The war gave Quakers new visibility among the churches and among social and political organisations. Many on the War and Social Order Committee felt that there was a new responsibility on Quakers to take the lead on social issues, and to show what a society without war should look like.
- In 1919 the Committee said in its report: “If we refuse to fight, it is even more incumbent upon us than upon others to work out a form of society which will take away the occasion of all war”.
- In 1924 the Committee reported that “kindred organisations of other churches often look to us to lead” – for example, in organising a conference on unemployment.
- Sometimes Quaker “leadership” was about being able to offer processes of dialogue and mutual listening – as was attempted during the General Strike in 1926.
- This work continues into the present day, where the long Quaker tradition of work on peace and social issues is felt to give that work a credibility and a long term perspective not available to everyone.
- People we interviewed for this project pointed out that sometimes this means that Quaker voices are heard, and at other times that Quakers can offer a “neutral space” for dialogue to take place.