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Member News 2020

November: Pax Christi member Arn Dekker, led a group through highlights of the Cambridge Peace trail, virtually. We were joined online by a number of international participants as well as peace friends from Cambridge and a wide range of Pax Christi members. Valerie Flessati contributed answers and ideas in response to a range of questions. We wrote up the event on Independent Catholic News. The Cambridge Peace Trail booklet is available from the office, priced at only £2.

October: A small group of members met online with Theresa to discuss Pax Christi’s plans for the expected full ratification of the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty. The group included Paul Jewell a member who lives in Wales and represents Pax Christi at ICAN and NTR meetings, and Martin Birdseye who represented us for many years and remains active in anti-nuclear work. We shared a range of ideas. Find out more about our plans here and here.

October: Pax Christi member Lauri Clark is using the Pax Christi International tree image at a Care of Creation zoom prayer service in her parish.

September: Pax Christi member Arn Dekker participated in the Pax Netherlands webinar about Killer Robots. He sent us this report: Various countries are developing autonomous robots or drones that can make their own decision on whether to kill or not.
Pax and other organisations are concerned to get an international agreement that makes autonomous robots illegal in the same way that chemical weapons are illegal. The aim is for the UN to agree that the killing of human beings is never to be delegated to machines.
In the case of an autonomous drone one of the questions that needs to be answered is one of responsibility. If a killer robot is deployed and kills a human,who would be responsible; the company that manufactured the robot, the programmer or the commander who orders the use of the robot.
It is an urgent matter, already kamikaze drones are employed by Israel (Harpie), USA (Switchblade), Turkey (Kargu) and others and the Australian company Defendtex has plans to develop a drone that would cost less than 500 dollars. Turkey is about to start using their Kargu drone along the border with Syria.
Arn also passed on this link to a future-imagining short film called Slaughterbots

September: More than 30 Pax Christi members and friends participated in the new five session study series, ‘Making Active Nonviolence Our Way of Life’. The programme ran online and participants joined us from America, Uruguay and Scotland, as well as England & Wales. Members in Leeds made a commitment to run the study sessions again in the New Year. Six more members joined a series of the sessions running over five consecutive evenings during the Days of Action on Nonviolence. At the final session, on the International Day of Nonviolence, twelve members made the Vow/Commitment to Nonviolence together online.

September: World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel. Members ensured this was mentioned in bidding prayers and that Pax Christi resources were shared. For example, at St Gabriel’s, in Brynmill, Swansea, prayers were offered during Morning Service and Pax Christi cards distributed to the congregation and prayers were included in the Service at St John’s Church, New Alresford. Hampshire. Jan Sutch Pickard generously made a recording in which she read her poem, as used on our prayer card this year. One thoughtful Pax Christi member sent a copy of our prayer card to each of the embassies in London – a great way to share the peace message!

August: 75th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Pax Christi members and friends took part in outdoor witness events around the country, online events, personal prayer and fasting, as well as sharing information and prayers with parishes. There were around 50 people at our 8am Zoom liturgies each morning between 6th and 9th August. During these events, members shared thoughts, prayers and action ideas. A powerful, two-part poem by Pax Christi member, Kate Holmstrom, was used in the liturgy. Members sent messages of greeting and solidarity to our partners in Japan.

Abingdon Peace Group, including Pax Christi members

Pax Christi members were in Leeds at the Nagasaki Day event attended by the Lord Mayor.

Lord Mayor speaking, Leeds
Pax Christi members among those taking part in a socially-distanced witness in Leeds

Members organised a silent vigil in Coventry, on the steps of the ruined cathedral.

Members in Liverpool gathered outdoors with peace partners. They wrote about nuclear weapons for MouthPeace, the joint quarterly magazine of Shrewsbury & Liverpool J&P Commissions.

We had a presence in London, reported on ICN. Westminster J&P also present!

Members and staff outside Westminster Cathedral on 6th August
Members and staff outside Westminster Cathedral on 9th August
Ann Farr put a poster in her window
Sheila Thomas shared a different picture from her visit to Hiroshima Peace Park on her Facebook feed each day. Clare Palmer complained to the BBC when they didn't include the atomic bombing in their early morning Radio 4 On This Day item. Malcolm and Josie Green, and many others, arranged for appropriate text in the parish newsletter or at services.

July: In advance of the 75th anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pax Christi members in Leeds took part in an innovative event led by Bradford CND to create a socially-distanced peace sign.

June 30th: Zoom Reflection & Discussion: Annexation – What hope for Palestine?

Almost 70 Pax Christi members and friends gathered to reflect and pray together in advance of the proposed annexation. Pax Christi Chair, Ann Farr, led the event and had invited some of our longstanding partners from Palestine to speak about their lives and the likely impact of the annexation plan. Paul Clark also joined us and spoke about the work of EAPPI. We are grateful to Ellen Teague who wrote up the event for Independent Catholic News:


June 19th: Banks, Pensions & Nuclear Weapons: Investing in Change.

