Quaker Institute for the Future prepares inspiring EPISTLE for Friends worldwide

Background:

The Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) was established in 2003 inspired by Kenneth Boulding’s Quaker Studies on Human Betterment and his call for a research institute focused on the future. QIF has sponsored a series of collaborative research projects, including an annual Summer Research Seminar, and published research findings in thirteen books <quakerinstitute.org>. In cognizance of humanity’s (and our planet’s) current climate emergency, QIF’s Board of Trustees recently approved an inspiring epistle using the following language: “As the world has gone from climate change to climate crisis to climate emergency, we, the QIF Board of Trustees, find that climate change affects every aspect of our work. The time in which nations and citizens of the world can yet act to mitigate the worst effects of climate change is rapidly vanishing. In the spirit of Quaker tradition, we have prepared this epistle in the hope that it may inspire Friends in solidarity with truth seeking and in their discernment on witness and action.”

The Epistle [LINK]

Magpie Art Collective’s Quaker Peace Doves

Magpie is the Barrydale based art collective by artists and social entrepreneurs Scott B. Hart and Shane A. Petzer. Working in their studio and gallery in the Western Cape of South Africa, Scott and Shane produce art, craft and bespoke creations centred around their commitment to “meaningful commercial and social entrepreneurism, integrated with environmental concern.”

During the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, Magpie developed a new project on the Quaker Peace Dove. The collective ran online making workshops in collaboration with Cape Western Monthly Meeting, during which Friends joined together via Zoom to create “#QuakerPeaceDoves” using a template created by Magpie. The doves are made of recycled milk bottles, hence the title of the series: “Turn Your Lockdown Trash Into Art.” Shane writes that the doves were conceptualised as:

“a unifiying symbol around peace and environmental/climate justice concerns [and provide] an example of how we can use art as a social tool.”

The workshops also created an online space for Friends to gather and share during the pandemic, an opportunity that was important for the artists who have long been involved in creating work that places social concern and community at its heart. For more information, and contact details visit http://www.magpieartcollective.com. Images of the work featured above can also be seen via Magpie’s social media channels.

Loughborough Quakers Sustainability Handbook

Quakers in Loughborough, UK have published a Sustainability Handbook, advising Friends on lifestyle changes they can make to live more sustainably.

The project includes a range of approaches to sustainable living and contains contributions from almost every member of the meeting. It also includes a Resource section of tips on how to shop locally and sustainably in the surrounding areas. Friends’ reflections are accompanied by illustrations from artist Miriam Bean. Read below for some of the contributors’ experiences and reflections on producing the handbook and view the online version here. Requests for physical copies of the Handbook can be sent to Julian Rees.

“I was invited to a weekend at Bamford by members of Loughborough Quakers, to spend time reflecting on the environment and how we can each contribute positively to sustainable living. There have been many challenges to my thinking and lifestyle, but I really appreciate being able to share these with a group of like-minded Friends, especially as sustainability is becoming more and more prevalent in the news.” – John Bean

“I’ve seen sustainability issues as crucial since I joined Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth in the 1970’s.  I’ve been part of various groups including Living Witness in British Quakers, being founder member of Loughborough Transition, facilitator for Carbon Footprint Support Groups, and part of team who set up an Area Meeting One Planet Living Group a few years ago, now laid down. It’s been a particularly heartwarming time in my sustainability journey when Loughborough Meeting developed its active Sustainability Group. There had been previous attempts which withered after a short while. It is so affirming now to be part of a committed group, and with the Quaker ethos.” – Sue Meredith Velado

“The climate crisis is a huge and daunting issue and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by it. Working in a group with others to make changes, no matter how small, made me feel less helpless. Creating the Loughborough Sustainability Handbook was such an affirming experience because it brought the Meeting together in a shared project and made me feel we were making a difference.” – Julian Rees

Journey to COP26

We share with you an invitation for those based in the UK to join a “Journey to COP26” event organized by a group of Quakers in Britain on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th April. This community-based event offers an opportunity “for people of all faiths and none to join together remotely and share our belief in the sacredness of all life, ahead of the UN climate talks, COP26” by journeying to a place that is sacred to you and sharing it online.

The initiative puts awareness, understanding and action on climate change at the heart of the community response to COP26. The climate talks, which are scheduled to happen in Glasgow in November 2021, will play a crucial role in determining the global climate response over the coming decade. The organisers of the action, a small group of Quakers supported by Quaker Peace & Social Witness, write:

“This action is a way for us to strengthen our collective sense of purpose in protecting the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Your journey could be to your garden or local park, or a day long hike! If your sacred place is your own living room it could even be a spiritual or virtual journey. It could be taken as a group, perhaps with others from your meeting, or individually.

Anyone can participate in the Journey to COP26.”

If you want advice, support or ideas for what to do for your Journey to COP26, please get in touch! Email Oonagh Ryder, Activism Support Coordinator: oonaghr@quaker.org.uk