Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR or FOR) is the name used by a number of religious nonviolent organizations, particularly in English-speaking countries. They are linked by affiliation to the International Fellowship of Reconciliation
International Fellowship of Reconciliation
The International Fellowship of Reconciliation is an international faith-based nonviolent movement created shortly after the First World War, in 1919, to draw together national Fellowships of Reconciliation that had been founded during the war....


In the United Kingdom, the acronym "FoR" is normally typeset with a lower-case "o", and an E added for England (FoRE); elsewhere, it is usually typeset in all capital letters, as "FOR", such as in "IFOR".

Religious Peace Fellowships

Since 1935, FOR has helped form, launch, and strengthen peace fellowships of many faith
traditions to form a network of faith-based nonviolent action. Membership of these peace fellowships has changed and grown over the past decades; what follows are fellowships that are currently affiliated with FOR:

The FoR in the United Kingdom

The first body to use the name "Fellowship of Reconciliation" was formed as a result of a pact made in August 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War by two Christians, Henry Hodgkin (an English Quaker) and Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze
Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze
Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze was a German academic working in theology, social pedagogy and social ethics, as well as a pioneer of peace movements.-Life:...

 (a German Lutheran), who were participating in a Christian pacifist
Christian pacifism
Christian pacifism is the theological and ethical position that any form of violence is incompatible with the Christian faith. Christian pacifists state that Jesus himself was a pacifist who taught and practiced pacifism, and that his followers must do likewise.There have been various notable...

 conference in Konstanz
Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

 in southern Germany. On the platform of the railway station at Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, they pledged to each other that, "We are one in Christ and can never be at war."
To take that pledge forward, Hodgkin organised in 1915 a conference in Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 at which over a hundred Christians of all denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s agreed to found the FoR. They set out the principles that had led them to do so in a statement which became known as "The Basis". It states:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Because the membership of the FoR included many members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), who reject any form of written creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

, it has always been stressed that the Basis is a statement of general agreement rather than a fixed form of words. Nonetheless the Basis has been an important point of reference for many Christian pacifists.

The FoR had a prominent role in acting as a support network for Christian pacifists during the war and supporting them in the difficult choice to become conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

s - and in taking its consequences, which in many cases included imprisonment. In the interwar years it grew to be an influential body in United Kingdom Christianity, with federated associations in all the main denominations (the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship is a body of people within the Anglican Communion who reject war as a means of solving international disputes, and believe that peace and justice should be sought through non-violent means .-Origins and early history:...

, the Methodist Peace Fellowship
Methodist Peace Fellowship
The Methodist Peace Fellowship is a British Methodist Christian pacifist organization.The Methodist Peace Fellowship was founded by Rev. Henry Carter in 1933 to inform and unite Methodists who covenanted together "to renounce war and all its works and ways."' It is part of the international...

, the Baptist Peace Fellowship, etc.) as well as a strong membership among the Society of Friends (Quakers). At one time the Methodist Peace Fellowship claimed a quarter of all Methodist ministers
Minister of religion
In Christian churches, a minister is someone who is authorized by a church or religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community...

 among its members.

The FoR was active in the anti-war movement of the 1930s, and provided considerable practical support for active pacifism during and after the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. It could be argued that it lost influence when the Second World War came, was won, and was widely perceived as morally justified, especially as the horrors of Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 became known in the post-war period. Equally, it could be argued that the questionable morality of the Cold War threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction again vindicated the FoR philosophy. The FoR retained considerable strength in post-second world war British Christianity, and many of its members were active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 in the 1950s and 1960s. Prominent members included Donald Soper
Donald Soper
Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper was a prominent Methodist minister, socialist and pacifist.Soper was born at 36 Knoll Road, Wandsworth, London, the first son and first child of the three children of Ernest Frankham Soper , an average adjuster in marine insurance, the son of a tailor, and his...

, a high profile President of the Methodist Conference of the period and later a member of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. With the continuing decline of Christianity in Britain, the FoR has lost influence, although active Christians in the UK are now probably further to the left politically, on average, than they were in the 1930s or 1950s.

FoRE remains active: Norman Kember
Norman Kember
Norman Frank Kember is an Emeritus Professor of biophysics at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and a Christian pacifist active in campaigning on issues of war and peace. As a Baptist, a long-standing member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation...

