Movement Magazine: Issue 161

movementmagazine

movement

THE MAGAZINE FOR CHRISTIAN STUDENTS

ISSUE 161 SPRING 2020

INTERVIEW:

TIM GEE Quaker and

activist Tim reflects

on peace, faith, and

campaigning. PAGE 12

WHY NON VIOLENT

RESTISTANCE? Why is

peaceful protest vital

to achieving climate

justice? PAGE 22

HARMONY NOT

HEGEMONY! Why

diversity and justice are

vital for a truly peaceful

society. PAGE 32

PEACE THROUGHOUT

THE CHURCH Find out

how different denominations

are working for

peace. PAGE 36


CONTENTS

EDITORIAL 4

COMING UP 5

NEWS 6-8

GROUP NEWS 9-11

of

INTERVIEW:

TIM GEE 12-16

We ask Tim about pacifism, Occupy,

inclusivity in protests, and the links

between spirituality and activism.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES:

PEACE ACTIVISM

17-19

Two students share how they are

engaged in peace work, through both

direct and indirect forms of activism.

BUILDING

RELATIONSHIPS,

BUILDING PEACE

20-21

Paul from Christian International

Peace Service shares how they work

for peace in South London through

building community links.

FAITH IN ACTION:

WHY NON-VIOLENT

RESISTANCE? 22-27

THEO HAWKSLEY & LU SKERRATT

IN PRAYER 28-29

A POEM BY ELLEN LESSER

2 MOVEMENT Issue 161


REVIEWS 40-42

THE PEACEMAKERS

LOOK FOR TROUBLE

30-31

Lilly shares how she has experienced

peace in a welcoming church

community.

PEACE THROUGHOUT

THE CHURCH 36-39

Explore what different denominations

are doing for peace, and how you can

get involved!

THE LONG READ:

HARMONY NOT

HEGEMONY! 32-35

ANDERSON JEREMIAH

What do the Old Testament and the

early Church have to teach us about

diversity, justice, and a peaceful

society?

MOVEMENT Issue 161

3


Welcome to Issue 161 of

Movement magazine!

This season’s edition of the magazine is all about

peace. Whether you interpret that as a political

goal or a personal aim, we’ve got something for

you. We hope this issue fills you with the urge

to go out and act, as well as the comfort to look

after yourself in the term ahead.

One of the most exciting sections of this edition of the magazine is our

interview with Quaker activist Tim Gee. We ask Tim all about pacifism,

how to prevent activism from dividing religious groups, and what exactly

he means when he talks about “government religion”. In addition to

this, we also have an article by Jesuit activist Theo Hawksley, who

emphasises the importance of nonviolence in protests.

Our movement is full of people doing brave and inspiring things. This

issue provides us with a great chance to hear from these activists.

Jack Woodruff, Marcie Winstanley, Lily Nelson, and Lu Skerratt all

tell us about their experiences – whether that’s protesting for peace

or sharing the peace! Our very own Caitlin Wakefield has helpfully

provided a round-up of what different denominations are doing in the

name of peace, whilst a creative contribution from Ellen Lesser gives

us a sense of the peace we can find through prayer.

The long read for this edition comes from Dr Anderson Jeremiah.

Anderson writes about the theological basis of peace, and the

necessity of justice and equality for a peaceful society. Moving from

theology to praxis, we also hear from Paul Maxwell-Rose, Director of

Christian International Peace Service (CHIPS), about reconciling divided

communities.

We hope you will enjoy this edition of Movement and would love for

you to be involved in future issues. You can get in touch by emailing

editor@movement.org.uk.

Nathan Olsen has co-edited this issue of Movement. He is an SCM

member studying for a masters in Sheffield, as well as an active

Methodist and a writer.

THE SCM TEAM

Student Christian Movement

Grays Court, 3 Nursery Road, Edgbaston,

Birmingham, B15 3JX

t: 0121 426 4918

e: scm@movement.org.uk

w: www.movement.org.uk

Advertising

e: scm@movement.org.uk

t: 0121 426 4918

Movement is published by the Student

Christian Movement (SCM) and is

distributed free to all members, supporters,

groups, Link Churches and Link

Chaplaincies.

SCM is a student-led movement inspired

by Jesus to act for justice and show God’s

love in the world. As a community we

come together to pray, worship and explore

faith in an open and non-judgmental

environment.

SCM staff:

Chief Executive Officer: Revd Naomi

Nixon, Operations Manager: Lisa Murphy,

Finance and Communications Officer: Ruth

Harvey, Regional Development Worker

(North West): Rach Collins, Regional

Development Worker (Midlands): Rob

Chivers, Regional Development Worker

(North East): Emma Temple, Administration

and Database Officer: Callum Fisher,

Regional Development Worker (Scotland):

Caitlin Wakefield, Church and Community

Fundraiser: Simon Densham

The views expressed in Movement magazine

are those of the particular authors and

should not be taken to be the policy of the

Student Christian Movement. Acceptance

of advertisements does not constitute an

endorsement by the Student Christian

Movement.

ISSN 0306-980X

Charity number 1125640

Looking for a larger print digital version of

Movement? Email editor@movement.org.uk

© 2020 Student Christian Movement

Design:

morsebrowndesign.co.uk & penguinboy.net

4 MOVEMENT Issue 161


COMING UP

LOVE THE EARTH

EDINBURGH,

1 FEBRUARY 2020

We know we need to take care of

the Earth, but what can we do to be

good stewards of God’s creation?

Join with students and recent

graduates for a day in Edinburgh

featuring prayer, workshops and

great food! With keynote speaker

Revd David Coleman, Environmental

Chaplain for Eco-Congregation

Scotland, and workshops from Liz

Marsh and Elinor Bracken.

STUDENT SUNDAY

16 FEBRUARY 2020

SCM invites you to join us in

celebrating the 2020 Universal Day

of Prayer for Students, on the theme

of Known by Name.

130TH

ANNIVERSARY

CELEBRATION

SERVICE

COVENTRY

CATHEDRAL,

15 FEBRUARY 2020

Join us for a service of celebration

to mark 130 years of the Student

Christian Movement. We will be

giving thanks for our long history of

supporting students to think deeply

about their faith, whilst praying for

the future of the movement as we

continue to grow and see students

making a difference on campus, in

their communities and in the world.

The service will be followed by a

drinks reception - all are welcome!

TO FIND OUT MORE AND TO BOOK, GO

TO WWW.MOVEMENT.ORG.UK/EVENTS

KNOWN BY NAME

KIDDERMINSTER,

6-8 MARCH 2020

This year we will be gathering in the

Midlands to explore the theme of

identity. Who has God called us to

be? How can we live out our faith in

an authentic way?

We are thrilled to be joined by guest

speakers Revd Kate Harford and

John Bell. There will also be time

for prayer and worship, space for

discussion and delicious food!

SCM Friends are invited to join us for

the Friends’ programme on Sunday

8th March.

SAVE THE DATE!

HOME 2020

YORK, 25 JULY 2020

An event for LGBTQ+ students.

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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NEWS

SCM APPOINTS

NEW CEO

We are thrilled to announce the

appointment of The Revd Naomi

Nixon as our new Chief Executive.

She will take up the post in

February 2020, replacing SCM’s

National Coordinator, Hilary Topp,

who departed in February 2019.

Naomi joins SCM from the Diocese

of Coventry, where she has been

Ministerial Development Adviser

for the last seven years. She also

serves as a Minister at St Clare’s,

a pioneer community based at

Coventry Cathedral. Previously

Naomi worked as an Ecumenical

Chaplain at North Warwickshire and

Hinckley College where she also

established a Youth Work teaching

department.

GENERAL

COUNCIL ELECT

NEW CONVENOR

At the September meeting of SCM’s

General Council, Trustees voted to

appoint new trustee Tom Packer-

Stucki to the role of Convenor.

This role involves coordinating the

General Council, chairing meetings,

and maintaining contact between

the trustees and the staff team.

Tom said, “I am incredibly honoured

to be stepping into the role of

convenor of SCM’s General Council

at this very exciting time for the

organisation! As the movement

grows and changes over the

coming years, I will be so proud to

help facilitate our group of brilliant

trustees in leading it.”

If you’re interested in getting

involved with leading the movement,

Naomi holds a Masters degree

in Theological Studies and a

post-graduate research degree

in Feminist Theology. She is

currently working on a PhD asking

the question ‘What is the soul of

Further Education Chaplaincy?’

at The Queens Foundation in

Birmingham.

