Near Geneva, New York ? Come walk in a Friendly manner....(1of 2)

Geneva Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 27
The Faith Communities for Peace will again be part of the Geneva Memorial Parade.
Area Quakers and friends other faiths have taken part in this parade for several years as a witness for peace. We invite you to join us as we walk in respectful silence behind our banner; we carry no other signs, slogans or flags.
Please feel free to share this invitation with family, friends, and your faith community.
We will gather after 9:30 at the S. Exchange Street Parking Lot in downtown Geneva.
Call Astuti at 315.536.7206 for more information and if you need or can give a ride.

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(2nd of 2)

From SPARK of

 Join the Parade!

by John Cooley, Dundee NY. with Central Finger Lakes Friends Meeting

Six years ago I recall bemoaning our helplessness in the face of ongoing wars, wrong policies, and too little time or energy to do anything worthwhile. The handful
of us who made up Central Finger Lakes Friends were meeting when one of us (Greta) said we could at least march for peace in a community parade. Overcoming initial skepticism, others suggested the Memorial Day parade—a way of lifting up the possibility of peace for all humanity while also honoring those who had lost their lives. The local Interfaith Council liked the idea, and one of our members (Kathryn) made a banner showing the FCNL dove and the words “FAITH COMMUNITIES FOR PEACE.” As we brought up the rear of the short parade the announcer said, “And here come the Quakers!”

Thinking about the first time especially, one Friend remembers feeling quite apprehensive about being in this essentially military parade, and wondered what reaction we would face. “Having done such things before in other circumstances and faced some pretty bad responses, I took myself to a 'quiet place' and prepared to see what would happen.” Her favorite memory of that first parade was the faces of people in the crowd as we went by. They would look surprised, sort of stopped in their tracks, and then there would be a look of joy, even a few tears. People would clap and wave, and one or two would join us each time. It had an effect on us, too. Another Friend remembers a meeting attender who wore his Air Force uniform as a retired colonel and would receive salutes from the other military folks in uniform as we went by. “It was a different feeling being saluted, felt like we were all being acknowledged somehow,” she said.

Veterans in our meeting seemed to feel better about being able to have their experience of service recognized in connection with peace witness. Others of us were able to appreciate the humanness of all the marchers—high school bands, bagpipers, scouts, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. It felt like patriotism was not limited to military and uniformed groups, and it helped us accept their patriotism when we in our street clothes and informal ranks were able to show our patriotism by highlighting peace. We walked in prayerful silence, but it felt good to hear the applause and cheers in this little city of Geneva, New York.

Over the succeeding years we have had fewer numbers, but still enough to carry the durable, expertly hand-made banner, greet our fellow walkers, and reflect on how good it feels to demonstrate this way of expressing patriotism. It’s simple but deep. Another participant says, “The last time I was in the parade . . . the announcer at the reviewing stand said of us, ‘And we should all be walking with them!’” Come join us this year on May 27. .

To access the full issue of The Spark (May 2013) online that John Cooley's piece came from under the theme of Patriotism visit the New York Yearly Meetings website @

HOT OFF THE PRESS...PATRIOTISM is the theme of the May 2013 SPARK

in care, a friend smiling your direction.


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