The Fellowship of Reconciliation played a critical role in the establishment of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. After our Walk for Healing and Peace from Washington, DC to New York City in November, 2001 organized by Voices in the Wilderness (now Voices for Creative Nonviolence), FOR nonviolence trainer Janet Chisholm conveyed an offer from the organization to serve as our “interim fiscal sponsor” as we pursued a more formal arrangement.
FOR dates back to 1914, when an ecumenical conference was held in Switzerland by Christians seeking to prevent the outbreak of war in Europe. Before the conference ended, however, World War I had started and those present had to return to their respective countries. At a railroad station in Germany, two of the participants, Henry Hodgkin, an English Quaker, and Friedrich Sigmund-Schultze, a German Lutheran, pledged to find a way of working for peace even though their countries were at war. Out of this pledge Christians gathered in Cambridge, England in December 1914 to found the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The FOR-USA was founded one year later, in 1915.
FOR has since become an interfaith and international movement with branches and groups in over 40 countries and on every continent. Today the membership of FOR includes Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other faith traditions, as well as those with no formal religious affiliation.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation is composed of women and men who recognize the essential unity of all creation and have joined together to explore the power of love and truth for resolving human conflict. While it has always been vigorous in its opposition to war, the Fellowship has insisted equally that this effort must be based on a commitment to the achieving of a just and peaceful world community, with full dignity and freedom for every human being.
In working out these objectives the FOR seeks the company of people of faith who will respond to conflict nonviolently, seeking reconciliation through compassionate action. The Fellowship encourages the integration of faith into the lives of individual members. At the same time it is a special role of the Fellowship to extend the boundaries of community and affirm its diversity of religious traditions as it seeks the resolution of conflict by the united efforts of people of many faiths.
In the development of its program the FOR depends upon persons who seek to apply these principles to every area of life. FOR members:
- Identify with those of every nation, race, gender, sexual orientation and religion who are the victims of injustice and exploitation, and seek to develop resources of active nonviolence to transform such circumstances;
- Refuse to participate in any war or to sanction military preparations; work to abolish war and promote good will among races, nations and classes;
- Strive to build a social order that will utilize the resources of human ingenuity and wisdom for the benefit of all, an order in which no individual or group will be exploited or oppressed for the profit or pleasure of others;
- Advocate fair and compassionate methods of dealing with offenders against society; they also serve as advocates for victims of crime and their families who suffer loss and emotional anguish, recognizing that restitution and reconciliation can help to heal both victims and offenders;
- Endeavor to show respect for personality and reverence for all creation;
- Seek to avoid bitterness and contention in dealing with controversy, and to maintain the spirit of self-giving love while engaged in the effort to achieve these purposes.
Web site: http://forusa.org