Quaker Peacemakers Project: Elizabeth Mertic

Elizabeth Mertic is a member of Lake Forest Friends Meeting and attends Evanston Monthly Meeting. She has lived in Evanston since May 2001. Elizabeth’s strong interest in peace began when she was an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin-Madison where she met Francis Hole from Madison Meeting. When Elizabeth moved to Chicago in 1958, she began attending 57th Street Meeting and joined the Peace & Social Concerns Committee.  In 1960 she was a participant in the Ring around the Pentagon demonstration along with hundreds of other Friends from across the country. Elizabeth shares: “I have gradually moved toward the goal of growing more peaceful with myself, which will help me live peacefully with the rest of humanity.”

Click the play button below to hear Elizabeth’s reflections on peacemaking.

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The Peace Resources Committee interviewed Elizabeth alongside Joey Rodger and Sara Gmitter in front of a live participatory audience at Evanston Monthly Meeting in November 2012. Listen in to hear her talk about peacemaking as a daily practice, being active in commuinity, and remaining hopeful. Elizabeth shared of her experience with the Iraqi Student Project, supporting two young Iraqi women attending DePaul University in the Chicago.

Click here to learn more about the Quaker Peacemakers Archive Project where you can nominate Friends in Illinois Yearly Meeting you think should be included in this effort. The project aims to compile and preserve an oral history of Friends whose contributions to peace building offer wonderful opportunities for reflection. As Friends tell their stories in their own words, these recordings will capture and preserve unique and inspired personal acts and thoughts which enrich our Yearly Meeting.

Music: “On Reflection” by The Appleseed Cast (Low Level Owl: Volume 1, 2000)

Quaker Peacemakers Project: Joey Rodger

Joey RodgerJoey Rodger serves as the Acting Executive Director and Co-founder of PeaceAble Cities: Evanston, is a Chaplain with the Evanston Police Department, and actively represents Friends in local interfaith efforts. She moved to Evanston 25 years ago to work as an executive for public library organizations, and following her retirement from librarianship, her commitment to peace and justice – nurtured by 40 years as a Quaker – led her to help found PeaceAble Cities: Evanston. Joey deeply believes “we are all meant to live together with respect and a graciousness toward the possibility that we can work together to create a richly diverse city completely free of violence.”

Click the play button below to hear Joey’s reflections on peacemaking.

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The Peace Resources Committee interviewed Joey alongside Sara Gmitter and Elizabeth Mertic in front of a live participatory audience at Evanston Monthly Meeting in November 2012. Listen in to hear her explorations of peacemaking today, peacemaking as strategy as well as leading, collaboration, discomfort, exploration, joy and focus towards peacemaking as the priority. Joey truly lives for peace. Reflecting on the theory of change presented by James Gillian in his book Preventing Violence, she has strong words for Friends truly committed to peace: “you can actually make a difference.”

Click here to learn more about the Quaker Peacemakers Archive Project where you can nominate Friends in Illinois Yearly Meeting you think should be included in this effort. The project aims to compile and preserve an oral history of Friends whose contributions to peace building offer wonderful opportunities for reflection. As Friends tell their stories in their own words, these recordings will capture and preserve unique and inspired personal acts and thoughts which enrich our Yearly Meeting.

Music: “Sunset Drama King” by The Appleseed Cast (Low Level Owl: Volume 2, 2000)

Quaker Peacemakers Project: Sara Gmitter

Sara GmitterSara Gmitter began attending at Evanston Monthly Meeting four years ago, and today considers herself a convinced Friend. As a playwright and an educator, she spent 12 years as a member of the Lookingglass Theatre company, is a founding member of New Suit Theatre Company, teaches stage management at Northwestern University, and has also taught beginning Circus Arts for the Lookingglass Young Ensemble. In 2008 Sara participated in a workcamp sponsored by the African Great Lakes Initiative at the Mutaho Widows Association in Burundi. In the spring of 2009 she worked with David Kersnar and the Lookingglass Young Ensemble to create Waging Peace an original play about conflict resolution. Sara attended the University for Peace in Costa Rica where she earned her Masters degree in Peace Education.

Click the play button below to hear Sara’s reflections on peacemaking.

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The Peace Resources Committee interviewed Sara alongside Elizabeth Mertic and Joey Rodger in front of a live participatory audience at Evanston Monthly Meeting in November 2012. Listen in to hear her reflections on peacemaking today, daily habits that inspire her as a peacemaker, her understanding of today’s culture of violence and how we can all work towards the creation of “a culture of peace.”

Click here to learn more about the Quaker Peacemakers Archive Project where you can nominate Friends in Illinois Yearly Meeting you think should be included in this effort. The project aims to compile and preserve an oral history of Friends whose contributions to peace building offer wonderful opportunities for reflection. As Friends tell their stories in their own words, these recordings will capture and preserve unique and inspired personal acts and thoughts which enrich our Yearly Meeting.

