Quakers Send Letter to Hemel Gazette: Celebrating Peace on Armed Forces Day

Quakers are inspired by a 350 year testimony to peace:

“All bloody principles and practices we do utterly deny, with all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world.”
(Quaker Declaration to Charles ll 1660)

We sent this letter to the Gazette this week.

Dear editor 

“Preparation for war” is what it says on the tin. Quakers believe that peace, not war, is the way to peace. 

As we approach the celebration of Armed Forces day in Hemel Hempstead, the announcement this week by Patrick Sanders, the new head of the British army, that a new generation must prepare to fight in Europe is chilling and a challenge to Quakers to act in faith against all war, and preparation for war. The belief that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests is preparation for war. This makes the world less, not more secure. 

Quakers believe investment in humanitarian, peace-building and development efforts will wither the roots of war and build true security. We work closely with other organisations such as Forces Watch, Veterans for Peace UK, Global Campaign on Military Spending UK and Rethinking Security.  

The Quaker Friends Meeting House was established in Hemel Hempstead Old Town 300 years ago. In the last 100 of those years war has been waged almost continually at home and abroad by British forces.  While considering this truth, a small group of Quakers will be drinking coffee, eating cake and cataloguing the biodiversity of the plant-life in our historic walled garden on Saturday 25 June – the morning of the war fete to be held in Gadebridge Park. In good faith, we welcome anyone who wishes to join us for thought-provoking conversations. We will willingly share the stories of our conscientious objectors and other war resistors. 


Yours sincerely

Madeline Edmead

Mermie Karger

Alison Kempster

Jonathan Kempster

Roger Ramsden

Suzanne Watts  

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