Armed Forces Day vigil

Armed Forces Day vigil

A vigil on Armed Forces Day

Working for peace and the absence of conflict is the best way to support members of the armed forces and to keep them out of harm’s way.

11:30am-12:30pm Saturday 30 June 2018 at the Peace Garden in Abbey Gardens

Not all of us in our Quaker family are absolute pacifists, but all unite in an overwhelming and Spirit-led commitment to the avoidance of war and the use of outward weapons. Many friends in other churches share our aspiration, if not our testimony, and it is in this spirit and longing for the peaceable kingdom that I write this.

On 30 June, there will be a display of military hardware in the Abbey Gardens, which is described as ‘a family fun day’. We, Bury Quakers, are deeply troubled by this event which we see as being in large part a recruitment exercise. Here are the words of the former head of the Army’s Recruitment Strategy, Col David Alfrey:

“Our new model is about raising awareness, and that takes a ten-year span. It starts with a seven-year-old boy seeing a parachutist at an air show and thinking ‘that looks great’. From then on, the army is trying to build interest by drip, drip, drip………………..The army careers advisers who operate in schools are skilled salesmen”.

We pray that there will be among you, followers of the Prince of Peace, who feel able to join us between 11.30 and 12.30 in the Peace Garden of the Abbey Gardens to bear witness to peace, peace-making, conflict avoidance and resolution, to the Sermon on the Mount, and to the words of the American theologian Stanley Hauerwas:

“As long as it is assumed that war is always an available option, we will not be forced to imagine any alternative to war”.