Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice
of the Religious Society of Friends (QUAKERS)

Activism

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History of Peace Activism at Wilton Friends Meeting

Quakers have always opposed war and preparation for war. Perhaps Wilton Monthly Meeting’s most important action in relation to wider Quakerism was the adoption in 1960 of a minute which was submitted to and approved by New York Yearly Meeting. The text follows:

A TESTAMENT OF PEACE BY WILTON MONTHLY MEETING

It is now 300 years since Friends first declared “we cannot learn war anymore.” Now as then, the spirit of Jesus Christ can never move us to violence, neither in personal conflict nor in public life. His way is opened by that of God in every man; and by the helping hand of God available to all.

Today His way can save the world. Though every individual owes loyalty to the state, he owes higher loyalty to the authority of the inner light that is of God.

And so with special urgency we invite all who hear to utterly renounce war—now the real and final enemy of man—and daily to seek ways to practice the life that knows no occasion for war, and to learn the ways of peace without which all men perish.

Consistent with this position, WMM has been and is deeply engaged in many causes related to peace, resistance to war, and striving for a better social order. From the efforts of the sewing group, the “Hiroshima Maidens,” the anti-draft movement, the Sanctuary Movement when we sponsored a Guatemalan family, to the present-day movement against the death penalty or anti-gun violence, Wilton Meeting has stood up for looking for the Spirit Within rather than outward strife. 

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