Speaking of her appointment Naomi

said, “I am filled with joy at the

prospect of joining SCM, I’m in awe

of its history and excited about

new GC members are elected at

the AGM held during our Known

by Name event in March. SCM

is entirely student-led, and any

members are welcome to apply. If

you would like to be a part of SCM’s

governing body, or would like to

know more, get in touch with any

member of GC or the SCM office.

the difference we can make in the

lives of Christian students and in

the world as we work together for

justice in God’s name.”

Chair of Trustees, Tom Packer-

Stucki said, “We are delighted to

appoint Naomi as SCM’s Chief

Executive Officer and look forward

to working with her to realise SCM’s

vision. This appointment comes at

an exciting time for the movement

as we continue to grow and reach

out to more students.”

6 MOVEMENT Issue 161


VOCATIONS

RESOURCE

AVAILABLE NOW

SCM has published a new vocations

resource to aid students and young

adults in discovering what their

vocation in life might be. ‘Called

to be…’ helps students explore

the idea of vocation and calling,

emphasising that a calling is not the

preserve of the few, but a privilege

of the many.

Vocation is often talked about only

in terms of ordained ministry, but

here at SCM we believe that all

students can have a great impact

on society and are called to try

and make the world a better, fairer

place. Vocation doesn’t have to be

just about ordained ministry in a

church – for many Christians their

vocation is lived out in employed or

voluntary work that we might not

normally consider vocational. This

resource puts together the stories

of several Christians who have

pursued God’s call in their lives –

showing that the calls God makes

on us might take us down roads we

had not foreseen.

There are also links to helpful

resources that encourage students

to consider what calling God might

be making in their own lives, and

space to reflect on what following a

call means.

You can download the resource for

free at: www.movement.org.uk/

resources

SPREADING

PEACE

AND JOY AT

CHRISTMASTIME

As part of SCM’s ongoing

commitment to supporting

students, we organised care

packages to be sent out at the

beginning of Advent to all our

members. The packages were

funded by generous donations

from our Friends and supporters

and helped us spread some Advent

peace throughout the movement.

The packages included some sweet

treats, a candle, paper crown,

Christmas jokes, a badge, and an

advent prayer calendar made by

SCM. The packages also included

a Christmas decoration hand made

by one of our members, supporters

or staff.

We loved being able to show

our members this care and were

encouraged to see so many

people sending packages to their

own friends and family. Without

these donations we couldn’t have

had such a far-reaching project,

so thank you to everyone who

contributed either money or time to

make this possible. Did you enjoy

receiving your care package? Let us

know what you’d like to see in them

next time!

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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AN ESCAPE TO

THE LAKES

In November we held a retreat

for SCM members in the Lake

District. Led by Revd Jason Powell,

a priest and spiritual director

from Manchester, students joined

together in worship and prayer,

as well as taking time to rest and

explore the beautiful surroundings.

SCM member Beth Clarke described

the event:

“The Prepare Him Room weekend

offered us a whole variety of salves

to the stressors of everyday student

life… The retreat itself started

with prayer time and singing, with

some beautiful evening prayers.

Dinner was a chance to get to

know each other a little bit and to

discuss the workings of large and

temperamental catering ovens! Our

first session then included some

meditation and resources to ponder

later. Silence followed this, which

was an incredibly useful way for

me to fully realise that I was away

and day to day stressors were (as

far as possible) left behind. No WIFI

definitely added to this!

The leaders were all fabulous and

insightful, and I went into the next

week refreshed and with a better

idea of planning to take rest and

Sabbath time in a way that helps me

be who God has made me to be.”

HOW WOULD

JESUS VOTE?

In October, students from across

the movement gathered in

Leeds for an event looking at

the interactions between faith

and politics. On Friday evening

we gathered in Mill Hill Unitarian

Chapel for a discussion about

our own experiences of putting

faith into action through political

activism, and shared how we

handle disagreement both within

church contexts and in political

discourse. On the Saturday we

joined Friends of the movement

and others from around Leeds

for Project Bonhoeffer’s annual

conference on the theme ‘Faith in

our Democracy Today’. We heard

from Professor Tom Greggs and

Revd Dr Dierdre Brower Latz about

the theological underpinnings of

political engagement and attended

workshops on a range of themes

from migration to resistance to

disagreeing well.

SCM member Josh Harris attended

the event and said, ‘As a Christian

who is also active within party

politics, I have often felt like

these two parts of my identity are

separate and discuss one group in

a hushed voice in front of the other.

But the conference gave me more

confidence about seeing the two

in relation to each other. I know

that I’m in party politics because of

how I feel I should act from reading

the Bible, but I also know how to

do that in a respectful manner in

accordance with my faith. I know

that faith is meaningful to me

because it tells me how to act.”

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GROUP NEWS

NEWMAN CHRISTIAN UNION

The Christian Union has been running at Newman

University, though there were ups and downs with getting

it established as a society last year. We now are a group

of seven people getting together twice a week to learn

and worship together. We have our sessions based on

themes and our theme in November is prayer. Whether it

be running a session or introducing the Union to students,

Newman Chaplaincy and SCM have been assets in

supporting us do so. We aim to learn and dwell in God’s

word but also attend social events that may interest our

members.

YORDANOS GEBREMICHAEL

LANCASTER SCM

Lancaster SCM have continued to meet together in the

chaplaincy this term, and we are still putting our faith

into action by campaigning as a group to protect the

environment. As well as having workshops and bible

studies with our regional worker Rach, we’ve been spurred

on by a Christian Aid workshop to go out collecting

signatures from people on campus to take to the bank

manager at the HSBC branch in the centre of Lancaster.

We booked an appointment to meet her, and four of the

group attended and took with us a letter for the CEO of

HSBC with the 97 signatures. The bank manager seemed

sympathetic to the Big Shift cause – to stop investing in

fossil fuels – and agreed to pass on our letter to those

higher up in the bank.

HELENA RIPLEY

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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LEEDS SCM

When I was asked at Group Leaders Training what the aim

for SCM Leeds might be this year, growth seemed like an

appropriate objective, having entered the semester with only

two members in Leeds. An uncertain future lay before us

but, with an inclusive Christian space we knew was essential

for our campus, we knew we had to continue. Cue planning

to kick off the semester, and after a whole month focusing

on ‘Gender and Sexuality: A Truly Inclusive Church?’ growth

seems to have occurred faster than I could have imagined,

with an average of 10 people attending each session!

October saw us engage in conversations around how we

interact with people who have differing opinions to us, what

an inclusive church means to us and why it is important to

our faith. And as the semester continued, our focus shifted

to the environment and how we are called to be stewards

of this amazing planet that God has given us – all the while,

continuing to build and sustain our small community of

diverse and inclusive Christian students on campus. I have to

say that the future is looking positive for SCM Leeds and I am

looking forward to seeing where the rest of the year takes us.

WELLINGTON CHURCH,

GLASGOW

SCM Link Church, Wellington Church of Scotland in Glasgow,

have started hosting community meals to encourage

students, university staff, and residents living near the church

to come to together for food, fellowship, and conversation.

Wellington has held two community meals since the start

of the autumn term, and plan to continue holding them on

the first Tuesday of every month. Our regional worker Caitlin

has been attending the meals with some members of SCM

Glasgow and has been enjoying getting to know members

of Wellington and the local community. Caitlin commented,

“The community meals at Wellington have been a wonderful

way for SCM Glasgow to get involved with Wellington who

have always been a really supportive Link Church. It’s great

seeing people from the University of Glasgow coming along

to church to mingle and find out more about all the great

things that Wellington does throughout the week.”

CAITLIN WAKEFIELD

SIAN TREDWELL

10 MOVEMENT Issue 161


YORK CHRISTIAN FOCUS

It has been a very fruitful start to the academic year for

Christian Focus with a great number of sign-ups at the

freshers’ fair, and everyone who has joined us this year has

enriched the group greatly. This autumn term has seen some

exciting events, with an overall theme centred on climate

change; very topical! This has involved a fascinating talk, ‘The

Crown of all Creation? Christianity and Climate Change’ led

by Revd Jan Nobel, an SCM workshop ‘Christianity, Climate

Change and Origami’ by the lovely Emma, and as a result

we even wrote a group letter to the City of York Council.

The letter aimed to raise awareness of issues that can help

tackle climate change in York, spanning from recycling

storage, collection and disposal to food waste management.

Other successful events have included a joint forum with

the University of York Chaplaincy for Interfaith Week, and a

Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil. Looking ahead to

next term, Christian Focus is looking forward to hosting the

Rt Revd Dr Johnathan Frost (Dean of York), a sleepover in

Heslington church, and some collaborative events with SCM

Leeds!