Music: “The Waking of Pertelotte” by The Appleseed Cast (Low Level Owl: Volume 1, 2000)

Why you might consider boycotting SodaStream

When: Saturday, April 27 at 12pm noon
Where: Chicago City Target, 1 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60603 (map)

SodaStream is an Israeli corporation produces gadgets to make homemade soda from tap water. SodaStreamproduces its products primarily in an illegal settlement built on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. They enforce harsh working conditions, low wages, and revolving door employment policies for Palestinian workers. SodaStream markets itself as an environmentally-friendly product to “Turn Water Into Fresh Sparkling Water And Soda.” But there is nothing friendly about the destruction of Palestinian life, land, and water resources.

This settlement company obscures its true illegal origin by marking its products “Made in Israel.” “Made in an illegal Israeli settlement” is more like it. Tell Target and folks thinking about buying SodaStream products, that there is nothing friendly about occupation!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/380620872051571

Sponsored by: The Chicago Sodastream Boycott Campaign

Connect your meeting to AFSC

Activism in the Meetinghouse
Have you signed up to be a Meeting/Church liaison or want to learn more? Lucy Duncan will be hosting an orientation call on Monday, April 22nd from 7:30pm-8:30pm EST. For call-in information, email friends@afsc.org.

How a community heals: A conversation with Denise Altvater
The first ever Truth and Reconciliation Commission between a sovereign tribal nation and a US state was seated on Feb. 12, this interviews explains how it came to be. “The hurts are so deep. Once everyone can tell their story, the healing will come for them; the community will heal, too. We need to understand how what happened impacts how we treat each other, and how we need to heal in order for things to change. There is power in having a voice.” You can also read a poem written for the occasion.

Calling forth the goodness podcasts
Madeline Schaefer, Friends relations fellow, is producing a series of podcasts on AFSC’s work, “Calling forth the goodness,” which features the voices of communities and Quakers that work together to create change. The first one, “Working at the Root” is about AFSC’s farmer-to-farmer training program in New Mexico. The second episode, “The Seeds of an Occupation,” tells the story of AFSC’s growing involvement in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Recent AFSC guest posts
Johan Maurer wrote a moving guest post that tells a bit of his spiritual journey, “Love your enemies: Learning to trust in the face of violence.” Doug Bennett wrote about the value of the AFSC Corporation, which gathers this week beginning on Friday for a two-day meeting.

Announcements for meeting newsletters
Webinar on AFSC’s website for Friends: In January Ralph Medley, Web director, and Lucy Duncan, Friends liaison, hosted a webinar on how to learn about AFSC’s programs by navigating AFSC’s website. You can watch that here.

Wage Peace toolkit and banner: Given the current conversations about the federal budget, there is an opening to raise voices asking that the percentage of dollars going to the military be reduced. AFSC has produced a toolkit for download to help Friends and others advocate for a shift in priorities. You can also order a 20-foot banner for your meeting house or for protests which shows the current budget priorities. The banners are $200; email wagepeace@afsc.org to order one.

Job openings
AFSC is seeking candidates for the Deputy General Secretary and other positions. Take a look at the current job openings and let other Friends know.

Join us for a Peace Testimony Workshop

Join us for fellowship & personal reflection:

Peace Testimony Workshop
Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14
Illinois Yearly Meeting
McNabb, IL

In 2006, the ILYM Peace Resources Committee developed a workshop aimed at deepening our individual and corporate understandings of Friends’ historic Peace Testimony and contemporary expressions of it. Join us!

The Peace Resources Committee of today invites Friends to gather at the Illinois Yearly Meeting Grounds for a day of storytelling, worship sharing, and personal reflection. The retreat will begin on Friday afternoon, April 12, with Friends encouraged to arrive beginning at 4pm. Explore the grounds, settle into your bunk, catch up with good F/friends, explore the recommended reading (see below), and enjoy a shared meal in nearby McNabb. Those not able to overnight are invited to arrive Saturday morning, ideally by 10am. The workshop will conclude in the early evening, culminating in each Friend authoring their own Peace Testimony. Friends are equally encouraged to stay over Saturday night and attend worship with Clear Creek Friends on Sunday, April 14, as a culmination to your retreat weekend.

We ask that those excited to participate RSVP by Monday, April 8: email PRC clerk Breeze Richardson at breeze.richardson@sbcglobal.net. The day will be free to all who wish to attend, with the opportunity to overnight at Clear Creek House or the cabins (a $5 donation per night is requested from those desiring overnight hospitality). Our shared midday meal on Saturday will be potluck.

We look forward to spending the day with you!

Recommended Reading:

In advance of gathering, we invite you to explore the Peace Testimony Workshop Advance Readings. Nothing is required, but exploration is welcome. In order to have some shared knowledge among those who gather, we specifically suggest the following. Paper copies will also be available upon arrival.

