UK: Peacemakers to be honoured at Pax Christi Annual Gathering, 3 June, London

 

Every two years Pax Christi UK honours the work of unsung and unknown peacemakers as a way of acknowledging the essential daily work of peacemaking.   The first awards were given in 2001 and since then thirty-one women and men have been recognised in this way.

The awards will be presented by Greet Vanaerschot, General Secretary of Pax Christi International who is joining us from Brussels.  The 2017 award is a peace medal created by the artist Natasha Ratcliffe with the title P(lease) E(ngage) A(ll) C(ommunities on) E(arth). 

The 2017 peacemakers are:

Nan Saeki from York

Throughout her adult life, Nan has worked for peace and justice, combining a deep passion with the hard work of campaigning. 

Her first real taste for the Gospel of Peace came in the 60s when she worked for Pax Romana in Switzerland, an early peace movement after the war. Among many things, Nan has worked energetically with Middlesbrough J&P Commission, at one time as Chair, and currently as Treasurer. 

Nationally Nan has been Chair of National Justice & Peace Commission  and for many years a member, and Treasurer of Pax Christi’s Executive Committee,  perhaps her first love.  Nan understands the importance of local groups, and of the friendships and networks these can form across communities. A founder member of York Ecumenical Justice and Peace group and an active participant, she has a special gift of welcoming new people. She is involved with various York organisations including City of Sanctuary, and Friends of St Bede’s Pastoral Centre – playing a major role in advocating for its continued existence in the uncertain days before the CJs took it over.

Nan  was a prison visitor for 6 years, and she represents NJPN on the CSAN Criminal Justice Forum. Nan was a member of the chaplaincy team and a governor at All Saints School. She supports the Fairer World shop in York, maintaining a regular stall in her parish.

Rev. Gyoro Nagase, London  

Rev. Nagase has lived in Battersea Park, London since 1984 where he is responsible for the care and upkeep of the London Peace Pagoda.  Rev. Nagase is a monk  of the Nipponzan Myohoji  Buddhist Order founded in 1917 by the Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii.  Faced with the devastation of WW2, in 1947 Fujii Guruji  determined to build Peace Pagodas in Japan and across the world to inspire peace and provide a focus for all to unite in working for reconciliation and harmony.  

Rev. Nagase first came to England in 1978 to help with the construction of the Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda.  As part of its 1984 Year of Peace, the GLC`s last legislative act was to approve the London Peace Pagoda.  Rev. Nagase worked on the construction along with other Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns; the pagoda was completed in 1985 and presented to the people of London. 

Over the years this small temple has accommodated the many visitors from across the world, who come to join in services at the Pagoda, find out about Buddhism or to seek solace and temporary refuge from a harsh world.    As the sole resident Rev. Nagase greets all comers with a cheerful smile and generous spirit, sharing whatever food has been donated to the temple.  Given its location in a public park, the Pagoda is sometimes the target of vandalism or thoughtless behaviour. Rev. Nagase has himself been the subject of verbal and physical assault. 

Rev. Nagase has become part of local, national and global peace-making networks.  He is a regular participant in the Westminster Interfaith Peace Walks, the Pax Christi  Ash Wednesday Witness for Peace at the Ministry of Defence and Franz Jagerstatter Memorial Service on Nagasaki Day, London Catholic Worker Peace Actions, & Hiroshima Day Commemorations  in Tavistock Sq; the Japanese Against Nuclear weekly Friday demonstrations outside the Japanese Embassy and TEPCO in solidarity with the people of Fukushima.

In addition to being at these events, Rev. Nagase often walks at least part of the way, after a week of walking and drumming on arrival his first action is to chant, praying for all, protesters, police and military.  He has also walked alone to honour many of the holy places in UK and Ireland as well as joining long-distance Peace Walks to Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other sites to appeal “Never Again”. 

Venue: Maria Fidelis School, Phoenix Road, London NW1 1TA

The awards will be part of the afternoon gathering beginning at 2.00pm

More on the whole gathering here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pax-christi-annual-gathering-2017-tickets...

 

Pax Christi UK, UK, England, Peacemakers, Gyoro Nagase, Nan Saeki