SAM DALY

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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12 MOVEMENT Issue 161


INTERVIEW

TIM GEE

Tim Gee is a Quaker peace activist and writer. He has been involved

in various campaigns, including the Occupy movement, and has just

brought out his third book Why I am a Pacifist. He tells us about his

commitment to pacifism, the inspiration of his faith, and how miracles

can happen through campaigning.

So Tim, for those of us who don’t know your work could you tell us a bit

about what you do and how you came to be doing it?

I’d call myself an activist, as that’s what I’ve spent most of my adult life doing,

campaigning. I’m also a Quaker and a Christian, and more recently a writer, all of

which are things that relate to one another. I’ve just finished a series of author

talks with my third book which is called Why I am a Pacifist.

Until I was 16 or so I wanted to be a professional bass player, but the Afghanistan

war changed that. I’d been shocked by the events of 11 September 2001, when

two planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York. Shortly later the US and

UK started bombing Afghanistan. I thought that if mass killing was wrong in the

US it was wrong anywhere else too. Then there was the war on Iraq, a ‘war for

oil’. When I started learning about climate change caused by oil I began joining

the dots. I’d say that’s how it began.

Has peace work always been a part of your life? How did you get involved,

and how does your faith inspire your work?

The peace influence has always been there, yes. My mum was involved in antinuclear

weapons campaigns in the 1980’s, and her father was a pacifist too

– part of the Friends Ambulance Unit. But there are other influences too. Other

relatives have been soldiers or done other war work.

My point of decision was quite different, it came on the last day of school. We’d

been attacked by a group that had acted violently and homophobically towards

my group. So we ambushed them with eggs to try and ‘teach them a lesson’. We

escaped around the corner and started congratulating each other and drawing

medals on our shirts. Then I just got a very deep feeling inside me that, even

though it was eggs rather than stones or grenades, that still wasn’t the way to

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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resolve things. In hindsight that was the day I became a

pacifist. The anti-war protests began the following autumn.

Could you tell us a little bit about what inspired you

to write about your work, and what we can find in the

book?

This is the book I would have liked to have read when I

was 16 and processing these feelings and getting into a

lot of conversations about the rights and wrongs of war.

I also wanted to take pacifism away from the narrow idea

that its only about conscientious objection or protesting

against war. Rather, I wanted to look at the roots of war

and violence, including the racism, sexism and economic

inequality which is both fuelled by and contributes to war.

Finally, despite an increasingly secular society, I wanted to

acknowledge the role that spirituality plays for many people

who are committed to nonviolence.

A review of your new book Why I Am A Pacifist in

the Friends Journal claims that you “debunk Just

War Theory”. As this is an ethical position that many

Christians hold or have held, could you briefly outline

your argument against it?

I think it is extraordinary how resilient Just War theory has

been over the ages – as recently as 2015 the Archbishop

of Canterbury cited it in support of bombing Syria. More

broadly, even if people don’t know its details they know

that it is there, and refer to it to support killing. The theory

was always an attempt to straddle two implacably opposed

ideas, on one hand the teachings of peace and nonviolence

of Jesus and the early church, on the other the warlike

intentions of the imperial state.

Unsurprisingly then, its effect has been mixed, on one

hand acting as a rhetorical loophole permitting Christians

to engage in war, and on the other hand placing conditions

on it. My argument is that almost no wars actually pass the

test of the theory – but nevertheless it is used to encourage

wars before they happen.

In a recent debate piece with Rahila Gupta for the New

Internationalist, you came under criticism for arguing

that pacifism should be upheld at all times. This is a

completely understandable personal choice but what

is your response to its supposed inadequacy as a

political strategy?

My understanding of the word pacifism is ‘peacemaking’,

which is its original meaning. It was coined as a positive

alternative to ‘anti-warism’, and this active definition is the

one that I hope we’ll reclaim.

There are several studies showing that strategic nonviolent

action is more effective in changing governments than

armed struggle is. It also leads to fewer deaths.

I don’t impose my decision on others though. My book is

called ‘Why I am a Pacifist’ rather than ‘Why you should

be a pacifist’. I do believe though that to make the world

more peaceful we need more pacifists, who are dedicated

to addressing the causes of war.

As well as being a pacifist, you are an activist. Recent

examples of activism, such as the Extinction Rebellion

campaign, have been predominantly white and middle

class. Despite its stated aim of helping the oppressed,

activism can very easily be portrayed as a pastime for

the privileged. What is your response to this? And can

anything be done about it?

I didn’t participate in Extinction Rebellion, but I visited a

number of the sites. I was impressed by the disciplined

nonviolence of the movement, which without overt

hierarchy has achieved a large number of overwhelmingly

peaceful protests.

My concern about the movement was that too often the

commitment to peace remained at the surface level.

The racism, sexism and wider inequality that create the

conditions for war, are also the factors that have led to

the climate crisis. I wanted to hear them saying this front

and centre. But the reluctance to take this view was almost

certainly a factor in the pattern of decisions about the

protests that led many people of colour to feel excluded.

14 MOVEMENT Issue 161


Thankfully there are now some signs of the movement

embracing a deeper analysis, which gives me hope.

Nevertheless, broken relationships take time to repair.

On the other hand, many middle class members of

faith groups are happy to sit back and do nothing. In

your 2017 George Gorman Lecture, you positioned

Quakerism against “government religion”, the use of

faith to prop up rather than challenge power. How do

you envision changing the minds of people who are

quite happy to be a part of “government religion”?

or denomination I think we each have a responsibility to

speak up when violence is being done to people, and an

even greater responsibility to do so if it is being done in the

name of Christianity.

Whatever our denomination I think we can all do this.

Challenging governments when they harm people, and

religious hierarchies if they become complicit in that harm,

is a great deal of what the Gospel is about.

...over

I do have a problem with Christianity being misconstrued by

people in power – especially governments – as an instrument

to control people, or to justify injustice. Whatever our faith

MOVEMENT Issue 161

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You wrote a piece last year for the Friends Journal

in which you mentioned a growing rift between

“activist Quakers” and “spiritual Quakers”. Do you

think this division is a notion that can be applied to

other denominations, and what can people of faith as

a whole do about it?

I think there is a perceived rift, but it’s also a false one.

When I think of activist Quaker friends of mine willing to

take significant personal risks for the cause, they are often

explicitly strengthened in that by the faith and example of

Jesus. Having said that, this debate seems to be old indeed.

In his New Testament letter, Jesus’ brother James asks the

rhetorical question ‘what good is it if a person claims to

have faith but has no deeds?’. There was his answer for the

same conversation in his time.

I particularly love what John has to say about faith and

social action, in his New Testament letter: “Let us not love

with words and tongue but with actions and truth.” I think

we could all do well to read that, and then get on with it!

Finally, are there any lessons from the Occupy

Movement – a movement you were a part of – that can

be applied to the recent surge in activism that 2019

has witnessed?

Occupy was born of a societal moment in which there

appeared to be no major political party in North America

or Europe that was seriously challenging the economic

institutions and ideas that had just led to the global financial

crisis, and the enormous human suffering that followed as

austerity was imposed.

Since then, that has changed, in part thanks to what

participants in Occupy did next. In the USA, the UK, Spain

and elsewhere we’ve seen political events that seemed

impossible until they were done, especially in parties of the

centre-left, meaning that now arguments about tax justice,

Green New Deals and ending austerity which were once

consigned to protests are being made in the corridors of

power.

The lesson if there is one is that protest does set agendas

and make change, but rarely in the ways that we expect,

and not always at the speed or the scale we would like.

Politics is always the art of the possible. Campaigning is the

art of making the seemingly impossible become inevitable.

Perhaps that is what a miracle is.

Thank you! Would you like to tell us a little about

where we can find your new book or where we can

follow your work?

Why I am a Pacifist is published by Christian Alternative.

Type it in to a search engine and you’ll find a choice of

online and independent places who have it.

16 MOVEMENT Issue 161


STUDENT

PERSPECTIVES

PEACE

ACTIVISM

Students are at the heart of all we

do, and we want to celebrate the

incredible witnesses for peace that

they have been involved with

through the inspiration of their faith.

Jack shares how he joined a direct

action against the arms fair, while

Marcie shares her experience of

less direct forms of peace-building

activism.

MOVEMENT Issue 161

17


NO FAITH IN WAR

Jack Woodruff is an SCM

member studying maths at the

University of York, and secretary

of York Christian Focus.

The presence of God is all around us but what is difficult

is being aware of her presence. Sat in the middle of a

road, surrounded by people, singing and praying – I felt

her presence. As the police began arresting Quakers in the

middle of an act of worship – I felt her presence. Hearing

the repeated chant sung:

Dear Friends. Dear Friends.

