loyalty to the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Love, not the idols of money and militarism.”


Pilgrims for Peace – a reflection

Chris Collins is one of our new trustees and came to the island of Iona for FoR’s centenary celebrations.  He is a Methodist minister in Wolverhampton and ponders here what challenges he will be taking away from a week on a remote island with other peacemakers.  You are encouraged to leave a response underneath.

Tertullian, the prolific third century Christian writer viewed the moment Jesus told Peter to put his sword away as an “ungirding of us all.” We are all to put our swords away and follow the way of peace and nonviolence. As I was reminded of that during our “Pilgrimage for Peace” as part of the Iona Community last week, I reminded myself that being a disciple means I have to be for peace and peacemaking. It is not an optional extra, an add-on if there is time. It is not other-worldly but completely of this world. Peace making is a response to the whole of creation groaning in pain, waiting to be saved from the ravages of destruction. Peacemaking is about allowing the kingdom of God to be seen. Peacemaking is recognising that we are all made in God’s image, fearfully and wonderfully. Peacemaking is about allowing us all to find and flourish in God’s love for us and the whole of creation.

So to say I am a peacemaker is all well and good. But if peace is to come, we actually have to make it! And that means I have to do something!

I think it means I have to lay some things down. I need to constantly challenge what I am told about the world and ask myself, through which eyes do I view things? For this we need reliable and credible information about places and situations that goes beyond the news headlines.

But what do I do once I have the information? While praying and acting are perhaps the obvious answers, the less obvious and more challenging is exactly how! I had a few thoughts while away on Iona and perhaps others will have similar or better ones…

Could we be organised to pray without ceasing for peace? Could we invite people to commit to a dedicated half-hour slot each week to pray for peace so that there was always someone praying? Could we hold regular peace prayer services in all of our churches?

Could we encourage each other to write specifically about peace issues to our local, national and European politicians – and plan our responses to the letters we receive back?

Both of these are good starting points for me but I wonder if I need to be a braver peace-maker and be bold enough to take nonviolent action myself? For if I don’t who will? If I don’t do it now, when will I?

But how about you? I wonder if you are going to do different things now? Let’s keep talking, encouraging each other to pray and to act for peace.

Ukraine statement

The Chant d’ Oiseau Statement on Ukraine

We, representatives of the European branches of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, meeting from 23rd – 25th May at Chant d’Oiseau in Brussels,

(1) Contemplated with dismay the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.

(2) As European pacifists encourage all those in the region who are working for peace. Especially we express our solidarity with all those directly affected who are resisting the pressures towards polarisation and recourse to violence.

(3) Urge not only all in the region but also our own governments to resist thinking in terms of military “solutions”.

(4) Feel that we ourselves have to engage with this situation and we take back to our branches the question of how we co-ordinate our action to explore non-violent solutions.


(5) Even while we were meeting, our attention was captured by a horror closer at hand when we heard the news of the multiple murder in the Jewish Museum here in Brussels. We express our condolences to and solidarity with the Jewish community of Brussels and Belgium in the face of this atrocity.