Monday, 28 February 2011

Energy and inspiration

Our new logo received its first public airing on Saturday, as Northern Friends Peace Board members travelled from throughout the north of Britain to get together in Chesterfield. There was a real buzz throughout the day; not just because of the logo, but also from the reflection, discussion, conversation and companionship. The warm welcome and enthusiastic participation from local Friends all helped too - more visitors than I can recall at one of our meetings for a long time. We were also joined by Laurie Michaelis, of Living Witness (also now with a new logo and website), Jasmine Piercy, wearing a Living Witness hat as well as Quaker Voluntary Action and visiting us from the depths of Somerset. Sunniva Taylor of QPSW's Sustainability and Peace programme was with us too, contributing valuable background to current Quaker work on sustainability. Our work in groups on different aspects of the theme was stimulating and challenging; I've yet to write it up, but I think we'll be able to identify some clear strands of concern from that exercise.

In the afternoon we shared news and information about our own work; the work is progressing well, but we'll need to put more energy into fundraising over the next few years. If you want to, you can support us online .

We also had a powerful half-hour session reflecting out of worship on the tumult and transformation taking place at the moment in the Middle East and North Africa. Friends reflected on the foundations for positive nonviolent action that many had been able to build on. Gene Sharp got more than one mention during the day, with his decades-long work on understanding nonviolence (see now getting wider recognition throughout the world.

I think our new logo reflects the energy and forward-looking feel of our gathering on Saturday. I hope it serves us well in reaching out and communicating the nature of our work and of the community of committed and loving Friends.