Let me tell you what I know.

You have given me such treasures.

I love you so.

I felt her presence.

Sat in a police station waiting for arrestees to be released

– I felt her presence.

The No Faith In War day was part of a wider protest

against the DSEI Arms Fair that is held at the ExCEL Centre

in London every two years. Other groups held their own

days of protests – Free Palestine, Campaign for Nuclear

Disarmament etc. The aim of the protests was to disrupt

the setting up of the arms fair by blocking the roads leading

up to the gates.

Leading up to the No Faith In War day I didn’t really know

what to expect. I just knew that I believe in peace and that

war is never the answer.

But what I didn’t expect was the strong sense of community

among strangers. The abundant generosity we all shared.

The fact that despite our differences and disagreements

we stood united in our individual desires to see a more

peaceful and just world. We were all united in our belief

in peace.

It was hard looking at the ExCEL centre and looking at the

weapons that did get in. Physically those weapons are just

pieces of metal. However, they are used to fuel war and

conflict that leads to civilian displacement, emergence of

extreme views and ultimately the loss of innocent lives. In

the past it has been proven that UK law has been broken

at this arms fair. Yet, the police put so many resources into

ensuring that it happens. They were actively enabling an

arms fair that will lead to the facilitation of oppression that

our government claims to be against. As the police began

arresting protestors for obstructing the road it just felt that

they had got it all the wrong way around. The police who

are meant to protect us and uphold UK law were enabling

the selling of weapons at a fair that has previously broken

UK law.

When the police did move in and begin arresting, they

did it whilst a Quaker meeting was taking place in the

road. However, instead of fleeing, people stayed, and

they prayed and they sang. Watching police arresting

worshipping protestors whilst singing songs of peace was

such a surreal experience that I feel so blessed to have

been part of.

In the end the arms fair did go ahead but what matters is

that we all stood up for what we believed in. We showed

people that not everyone believes war is okay. Blessed are

the peacemakers.

18 MOVEMENT Issue 161


QUIET DIPLOMACY

Marcie Winstanley is a classicist,

Quaker, and activist living and studying

in Birmingham. She is writing her

dissertation on peace-building initiatives.

There are many things that inspired my peace activism.

From a young age, I was aware of my grandmother

participating in peace protests with a group called the

Gareloch Horticulturalists, or ‘Horts’ for short. Their

inclusive feminist approach to peacebuilding, in all of their

antinuclear demonstrations has always and will forever

inspire everything I do. I am always proud when I hear

news that Granny has been arrested again, most recently

for chaining herself to other activists and lying down in the

middle of the road, protesting the Arms Fair in London this

September.

In my own life, activism takes many forms. As a Quaker,

my faith calls me to live ‘in the virtue of that life and power

that takes away the occasion of all wars’ (George Fox).

I always feel, especially when explaining my experience

with pacifism to others, that the important thing is to find

alternatives to violence both through non-violent direct

action, in the form of peaceful protests for example,

and through listening to others, being present and

understanding their experiences.

The latter commitment has led me to explore work with

Quaker NGOs who practice a method of conflict resolution

called ‘quiet diplomacy’. Quiet diplomacy is essentially a

process where groups who would not usually have the

chance to meet, whether because of conflict, inequality

or division, come together, usually over a shared meal. It

takes place in a confidential space, removing the media

presence and high-pressure environment of most public

negotiations. I have had the privilege to work with the

Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA), based in

Brussels, and attend a summer school with the Quaker

United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva. Each of the

experiences taught me something different about the

benefits of ‘quiet diplomacy’; but each time I see this

approach being used, I am reminded of the unique value

of small human encounters, and of the difference it can

make, both at a personal and state level, for groups to feel

accepted, their ideas valued, and their concerns listened

to, perhaps for the first time.

Providing inclusive spaces is an important part of my faith,

work and activism. The five Quaker Testimonies, Peace,

Truth, Equality, Simplicity and Sustainability, in a divided

and constantly changing world require us to be open,

accepting and willing to listen to those whose ideas are

different from our own. As a political activist, I try to bring

the energy, compassion and spiritual connectedness that I

gain from my peace work into everything that I do. I believe

passionately that it is possible for groups of all faiths and

none, of any gender, ethnicity, cultural identity or identity

to coexist, and in order to make that a reality we must

offer our communities opportunities for peace-building.

From small community-based initiatives can grow greater

movements for peace.

MOVEMENT Issue 161

19


Building relationships,

building peace.

Lessons from Brixton

CHIPS (Christian International Peace

Service) runs peacemaking projects in

communities all over the world. Paul

moved to Brixton, South London, in

2014 to establish a new project focused

on three of the housing estates which

have been most affected by violence.

The project seeks to build and empower

stronger communities to tackle the

root causes of conflict including

mental health and school exclusions, and

to prevent youth violence. Here he shares

what he’s learned from his time there.

Strong relationships are core to successful

peacemaking. Many believe that we just have

to deal with the “issues” and

causes of conflict, and then

everyone will get along – but that

is to overlook that peace is not

the same as the absence of conflict.

There will always be difference, and that

difference will sometimes lead to conflict – it is

through good relationships that we can learn to build a

future together and learn from these conflicts, rather

than let them destroy us. How, then, can we go about

building effective relationships in an area of tension? Our

experience of living and working in Brixton for six years

has given us some interesting insights.

20 MOVEMENT Issue 161


BEING, NOT DOING

When you’re invited to work in any new community, it

can be tempting to rush in from a position of power and

expertise and try and make your mark. But that’s rarely a

sensible approach, especially in peacemaking when there

are often deep levels of mistrust within the community. So

before launching any activity in Brixton and formally doing

anything, I spent a year just being there, listening and

learning. I talked to groups of young people hanging out

on street corners, wandered into youth clubs, volunteered

at an after-school homework group, and got to know local

social workers, police and entrepreneurs. And that’s our

usual approach at CHIPS, inspired by the example of Jesus

who spent 30 years living and listening and being before

getting involved in public ministry.

LIVE LIKE A LOCAL

After a little while, I found a flat on one of the estates for

myself and our volunteers to live in. Shortly afterwards, my

wife and two-year-old son joined me and we made our home

in the area at the heart of one of the estates most affected

by the conflict. We joined a local church and a community

choir, we attend a local parent and toddler group, and we

intentionally use local shops and pubs (even when the beer

choices are rubbish!) Now we feel like – and are seen as –

neighbours, which has been invaluable for building trust and

gaining a holistic view of the community.

SEARCH OUT THE UNSUNG HEROES

We usually work through partnerships, and we often have

a choice of working with outside ‘professionals’ or local

young people and residents who might not have the same

“expertise”. This second option usually takes quite a bit more

work and is much slower, but we’ve learnt that the added

value far outweighs the effort. This approach empowers

local people to reach their full potential and raises up voices

which otherwise may not be heard.

For example, two amazing local mums are now among our

most valuable partners. They’re people who give time and

energy to help a large number of vulnerable local young

men and women, and have become a support and sounding

board to them when nobody else is listening. We thank God

for people like them and we greatly value the mutual support

that we’ve found as we work together for peace in Brixton.

MOVEMENT Issue 161

SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE

At first, we struggled to attract attendees for our (now very

popular) community meal on the estate. So we started to

eat outside, in the car park, with a ‘freecycled’ table, an

old broken bench and a few chairs from the flat. We looked

ridiculous, but it got us noticed and opened up a whole

range of possibilities. From there we built some fantastic

relationships – such as one young mum who subsequently

came with her kids to eat and play games with us every

week for two years throughout a hard time in her life.

TAKE BOTH SIDES

In Brixton, young people’s loyalties are often sharply divided

between different estates and postcodes, and they also

often feel like they’re in conflict with the police and other

authorities too. When a local mum we work closely with

learnt that a number of young people felt unsafe going to

youth offending appointments because of fear of attack

outside their own ‘patch’, she suggested we might be able

to help. Because we had built good links with both the

council and local young people, youth offending workers

have now agreed to hold meetings in the safe space of our

office.

BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS

Peacemaking is the practical work of building the Kingdom of

God here on earth. In every place, every situation, and every

relationship, we can reflect on the life of Jesus the ultimate

peacemaker to learn how to be peacemakers ourselves. The

stories and things we’ve learnt come from the dual act of

reading the bible and learning from our community, and that

is a practice I’d encourage all of us to undertake in whatever

situation we end up in. Violence is pervasive in our homes

and communities, in the systems and structures of our

society, and in so many parts of our world – so we all have a

role to play in being the peacemakers our world so urgently

needs. As you step into this role, I want to encourage you

with Jesus’ words: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they

shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Paul Maxwell-Rose

21


FAITH IN ACTION

WHY NONVIOLENT

RESISTANCE?

