Report on Meeting of July 19th 2016
A talk by Patricia Earle about the Women's Federation for World Peace
Patricia Earle came from Birmingham to talk to SAIF about her work with the WFWP (Women’s Federation for World Peace). Patricia comes originally from Belgium, and has lived in the USA, and began her work with the WFWP in 1993, inspired by the United Nations which fixes September 23rd as its annual day of prayer. Consequently her group meets on the 23rd of each month.
It began with a small group of women meeting in her home in Birmingham during the conflict in Bosnia in 1993. This led to a chain of prayer with women of different faiths joining in, so that now women originating from some 45 nationalities are involved. They have a common concern for the family, and many friendships develop from the meetings. These are still in Patricia’s house, which has been extended in consequence. She witnessed to a sense of loving presence at the meetings, which means that no-one feels ‘put into boxes’ of faith or ethnicity.
Many topics have been discussed:
- inter-faith hospital chaplaincy (involving Rehana Sadiq, a previous SAIF speaker)
- art and faith, leading to the joint making of a tapestry now in the QE Hospital
- the organisation Restore, and the befriending of refugees
- the Jubilee Debt campaign
- gun and knife crime
- domestic violence
- forced marriage
- peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland
- ‘Five Broken Cameras’, a project in Israel/Palestine
- many conflict situations such as Syria, East Congo, Liberia etc
The group has also sponsored a children’s home in India.
WFWP is rooted in prayer, and Patricia thinks women have a particular gift and responsibility for bringing people together. Her own faith is Christian (Catholic and Methodist) but she has learnt much from all her interfaith friends.