Partial History of the FOR in the Pacific Northwest

Since its founding in 1914, on the eve of World War I, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has worked tirelessly to promote nonviolence as a means of resolving conflict and achieving justice and peace worldwide. Beginning in the U.S. in 1915 FOR worked against the war fever of the time. FOR formed local groups in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

1949: In the Fall Bayard Rustin (FOR’s secretary for student and general affairs) spoke at University of Washington YMCA.

1950:  known as Puget Sound FOR the newsletter was produced by Orval Etter, the FOR Far West Secretary, from the FORFW office in Berkeley, CA.

May: visit by Mildred Fahrni, Canadian FOR Secretary and Clifford Macquire, the Executive Secretary of British FOR.  Local leaders were: Howard Bass (Tacoma Methodists minister known for his pithy and pointed letters to the editor); Lowel LeBlanc (Chair of Seattle FOR chapter) and May Timbers (Vancover B.C.)

November: The Federal government garnisheed the wages of Zoe Bahr, a King County librarian, who had refused to pay $50.00 of her 1949 taxes as a protest to supporting war.

December: A 2-day FOR area conference was held in Seattle with members from Vancouver and Spokane “carrying the pacifist message to the churches” also discussed possible area FOR organization to include British Columbia, Puget Sound and the Inland Empire (Spokane area)

Vincent Oredson, member of FOR and a Lt. j.g. U.S. Naval Reserve did a 3 day public fast saying that the use of the atomic bomb would be “a crime of my country against the universe”.  This was part of an anti-ROTC movement at the University of Washington.

1951: More than 100 people attended a conference in August to set up a Puget Sound FOR committee.  A.J. Muste was keynote speaker.

Tacoma FOR chapter, lead by Howard Bass, played a leading role in developing “Citizens Aroused” an anti-war movement started as a reaction to the Korean War.

1952: February: Puget Sound FOR Committee began plans for an annual conference to be held in late Summer.  Seattle FOR chapter began monthly meetings focused on the campaign against universal military training.  Also held meetings to discuss bringing up children according to pacifist principles, group dynamics and trends in civil liberties.  Vancouver FOR chapter held meetings on the first Sunday and the last Friday of each month at the Vancouver’s Friends House.

August: on the second weekend of the month the first annual Puget Sound FOR Conference was held in Vancouver, B.C.  Keynote speaker John Swomley, National FOR Secretary, spoke on “A Christian Analysis of Marxism”.  The conference was attended by 60 people from 16 localities.  Cost was $1.00 for registration and $1.50 per night at Acadia Camp at the University of British Columbia.

Finances: During 1952 Washington State FOR members contributed $1335.00

1953: August 21-23 National FOR Conference was held at Camp Gwinwood near Olympia immediately following the Pacific NW FOR – AFSC Family Camp (August 16-23) which was attended by 170.  Keynote speaker was A.J. Muste.  In his closing remarks Muste said,”The enemy is yourself. Your other self.  Your aggressiveness arouses your enemy’s defensiveness.  Your defensiveness arouses his aggressiveness.  If you arm yourself, you arm your enemy”.

October 11:  The first organizing meeting of FOR in the Pacific Northwest was held In Seattle attended by Edith Macdonald (White Rock, B.C.), Frances Jones (Seattle), Evelyn McCullough (Tacoma), Lee  Lynn (Sylvan) and three other area FOR members.

Vancouver FOR chapter completed a study of “The Enthronement of Love”, a British FOR book by John Ferguson, sorted and packed clothing to ship to Korea, held a retreat on “The Principles and Practices of FOR”.

Mary Farquharson, former Pacific NW area FOR Secretary, started a letter writing campaign to the Quaker Oats Company complaining of the racism implicit in the Aunt Jemima image used in their advertising.

1954: February 8-16 Muriel Lester, Secretary of International FOR, and her sister Doris Lester, who is a long-time worker at Kingsley Hall in London gave several presentations in the Pacific northwest.  Muriel Lester pointed out how the imperialist policies over the previous 150 years (the Opium Wars against China, Admiral Perry forcing his way into Japan, etc.) led directly to the recent and current political unrest in Asia.

April 9-11: Easter Retreat on Community Living presented by Area Committee at Quaker Cove on Whidby Island.

The Peace Arch FOR Chapter was formed at White Rock, B.C. With members from both Blaine, WA and White Rock.

The Tacoma FOR Chapter has focused recently on an analysis of the United Nations and capital punishment.

The Vancouver B.C. FOR Chapter had Jerome Davis speak on “A Christian Solution to Problems of the Middle East”.  They have also begun a study of Tolstoy’s “The Law of Love and the Law of Violence”

The Seattle FOR Chapter has begun sponsoring a weekly noon forum at Manning’s Cafeteria at 4th and Union to present a series of short talks on current peace topics.

The Peace Arch FOR Chapter has started a “Goats for Korea” project.

