Thursday, October 23, 2014

Being in community: talking about dying and death

I am sitting on the patio, doing preparation for the workshop I'm leading this weekend on what happens before we can fill out all the end-of-life forms.  I'm listening to the birds and watching a front come in.  I just checked the pressure map, yep, there it is -- a cold front with a low-pressure system behind it...

The summer before last -- 2013 -- I facilitated a conversation at my Local Meeting about dying and death.  It started out as a report from two trips the Meeting supported me in making to Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, one for a course on Creating Support for End of Life and Bereavement, one for the twice-annual gathering of QDD, the Quaker Concern Around Dying and Death, and about why I'd wanted to go in the first place -- my long-standing ministry around dying and death.  It expanded to a more general conversation about needing and wanting to talk about dying and death, and not being sure how to start.  It became clear people really are hungry for more spaces, safe spaces, to talk about this.

I talked to my elder for this talk and another Local Meeting person involved with QDD, and the three of us got together and planned a day-long follow-up session for March.  That session ended up being about how we make the decisions that need to be made before we can fill out all those end-of-life planning forms -- the Quaker funeral wishes forms, advance decisions / advance directives, etc. -- and how we care for those who are left behind when we die.  It was sweet and tender and good. 

We were asked to bring it to the Area Meeting.  So I'm leading a similar session / workshop Saturday. 

Sitting here working on the prep, I'm struck by how much I love and enjoy this work.  It's not all grim.  It's not all horrible.  It's funny, it's sweet, it's human, it's real.  It's about being in community with each other and caring for each other.

Lots of other places in my ministry are much more intimidating for me than this...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Confederate Flag and (White) Southern Pride

The following is reprinted with permission from the author.  - sm

To those who, like me, were raised to believe that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern Pride...

I grew up in Maryland, the Old Line State. My birthplace was not that far south of the Mason-Dixon line. My father's people, though, were from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Family lore has it that one of my great-great-great grand uncles from Virginia took up the cause against Northern aggression, was captured, and slowly was starved to death at the Point Lookout prison camp for Confederate soldiers in Maryland. I was raised to be proud of that ancestor's reputation for kindness to everyone - even his slaves- and for being a responsible and loving family man. I was reminded that we should not be ashamed of our history and we should learn from it. I learned those lessons in places where almost every garage or work shed had the Confederate Flag hanging. I learned those lessons from kind, caring, loving people, who always gave generously to everyone, even when they didn't have enough.

I have retained many of those lessons, about sacrifice and duty and family and history. But there is another lesson from my ancestor that I carry with me every day and use as a "check" in my interactions with people who do not share my experiences. If the myth of my ancestor is true – if he was a kind, loving, generous-to-a-fault person, who fought and died for his State and who was kind to everyone, free or not – then the real lesson that I have to learn is that otherwise kind, caring, and brave people are capable of unspeakable acts of cruelty, particularly when social norms permit that cruelty.

I am not guilty about my family’s past history. That history, however, serves as a powerful reminder. Just like my ancestor was able to convince himself that owning humans could somehow fit into a moral scheme that supposedly valued generosity and kindness, I am sure that there are things that I convince myself are totally valid and proper that actually are cruel and devaluing. That's the complicated white Southern history that I think about when I see the flag. The Confederate flag reminds me to listen critically, especially when the words that I hear make me feel uncomfortable and defensive.

To those who, like me, were raised to view the Confederate Flag as a symbol of Southern pride.... We all know, each one of us, that the flag isn't really a symbol of Southern pride. It's a symbol of white Southern pride. We edit out the "white" part because it makes us uncomfortable and reveals the flag for what it really is. If we are being honest with ourselves, though, we know the "white" is still there. I know many people who fly the flag and speak of Southern pride, but behind closed doors speak fondly of the days of segregation. I still see in my mind the Confederate flags that the KKK flew in front of my best friend's store in Southern Maryland when the Klan wanted her father, a prominent Indian immigrant, to move. I still remember the Confederate flag flying in the garage of a neighbor who addressed her housekeeper, whom she loved dearly, not as “Miss___” but as “Black ___.” I remember the sound of the Confederate flag flapping when I was 6 or 7 and drinking a Coca-Cola in a small general store off a dirt road in West-By-God Virginia that had a "No Coloreds" sign in the window (1983 or 84). Here's a little bit of truth... No matter how much we want the flag to be our symbol of survival and rebellion and states' rights, we know deep down that the flag is just as much about white pride. That kind of pride comes at someone else's expense.

