by Margaret McCasland
Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) is a North American organization that is coordinated by people from all over North America. They have a very small staff (currently 2 people), and much of their work is done by volunteers on their very large (up to 50 people) Steering Committee. I became a member of the QEW Steering Committee last year when New York Yearly Meeting named me as a representative to QEW.
The Steering Committee meets twice a year for 4 days, and we had our most recent gathering the last weekend in April. While I have attended portions of Steering Committee gatherings for quite a few years, this was the first gathering where I attended nearly every session.
QEW asks all Steering Committee people to either be or to recruit a liaison to their Monthly Meeting. I will serve as liaison until I find someone else who is interested in keeping up with what a liaison does. With this newsletter article, I am fulfilling the major duty of MM liaisons: letting you know about events QEW is sponsoring this month. Each month I will also introduce one of the many resources they offer. This month I am going to highlight QEW’s monthly Worship Sharing.
NOTE: Full descriptions of these events (and other events) are available at the QEW website. The text in italics is quoted from the QEW website. The text in regular font is from Margaret.
with GreenFaith and Quaker Earthcare Witness
May 8 @ 12:30 pm – May 12 @ 1:30 pm EDT
Hurricanes. Excessive Heat. Crop failure. The loss of biodiversity and human life around the world. All of it is horrible – and could have been avoided.
Climate destruction is being bankrolled by large corporations and their executives who choose to act against what is right and good, at the expense of our planet’s future. The climate crisis is a crisis of greed.
From May 8-11, people of faith will gather to learn about how banks and asset managers continue to invest in the fossil fuel industries that are destroying communities in the U.S. and around the world – and then find out how to hold these financial institutions accountable. Together, we can commit to taking the bold steps necessary to effect real change.
This year’s three day summit will amplify the voices of frontline leaders of Turtle Island (what we now call North America) and the Global South, whose communities bear the direct brunt of financial decisions made by Chase Bank, Bank of America, Vanguard, Black Rock, and others who invest in harmful oil and gas extraction.
This summit is for you if you’re just making the connections between faith, finance, and climate, if you’re a money manager rooted in just climate values, or if you are part of a community wrestling with these questions.
We will build on the momentum sparked with the 2022 launch of GreenFaith’s Climate Finance Campaign. This year we have a lot to celebrate, and the work continues! We hope you will join us and a growing number of partner organizations as together we:
- Root in our faiths for resilience, inspiration, and joy for the journey ahead
- Learn more about Indigenous-led campaigns in the U.S. and East Africa
- Find out how to move your money
- Take action in our closing Action Hour
May 8 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, Friends Wilderness Center and the China Folk House Retreat are aspiring toward bridging divides in humanity, building community with nature, and lifting all toward the Light and a brighter future. Join Kimberly Benson and John Flower for a conversation on redefining conservation to include cross-cultural connections and building compassion and respect for all life, and how they’re making this happen on the ground. They write, “Humans have a tremendous ability to rationalize and justify exploiting what we ‘other.’ We need to remove the illusion of separation among people and between people and nature.”
About the presenters:
- Kimberly Benson is a scientist, naturalist, climate and environmental activist, member of Annapolis Friends Meeting, and the general manager of Friends Wilderness Center. Learn more by reading Kimberly’s BeFriending Creation article.*
- John Flower is Director of the Sidwell Friends School Chinese Studies Program. Since 2017, he has worked on rebuilding the “China Folk House Retreat,” to serve as a site for experiential learning, environmental sustainability and people-to-people cultural exchanges focusing on traditional agriculture, folkways and craft.
*”BeFriending Creation” is QEW’s quarterly newsletter, available in print or digital form. To subscribe, read back issues, or learn how to submit material, click here.
Last but not least, Quaker Earthcare Witness hosts monthly online worship sharing groups:
May 23 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
In worship sharing, we gather in small groups to focus on a particular question (or questions) to explore our own experience and share with each other more deeply than we would in normal conversation. It seeks to draw us into sacred space, where we can take down our usual defenses, and encounter each other in “that which is eternal.” We welcome all to join us!
Together we are creating more opportunities for Friends who care deeply about the Earth and each other to be in spiritual community with one another. We hope you can join us.
I attended my first QEW monthly Worship Sharing this April and found it “spoke to my condition” and was very heartening because of the deep sharing. A new query is offered every month. Here is the info I was sent when I registered for the April Worship Sharing:
This event usually runs about an hour. For those who may be joining this worship sharing for the first time or would like a reminder, our usual structure is:
- Welcome & Introduction
- Read Worship Sharing Guidelines, Reading & Queries
- Worship Sharing in Breakout Rooms of 5-6 people (45 minutes)
- Reflection, closing, announcements
As an example, this was the April query: We’ll be sitting with Mary Annaïse Heglar’s quote, “The thing about climate is that you can either be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions. If you feel inspired, you can read this article of hers beforehand.”
[The link goes to an article that is behind a paywall. If there is interest, I will print out a few copies for our library.]