Quaker organizations issue joint statement on peace testimony and Ukraine

A damaged building in Izyum, Kharkiv Oblast, eastern Ukraine, September 16, 2022. As a result of the war, many places are without electricity, water, heat, and mobile communications. Photo by podyom.

On October 26, eight Quaker organization heads issued a joint statement on the peace testimony and Ukraine. The statement notes:

Our testimony manifests as a cumulative set of actions, continually tested and added to over centuries. These actions are diverse in form, but have been broadly united by: (1) Refusal to kill, (2) Relief of suffering, (3) Building the institutions of peace, and (4) Supporting peacebuilding and removing the causes of war.

The statement was signed by Timothy Gee, general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation; Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, director of Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva; Sarah Clarke, director of Quaker United Nations Office, New York; Bridget Moix, general secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation; Joyce Ajlouny, general secretary of American Friends Service Committee; Jennifer Preston, general secretary of Canadian Friends Service Committee; Tracey Martin, director of Quaker Council on European Affairs; and Oliver Robertson, general secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness.

The statement grew out of an August trip Gee and Madlala-Routledge made to Friends in the Central European Gathering (an umbrella group for visitors, attenders, and members of any Central European meeting), including to Poland, Estonia, and Latvia. The countries in this region bordering Ukraine and Russia have received hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and are also where hundreds of thousands of soldiers are being positioned for possible use in the conflict. Though the number of Friends in the region are small, Gee and Madlala-Routledge wanted to find out how they might assist them and, as Gee put it, “how the peace testimony is being lived out” in this setting.

“I returned from this visit with a conviction,” said Gee in an October 27 online event hosted by FCNL to discuss the peace testimony and the war in Ukraine. “For a while I had been saying it would be good if someone could get the Quaker agencies together to try and say something together, and it was whilst I was in those countries that I started realizing that person was me.”

Gee continued, “I really hope that every Quaker—but also every organized Quaker group—can look at this statement and say, ‘What does this lead me to do? What is my part in this?’”

A recording of the October 27 conversation between Gee, Madlala-Routledge, and Moix is available here.

FJ News Editors

Erik Hanson and Windy Cooler are the news editors for Friends Journal. They contributed to the reporting of this story. Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering? Send us tips at news@friendsjournal.org.

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