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Readings for Reflection: Febuary 2009
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

This month’s reading, from Quaker Faith and Practice in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (p. 99), describes an incident demonstrating the difference between pacifism and passivism.


A Peace Squadron

Several times during the 1970s and in several different New Zealand ports, an armada of small boats – “a peace squadron” met incoming U.S. warships. In 1976 in Auckland, Kathleen Rose saw this:

       A host of Davids in a fleet of little boats
       Had stopped the giant in its tracks
       Edging towards anchorage – audacious people
       Not to be put off by size and bluster;
       Banners and pennants fluttering their message
       Under surprised and down-turned faces of the crew.
       No exercise of thumbing noses this – but
       Brave attempt to reach the hearts and minds
       Of sailors; and, through ripples of reportage,
       Of their masters back across the sea.

       Ashore we maintained vigil shifts
       (The lamps of those on night watch
       Glimmering on tired faces by the kerb)
       Believing that each caring heartfelt effort
       Engenders widening ripples – joining ours with
       those of little boats
       To rock on the tide with them to Wellington
       (And perhaps America).


All Readings for Reflection
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