Annual Session 2019 July 29 to August 4 Hood College - Frederick, Maryland Quaker Tools for the Journey
“We Friends have some precious tools and insights to help create the conditions for peace, stop the destruction of God’s natural environment, and enable the growth of a just society….” Patience A. Schenck, Answering the Call to Heal the World, Pendle Hill Pamphlet 383, 2017.
Our world can at times seem bleak: corrupted by injustice, division and self-interest. What does our Quaker heritage teach us of resilience and discernment in the face of discouragement? Which tools, forged in Friends’ faith and practice, will serve us best to meet today’s challenges?
We look back to our Quaker heritage, the deep roots of our faith, for inspiration. We look to history to learn from the practices that gave a few early Friends the strength to effect real change. We also acknowledge that as we celebrate exemplary Friends, our history offers cautionary episodes: dark times when Friends allowed complacency to blind them to the deep wrongs they themselves participated in. We must live with all these examples as we shape our course both individually and corporately.
How has this rich tradition flowered into tools for today? The spiritual paths of early Friends branched out, with turning points and some divergences: we seek to learn from all Friends’ practices. Let us find new uses for the tools offered by our testimonies both in our individual lives and in collective endeavors that work for our communities, nation and world. By these means we aspire to serve the challenges of this divided world.
How can our work today plant the seeds that will sustain this work through future challenges we cannot foresee? We recognize that willfulness as well as willingness may play a role in our attempts, but by acknowledging the failings that may slow our progress, we allow our faith to nurture us for the journey ahead. As we “answer that of God” in those we meet along the way, let us foster a wider use of our Quaker tools to build a future of reconciliation and connection.
- What are the “roots” we have grown from?
- What are the “flowers” of our faith and practice?
- What “seeds” have we planted that will nurture us for tomorrow?
- What tools will we need to speak to “that of God” in others?
- What do Quakers bring to these troubled times?