I turned 18 in 1970, and was registered for the draft for the Vietnam war. To the dismay of my father, a career Army officer, I requested conscientious objector status. My Methodist youth pastor helped me walk through the C.O. process with the help of members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
That was my first encounter with FOR.
My mother and sister were my lone family support. Through it all, my church stood with me — even in the military-centric city of San Antonio, Texas. With help from FOR, I wrote about and then defended my pacifist stance. I received a 1-0 C.O.status. It was one of the only full 1-0’s granted in Texas during the draft years.
July 2011 was the seventh consecutive year that the Chicago Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation exhibited in the main merchandise tents at the Cornerstone Music Festival.
At times, this message of peace and nonviolence was not received well. Accusations from festival-goers to I Will NOTKill advocate Sam Smith that his advocacy of nonviolence made him a terrorist, equal to or surpassing of the 9/11 terrorists — together with one festival-goer’s statement that organizations such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation are tremendously naive because “Some people just need killing!” — were hard to hear.
At other times, teenagers ran breathlessly into the exhibit tent, coming to the I Will NOT Kill display and stating that they agreed with the I Will NOT KillStatement….. and had never realized before that a Christian could actually be a pacifist and still be in line with the teachings of the Bible.
On November 18-19, the Church of the Brethren hosted the annual meeting of the Historic Peace Churches/Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee for a time of fellowship, mutual support and conversation on ecumenical engagement for peace and justice.
The Historic Peace Churches (HPC)/Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) Consultative Committee (“Committee” below) is a group of Friends, Brethren, Mennonites and representatives of the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA. Members have historically come together to uphold the Gospel of peace through dialogue and advocacy in faith circles and support for appropriate interventions where nonviolent witness is needed.