At a meeting of the Pacific NW FOR Committee the question of who is an FOR member was resolved by general agreement as one who has signed and sent in to National FOR the FOR Statement of Purpose.  No dues are required, a member being expected to contribute in accord with their conscience .  It was also agreed that by-laws should be written by the area committee.  Area expenses for upcoming year were estimated at $120.00

1955:  The area newsletter has been re-named “Northwest Area FOR Newsletter” but continues to be produced at the FOR Far West office in Berkeley, CA.  It is intended to cover news of the area comprising the Puget Sound area, lower British Columbia and the Inland Empire.  The name change was adopted at a November 12 meeting in Seattle.

Seattle FOR Chapter has resumed its weekly luncheons at the Downtown Seattle YMCA.

An article in a recent Fellowship magazine article emphasized the leadership Seattle FOR member Aron Gilmartin as a founder of the Workers Defense League.

1956:January 26-30, Glenn Smiley, National FOR Field Secretary, and his wife Helen, traveled through the Northwest.  He spoke on his insights into Mexican and Indian affairs.  He also discussed current concerns of the pacifist movement and the desegregation crisis in the Deep South.

March 9, Secretary-Emeritus A.J. Muste addressed an evening meeting in Seattle.

In a letter to the Tacoma News-Tribune, American Legion Commander A. Walter Olson, referring to the FOR, charged “This organization is listed in the supplementary section of the Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications by the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities.  The New York State Legislative report of the Lusk Committee says “FOR is a deceitful organization”.

Cecil Hinshaw, member of the FOR National Council, is on a two month speaking tour through the Far West.  His main message is on alternatives to military defense.

June 22-24, The Northwest FOR annual conference held at Quaker Cove with the theme “Creative Conflict”.  The main speakers are Rev. and Mrs. Stanley Gould of the University Congregational Church (Seattle).  Mrs. Gould used to live in India and was acquainted with Gandhi.

The Tacoma FOR Chapter has designated Robert Shaw, a local Methodist minister, as Chair replacing Leonard Holden who plans to pursue studies at Stanford University.

December 2-6, Magde Trocme of Versailles, France long-time member if IFOR, along with her husband Andre, spoke at various Northwest venues.


1981 The newsletter of the Washington-British Columbia FOR is now called the “Pacific Call”. ‘Pacific’ as in pacifism and ‘call’ as in ‘spread the word and get involved’.  Newsletter edited by Bruce Kokopeli and produced at 947 Broadway East in Seattle.

The Nuclear Freeze Program is now a main focus of the local FOR chapters.

July 4 weekend 150 people attended the Seabeck Conference.  The keynote speaker was Dave McFadden who, through six presentations, mapped out the process and philosophy of economic conversion from preparing for war to living in peace.

September 21 Spokane FOR organizational meeting

Olympia FOR Chapter continues silent vigil for peace (from 12-1 at Sylvester Park) every Wednesday for past 18 months.

September 30 Staff Coordinators Ty Tinsley and Bruce Kokopeli presented non-violent conflict resolution program to the faculty of Summit School (Seattle).

October 11 Seattle FOR Chapter member Marie Bernard presented a reflection on her experiences working with children in Belfast, Ireland.

November 6-7 FOR Fall Retreat at Camp Koinonia near Cle Elum.  The theme is the spinning wheel, a symbol of Gandhi’s social change program and for satyagraha.

1982 January Spokane FOR Chapter offered a draft counselors workshop

According to the Finance Committee Washington-British Columbia FOR needs to raise $24,640.00 to carry out the proposed 1982 campaigns.

February The Third Annual War Tax Resistance Workshop presented in Seattle.

Beginning March 9 The Olympia FOR Chapter will present 5 weekly discussions of “The politics of Love: The New Testament & Non-violent Revolution” at Glen Anderson’s new home in Lacey.

March Fundraising has not been adequate to keep on two staff members for Western Washington consequently Bruce Kokopeli has left his position and Ty Tinsley’s position has been reduced to 25 hours weekly.  Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation (WWFOR) has formed in part due to lack of funds to continue with staff travel to Spokane and British Columbia.

June Ty Tinsley has ended his work as WWFOR staff person.  Bruce Kokopeli has been re-hired to part-time position.

July 24th Annual Seabeck Conference: theme “Periscope on Peace – an Eye to the Future” with keynote speaker Sr. Rosalie Bertell.  She focused on radiation dangers as a health hazard.

August Longview FOR Chapter formed.

September 29 Long-time FOR member, Mary Farquharson passed away.  She was a member of the Washington State Senate from 1935-1941.  She left 90% of her estate to FOR.

October 1-6 Gandhian activists, Sri Jagannathan & Krishnamal spoke throughout Western Washington as part of their first world tour.

October 14 Jim Forest, General Secretary IFOR, presented “Can Non-violence Stop the Arms Race?” at Bloedel Hall in Seattle.

December A number of Seattle FOR Chapter members viewed a pre-screening of Richard Attenborough’s film “Gandhi”.

WWFOR has joined with the Seattle Movement for a New Society in initiating a campaign to stop deployment of the Cruise and Pershing II missile systems.

