Quaker Universalist Conversations

Happy Birthday, Fellowship of Reconciliation!

Wendy Clarissa Geiger, a Friend from Jacksonville, FL, sent our editor a lovely tribute to the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary today. This tribute is reprinted below.

 It is worth recalling that one of FOR’s founders was Henry Hodgkin, a Quaker who later went on to become the first director of Pendle Hill. As  Wikipedia explains:

The first body to use the name “Fellowship of Reconciliation” was formed as a result of a pact made in August 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War by two Christians, Henry Hodgkin (an English Quaker) and Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze (a German Lutheran), who were participating in a Christian pacifist conference in Konstanz in southern Germany. On the platform of the railway station at Cologne, they pledged to each other that, “We are one in Christ and can never be at war.” To take that pledge forward, Hodgkin organised in 1915 a conference in Cambridge at which over a hundred Christians of all denominations agreed to found the FOR.

Wendy honors FOR not only with words, but also with deeds. She will be taking part an FOR-sponsored peace vigil this afternoon. (Anthony Manousos, editor of this blog entry, will also be taking part in an interfaith peace vigil, sponsored by Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP.org). Thank you, Wendy, for your work on behalf of FOR! — Anthony Manousos.

Happy Birthday, FOR!

by Wendy Geiger


Today, December 31st, 2010, is US Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 95th
birthday.  I’m devoted to FOR’s rag-tag companions of strong, broken,
zealous, tepid, troubled, and calming hearts.  We try to fulfill Joan
Baez’s definition: “nonviolence is just organized love.“  We see what
love will do in intolerable situations – within ourselves, our families,
and our neighbors (whether they be down the street or across the world).
We keep our hearts open and expanding when we’re tempted to hate or
reject.  And, we fail.  Time and again, we fail.  And, we keep at it.
For 95 years, we’ve met with just enough success to keep together and
inspired and working for Peace & Justice.

Basically, we operate on the assumption that if US tax dollars can be
used around the world to fund wars, keep people impoverished, and
suppress dissent, then, by golly, our love and creativity can be used to
do just the opposite around the world.  If US tax dollars don’t stop at
the borders, then, our love will cross borders, too.

FOR campaigned for this past UN Decade for Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World – ending today.  Let’s renew it in our hearts!  

Read of FOR-US’s history in Paul Dekar’s book, CREATING THE BELOVED  COMMUNITY, and in the collection of “Fellowship” magazine articles about aspects of nonviolence, PEACE IS THE WAY.  “Fellowship” is FOR-US’s quarterly journal that explores the tragedies of society and how the ways of Love and Peace and Justice heal people and neighborhoods and nations suffering these tragedies.  I read “Fellowship” with hope renewed in the power of love to right wrongs.  “Fellowship” reports news that rarely gets reported by mainstream media.  Redefine what’s news and see what people are doing for Peace & Justice: read “Fellowship” magazine.  It’s a $40 annual investment in real news and hope and inspiration and empowerment.  Contact Fellowship of Reconciliation: 845-358-4601;
www.forusa.org; P.O. Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960; for@forusa.org.  

This afternoon from 3-5 pm, SE US Peace activists will vigil at the gates
of Kings Bay trident submarine base, St. Marys, Georgia, about 45 minutes away from the Geiger farm here on the north side of Jacksonville, Florida. My father, Al, and I will bring with us signs.  My favorites are: “If Peace is subversive, in God’s name, what is war?” and “Put down thesword. – Jesus”.

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