Between 14 – 16 September, General Secretary Pat Gaffney made a visit to Scotland, coordinated by Justice and Peace Scotland, FoR and Scottish Clergy Against Nuclear Arms (SCANA). The main purpose of the visit was to share with groups more of the background to and follow-up from the Rome Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace and also to get to know Pax Christi members and other peace groups in Scotland. In Glasgow, Pat spoke at a meeting of SCANA members and then to a group of members of Justice & Peace and Pax Christi. This was an opportunity to also talk and discuss how we might work together post-Trident vote. Many of those gathered are involved in active campaigning against nuclear weapons.
That evening Pat spoke at an open meeting at the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh. This more formal presentation looked in depth at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference and the opportunities created within faith communities to work with the Appeal.
The following day Pat was given an opportunity to speak about the Rome Conference at the annual meeting of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) . This is the groups of ecumenical representatives from the Scottish churches. While the input time was short, it was a great opportunity for networking.
Back in Edinburgh there was lunch with the Episcopalian Church in Scotland, and an opportunity to meet those involved in work with refugees and homeless issues then a meeting in the Scottish Parliament with Bill Kidd who is a member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament. Pat was delighted to discover the high regard he has for the members of Pax Christi International and PAX Netherlands whom he meets in Geneva on the Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament. With them he will be attending disarmament meetings in New York in October.
The formal part of the visit finished with a meeting Associate Secretary, Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland.
Some immediate outcomes of the visit: Pax Christi will now write to all of the Catholic Scottish Bishops about the Rome Conference, inviting them to read the Appeal and support it and to be open to exploring ways of acting upon it within the Scottish context. It was also clear that Pax Christi must do more to network with and support members in Scotland. We are already talking about having an overnight gathering in the Spring. Pat Gaffney said:” It was very energising to meet so many engaged people in Scotland, many of whom are Pax Christi members. I wanted to talk more with them all but there was no time! A longer gathering, where we can share more about work, reflect together on what keeps us going and plan will be a very positive next step. The welcome and hospitality in Scotland has been so warm and encouraging”