West Somerset Area Quaker Meeting
The West Somerset area includes Bridgwater, Burnham-On-Sea, Ilminster, Minehead, Spiceland (in Devon), Taunton and Wellington.
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Quakers in Britain News Release 8th April - Nuclear weapons ceremony criticised
The decision to hold a service at Westminster Abbey to mark fifty years of constant control by the UK's nuclear submarines is being deeply criticised by Quakers in Britain.
"Quakers regard nuclear weapons as faithless. To threaten humanity and the planet with nuclear annihilation is in our view contrary to what God would have us do," writes Paul Parker, the Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, in a private letter to the Very Revd John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey.
"It is indeed imperative that we all continue to pray and work for peace throughout the world, but peace is not served by the maintenance, possession and threat of use of nuclear weapons."<
"We note," he continued, "Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the United Nations this week that, 'the possible use of nuclear weapons is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security'." As a faith community Quakers have been urging the UK to sign up to the Nuclear Ban Treaty.
"A Service to Recognise Fifty Years Of Continuous At Sea Deterrent" is set for noon on Friday 3 May. It is said to mark the commitment of the Royal Navy to effective peacekeeping. Even so, many see it at odds with last year's Church of England General Synod motion calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Quakers in Britain News Release 10th April 2019 - Settlements plan sparks protest
Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention last week to annex Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, if he is elected for another term as prime minister. In response Quakers in Britain are restating their 2014 call to the UK government to honour its commitment to the two-state solution and recognise the state of Palestine without delay.
Israeli settlements are built in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and impinge deeply on the human rights of Palestinians. There is international consensus that annexing the settlements would make a future Palestinian state unviable and therefore end any chance of a two-state solution.
Quakers in Britain therefore call on the United Kingdom government to take immediate action to keep the two-state solution alive and recognise Palestine as a nation state on the same basis as it recognises the state of Israel.
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said, "Our Quaker testimonies to peace and equality again compel us to speak out. In 2014 our Yearly Meeting, the decision-making body of Quakers, said that the causes of this conflict, including the structural violence of occupation, must be addressed. Such violence damages all the people of the region.
"The statement said that the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis will 'only be resolved when Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality, worth, and dignity of all is realised.'
"The 2014 statement continued, 'From our long-standing Quaker experience of working on this issue in Palestine, Israel and Britain, and from listening to the testimony of Quakers in Ramallah, we are convinced that the UK government has a real role to play. A starting place would be for the UK to recognise Palestine as a nation state on the same basis as it recognises Israel.'
"We long for - and will work for - a time when the deep fear experienced on all sides is replaced by security and a just peace," said Paul Parker.