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Fellowship of Reconciliation, England

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0097 COLL MISC 0456
Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science
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Full title: Fellowship of Reconciliation, England
Date(s): 1916-1992
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 79 boxes and 43 volumes
Name of creator(s): Fellowship of Reconciliation, England


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Fellowship of Reconciliation was founded in Cambridge 1914 by a group of pacifist Christians. During the summer of 1914 an ecumenical conference of Christians who wanted to avert the approaching war was held in Switzerland. However, war broke out before the end of the conference and, at Cologne station, Henry Hodgkin, an English Quaker, and Friedrich Siegmund-Schulze, a German Lutheran, pledged themselves to a continued search for peace with the words, "We are at one in Christ and can never be at war". Inspired by that pledge, about 130 Christians of all denominations gathered in Cambridge at the end of 1914 and set up the FoR, recording their general agreement in a statement which became 'The Basis' of the FoR, namely:

1) That love as revealed and interpreted in the life and death of Jesus Christ involves more than we have yet seen, that is the only power by which evil can be overcome and the only sufficient basis of human society.

2) That, in order to establish a world-order based on Love, it is incumbent upon those who believe in this principle to accept it fully, both for themselves and in relation to others and to take the risks involved in doing so in a world which does not yet accept it.

3) That therefore, as Christians, we are forbidden to wage war, and that our loyalty to our country, to humanity, to the Church Universal, and to Jesus Christ our Lord and Master, calls us instead to a life-service for the enthronement of Love in personal, commercial and national life.

4) That the Power, Wisdom and Love of God stretch far beyond the limits of our present experience, and that He is ever waiting to break forth into human life in new and larger ways.

5) That since God manifests Himself in the world through men and women, we offer ourselves to His redemptive purpose to be used by Him in whatever way He may reveal to us.

The FoR supported conscientious objectors during World War I and was a supporter of passive resistance during World War II. In 1919, representatives from a dozen countries met in Holland and established the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, which now has many branches in all five continents.


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection consists of the records of the main Fellowship of Reconciliation, England, supplemented with the records of the London Union of the FoR, the Ilford and Hornchurch branch, and the papers of Stella St John relating to her imprisonment as a consequence of her pacifist position during World War Two. The records of the main Fellowship of Reconciliation, England cover the period 1915-1962 and consist almost entirely of the minute books of the various committees and sub-groups of the organisation. Also included are albums of press cuttings and other ephemera relating to F T Haddon Bradley's conscientious objection in 1917. The records of the London Union cover the period 1916-1978 and consist of correspondence, minutes of various meetings including the annual meeting, accounts, campaign papers, policy papers, conference papers, press cuttings and reports of the London Union.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records of the main Fellowship of Reconciliation, England, have been catalogued in 7 sections: 1) General Committee, 1915-1960; 2) Council Minutes, 1915-1937; 3) Executive Committee, 1918-1953; 4) Publication and Propaganda Committees, 1915-1962; 5) World War One Committee Minutes, 1915-1921; 6) Minutes of Post World War One Committees, 1929-1962; 7) Other Papers, c1910-1945.

Conditions governing access:

Apply to archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Apply to archivist.

Finding aids:

Printed handlist and online catalogue available. The additional acquisitions have not yet been fully listed, but there is a box list for the London Union material.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were deposited by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (date unknown) via Mr Gwyntopher. Further papers of Frederick and Olive Watts, in relation to the FoR, 1952-1992, including papers relating to the Romford and Havering Groups (Accession No: M 1895), were deposited on 13 August 1998 by Gillian Watts Coffin, Derek Watts and Peter Watts; papers of Stella St John were bequeathed (accession No: M 2002; 2 Nov 1999).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Papers of the FoR Birmingham branch are held by Birmingham City Archives; papers of the Cambridge branch are held by Cambridgeshire County Record Office.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on February 1, 2002

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
1 Feb 2002; revised 11 Mar 2002

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