A look back at 2015

Quaker work is often hidden from the public gaze. Our activity quietly makes a difference to areas of conflict, or sows seeds of change in local communities. As the year draws to a close we lift the curtain for a peep at a few initiatives started during 2015.

A lit candle on a silver tray. 2015 written in several languages
Candle from 2015 Hiroshima Commemoration Service held in Friends House

Quakers believe in challenging the root causes of injustice and conflict. These values are at the heart of all our work. In Kenya we started a programme of conflict resolution (offsite link). In London we organised a commemoration of the Hiroshima bombings, at which faith leaders committed to never let the horror be repeated.

Throughout the year we revealed the hidden aspects of military coercion. Our film, The Unseen March, catalogues the rise of militarism in Britain today. The White Feather Diaries (offsite link) and associated peace education resources tell the untold stories of conscientious objectors in WWI.

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Quakers are in it for the long haul. For centuries Quakers in Britain have campaigned for equality, social justice and peace. In 2016, with your help, we will continue to champion these values that are vital for a healthy society.

- Paul Parker, Recording Clerk

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Our presence on the political stage shifted in 2015 as we welcomed new Quaker MPs, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West. Many Quakers were involved with the General Election and valued our new 'how to' election guide (offsite link).

In a politically energised Scotland we established a new Scottish advocacy project. The Quaker commitment to peace was emphasised by sending all MSPs and Scottish MPs a white peace poppy.

Quakers were formally represented at five of the party political conferences. Influential behind the scenes conversations took place with MPs and peers. In March, to highlight the growing gap between rich and poor, Quakers around the country started 'Equality Week'.

Swarthmoor Hall (offsite link) in Cumbria, the birthplace of Quakerism, underwent a major overhaul in 2015. Its new café, like its sister in Friends House, London, serves locally sourced food, and reflects our ethical values and commitment to sustainability. Swarthmoor's beehives have been around for some time, but Friends House acquired its first two hives this year. Our bees are thriving and produced enough honey to give a jar to each member of staff.