, the British peace activist kidnapped in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in December 2005 was a member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship and a Trustee of the FoRE. There are Roman Catholic members of FoRE, and although most Catholic pacifists affiliate instead to the specifically Catholic peace organisation, Pax Christi
Pax Christi
-History:Pax Christi was established in France in 1945 as a reconciliation work between the French and the Germans after the Second World War. In 2007, it existed in more than 60 countries...

, FoRE and Pax Christi work closely together. Although many members have universalist sympathies and are happy to co-operate with pacifists of other faiths or none, the FoR in England has remained a distinctively Christian organization. However, with a number of Hindu, Buddhist and other supporters, members, and staff, there is a degree of flux here as well.

Currently, there are separate FoR organizations in England, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...



United States Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA) was founded in 1915 by sixty-eight pacifist
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

s, including A. J. Muste
A. J. Muste
The Reverend Abraham Johannes "A.J." Muste was a Dutch-born American clergyman and political activist. Muste is best remembered for his work in the labor movement, pacifist movement, and the US civil rights movement.-Early years:...

, Jane Addams
Jane Addams
Jane Addams was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in woman suffrage and world peace...

 and Bishop Paul Jones
Paul Jones (bishop)
Paul Jones was the Episcopal Bishop of Utah , a socialist, and a prominent pacifist. He was forced to resign his see in April 1918 because of his outspoken opposition to World War I. Although in 1929 he was chosen as temporary bishop of Southern Ohio while the next incumbent was being selected,...

, and claims to be the "largest, oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the United States." Norman Thomas
Norman Thomas
Norman Mattoon Thomas was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.-Early years:...

, at first skeptical of its program, joined in 1916 and would become the group's president. Its programs and projects involve domestic as well as international issues, and generally emphasize nonviolent
Nonviolence has two meanings. It can refer, first, to a general philosophy of abstention from violence because of moral or religious principle It can refer to the behaviour of people using nonviolent action Nonviolence has two (closely related) meanings. (1) It can refer, first, to a general...

 alternatives to conflict and the rights of conscience. Unlike the UK movements, it is an interfaith body, though its historic roots are in Christianity.

FOR in the USA was formed initially in opposition to the entry of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


The American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 developed out of FOR's conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

s program and the Emergency Committee for Civil Liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...


In 1918, FOR and the American Federation of Labor
American Federation of Labor
The American Federation of Labor was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Federation at its...

 formed Brookwood Labor College
Brookwood Labor College
Brookwood Labor College was the first residential labor college in the United States. The school was established in 1921 near Katonah, New York. The school was closely supported by affiliate unions of the American Federation of Labor until 1928, when pressure began to be exerted by the AF of L's...

, which lasted until 1937. Also in January 1918, FOR began publication of The World Tomorrow
The World Tomorrow (magazine)
The World Tomorrow: A journal looking toward a Christian world was an American political magazine, founded by the pacifist organization Fellowship of Reconciliation and published in New York City by FOR's Fellowship Press at 108 Lexington Avenue.-Main Editors:The World Tomorrow seems to have had...

, with Norman Thomas as its first editor.

John Nevin Sayre
John Nevin Sayre
The Reverend John Nevin Sayre, , brother of US State Department offiicial Francis B. Sayre, was an Episcopal minister, peace activist, and author...

 was active in FOR between 1924 and 1967, and was its chairman from 1935 to 1940.

In 1947, FOR and the Congress of Racial Equality
Congress of Racial Equality
The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE was a U.S. civil rights organization that originally played a pivotal role for African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement...

, or CORE, which had been founded by FOR staffers James Farmer
James L. Farmer, Jr.
James Leonard Farmer, Jr. was a civil rights activist and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was the initiator and organizer of the 1961 Freedom Ride, which eventually led to the desegregation of inter-state transportation in the United States.In 1942, Farmer co-founded the Committee...

 and George Houser
George Houser
George M. Houser is a Methodist minister, civil rights activist, and activist for the independence of African nations. He served on the staff of the Fellowship of Reconciliation . With James Farmer, and Bernice Fisher, he co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942 in Chicago...

 along with Bernice Fisher
Bernice Fisher
Bernice Fisher was a civil rights activist and union organizer. She was one of the original founders of the Congress of Racial Equality...

, sponsored the Journey of Reconciliation
Journey of Reconciliation
The Journey of Reconciliation was a form of non-violent direct action to challenge segregation laws on interstate buses in the Southern United States....

, the first Freedom Ride
Freedom ride
Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States to test the United States Supreme Court decisions Boynton v. Virginia and Morgan v. Virginia...

 against southern segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 in the wake of the Supreme Court's
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 1946 Irene Morgan
Irene Morgan
Irene Morgan , later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, was an important predecessor to Rosa Parks in the successful fight to overturn segregation laws in the United States...