1983 January WWFOR began working with the Washington State Conversion Project on the “economic conversion” conference scheduled for March.

Glen Anderson, Finance Committee Chair, presented an appeal for support noting that the total contribution level is far from adequate to carry WWFOR through 1983.  Anderson says,” WWFOR is bold with its ideas but frugal with its money”.

February The Longview FOR Chapter has re-organized as the Cowlitz FOR Chapter.

Tacoma FOR Chapter is attempting to get Fellowship magazine into local public libraries.

March Nuclear Disarmament continues to be paramount issue for WWFOR.  Olympia FPR Chapter publishes its first newsletter  (with a mailing list of 200) covering many local activities.  On the night of March 21 the Cowlitz FOR Chapter demonstrated as the Pantex Death Train (The White Train) passed through Kelso.

May WWFOR moves to new office at Woodland Park Presbyterian Church at 225 N. 70th Street, Seattle after many years of the hospitality of the home of Jim and Roberta Brumbaugh.  Pacific Call is now being sent to 700.  The Bellingham FOR Chapter is working vigorously on the Nuclear Freeze Campaign.

April 22 The Tacoma FOR Chapter vigiled and demonstrated in opposition to visit by Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger at the new Tacoma Dome.

May Glen Anderson of Olympia and Shelley Douglass of Ground Zero Center for Non-violent Action both attended the National FOR Council meeting in Nyack, N.Y.  This is Glen’s fifth year on the National Council.

June 19 WWFOR hosted a meeting to begin plans for Euromissile Protests in October 21-24.

July 1-4 25th Annual Seabeck Conference with keynote speakers: Richard Deats, Executive Secretary National FOR; Robert Lamson, economist and former employee of the Pentagon; and Jennifer James, anthropologist and local radio personality.

August 6 International Fast for Life begins.  Eleven WWFOR members have begun an open-ended fast until they see significant and immediate progress in stopping the nuclear arms race.

November The first U.S. Cruise missiles are deployed in England despite years of world-wide protest.  It has been announced that the Soviet Union now has their own sea-launched Cruise missile.

December Seattle Mayor Charles Royer declared December 16 “Milton Carr Appreciation Day” honoring this long-time FOR member and recent Executive Director of Seattle’s Downtown Human Services Council.

1984 January Washington State Conversion Project ends.

February WWFOR Spring Retreat at Camp Burton on Vashon Island.  Cost $5.00 which includes registration, housing and hot coffee.  Bring your own food and bedding!

WWFOR is organizing chapters to develop a coordinated response to a possible U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.

February 24 Jim Douglass, Marya Barr, Bill Bichsel, Jim Bichsel, Chauncey Boyle, David Jaeger, Lisa Maxie Nance and Frank Seal were all arrested for kneeling on the tracks to stop The White Train near Bangor, WA.

March A revised and scaled down budget for 1984 totals $16,530.00 which calls for an average income of $1337.00 per month.  Current average cash and pledges per month average is $468.00.

Seattle FOR Chapter joined the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

April WWFOR receives notice that $25,000.00 will be made available for 1984-1986 from the estate of Mary Farquharson.  Also WWFOR received a check for $10,000.00 as a result of the “Support House”  in Tacoma.

May Beverly Lord begins work a WWFOR Office Administrator as Bruce Kokopeli transitions to Program Coordinator.

June 29-July 2 26th Annual Seabeck Conference (organized by Oregon FOR this year) with keynote speakers: Joel Schatz who discussed his recent trip to the Soviet Union and Ada Sanchez who pointed out the need for an honest– and therefore radical – re-assessment of the arms race.

August WWFOR has begun the “White Train Support Program” to encorage involvement by local affinity groups.

September Lisa Hicks and Bill Anthis co-editors of Pacific Call.

October North Olympic FOR Chapter formed in Port Angeles

1985 January Shelley and Jim Douglass and the Ground Zero Center for Non-Violent Action received the 7th Annual MLK Award presented by the FOR National Council.

February 9 WWFOR held 5th Annual War Tax Resistance Workshop

April 15 WWFOR organized Tax  Day Rally at Federal Office Building in Seattle.

July 4-7 Annual Seabeck Conference with theme “Toward an Equitable and Just Economic Order”.  Speakers included John Swomley, Jim Antal (new Executive Director National FOR), and Fr. Bernard Byrne, Maryknoll Latin America Regional Director.

September Clark County FOR Chapter formed.

Fire Mountain (Lewis County) FOR Chapter formed.

Brenda Burton becomes Editor Pacific Call

November 1985 budgeted expenses $23,875.  Actual income to date $16,747.

1986 August Fire Mountain FOR Chapter sponsors eleven local high school Seniors to visit Hiroshima and meet with members of Japanese FOR.

August 18 Nan McMurray hired as new WWFOR Coordinator replacing Bruce Kokopeli and Bev Lord.

September 25-October 4 Richard Deats on speaking tour to FOR chapters in the Northwest

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