Theo Hawksley, a Jesuit scholar and

teacher whose research explores

Catholic Social Teaching,

peacebuilding and the

arts, shares her reflections

on the nonviolence of

Extinction Rebellion.

22

MOVEMENT Issue 161


Why pursue nonviolent resistance? All kinds of movements

make use of nonviolent resistance tactics, from landless

peasants to Palestinian citizens, and most recently and

headline-grabbingly here in the UK, Extinction Rebellion.

Sometimes the answer is, ‘because it’s the only avenue

open.’ In repressive regimes, change via the ballot box

or organised armed struggle may not be possible, and so

people find other ways of pursuing their demands.

Another possible answer is, ‘because it works.’ Stephan

and Chenoweth’s 2011 study Why Civil Resistance

Works analysed 323 violent and nonviolent campaigns

waged between 1900 and 2006. They found that

nonviolent campaigns were more than twice

as likely to fully or partially succeed in

their aims than violent ones. There

may be good tactical reasons

for adopting nonviolent

approaches.

A further possible

answer is ‘for some

deeper reason.’

For many

advocates of

nonviolent

resistance, the goal

they are seeking is

not achievable by any

means, violent or nonviolent.

As Gandhi puts it, “One rupee

can buy us poison or nectar,

but knowledge and devotion (or

nonviolence) cannot buy us

salvation or bondage.” Rather,

the means are inseparable from

the end: for Gandhi, only swaraj (self-rule, including

refraining from violence) on the individual level will lead to

swaraj for India. Responding to British violence with more

violence would have ended with more of the same; only

a new means would lead to a new end. This meant that

the nonviolent actions Gandhi chose both bore witness to

and practically advanced his end. He encouraged wearing

homespun cloth as a visible protest against British cloth

imports, for example, both highlighting the injustice and

disrupting it. And all these disruptive ‘non-cooperation’

actions were only half the picture: they were rooted in a

positive programme at a grassroots level, which aimed to

help the poorest: Gandhi was committed to being present

“in the villages, solely for the sake of the villages.”

Extinction Rebellion’s use of nonviolent strategies is partly

tactical, and the Extinction Rebellion Handbook outlines

a theory of civil disobedience that owes a lot to Stephan

and Chenoweth: go for the capital city, cause disruption,

involve 5% of the population. This should be a recipe for

success. But there are also clearly deeper reasons, and a

spiritual side to Extinction Rebellion’s model of nonviolent

resistance. The way the movement is organised models the

kinds of structures, interaction and values that it wants to

enact on a broader political level.

The rebellion is still young, and it is too

early to judge its success. But, for my

money, two observations are worth making

here, and two questions worth asking:

• One of the characteristics of Gandhi’s

programme was the tight connection between

means and ends in the ‘non-cooperation’ side

of his programme. The British monopoly over

the manufacture of salt directly harmed the

MOVEMENT Issue 161

23


poorest Indians. Gandhi’s march to the coast to make salt

from seawater was a direct refusal to cooperate with an

unjust law, and the demonstration of an alternative: Indian

self-reliance. The violent reaction this provoked from the

British was accepted (‘self-suffering’) and suffering it without

retaliation had an educative value of its own, highlighting the

violence of the state and the moral superiority of the Indian

cause. The question is: are the actions Extinction Rebellion

have chosen in London sufficiently clear in their connection

between means and ends? Is disruption of public transport

counterproductive? Are there other actions that would be

more effective?

• Stephan and Chenoweth argue that “nonviolent campaigns

fail to achieve their objectives when they are unable to

overcome the challenge of participation, when they fail to

recruit a robust, diverse, and broad-based membership that

can erode the power base of the adversary and maintain

resilience in the face of repression.” Extinction Rebellion’s

supporter base is not yet diverse enough, and some of its

actions have played into existing UK class divisions and

resentment. What would it mean for Extinction Rebellion to

root its programme of non-cooperation in a country-wide

positive programme attentive to the needs of the most

deprived in the UK – a presence “in the villages, solely for

the sake of the villages”?

As Extinction Rebellion continues its action over the coming

months and years, reflecting on the practice of nonviolence,

and the wisdom of its most iconic and successful exponents,

will help to build a more inclusive, resilient and effective

movement.

Theo Hawksley

24 MOVEMENT Issue 161


FAITH IN ACTION

OCTOBER

REBELLION

Lu Skerratt is a PhD student

living in Sheffield. They share

their reflections on being

involved in Extinction

Rebellion, and the

presence of God they

experienced during

the actions.

MOVEMENT Issue 161

25


What does it mean to protest as a person of faith?

Am I doing the right thing? Am I making a sacrifice? Is this

what God is calling me to do?

These are the questions I wrestled with when I

travelled down to the Extinction Rebellion London

Uprising in October 2019. I’ve been to protest

marches before for all manner of reasons, but none

like this, and none where connecting through prayer and

Christian practice was going to become such a central part

of our actions.

The Extinction Rebellion London Uprising felt like hyper

vigilance to the extreme – waves of grief, excitement,

sadness, hope, frustration, and joy fell over us again and

again and again. I am so glad in hindsight that when I

arrived I went straight to the CCA (Christian Climate Action)

tent in Trafalgar Square to do morning prayer – we had lost

the bridges and were regrouping a bit more centrally. Doing

the daily office is a prominent part of my everyday living

so it felt right to pray with other people (of all faiths and

none) before heading out into civilly disobedient actions.

I can’t really remember what happened when over the

coming days as it was all such a blur, but the stand-out

memories I do have all made me reflect on what it means

to follow Christ as an individual and in community, and if

anything has made me more secure that it is my Christian

duty to actively fight and speak out for the renewal of God’s

creation and God’s Kingdom on Earth.

I spent time talking to an older woman who had stuck her

hands with super glue onto the road outside Westminster

Abbey. The police were getting closer and closer, arrests

were happening and yet I carried on talking to her, getting

to know each other under the shadow of the West Door.

She talked about how this was the most loving action she

could do as I put my hand over hers and we sat

in silence, listening to the waves of noise and

the police warnings echoing over our heads.

Soon after she was arrested. Her commitment

to fighting for a better world, a better future, was

beautiful and inspired me to have the courage to not be

afraid of the authority of the police – because this is what

we must do.

One afternoon, myself and members of CCA took our

banner out into the roads around Trafalgar Square where

people were being arrested. So many people had locked

on, tied themselves to structures, stuck themselves to bus

26 MOVEMENT Issue 161


stops and the road and a huge police line was encircling

us. We went from group to group of arrestees, and sang

Amazing Grace, offered a prayer of blessing and held hands

in prayer. I locked eyes with a police officer as we both

started to cry and felt a profound sense that God was so

intimately present that whatever happened we were held in

God’s unconditional love. It was beautiful and painful to see

so many people making such huge sacrifices for the future

of this world and I will never forget it.

I wish I could say more and detail the moments that come

to mind but it was an experience

like no other and I’m not sure I can

adequately put it into words. I know

there is some important criticism of Extinction Rebellion,

which I really appreciate as we are all learning, growing,

and evolving together but I trust that God is calling us on

– calling us to be loud, angry, hopeful and to turn over the

tables in the temple of capitalism.

God, our Creator,

Christ, our rebellious lover,

Spirit, our conscientious objector,

Be with us as we are bold in protecting the future of this

planet.

Amen.

Lu Skerrat

MOVEMENT Issue 161

27


In Prayer

A poem by SCM Member Ellen Lesser

on finding peace in the silence of prayer.

I take my place;

I clasp my hands;

I close my eyes.

I begin to think;

Nonsense at first:

What I’ve done that day and

what I need to do.

I become less self-focused,

and talk about my family,

my friends.

The talk begins to slow.

I can’t think of anything to say.

Nothing seems right,

seems... proper.

I can’t say anything,

So I don’t.

I sit there in silence as the world around me is in noise.

I hear it from the others in the room.

I hear it increase in volume whenever the door is opened.

But none of the noise is made by me.

A feeling overtakes me:

A feeling of lightness, of... airiness.

The sounds still reach my ears, but they sound different

somehow;

Further off, far away.

I can’t feel my hands.

It’s bitterly cold, biting at my shoulders,

my arms.

I should be shivering, but I’m not.

I can’t.

I’m no longer part of the world, as my body is.

I can’t feel my hands.

I realise that I am leaning forward,

My back is arching slightly.

The pain is far off, belonging to someone else.

Pain is an impossibility.

