Published Feb. 24, 2023
A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.
– William Penn, 1693
Of all the testimonies of Quakers, the peace testimony is probably the most challenging. Wars today are much more efficient and sophisticated than when these words were spoken.
One year has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. San Diego Friends have met to discuss the ongoing war and our hopes for peace in the region.
We belong to Pacific Yearly Meeting, which states in Faith and Practice:
Based upon love and concern for the well-being of all, Friends work for reconciliation and active nonviolent resolutions of conflict.
Friends have traditionally supported conscientious objectors to military service, while holding in love, but disagreeing with, those who feel that they must enter the armed forces. Friends oppose all war as inconstant with God’s will. This is especially challenging for Quakers as Ukraine does not recognize conscientious objectors.
We read the statement of Reno Friends (April 29th, 2022) and we find it a powerful and honest comment about what many Quakers are facing with this conflict. We encourage Friends, and all who value peace and nonviolent action, to read the statement from Reno Friends and consider what each of us can do.
We wish to support all those who are taking a stand for nonviolent action, as well as compassionate aid, in Ukraine and Russia, in the region, and around the world. We also urge all parties to work for a peaceful resolution to conflicts in the region.
Lasting peace will not come primarily from governments but from the people who refuse to kill their fellow human beings.
Quakers have also historically played a key role in facilitating aid to victims of war as well as individuals escaping political violence. We continue to support these efforts.
We encourage Friends in Pacific Yearly Meeting and throughout the world to explore the following links to gain additional insight on how we might support nonviolent responses to the war in Ukraine:
Quakers in Britain:
Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC):
Quakers of Kyiv (Facebook group):
Quakers in the World: Friends House Moscow:
War Resisters League (WRL):
Submitted by George Gastil
Clerk, San Diego Monthly Meeting
February 12, 2023