The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Articles

 (Transitional) FoL Newsletter - 1990
by Margaret Lawson, Clare and Tom Harral

 
IT IS NOW seventeen years since I founded the Fellowship of Life after campaigning for the recognition of World Day for Animals for four years, or World Day of Prayer for Animals as I expanded the title to bring it into the realm of the Christian Churches. It was when I was a child that God first spoke to my heart about the killing of animals for food and sport - I remember seeing cows peacefully chewing the cud and thinking how strange it was that farmers should breed them and then eat them; the shooting of a tiny sparrow by a boy with his airgun went straight to my heart. But there was nothing to guide me further, not even from the church which I attended regularly with my parents. It was only when I was in my early forties that the light finally dawned that 'Thou shalt not kill' applied to animals as well as to humans, although I knew nothing of vegetarianism. I thought of the Church which had nothing to say (alas, it still does not!), and especially of the millions of creatures cruelly reared and slaughtered for the celebration of the birth of Him who is called the Prince of Peace 'with the oxen standing by'. Instead of Carols and Compassion, we have Carols and Carcasses. Perhaps somewhere along the line a chord has been struck. I hope so.
 
As I am about to hand over the Fellowship of Life to two very sincere people, Claire and Thomas Harral - more about them later - this is to be my last letter. I have long felt that new blood was required and I have every confidence in Clare and Tom carrying forward the work. Also, two can do more than double what one working alone can do. I have been glancing over some newsletters and feel that some of the quotations I have used may well do with being repeated:
 
Guard us from the prejudices which could blind us to the Truth and help us humbly to listen to what you want to say to us. Grant that we may follow the Truth wherever it may lead us.
 
Prayer for Groups, Revd Dr William Barclay, 1977
 
Lord, keep us from arrogance which thinks it knows all Truth; Lord, keep us from apathy which is content with mere half-truth; Lord, keep us from cowardice which is afraid of new Truth.
 
Author unknown, 1988
 
The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.
 
Author unknown, 1978
 
A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. The delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such an achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and foundation for inner security.
 
Albert Einstein, 1982
 
Anyone who has known God's love will be compelled to extend it to all creation. A re-born Christian's love cannot be confined to his fellow men and women; it will pass beyond them to include his brothers and sisters the animals.
 
Michael Wright, 1988
 
Believing that killing animals for food is the root of all other injustices perpetrated against animals, I have never specifically mentioned vivisection or, as it is now called, medical research. However, I have recently had my eyes opened to the ignorance of the general public as to what it involves. It is not just white coats and microscopes as we see on television, but behind the closed doors away from the public eye are the torture -chambers where live animals are flayed, subjected to excesses of cold and heat, are inoculated with disease which is allowed to develop, and much more, all so that humans may indulge in bad habits and in eating flesh, now believed to be the cause of various diseases including some, if not all, cancers, heart troubles, high blood-pressure. The animals' constitutions do not even match man's, so that medical research using live animals is unscientific as well as totally immoral. There are, however, a few bodies devoted to humane research and I am appealing especially for your support for the Madeleine Newton Fund for Cancer Research, which was established in 1987 in memory of a young student who, before she died, asked her friends to send any money they might otherwise spend on flowers to the Natural Medicines Society. The research is being undertaken by Dr Peter Fisher of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital without the use of animals. This is a unique project, for there is no other body researching the treatment of cancer with natural remedies. Please send your donations to The Madeleine Newton Fund for Cancer Research, c/o Natural Medicines Society, Edith Lewis House, Back Lane, Ilkeston, Derbyshire. DE7 8EJ. A list of other humane research bodies is available as well as one of anti-vivisection organisations. Hopeful note: A society of Doctors in Britain Against Animal Experiments has been founded to oppose vivisection on scientific and medical grounds. Similar groups already exist in Japan, the U.S.A., Austria, Germany and Israel.
 
The important motion which I mentioned in my last letter as being tabled by the Archdeacon of Colchester at the Church of England's General Synod calling for an investigation into hunting and factory farming on church-owned land was debated and passed in July. However, sadly, very sadly, the pro-hunting members of the Synod created such a fuss that the motion had to be watered down. It reads:
 
That this Synod, recognising the welfare of animals and their just treatment as an essential part of our responsibility towards creation, calls upon the Board for Social Responsibility urgently to prepare a statement of Christian stewardship in relation to the whole of creation, and to challenge Government, Church and people to engage in a critical review of human responsibility to the living environment.
 
We must be thankful that we have the 'Liberation of Life' report of the World Council of Churches, to which I also referred in my last letter, and part of which is included in the enclosed Calling All Christians and People of Goodwill leaflet, and would refer the Board to it. Success will come eventually, but not too soon for the creatures or, indeed, the image of the Church.
 

 
Message from the Pope for the 1990 World Day of Peace
 
We can only look with deep concern at the enormous possibilities of biological research. We cannot yet assess the biological disturbance that could result from indiscriminate genetic manipulation and from the unscrupulous development of new forms of plant and animal life, to say nothing of unacceptable experimentation regarding the origins of human life itself. It is evident to all that in any area as delicate as this, indifference to fundamental ethical norms, or their rejections, would lead mankind to the very threshold of self-destruction.
 
