Who inspires you?

Quaker Voluntary Service grew out of the leading of young adult Friends to reclaim Quaker Service for our time. Though the model is different from previous incarnations of Quaker service and witness, QVS has directly benefitted from earlier generations and honors these stories. And those Quakers of earlier generations, who gave of their gifts to make this world more peaceful and just, continue to inspire. They served through Civilian Public Service (CPS), through Quaker work camps, through American Friends Service Committee and other relief efforts after wars and disasters, through Alternative Service programs for Conscientious Objectors, and in numerous other ways. Many of them are the models we think of when we aspire to rekindle that spirit and commitment to transformative Quaker service as envisioned by Quaker Voluntary Service.

As Quaker Voluntary Service offers new generations of young adults the opportunity to contribute to the expansive work for change, QVS wants to highlight the stories of those who have come before us. This is just the beginning of these efforts, but there is hope you will read these incredible stories and share with QVS others that you may know.

If you would like to contribute a story of Quaker service to this collection, please email: stories@quakervoluntaryservice.org.

Click here to read this beautiful collection of Quaker Service Testimonies.

Is American Nonviolence Possible?

From The New York Times:

Is American Nonviolence Possible?

“This past week was of course a searing reminder: Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon and the ensuing manhunt that ended on Friday with the death of one suspect and the capture of another, his brother, dominated the news. But there were other troubling, if less traumatic reminders, too. On Tuesday, a 577-page report by the Constitution Project concluded that the United States had engaged in torture after the Sept. 11 attacks. On Wednesday, a turning point in the heated national debate on gun control was reached when the United States Senate dropped consideration of some minimal restrictions on the sale and distribution of guns. Looming above all this is the painful memory of the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Now is as good a time as any to reflect on our responses to the many recent horrors that seem to have engulfed us, and to consider whether we can hope to move from an ethos of violence to one nonviolence…”

Click here to read the full article:

AFSC offers resources for fostering religious tolerance

Quaker meetings and churches can help AFSC by doing some specific things to support our peace and justice work. This year we are inviting you to help with our work to create more religiously hospitable communities by engaging with a film resource, “Hawo’s Dinner Party: The New Face of Southern Hospitality.”

“Hawo’s Dinner Party” is a video module designed to support dialogue, bridge-building, and cultural exchange in communities that receive immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries.

Directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder and executive produced by BeCause Foundation in association with Active Voice, the module follows the trajectory of Hawo Siyad, a refugee and former nurse from Somalia, who has come to work at the nearby Tyson Foods chicken processing plant. Dressed in colorful hijab even on the assembly line, Hawo is determined to learn English and to connect with her neighbors. But as news of “home grown terrorism” appears in the national media and as Hawo tries to reach out, we get an intimate glimpse into the honest—and often uncomfortable—encounters that emerge.

You can learn more about “Hawo’s Dinner Party” and the Shelbyville Multimedia Project at www.ShelbyvilleMultimedia.org. Active Voice would really like to know if you have offered an event; you can send that information to Lucy Duncan at lduncan (at) afsc.org and AFSC will pass it along.

Click here to read the full article, find event planning resources and discussion questions.

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.

Post-Traumatic Stress – A Natural Response to War

Watch a video interview of Nao Rozi, an Afghan National Army veteran who is now a member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. When Dr. Hakim reflected on this interview for a postscript, he shared “my thinking about war trauma transformed in the few minutes that I was interviewing… Nao Rozi, an Afghan National Army veteran. War related post-traumatic stress is a natural order, not a disorder.”

Click here to read the transcript and additional after-thoughts from Dr. Hakim, published by Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm

Camp registration opens today! Help find campers interested in creating peace in the world, living in a diverse community and having fun.

Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is an overnight camp dedicated to bringing together a diverse group of campers to live in community, learn ways to create peace and justice in the world, and have fun. Campers build deep friendships, meet peacemakers, swim, hike, serve others, and learn new ways they can make a positive difference in their world.

There are two week-long camp sessions:
June 17-22, 2013 (ages 13-14)
June 24-29, 2013 (ages 11-12)

We will accept twelve campers for each session. Tuition is $650 for this 6-day, 5-night camp in Americus, Georgia. Scholarships are available. Our goal is to turn no one away for financial reasons.

Click here to learn more and register for camp!

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

White Privilege Conference 2013

April 9-13
Seattle, WA

White Privilege Conference (WPC) is a conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world.

Who attends the WPC?
The conference is unique in its ability to bring together high school and college students, teachers, university faculty and higher education professionals, nonprofit staff, activists, social workers and counselors, healthcare workers, and members of the spiritual community and corporate arena. Annually, more than 1,500 attend from more than 35 states, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, and Germany.

Registration information and 2013 agenda:

About the WPC:

Telling the story of us: Reflections on Quaker Voluntary Service

As volunteers for Quaker Voluntary Service, the young people I visited during my stay in Atlanta were still sorting out what their own authentic journeys might look like. But working full-time in community support and development organizations that can place high demands on their emotional and psychological energy is not easy. Caught up in the drama of life and change and community, there is little time to consider rather abstract concepts of meaning and motivation…

Madeline Schaefer is the Friends Relations Fellow at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). She grew up in Philadelphia, surrounded by Quakers of all shapes and sizes. After searching for stories and adventure in distant, cooler climes, she returned home only to find the richest ones right in her backyard. Madeline lives with five lovely people in West Philadelphia, and is involved with Quakers throughout the Philadelphia region.

Click here to read Madeline’s full story.