Quakers from around the world are in anguish and deeply concerned with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine and Quakers in the affected areas in this dark time. As a historic peace church, we join our call for peace in the world to their cries for peace and help.
Please consider these meaningful statements of peace from Quakers past and present. We hope they can help us all to decide to help—to act for peace.
At the bottom of this article, we’ve provided resources if you are looking for ways to help.
Presiding Clerk, Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch
The horror of tanks and missiles in Kyiv is all too real. Many Friends recoil from the images of the destruction of precious lives; we believe all lives are precious. Many worry and wonder what we can do, how we can help, where we can serve in support of our beliefs.
Responding to requests many have sent to the Yearly Meeting office, what follows is a collection of resources, potential responses to this invasion and some ways you could choose to enact your beliefs about human life and peace. Let us pray that this armed conflict can be brought to a close quickly to minimize the loss of life. Let us act in ways that will support the many whose lives have been forever altered in these days.
General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer
Yesterday, faith leaders in Philadelphia were welcomed to the Sunday afternoon Lenten Vespers service at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend and seek some community in my heartbreak over the suffering in Ukraine.
I was touched by the icons on the church walls (shown above) that I learned were painted in Ukraine when war first broke out there in 2014. They are painted on wood from boxes of ammunition and felt like a perfect example of combining the witness of our faith with our witness against war. They embodied what the Archbishop taught us: sharing the truth of what is going on in Ukraine goes hand in hand with sharing the truth that God is with us.
Friends Peace Testimony from 1660
All bloody principles and practices, we, as to our own particulars, do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and [fighting] with outward weapons, for any end or under any [pretense] whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
— George Fox, Gerald Roberts, Henry Fell, Richard Hubberthorn, John Boulton, John Hinde, John Stubbs, Leonard Fell, John Furley Jnr., Francis Howgill, Samuel Fisher, Thomas Moore
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice from 2002
If we must speak of our Testimony of peace to the rest of the world, to speak of an absolute denial of war, let us do it in a voice of love, with a sacred sense of the personal sacrifices such a testimony may well demand, not in defiance of our political adversaries with whom we may find ourselves perpetually annoyed. Let us speak not without first recognizing the fears and the courage of those countrymen whom we ask to cease engaging in what they perceive as a defense of life and freedom, so they may join us in paying the price for peace required of those who will not live by the sword but who must be prepared to die by it.
— Michael Dawson
How to help
- Get involved with the Friends Committee on National Legislation
- Get involved with the American Friends Service Committee
- Attend the upcoming Church World Service Conference on March 4 to 6, Together We Welcome: A Virtual National Faith Gathering to Strengthen Support for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants
- Help young people understand the crisis. Families and teachers wondering how to explain these events to children can explore these two articles:
- Read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s, list of where to donate to help Ukrainian refugees and others impacted by the invasion
- Donate to Sunflower of Peace’s initiative to provide first-aid backpacks to paramedics and doctors on the front lines. Each backpack contains enough tactical first-aid supplies for five to ten people.
- Donate to United Help Ukraine, a nonprofit volunteer organization providing emergency relief to those on the frontlines.
- Support journalists by donating to The Kyiv Independent on GoFundMe or Patreon.
- Visit virtually the Friends House Moscow which is holding daily worship.
Other Statements of Faith
- Britain Yearly Meeting
- Mennonite Central Committee
- National Council of Churches
- Church World Service
- World Council of Churches
- Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
- Council of Bishops of UOC of the USA
- Council of European Churches
- Episcopal Church
- United Methodist Church
- Friends Committee on National Legislation
- American Friends Service Committee