Yet I try and sit up, if only to relieve their tension, not my

own.

I am heavy; I can only lift myself a few inches.

It feels better, but

I still can’t feel my hands.

The noise beyond me stops;

Silence has descended in the room.

I notice the cold more, and my breathing deepens of no

accord of mine.

I should be terrified;

What is my body doing?

In any other situation,

I would be worried.

But I’m not.

I feel calm, incapable of anything else.

After all, my body is part of the world;

I am not.

I still can’t feel my hands.

I find my voice again after so much time of silence. I say

only one thing:

“Don’t let me fall asleep.”

I have an image of arriving late to my lesson,

apologising for ‘falling asleep in the prayer room’.

I wonder if my teacher would accept that ‘excuse’.

Probably not.

I can feel my fingers.

I begin talking again,

28 MOVEMENT Issue 161


about this silence.

How strange I feel,

how disconnected.

I can move my hands.

I come back to the world, the sounds becoming clearer.

It is still cold, but I am yet to be affected by it.

I can move my hands a little more.

I lapse into silence once more, enjoying the slow return.

I unclasp my hands.

I can’t open my eyes,

the light dancing on the inside of my eyelids

is comforting.

I expect to have to prise them open, as I did my hands.

I do not.

They open of their own accord,

the sudden vision taking me by surprise.

I feel heavy,

My motions are sluggish.

My watch tells me over half an hour has passed.

I am not concerned.

I am not surprised.

I often wondered how people can pray for long periods of

time,

of how they do not end up repeating what they have

already said.

I know now;

that in those times of prayer,

they are not talking at all.

They are feeling,

They are floating,

They are in silence.

Romans 8:26

MOVEMENT Issue 161

29


The Peacemakers

look for trouble

Lilly is a graduate in Theology, Philosophy and Ethics in

Liverpool. She shares her reflections on finding peace in

inclusive church communities.

‘Peace, Perfect Peace, Is the gift of

Christ our Lord’, a hymn from my

Church of England Primary school

days which stands out when thinking

of this subject.

As a newly-out Queer Christian, peace

is still difficult. It’s still hard work.

How can we be at peace with a

structure in which we are still fighting

for equality?

A large part of my reconciliation with

God is going to Church, and more

importantly finding the right place of

worship which I know is affirming and

inclusive (which, let’s face it, should be

every church).

Upon arriving as a mature student to

study theology at university level, I was

able express and explore my anger as

it was and still does severely affect my

mental health. With acknowledging

that, the healing could begin.

In my third year of university, during

my research for my dissertation, I was

directed to Open Table (a safe space for

LGBTQIA+ Christians), something that

was born and flourished in Liverpool.

We are so lucky to be able to say we

have such an affirming community of

Christians as well as senior clergy here!

My own journey with God has matured,

particularly having seen so many

instances of Christians voicing their

opinions of the Queer community.

Conversation is very important in

these instances and indeed has made

me more grounded and certain that I

am made in God’s image – I know my

worth and I know I am loved by God

and by my church community. This is a

big part of accepting myself for who I

am – with this, I am at peace.

Reflecting on regularly receiving

communion has grown to hold deep

importance to me, the act of receiving

A large part of

my reconciliation

with God is going

to Church, and

more importantly

finding the right

place of worship

which I know

is affirming and

inclusive (which,

let’s face it, should

be every church).

30 MOVEMENT Issue 161


In the liturgy and

offering Christ’s

peace to the

congregation,

sometimes with

Christians with

different opinions,

we have the

opportunity to share

in Christ’s body, all

being equal.

bread and wine brings such great

healing and perspective week by week.

In the liturgy and offering Christ’s

peace to the congregation, sometimes

with Christians with different opinions,

we have the opportunity to share in

Christ’s body, all being equal.

I will end with something that sticks

in my mind and makes me smile. At

our Open Table Communion in Sefton

(which my partner Jen facilitates in

North Liverpool) we once heard a

sermon reflecting on the Beatitudes,

in particular ‘Blessed are the

Peacemakers’. The minister concluded

with ‘because the peacemakers look

for trouble’.

Lilly Nelson

MOVEMENT Issue 161

31


THE LONG READ

SHALOM:

HARMONY NOT

HEGEMONY!

Revd Dr Anderson Jeremiah is an

Anglican priest and scholar at Lancaster

University, and a member of the Richardson

Institute for Peace Studies. He shares the

theological history of peace in the word

Shalom, how that was lived out in the early

Church, and how peace in our society

demands liberation, justice, and love.

32 MOVEMENT Issue 161


Shalom ‏(םולש)‏ is a vital Biblical

notion that is loosely translated as

‘peace’ in English. The English word

peace as in our common usage does

not do full justice to the Hebrew

concept of shalom. Much of the Old

Testament and Prophetic literature

hold on to this vision of an alternative

world that effectively gets translated

as the foundation of the Kingdom of

God in the New Testament by Jesus

of Nazareth. It is also closely linked

to the Greek word eirēnē (from eirō,

to join, tie together into a whole),

which means wholeness, or knitting

together of all essential parts into one

whole. It is essentially a concept that

appreciates the fullness of life that is

possible when all human beings, men

and women, along with other living

beings and nature, live together in

harmony. This vision is often captured

by Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 11:6-9) in

the following words:

The wolf will live with the lamb,

the leopard will lie down with

the goat,

the calf and the lion and the

yearling together;

and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear,

their young will lie down together,

and the lion will eat straw like

the ox.

The infant will play near the

cobra’s den,

and the young child will put its

hand into the viper’s nest.

These words of the prophet Isaiah

capture the three-dimensional nature

of shalom, the right relationship

with God, right relationship with one

another (among human beings), and

right relationship with nature. All

these relationships are defined by

love and justice.

According to the Old Testament,

the concept of shalom is deeply

linked to the notions of hesed and

sedeqa. Hesed means steadfast

and unconditional love that is often

understood within a covenantal

relationship. The key being that the

love articulated in this context is

selfless and often acts without the

question, what’s in it for me? On

the other hand, sedeqa is justice,

which advocates respect, equity and

freedom. In the Hebrew prophetic

tradition, love and justice are

central to realising shalom, which

the prophets advocated. Moreover,

theologically I hold the view that

there is no love without justice and

no justice without love. Love not

grounded in justice could easily drift

into obsession and greed. Similarly,

justice not grounded in love could

be elusive and even descend into

tyranny. What I appreciate so much

in the Old Testament tradition is

the fine combination of love and

justice and their inseparability that

comes to represent God’s holiness

and theologically defines the moral

character of beings. Achieving

shalom in this world would be

through the pursuit of justice and

love. In other words, enjoyment

of one’s rights is indispensable to

shalom, because shalom is shaped

through an ethical community.

Shalom is wounded in the absence of

justice.

Justice is not just a word but a

praxiological concept which demands

to be practically worked out in our

lives. As expressed by the prophets

in the Bible, the absence of justice

amounts to the absence of God. The

concept of justice is not a postscript

but the mainstay of Christian faith.

Therefore, justice has to become an

important priority for Christians. As

Jürgen Moltmann (Moltmann,1998)

expresses, the theology which

emerges out of the passion for

God’s reign which is ‘Just’ cannot be

restricted to doctrines, dogmatics

and faith but is functionalised in

everyday life in this very society. It

should disturb and wake us up from

the slumber. It should provoke us

to move from a culture of silence

to a culture of transformation. It

should be the directive principle of

our mission concretely realising the

kingdom of God in our midst. The

Church as a community of disciples

is a sacrament, which demonstrates

a new liberated humanity as

opposed to the oppressive, unjust

and exploitative social, cultural and

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33


[Shalom] is

essentially a concept

that appreciates the

fullness of life that

is possible when all

human beings, men

and women, along

with other living

beings and nature,

live together in

harmony.

economic patterns and structures. It

should foster human relationship and

offer an alternative society of radical

egalitarianism.

Shalom:

A Covenantal

Community

The book of Acts (4.32-35) holds

the key to the early Christians’

understanding of covenantal

community. In very clear terms

it is mentioned that they shared

everything and had everything in

common. Importantly, there was

not a needy person in their midst.

Ulrich Duchrow interprets that it

was not an accident that the early

Christians had this practice; it was

an outcome of their experience

with their master Jesus Christ,

who prophetically condemned the

attitude of accumulation and insisted

on sharing and gaining ‘abundant

life’. They continued this because,

through this fellowship of a sharing

and caring community, Jesus Christ

became alive in their midst. The early

Christians represented a community

without need, a counter-community

of sharing (Duchrow, 2002).