We know, if we’re being honest, that the flag is a weapon. It terrorizes. I am sure that my neighbor’s housekeeper, who was from the South, did not view her southern heritage as wrapped up in those stars and bars. Even though I may really want the flag to be a symbol of my love of the South, I know deep down that it is a threat to a whole class of fellow Southerners.

But I don't mean it that way. I'm a kind, caring, generous person, just showing my pride, I'd do anything for anyone, black white or otherwise. Don’t be so sensitive. And there it is. The lesson my ancestor taught me. While being kind, caring, and generous, I am capable of hanging a threat in my dorm hallway and scaring the hell out of someone for whom the flag is a notice that terrible things are coming.

What happened at Bryn Mawr College happens every day around the country. It happens in backyards and on porches and at the end of piers and over beer coolers in garages. It happens in the North as much as in the South. I purposely am not getting into the procedural mechanics of any student or College or governmental entity’s specific response to the flying of that flag. I purposely am not directing this letter to those who have been terrorized by that flag. Instead, I am speaking to those of you who, like me, were raised in the shadow of that flag, who will argue that I am trying to ignore my history or am ashamed of my past. Know this. It is precisely because I have a deep pride and respect for where I come from, and it is in honor of my history and my ancestors, that I will remember that it is the impact of my actions that count. My intent is meaningless. That is why I do not need to fly the flag. Its lessons already are etched on my heart.

The author is a BMC graduate from MD. She remains thankful for her Bryn Mawr education, which taught her about critical thinking and cussed individualism.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Labyrinth pictures!


I realized I hadn't posted pictures of any of the labyrinths I'd built!

Enjoy!

2013 Gathering labyrinth

Click here for more pictures from the first labyrinth, at FGC Gathering 2013 in Colorado.


2104 Gathering labyrinth

Click here for more pictures from the labyrinth this last summer at FGC Gathering 2014 in Pennsylvania.


2014 Fall Equinox labyrinth

Click here for more pictures from the labyrinth we built for the Roses, Too! Tradition Fall Equinox ritual here in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Please see my past posts about labyrinths for the back story of how I came to build these labyrinths, and also for how-to help if you'd like to build a temporary labyrinth yourself:
http://aquakerwitch.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/labyrinths

Monday, October 6, 2014

Friend of the court brief in Smith v Wright

It is my joy and privilege to announce that Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) (http://flgbtqc.quaker.org/) has joined many other faith groups on a friend of the court brief filedon October 4  by Kramer Levin in Smith v Wright, the Arkansas marriage equality case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  (More info here: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/entry/c/arkansas.)

Yet again I will tell you that, as with the other Kramer-Levin briefs we've signed on to, I highly recommend reading this.  It's easy to read, and brilliant.  And super-encouraging for people of faith, and people in faith communities, who support marriage equality for same-sex couples -- and also who are working to prevent some faiths from being legally privileged over others.

You can read the brief here:
http://bit.ly/SmithBrief

Or here:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/241838146/CV-14-427-Faith-Leaders-Amicus-Brief

More information, and a list of briefs, at:
http://stasa.net/resources/quaker-friends-resources/court-briefs

Congratulations to all the signatories! And deep gratitude to everyone who worked on this brief.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Friend of the Court Brief in DeLeon v Perry

It is my joy and privilege to announce that Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) (http://flgbtqc.quaker.org/) has joined many other faith groups on a friend of the court brief filed yesterday by Kramer Levin in DeLeon v Perry, the Texas marriage equality case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  (More info here: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/litigation/entry/texas.)

