The Befriending Creation article below by Steve Chase, a member of Putney Friends Meeting, talks about Quakers In Transition, a new online project sponsored by the Earthcare Ministries Committee of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. This article will also be reprinted in the January issue of Quaker Life. Please check out both Befriending Creation and Quakers In Transition.
We yearn for community that is intimately dependent on the earth, on our neighbors, and our own self-reliance to provide our basic needs, and allows us to see the consequences of our use of creation.
–From a Young Adult Friends gathering at Mount Toby (Mass.) Friends Meeting in 2011
This yearning is not new. Back in the mid-1600s, the early Quaker movement in England felt called by the Spirit of God to transform their world. Rejecting the imperial values of their day—which worshiped power, profits, prestige, and plundering above all—the Quaker Movement put forth an alternative vision of Beloved Community that was simple, just, peaceful, and sustainable. This vision was anchored in what George Fox described as Judaism’s and Christianity’s three great loves: 1) loving God with all one’s heart, soul, and strength; 2) loving our neighbors as ourselves; and 3) loving God’s good Earth by acting in “unity with Creation.”
Today, Quakers are still called–along with millions of other people around the globe–to foster a more spiritually fulfilling, socially just, and ecologically sustainable human presence on our planet. The urgency of this spiritual vocation is even growing stronger now as the world faces the unprecedented challenges of peak oil, climate change, and an increasingly dysfunctional global economy—concerns that groups like Quaker Earthcare Witness have been raising for over 20 years.
More and more of us are now awake and listening, and we want to do something positive and creative about all of this with our neighbors. We are increasingly focused on aiding a rapid and responsible transition from oil dependency to local resilience in our own communities—in solidarity with communities all around the world. This is leading more of us to become active participants in the global Transition movement where we live, work, or worship.
At the 2011 New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions, NEYM’s Earthcare Ministries Committee put forward an invitation for all Friends to join the global Transition Movement and engage with their neighbors in positive local efforts to:
* Dramatically reduce our overall energy use.
* Shift from unsafe and declining fossil fuel resources to safe and renewable energy sources.
*Enhance the heart and soul of what we love most about our communities—even as we face the end of the age of cheap and abundant oil.
* Relocalize our economies so our communities can increase the number of green-collar jobs and be better able to produce the vital goods and services we need to survive and thrive in the years ahead.
If you are a Friend who supports this agenda, go to <http://quakersintransition.wordpress.com>, a website offering resources, blog posts, and networking tools designed to help equip Quakers to join, organize, or develop local Transition Town initiatives.
Happily, we are not alone. Thousands of communities in countries all across the planet have started formal or informal local Transition efforts. Hundreds of these local transition initiatives have also begun connecting in larger national and international networks to learn from each other and inspire more experimentation and innovation. For a look at several of these networked transition communities in the United Kingdom and beyond, check out the 50-minute online video, “In Transition 1.0,” on the Introduction page of Quakers In Transition