Throughout the centuries this idea of

a shared common life occupied the

heart of the Christian message. In the

understanding of the early church

fathers, private ownership is rather

sinful, and the common use of goods

manifests the fellowship in Christ

which is God’s will for humanity

(O’Donovan, 2004). Property and

economic exchange, human industry

and market trade have to be fairly

and righteously dealt with. It is

important to pick up these threads

from Christian theological history, i.e.

that there is no Christian justification

for privatisation or exploitation of

resources; rather, we are expected

to share and live in a shalom

community. Exclusive ownership and

accumulation are even considered to

be against God’s will. Common good

is the norm, since Christian theology

makes it very clear that we do not

own anything but God, and all the

earth’s resources need to be justly

shared among all; this is the Christian

ethical basis.

In the context of the climate crisis,

caused by human beings’ insatiable

appetite for the world’s depleting

resources, common good is a

stark reminder about our Christian

responsibility. Furthering this idea of

our resources as God’s gift and we as

stewards, Kathryn Tanner says that

there should be a non-commodity

exchange rather than a commodity

exchange, putting the emphasis on

giving rather than accumulating. One

partakes in the community not for

personal reasons but to be part of a

self-sustaining society, which stands

in opposition to the commodification

in capitalist transaction (Tanner,

2005). This ushers in the idea of

common sharing and possession, as

against private accumulation. It is

not the individual but the community

that is at the heart of God’s gift.

The necessity of non-competitive

34 MOVEMENT Issue 161


relations is crucial in sustaining this

community – self-sharing for the

good of others.

Jürgen Moltmann summarizes the

purpose and mission of Christians in

our times by saying that “the church

exists in modern society as the work

and instrument of God’s justice”

(Moltmann, 1998). The church, which

stands in the historical tradition

of being a counter-community,

promoting the values of justice and

love and the importance of sharing,

has to reinvent itself to challenge

contemporary unfairness. When

talking about the responsibility of the

churches, Ulrich Duchrow observes,

“Prophetic critique, resistance, living

alternatives and intervention towards

legal reforms – these were the biblical

forms of practising faith in Yahweh,

the compassionate God.”(Duchrow,

2002). As has been pointed out, the

church is under obligation to promote

a non-market framework and practise

unconditional giving in the face of

competitive terms of relationship.

The theological roots of economy

have to rework the truncated hopes

and challenge the ‘winner takes all’

competitive market attitude. Shalom

will not take root in a fragmented

and highly individualised society. A

self-driven and individualised society

is a clear indicator of an absence of

shalom.

Peaceable

Community,

‘Here and Now’

In the secular world Joan Galtung

offered a different view of achieving

peace in society. Galtung developed

structural violence as a result of

peace research being primarily

focused on direct violence in the

1950’s and as the definition of

violence expanded, so did the

definition of peace. He suggested

the notion of positive and negative

peace, describing negative peace

as the absence of violence and

absence of war, and positive peace

as the integration of human society

(Galtung, 2014). According to

Galtung, negative peace is seen

to be less effective than positive

peace as positive peace focuses

on bringing humanity together and

harmonisation, while also eliminating

violence. But within a Christian

context Stanley Hauerwas, an

important Christian ethicist, argues

that Christians should be “a people

who have learned to be at peace

with themselves, one another, the

stranger and of course most of all

God”. (Hauerwas, 2001). However,

the present state of our society

(the church included) is that of a

broken community that demands

a response from us. We can’t shy

away from the harsh realities of

gender, race, ethnicity and castebased

discrimination. The danger is

that these discriminations are joining

hands with other oppressive and

dehumanising forces furthering the

peacelessness of our society. In this

context, Jesus offers a practical guide

to this alternative lifestyle in Luke

(4:18–19). In the familiar Nazareth

manifesto, Jesus articulates the

prophetic tradition’s commitment to

justice and love. Jesus goes on to

underline the important dimension

of mercy and compassion in his

alternative economy of grace (Luke

6:27-38). A spirit filled life is about

proclaiming good news to the

poor, who are excluded, exploited

and discriminated against by the

economic structures and policies

implemented by people who only care

about enriching themselves.

A spirit filled life pursues freedom for

the captives and restores wellbeing

for the trampled upon. A spirit filled

life of shalom nurtures equity and

justice for all. The directive we

receive from Jesus of Nazareth is to

pursue peace, shalom, which comes

as a cultural as well as a liberation

mandate.

Revd Dr Anderson Jeremiah

MOVEMENT Issue 161

35


PEACE

THROUGHOUT

THE CHURCH

Have you been inspired by this issue

to get involved with peace work? In the

spirit of ecumenism, our Regional

Development Worker in Scotland, Caitlin

Wakefield, has put together this handy

roundup of what’s going on across different

denominations in Britain.

36 MOVEMENT Issue 161


PAX

CHRISTI

UK

Pax Christi is an international movement committed to

peace, reconciliation, and non-violence. They are rooted in

Roman Catholic theology but are open to all who share their

values. Pax Christi works with schools, chaplains, teachers,

and young people to encourage peace building and develop

solidarity between different groups. As part of their work

Pax Christi members speak in schools, universities, and run

campaigns, all with the aim of putting peace into action.

Some of their recent events have included a vigil for peace

at Liverpool Cathedral; taking part in the No Faith in War

Arms Fair Protest in London; and visits to the Peace Museum

in Bradford.

PAXCHRISTI.ORG.UK

ANGLICAN

PACIFIST

FELLOWSHIP

The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship are a group of people within

the Anglican Communion who believe that peace and justice

must be sought through non-violent means. They reject

violence and war as a solution to international disputes,

emphasising Jesus’ teaching not to return violence with

violence. Part of the Fellowship’s work is awarding grants to

peace building initiatives within the Anglican Communion.

There are several projects currently being funded, amongst

them Peacebuilding Training in Burundi and South Sudan,

and peacebuilding projects in Scottish primary schools

delivered by the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre. The

Fellowship also produce resources such as hymn books,

educational pamphlets, and prayer leaflets.

ANGLICANPEACEMAKER.ORG.UK

MOVEMENT Issue 161

37


QUAKER

ROOTS OF

RESISTANCE

Roots of Resistance is a community of Quakers gathered

specifically to protest the Defence and Security Equipment

International arms fair (DSEI) that takes place in London

every two years. The DSEI hosts over 1,500 arms companies

and military representatives, selling weapons from tanks to

ammunition to surveillance technology. Roots of Resistance

take a firm stance against the arms trade as a great evil that

prioritises profit over people’s lives. They are particularly

concerned with the British government’s involvement in

the arms trade, in the selling of illegal weapons, and the

furnishing of totalitarian and oppressive regimes with

weapons used against civilians. Roots of Resistance believe

that this fair is fundamentally at odds with their testimony

to peace and so prioritise a radical witness that attempts to

highlight and disrupt this fair.

ROOTSOFRESISTANCE.ORG.UK

FELLOWSHIP OF

RECONCILIATION

The Fellowship of Reconciliation are a community of

Christians who oppose war and militarism, are committed to

non-violence, and support their members to embody peace

and reconciliation. Their aims are to grow and support

their membership in becoming non-violent peacemakers,

to campaign on a local and national level, and to offer

prayer, formation, and training. Their current campaigns

include promoting an anti-militarism pledge, taking part in

the Global Campaign on Military Spending, and highlighting

and opposing the increasing military use of armed drones.

They also produce worship resources for use by individuals

or churches. Upcoming events include partnering with SCM

and other peace building organisations in the Network of

Christian Peace Organisations for a conference on the 25th

of April 2020.

FOR.ORG.UK

38 MOVEMENT Issue 161


THE UNITED

REFORMED

CHURCH PEACE

FELLOWSHIP

The URC Peace Fellowship is a group of people within the URC

church who are committed to highlighting issues of justice

and peace within their own churches and locally. They also

have links with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and work

with other denominational groups locally and nationally.

Through their General Assembly the Peace Fellowship has

worked to produce statements denouncing the arms trade

and nuclear weapons. Their recent conference ‘Pathways

to Peace’ was a joint endeavour with the Fellowship of

Reconciliation, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, and the

Baptist and Methodist Peace Fellowships.

BIT.LY/URC-PEACE-FELLOWSHIP

WORLD

METHODIST

PEACE AWARD

The World Methodist Peace Award is given by the World

Methodist Council in recognition of the vital work that

peacemakers undertake. Starting as an acknowledgment of

peacebuilding work in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, it now

awards people from all over the globe. Previous recipients

include the Methodist Church in Italy for their response to

the refugee crisis, and Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, the founder

and former CEO of World Hope International, and Revd Dr

Inderjit Bhogal for his work on interfaith relations and City of

Sanctuary in Sheffield. The criteria for nomination is that the

person must display ‘courage, creativity, and consistency.’