As with the other Kramer-Levin briefs we've signed on to, I highly recommend reading this.  It's easy to read, and brilliant.  And super-encouraging for people of faith, and people in faith communities, who support marriage equality for same-sex couples -- and also who are working to prevent some faiths from being legally privileged over other.  

You can read the brief here:
http://bit.ly/DeLeonBrief

More information, and a list of briefs, at:
http://stasa.net/resources/quaker-friends-resources/court-briefs

Congratulations to all the signatories! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spiritual practice peer support group

Would you like support from other people in bringing a spiritual practice into your life, or in maintaining a practice you already have? 

We have one spot left in the 12-week spiritual practice peer support group that starts this week and runs through early December.

The group is on-line, virtual, text-based -- participants check in once a week, but there's no fixed meeting time.

Cost is $24 / £15 for the 12 weeks.

Please let me know asap if you're interested!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thanking the Goddess for tea



Yesterday, I posted to Facebook:  "TEA. Thank You, Goddess."

Today, while making my tea, it occurred to me to ask myself: Can I thank the Goddess for tea when I don't believe in the Goddess? 

I have said many times that I don't believe in the Goddess; I experience the Goddess.  And I do. 

I live on this planet, so I experience the Goddess -- the Air, Fire, Water, and Earth that are Her breath, energy, blood, and body.  That are literally and metaphorically these things. 

Air, Fire, Water, Earth in my everyday experience:  I breathe air.  I listen for the wind in the trees, down our chimney, against the walls of our house, against the sides of the bus.  I feel the wind against my face, against my body, as I walk; it blows my hair in my face these days.  I love sunny days; I depend on sunlight even on cloudy days, for the food I eat, for my mental health, for vitamin D, for so much else.  I revel in how our cats luxuriate in the sun shining through our living room windows.  I love how our back patio is a little sun-trap.  My neurons fire, a near-infinite number of tiny points of tremendous energy.  I love the moon.  I drink water.  I drink TEA.  I am, myself, more than half water.  My blood pumps.  Making my tea, I had a clumsy moment which reminded me that I definitely experience gravity, and if that's not an Earth power, what is.  I have a body.  I walk on the ground.  There are trees in our communal back garden, and flowers, shrubs, and other plants in both front and back gardens, and so many of our neighbors' gardens.  I can walk down to the end of the block I live on, look east, and see Arthur's Seat, one of the "mountains" in town.  Another few steps, and I can see Salisbury Crags.  I can go climb them.  I can walk across the green at the end of my block.  I can go sit on our back patio and listen to the birds and the wind in the trees, and feel the sunlight on my face. 

These days, I feel very estranged from that fifth element, that something more, the Spirit which binds all the elements, all life, together. 

But I can experience the Air, Fire, Water, and Earth in the everyday. 

I can thank the Air, Fire, Water, and Earth -- including humans -- responsible for my tea. 

Thank You, Goddess.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reprint: But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism


But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism 

by Leigh Alexander

 
You may notice that a lot of things happen to do with sexism on the internet. Sometimes someone has done a sexist thing and people are talking about it. Sometimes someone has written an article about the time they experienced sexism and other people are having feelings about it.  Sometimes a particular woman or women is being harassed on Twitter and you are witnessing it.


As you know, sexism is bad, and when bad things happen, you might have feelings about it too. But how can you help? What should be done? Here is a guide:


DON’T: Tweet at women asking them “what should be done”. When someone is venting about systemic injustice, commandeering their attention with the question, “but what solutions would you recommend” is akin to walking up to a person who is on fire and asking them to bring you a bucket of water so that you can “help.”  

