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A Question of Faith: A History of the New Zealand Christian Pacifist Society
On the evening of 2 June 1941, Christian Pacifist Society activist, Presbyterian Minister and well-known poet Basil Dowling mounted the drinking fountain in Wellingtons Pigeon Park to commence a public denunciation of war. Like those before him he faced certain arrest and impriso...nment. When he later wrote on why he tried to attempt the improbable he began his explanation by stating that it was, simply a question of faith.
This stand was typical of the idealism and courage shown by members of the Society.
In March 1936, Wellington Methodist Minister Ormond Burton and his circuit steward A C Barrington established the Christian Pacifist Society of New Zealand open only to adult communicant members of mainstream churches. This represented both the culmination of a long period of burgeoning pacifist sentiment within the Methodist Church and in particular, its Bible Class, and the beginning of New Zealands most assertive pacifist movement both before and, as much as it was possible, during World War II.
Christian pacifists opposed all war, at all times irrespective of political developments. They shared a fundamental and absolutist belief, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, that war was a moral and ethical sin in Gods eyes.
Their beliefs led many members to publicly protest against World War II for which some were jailed, to become conscientious objectors and suffer detention in camps for indeterminate sentences and after the war to establish a community at Riverside near Motueka.
David Grant, New Zealands foremost author on this topic, draws on his personal interviews with members from the 1980s onwards and other research to tell the stories of these committed men and women, and of the organisation they formed. The book includes 30 photographs from the authors collection, several of which are published here for the first time.
||12 Aug 2013
||Philip Garside Publishing Ltd
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