BIT.LY/WORLD-METHODIST-PEACE-AWARD

There are many more faith-based peace organisations in the UK. A non-exhaustive list includes:

The Unitarian and Free Christian Peace Fellowship

The Campaign Against Arms Trade Christian Network

Christian Peacemaker Teams

The Third Order of St Francis

The Baptist Peace Fellowship

The Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

The Northern Friends Peace Board

Ekklesia

MOVEMENT Issue 161

39


REVIEWS

THE

UNDERGROUND

CHURCH

The early church has always had a special

place in the heart of Christians unsatisfied

of the status quo, producing all sorts of Actsinspired

movements. Far from looking

at the early years of the faith through

rose tinted glasses, Robin Meyers’ The

Underground Church: Reclaiming

the Subversive Way of Jesus presents

the reader with a thoroughly researched,

evidence-based manifesto for a community

of believers transcending the traditional

labels of liberal and conservative, without

losing the bite and appeal of the radical

discipleship the followers of Jesus are called

to. Meyers identifies central elements of

early Christian praxis such as hospitality,

non-violence and wealth-sharing, and

proposes a practical way for congregations

to adopt them whichever end of the

theological spectrum they subscribe to.

Whilst mostly centred around the author’s

own experience of American Christendom,

The Underground Church provides

exceptional insights for both the individual

disciple and the adventurous church alike,

in a style that is not only easy to follow but

also manages to make this non-fiction book

a real page turner. It is a must-have for any

serious student of the Way of Jesus.

SIMONE RAMACCI

The Underground

Church: Recovering

the Subversive Way

of Jesus

Robin Meyers

Hardcover

ISBN:

978-1118061596

THEOLOGISING

BREXIT

Theologising Brexit is a multidimensional

book with a single purpose:

to interrogate and respond to the

‘subterranean theologies of White English

nationalism’ which have underpinned the

Brexit situation. This book, by Anthony

Reddie, fills the silent vacuum left by

Church leaders in the UK who have failed

to mount a ‘prophetic response’ to the rising

tide of xenophobia in light of the 2016

referendum vote. Reddie categorises his

essays into three sections. I will summarise

the ideas I found most thought provoking,

taking one from each section.

In section one, Reddie uses his personal

experiences as a Black, Northern

Christian to springboard into arguments

about the Christianity in England and

its concomitant whiteness. In chapter

four he looks at theological anthropology.

Reaching back to Elizabethan times, he

makes the argument that faith was used as

a boundary to demark the White Christian

from the less than human Black subject.

This separation objectifies blackness and

fixes Black people’s identity in the eyes of

an oppressor. A key idea Reddie introduces

is that of ‘complex subjectivity’. If we are

able to break the fixed stereotypes projected

40 MOVEMENT Issue 161


by our theologically imbued ideas of

personhood, then we have less chance of

scapegoating immigrants and minorities

as the one-dimensional causes of our

problems.

In section two, Reddie turns to ways of

responding to the Brexit context. Within

chapter seven he introduces the concept of

‘transformative popular education’. Put

into collaboration with Black theology,

this form of education involves practical

games, like musical chairs, to help

illustrate issues of equity. The result is the

raised consciousnesses of ordinary Black

and poorer White people to the need for

‘systemic and structural change’ in society

as opposed to more divisional solutions like

the Brexit vote.

In section three, Reddie ends by looking at

the ‘critical challenge of the other’. I was

engrossed in Chapter 10, which argues

for how Caribbean proverbial wisdom

can act as a means of Black survival in

England and provide a challenge to the

deterioration of public language in the

Brexit context. For example, imagine if the

politicians could learn from the Christian

Caribbean women Reddie interviewed

who said ‘If wishes were horses, den beggars

wud ride’ (If wishing for something were

all that was required for dreams to come

true, then everyone would get what they

wanted). The thought of negotiating for

unicorns is not far from my mind.

To conclude, Theologising Brexit would

be enjoyed by anyone happy to have their

own assumptions challenged, looking to

learn more about Black British Theology,

and hoping to discover Reddie’s thought

provoking ideas about how we can respond

as Christians to the Brexit situation.

BEN HUMPHRIES

Theologising Brexit:

A Liberationist and

Postcolonial Critique

Anthony G. Reddie

Hardcover

ISBN:

978-0367028886

REVOLUTIONARY

PEACEMAKING

If you are currently in a state of hopeless

dismay stemming from the recent election

results concerning the Conservative reelection,

or are confused as to why your

friendship group has alienated you because

you voted for the Conservatives, this book

may provide some needed inspiration

and explanation as to why our country is

presently so divided.

Jakopovich’s book is split into four

broad sections, made up of several

essays, poems and inspirational quotes

from well-known scholars, activists and

pacifists. Part one is more outrageously

sociological in its methodology, part

two we could describe as setting the

scene of the most severe problems that

are present in our societies. Part three

critically approaches philosophers and

philosophical methods that have been

used to promote non-violence and

part four, more political in scope, gives

examples of peacemaking initiatives

and how they are undermined by

majority governments and capitalist

structures.

This book is a diversely rich collection

of essays and so I would encourage the

reader to ‘dip in and out’ rather than

attempt to read the book as a collective

whole. Nevertheless, I would like to

highlight a few sections that I believe

would prove useful to any politically

conscious student. A short essay in

MOVEMENT Issue 161

41


pages 137-143 helpfully outlines

that the disturbing financial volume

Britain throws at warfare and nuclear

armament could end world hunger. In

section three Jakopovich explores the

leading philosopher Hannah Arendt

(pages 148-180). Although upholding

her magnificent work promoting nonviolence,

he critiques her methods for

being detached from the underclass

of society and argues that politics

cannot be disentangled from the social,

the class, power or emotions. His

exploration of the thinker Jean-Paul

Sartre highlights his exceptional work

concerning questions of what it means

to be human. Sartre’s argument is that

to be human means to be free to resist.

Jakopovich, using the example of the

famous Christian pacifist John Dear,

connivingly explains that man is only

free when he contributes to a shared

humanity. The most compelling

argument that struck me in this book

towards non-violence can be found

in an essay on Palestine, pages 273-

283, that uses Erasmus of Rotterdam’s

paraphrasing of the Book of Proverbs

to argue that feeding your enemies

is the most disruptive action against

the status quo of violence that can be

achieved. Finally, I found solace in

the penultimate chapter of this book,

pp.456-524, which concentrates on

the ‘ruling order’s brutality’ present in

our current British society. Jakopovich

uses Marx to explain that our society,

riddled with violence, xenophobia,

scape-goating and self-preservation,

is in need of a ‘historical transition’

in the form of a ‘cultural revolution.’

Corbyn, he claims, was so successful

in inspiring the young because he was

counter cultural. There is hope that

this transformative revolution is just

beginning.

The first section of this book however

I found difficult, especially in terms

of relating to them as a Christian.

Although of course the ideals of

advancing the rights of children

and young people are ones that are

hard to disagree with, Jakopovich’s

approach to this reform is extreme.

He includes a chapter on the ‘Chains

of Contemporary Marriage’ pp.27-46,

which although was fascinating, does

not take into account the Christian

ideals of the sacredness of the union

between two loving people. I question

if it is possible to have a Christian

understanding of societal polyamory.

Additionally, his reforms on education

were a little mind-blowing for

someone who thrives and absolutely

loved her schooling and education

growing up (and now)! I would still

exclaim however that this section was

usefully mind-opening for me, and

allowed me to question my inherent

presuppositions and normalisations of

society. One last criticism of this book

however is that it is incredibly Western

orientated. Although Jakopovich does

a great job of demonstrating how

dominant, powerful Western models

have damaged vulnerable societies,

such as the Middle East, South Korea,

and our own former Communist

states, Jakopovich’s answers to

these problems still lie exclusively

in Western constructed paradigms,

thought-systems and philosophies.

An exploration of, and sympathetic

integration with alternative ways

of viewing the world, rather than

dismissing them as ‘backwards’

p.108, would create a more holistic

and globally relevant model for

peacemaking. Nevertheless, I would

implore you to give this diversely rich

volume a go.

VICTORIA TURNER

Revolutionary

Peacemaking:

Writings for a

Culture of Peace and

Nonviolence

Daniel Jakopovich

ISBN-10:

9535513427

42MOVEMENT Issue 161

MOVEMENT Issue 16142



scm_britain

student christian movement

Grays Court, 3 Nursery Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3JX

t: 0121 426 4918 e: scm@movement.org.uk w: www.movement.org.uk

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