In 1954, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 was facing famine and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was enjoying surplus harvests, so the FOR organized the Surplus Food for China campaign to convince the government to send food to the Chinese.

In 1955 and 1956, Glen Smiley, a white Methodist minister, was assigned by the FOR to assist the Rev. Martin Luther King in the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, intended to oppose the city's policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. Many important figures in the civil rights movement were involved in the boycott,...

. The two, sitting behind the Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Ralph Abernathy
Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Following King's assassination, Dr. Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor People's Campaign and...

, were seatmates on the first interracial bus ride in Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...


In the 1960s, FOR launched "Shelters for the Shelterless," and built real shelters for homeless people, in response to increasing public demand for fallout shelters. FOR made contact with the Vietnamese Buddhist pacifist movement and sponsored a world tour by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh
Nhat Hanh
Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in France. Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo, Thích Nhất Hạnh joined a Zen monastery at the age of 16, and studied Buddhism as a novitiate. Upon his ordination as a monk in 1949, he assumed the Dharma name...


In the 1970s, FOR founded Dai Dong, a transnational project linking war, environmental problems, poverty and other social issues, involving thousands of scientists around the world. They sought to reverse the Cold War and the arms race with campaigns, marches, educational projects and civil disobedience, and opposed the death penalty in a concerted campaign with ACLU.

In the 1980s, FOR took the lead in initiating the Nuclear Freeze Campaign in cooperation with other groups. They initiated a US-USSR reconciliation program, which included people-to-people exchanges, artistic and educational resources, teach-ins and conferences. They led nonviolence training seminars in the Philippines prior to the nonviolent overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship.

In the 1990s, the organization sent delegations of religious leaders and peace activists to Iraq to try to prevent war and later, to see the massive devastation caused by the economic sanctions imposed upon Iraq. They initiated a "Start the Healing" campaign in response to escalating levels of gun violence in the United States, and FOR is an organizational and founding member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence , and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence , its sister organization, are two parts of a national, non-profit gun control advocacy organization.-History:...

, which advocates gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

. FOR initiated the "Bosnian Student Project," which brought students from the former Yugoslavia out of war zones and into US homes and schools, and later started the International Reconciliation Work Camp Project. They also worked to get the US military to withdraw from Panama.

FOR has most recently been active in advocating for the demilitarization of US foreign policy. It works to counter military recruitment of young people in the United States — through FOR's "I Will Not Kill" campaign, and in partnership with the Ruckus Society
Ruckus Society
The Ruckus Society is a nonprofit organization that sponsors skill-sharing and direct action training camps for activists from impacted communities working on social justice, human rights, and environmental justice...

, the War Resisters League
War Resisters League
The War Resisters League was formed in 1923 by men and women who had opposed World War I. It is a section of the London-based War Resisters' International.Many of the founders had been jailed during World War I for refusing military service...

, and others in the Not Your Soldier project.

Particular areas of geographic focus have been the Middle East — especially Israel/Palestine and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 — and Latin America and the Caribbean — especially Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

. In the Middle East, FOR's Interfaith Peace-Builders program (now independent) builds relationships between Israeli, Palestinian, and North American peace activists. Founded in 2005, its Iran program has drawn on FOR's legacy of sending delegations to nations that are labeled as enemies by the US government, and is working to prevent war and create peace-centered connections between ordinary citizens of both countries. In the Americas, FOR has a permanent five-person Colombia peace team of volunteers who provide human rights accompaniment to endangered civilians and support locally organized peace initiatives. FOR was also instrumental in the movement to pressure the US Navy to stop using Vieques as a bomb testing ground.

See also

  • Buddhist Peace Fellowship
    Buddhist Peace Fellowship
    The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is a nonsectarian international network of engaged Buddhists participating in various forms of nonviolent social activism and environmentalism with chapters all over the world...

  • peace
    Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

  • Religious Left
    Religious left
    Religious left is a term referring to religious movements with a left-wing direction. For more information, see:*Christian left*Jewish left*Buddhist socialism*Christian socialism*Islamic socialism*Liberal religion...

  • War Resisters' International
    War Resisters' International
    War Resisters' International is an international anti-war organization with members and affiliates in over thirty countries. Its headquarters are in London, UK.-History:...

    (a more secular organisation).

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

FoR in the United Kingdom

FOR USA and its Local Groups

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