“A Declaration From the Harmless and Innocent People of God, Called Quakers, Against all Sedition, Plotters, and Fighters in the World…. Presented to the King Upon the 21st day of the 11th month, 1660.”
Download here: http://www.ilym.org/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=105

“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” by Reverend Martin Luther King
Download here: http://www.ilym.org/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=103

Tales, Adventures, and Reflections of a Quaker Activist

Daughter Do Mi (Barbie) Stauber wrote to ILYM and shared –

I’d like to let you know about a new book by a Quaker author formerly of Illinois Yearly Meeting:

Feeling Light Within, I Walk: Tales, Adventures, and Reflections of a Quaker Activist

Peg Morton was a member of Illinois Yearly Meeting from 1965 to 1989. She has published articles in Friends Journal and is the author of a Pendle Hill pamphlet, Walk With Me: Nonviolent Accompaniment in Guatemala. She is an activist who has spent her life working in the civil rights, war tax resistance, Latin America solidarity, and peace movements. She went to prison at age 73 for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas. Peg has written of a life that spans eighty-two years, fueled by a deeply spiritual commitment to raise her voice in nonviolent protest against war and injustice everywhere, and give voice to those who have none.

Peg has many wonderful memories of IYM and sends her love and greetings to all!

Feeling Light Within is available from Quakerbooks.org, or directly from the author: send $15.00 plus $3.50 s/h to Cedar Row Press, 2809 Shirley St., Eugene, OR 97404. Peg’s website Feelinglightwithin.com will accomodate online ordering soon!

Contribute to the work of Project Lakota

This note was sent out to Friends by Project Coordinator Candy Boyd:

Project Lakota is in somewhat desperate need of funds. [In early November], we received 4 calls in 4 days from the reservation for assistance and we are still paying for some supplies from the summer (as the summer building season is so short in the Dakotas, we sometimes upfront a small budgeted amount, and fundraise through the winter). As Project Lakota is becoming better known on the reservation, we are also receiving more requests during the cold season for help with utilities, firewood, indoor repairs, underskirting, transportation emergencies, and assistance for elders – some to avoid foreclosures. The snow has already started to fly on the Lakota nation.

The Dakota summer was productive for Project Lakota. Candy went up early and we were finally able to get the land easements secured for Minerva Blacksmith and her 3 families of grandchildren. This meant that by the end of the building season, we had electricity and heat (hooray!) in to all 3 trailers.

In addition to electricity (yes!) and heat (yes!), we replaced a door which had been blown dysfunctional by the storms, put in a screen door, put vinyl tile flooring on top of the subfloor throughout one trailer, brought in tons of gravel for the long reservation driveway which we raked by hand, and helped to replace the old outhouse which had blown over a few times in the summer storms. We networked with another nonprofit who provided an electrician to hook up the electricity and labor for the outhouse, and we saved thousands of dollars by doing the work on the driveway. The grandchildren, children, and Minerva were working every step of the way. Minerva is currently negotiating with the tribe to do the mapping for her waterline and hookups for which we seriously need to fundraise.

The McGaa family trailer is now fully set up with underskirting, handicap ramps, electricity, indoor plumbing and water, and septic system. Hooray!

If you feel so led, please donate to Project Lakota, 7429 Brunswick Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119.

For more information on housing on the Pine Ridge reservation and the Lakota people, please see the following video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIPnl97Kwx4

Many thanks,
Candy Boyd

QVS Applications Now Being Accepted for 2013-2014 Year

Join an Experiment in Faithfulness in the Friends’ Tradition

Quaker Voluntary Service is excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2013-2014 program year for sites in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Portland.

Apply
Young adults are encouraged to apply for this year-long program and will be placed in one of our three cities. Participants will live in a Quaker intentional community, serve full-time with local community organizations, participate in a dynamic program exploring the growing edges of the Quaker Way, and receive support from QVS and local Friends meetings and churches. We are partnering with many dynamic organizations in each city where QVS volunteers will work. To see descriptions of our current placements in Atlanta, click here: Atlanta 2012-2013 Site Placements. We will keep you updated as future sites are confirmed.

For more information and to apply, please see: www.quakervoluntaryservice.org/apply.
Applications are due by March 15, 2013.

Spread the Word
A primary role you can play is to help us spread the word about this opportunity to any young adults you know who may be interested and to any people you know who work with young adults. Forward this email, direct people to our website, or be in touch with us about who we should reach out to.

Give
We’re so grateful for all your gifts of support. As we come to the end of the year, please consider making another gift. Gifts of any size help us tremendously. We also have matching challenges in place for gifts of $250 or more so that your gift can have a greater impact ($50 or more if you are a young adult). Please consider a donation today. You can donate online or by sending a check to Quaker Voluntary Service, PO Box 17628, Atlanta GA 30316.

With much gratitude,
Christina Repoley
QVS Founding Executive Director