Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 26th May 2024

Dear Friends, Memories of our struggles with the exercise to practise shuttle diplomacy at Bradford University were prompted by celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of its Department of Peace Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 26th May 2024

Dear Friends,

Memories of our struggles with the exercise to practise shuttle diplomacy at Bradford University were prompted by celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of its Department of Peace Studies this week, and by the recent death of Johan Galtung, one of the pioneers of peace education.

I remember the controversy surrounding Quaker support for establishing such a department – peace is all very well as a testimony, but a university department? Friends were convinced by the energy and dedication of our Friend, Adam Curle, who became the first professor of peace studies, and the department thrived and served as a model for other international institutes.

Adam, who was given the Gandhi Peace Award in 2000, was my prop and sounding-board when Quaker Peace and Service asked me to find and encourage the peace workers and to run workshops in Yugoslavia during the war there. His Quaker faith was enriched by the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism; he believed in the development of peaceful relationships rather than the containment of aggression, and he reminds us, at this time of violent conflict, of our shared humanity and interdependence, as each precious bead shines in his poem – Indra’sNet :

At each intersection of the endless net of Indra’s heaven, according to the myth,
Is a bead that represents a human life.
Each bead reflects every other and every reflection of every other.
In the sub-atomic field, each hadron affects and is affected by all the rest,
Resulting in a flux of energy and movement,
In which little can be foretold save unpredictability and endless change.
The boundaries between us are hallucinations; we are indeed members of one another,
Dancing together spontaneously like a hadron containing each other like the beads.

Patricia

on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)