Pax Christi and Christian CND members Patricia and Michael Pulham wrote the National Justice & Peace Network Comment column in this week’s Catholic Universe newspaper: ‘This report, researched and produced by nine faith organisations, including Christian CND and Pax Christi, looks at the policies, practices and investments of some of the most popular financial institutions in the UK. Those of us whose salaries and pension funds provide us with an income might not realise that billions of pounds of our money is invested in the production of nuclear weapons. The money that keeps us alive could be produced by weapons that threaten death to millions. ‘

11th June: Approaching the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations, we were delighted to host an online discussion and prayer time. More than 40 people gathered: members of Pax Christi; members of the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; and peace friends. We heard from Aaron Humphriss who recently worked with the Holy See Mission to the UN in New York, on a disarmament and security brief. We also heard from Mary Yelenick speaking to us from New York where she is a member of the Pax Christi International UN-NGO team. Aaron and Mary answered a range of questions about current strands of work, maintaining hope, signs of change and the role of our bishops and grassroots organisations. We were inspired by Aaron’s own journey to thinking about peace, having come from a very different starting point. We spent a short time in prayer following a liturgy that incorporated some of the words of the preamble to the United Nations Charter originally signed on 26th June 1945. More discussion followed as people were keen to hear more. Aaron provided links to more information as well as a copy of his presentation.

Our Director, Theresa, explained that Pax Christi will be providing some resources to mark the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations on 26th June. Those attending were invited to get in touch with resource ideas.

15th May: Pax Christi Executive member Ann Farr led an evening online liturgy to mark the Nakba. Do use or adapt the slides and text if you want to.

May: a new closed Facebook group was created: Pax Christi Community. Members can post messages, prayers, thoughts and inspiring images directly and be in conversation with each other.

At the Advent Peace Service, everyone took home a bulb for a white ‘Alabaster’ tulip. Pictures came in as the tulips began to bloom.

April: Due to coronavirus restrictions, Pax Christi staff began working from home from March 17th. We found a way to gather online with members and friends for regular times of prayer and reflection, via Zoom.

We carried out actions online such as sharing what is truly important to us, in contrast to the huge amounts of money invested in the military.

March 7th: International Women’s Day event

Our Director, Theresa, hosted an event for women interested in peace in the Nottingham Diocese, on Saturday 7th March.  We had a reflective time in St Thomas More Church in Wollaton and then a good discussion over a cup of tea. You might find the liturgy useful. Theresa would be happy to discuss with you how the event ran, if you are interested in doing something similar where you are.

February 20th: Liverpool Pax Christi and our Director, Theresa

We met at The Cenacle for a shared supper. Theresa talked about nonviolence, NonvioLent, and Pax Christi. Members of the Liverpool group shared their questions, thoughts and ideas. We finished with prayers.

February 2020: Pax Christi member Arn Dekker has begun taking groups on a Virtual Peace Trail around Cambridge. He reports that invitations to present his illustrated talk to groups continue to come in. This is proving to be a good way to open up a discussion about peace.

Peace Sunday 2020 Events around the country to encourage us all!

Crook, St Cuthbert’s held a service to mark Peace Sunday after Mass. The service was organised by the Justice & Peace group, who were joined by parishioners and members of Crook Methodist/UR Church.
Fr Nick Jennings led the service and Sr Uche gave a homily. Prayer cards were handed out before Mass, and at the service. The primary school were involved too, with the children providing beautifully coloured doves which were given out for people to write a prayer or words of peace on. These were pinned to the Peace Tree during the service.

Cambridge Pax Christi member Arn Dekker invited parishioners at St Laurence’s to a ‘virtual’ peace trail after Mass. 35 people accepted and enjoyed hearing about people  and places connected with peace in their own area. More than half a dozen people bought copies of the Peace Trail booklet to ‘do’ the walk for real.

Peace Club!

Pupil Chaplains at primary schools in Todmorden and Irlam shared the peace message using Pax Christi resources and some of their own ideas. Children in Walthamstow who belong to Holy Family School’s Peace Club also got involved in thinking and doing ‘peace’.

Harrogate: Pax Christi member Kate Holstrom gave a homily and produced a display cleverly incorporating both Peace Sunday and Christian Unity week.

English Martyrs’ School in Leicester tweeted a peace prayer:
God of love, we pray for peace in our world, and an end to war. Instead of hatred, let there be love…

Thames Ditton Fr Rob Esdaile’s parish of Our Lady of Lourdes welcomed a ‘Lampedusa Cross’, symbol of the refugee flows that warfare causes. It was also used in the afternoon as part of the joint celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Coventry: St Thomas More parish heard a talk from Pax Christi Exec member, Ann Farr. The children were fully involved in being doves and decorating greeting cards too.

Nottingham Pax Christi member Patricia Stoat spoke at Mass in St Barnabas Cathedral where lots of people asked her questions afterwards.

Cheltenham: St Gregory’s parish organised a wonderful, international bring and share supper.

Sacred Heart, Caterham : the monthly Peace Rosary took place Friday evening after 7pm mass using the Pax Christi 1990s publication and a prayer theme of the Peace Sunday message. Prayer cards and children’s resources were used at Mass too. All Saints Oxted and St Ambrose Warlingham heard about Peace Sunday through their newsletter and an announcement at Mass and shared Pax Christi resources.

Pax Christi members gave talks in parishes in Liverpool, Coventry, London, Guildford, Abingdon, Kingsland, Carlton, Mold to name a few! Members worked hard in some areas to display prayer cards and literature, write bidding prayers, encourage collections/donations – sometimes for the first time due to changes in priests and/or parish boundaries.

Send us details and pictures of your events!

Grandchildren helping to get ready for Peace Sunday
Pat Gaffney spoke about her recent visit to Palestine, at St Mellitus


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