The Times, 11.12.89
Farm and Food Society Newsletter, June 1990
 
 
Silken Thread
 
Even as leather is the product of cruelty and killing, so is the manufacture of silk. Most people know how the larvae of silk-worms form a cocoon of fine thread, but they do not know of the cruelty involved in killing the pupa in order to obtain the thread by baking it in an oven at 100C for twenty minutes or steaming it for a similar time; laying it in the hot sun for a day; by electrocution or subjection to microwaves. Research has shown that the pupae are sentient creatures and, furthermore, land is used up which could be used to grow food.
 
The Vegan magazine, 7 Battle Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, E. Sussex. 
 

 
And now a recipe:
Eggless Carrot Cake
 
Set oven at 350F/175C, gas Mark 4
6oz sugar
6oz raw grated carrot
10oz wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
grated rind and juice of medium sized orange
6oz oil
1 dessertspoon soya flour
1teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
 
Into the mixing bowl put flour, salt, bicarb and baking powder; mix well. Add soya flour mixed with 1/2 a cup of water. Add juice and rind of oranges and oil. Add the carrots last and stir well. Bake for 1 hour on top shelf in tin approx. 8" diameter.
 
From New Leaves, magazine of the Movement for Compassionate Living, 47 Highlands Road, Leatherhead, Surrey. KT22 8NQ.
 
 
BOOKS
 
Animals and All Churches by Victoria Liddard.
Quotations from the Bible and early Christian Fathers showing vegetarianism to be the true Christian way of life. 1 from M. Seelig, Suite 4, Carlton Chambers, 5 Station Road, Shortlands, Bromley, Kent. BR2 OEY.
 
The Bible, the Church and the Animal Kingdom by Revd James Thompson.
A straight-from-the-shoulder challenge to the Christian Churches. 2.49 from St Clements Publications, 14 Cluny Square, Buckie, Morayshire.
 
The Extended Circle by Jon Wynne-Tyson.
An anthology of humane thought. 6.99, Cardinal.
 
Jesus and the Animals.
This is a closely-printed 16-page document containing extracts from 'The Gospel of the Holy Twelve', which claims to be the only true gospel and which shows how Jesus condemned cruelty to animals as well as flesh-eating. Copies will be made for any who enquire.
 
 
Now Claire and Tom introduce themselves. Claire writes:
 
'It was approximately eight years ago that we watched in horror the "Animals Film" on television, which showed in graphic detail the appalling cruelties inflicted on animals. Our eyes were opened, our (up-till-then) apathy exposed and our consciences awakened, and we knew that we could no longer partake of all this suffering. So we turned vegetarian and soon after, when we learned of the inherent cruelty in dairy produce, we became vegan. We thus felt more alert, aware and alive physically, mentally and spiritually. Moreover, it wasn't long before we learned of the links between human suffering and animal suffering - how veganism alleviates both and benefits the environment and our One World home. We have worked on a voluntary basis with local human and animal rights groups and environmental groups, including serving on a committee, and were founder-members of the 'Veggies' catering campaign. We believe, along with Margaret, in Genesis 1:29 and Isaiah 11:9 and in 'Thou shalt not kill' as applying to animals as well as to humans. Our purpose now is to continue the invaluable work of the Fellowship of Life, the aim of which is to teach a way of life which does not hurt any living creature, human or animal.'
 
So please now send enquiries, literature requests and donations to:
 
Claire and Tom Harral,
43 Braichmelyn,
Bethesda,
Bangor,
Gwynedd,
N. Wales  LL57 3RD.
 
Doubtless, there will be some overlap until I really fade out. I shall also be responsible for the financial side until the printer's account for the enclosed leaflet is settled: it will be expensive, but for some time it has been working in me to re-issue it. In the summer I had two visitors who both suggested that I re-issued it and that clinched things.
 

 
And so the time has come for me to retire! As to the results of the work, my guidance has always been to do as I felt right and leave the results in God's hands. It is said that nothing is ever wasted when done in His name, so there is bound to be a harvest although this may not as yet be obvious. Whether or not orthodoxy will accept that causing cruelty to animals and killing them is unholy and unGodly, I believe that God is calling the Church to come up higher and renounce all injustice to animals and be a 'voice of the voiceless', defender of the defenceless, animal as well as human. Perhaps a new church based on Love to all creation will grow out of the old, without the division caused by dogmas and rites, which will unite people of different faiths or of none. Indeed, the good is growing with more and more people eschewing meat and becoming health - and - diet - conscious, thanks mainly to the media - not to the Church! So let us not lose heart. Truth is growing.
 
I send my grateful thanks to all who have made the work possible over the years. It has been done in faith that all would be provided and I can safely say that we have never been 'in the red'. Please do continue to support Tom and Claire!
 
Every good wish to you all for Christmas and the New Year,
 
Yours sincerely in the service of God and all his creation,
 
Margaret E. Lawson
Founder-Secretary
 
 *Please note that the campaigning resources mentioned in the above text are in most cases no longer available.
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