DON’T: Make the person who is clearly suffering from the effects of an unfair system do free work for you. If you need more information to understand what you see happening, you have ways of obtaining it: Look at someone’s profile and read their feed or their conversations. Look at links that have been posted. Google. Ask your own friends. You can find a Game of Thrones torrent from anywhere in the world, and you can find out what has happened or is being discussed without making people who are obviously upset or occupied explain it to you. Some people may have high public profiles and busy feeds; some people may even be experiencing stressful interactions, even threats. You are not helping by butting in with “link please” or “did I miss something.”

DON’T: Feel like you have to give a response. Sometimes people simply want to be heard and understood, and you do not need to prove you are a good person by offering a pithy reply or insincerely fist-shaking along. One component of sexism is that men tend to inherently expect that what they say is valuable, and that a statement from a woman cannot possibly stand alone without their contributions. It is totally and entirely possible that you might have nothing to add, and you could benefit from the conversations of those who do.

DON’T: Try to explain things. Understand that even if the person you are addressing is not an authority in her field (though she often may be, as sexism targets prominent women) you ought not automatically assume she needs you to let her know how things go in her field, unless she has asked. Experiment with the idea that her experience is not whatsoever about you and it’s not the time for you to attention-seek or offer an ‘alternative perspective’.

And absolutely don’t try to explain to a woman writer or speaker what sexism is or what is happening to her. She knows.

DON’T: Tone-police. Does she sound enraged, impatient, and bitter? Is she not being especially nice to all the people who have Tweeted at her to explain sexism, ask her how to solve sexism, or otherwise undermine the things she is saying? Too bad. You wouldn’t be nice either if you lived in a system which consistently conspired to remove your authority and devalue your work. No matter what happens, you are not the victim in the situation — do not re-center conversations on yourself and your needs and emotions by pestering angry women to talk more nicely to you.
Did she hurt your feelings? You’ll live. Ditch the passive aggressive “fair enough” and “I was merely trying to” and “as you wish” and all of this, leave her alone, and consider your obligation to be part of the solution to a system that has harmed her and made her angry. If you think women, particularly women who are public figures, should feel an equally-important sense of obligation to make you feel good about yourself while they are under stress, congratulations: You are part of the problem.

DON’T: Make stupid jokes. You might be one of tons of people Tweeting at her, tone is hard to read online, and you shouldn’t be putting anyone, especially someone who does not actually know you, in charge of figuring out your sense of humor when they are under stress. You might just be trying to lighten things up or cheer the situation, but let people be angry, let them have heated discussions if they want and need to. Imagine this: Your dog dies, and a stranger walking past thinks you should cheer up, or take it less seriously, and decides to joke about your dead dog. What would you think of them?

You aren’t the mood police, and joking when someone is upset just sends the message that you don’t want to take her feelings or challenges seriously.

DO: Express your feelings of support. When you see something unjust happen, say that you condemn it. When someone’s the victim of destructive sexist behavior, defend them– not in a brownie points-seeking way, directing your comments at the victim herself or copying women into your Tweets so that they know you’re a good guy — but in your own channels. When you see friends and colleagues passing on destructive opinions, challenge them. By engaging the issue yourself, you take responsibility.

DO: Consider the well-being of others. When a woman or group of women becomes the victim of sexist harassment in public, spotlighting them isn’t always helpful, even if it’s well-intentioned. Tweeting “Everyone currently spewing hateful bullshit @thisperson is a jerk” expresses a noble and true sentiment, but it also does two things:  puts the spotlight on @thisperson and the volume of hate speech circulating around her, and also risks attracting more jerks. Good intentions aren’t quite enough: Think about the impact your statement may have, and make sure you’re not just creating more social media noise for someone. You do not improve someone’s level of stress or overstimulation with a wall of five replies from you about how bad you feel for her.

DO: Boost the individual and her work, not her victimhood. No woman who experiences sexism in her profession wants to be known primarily for “being a woman who experiences sexism.” It is right to defend and support women, and it is right to condemn sexism, but sometimes the best way to do that is by supporting their work. Hundreds of hair-tearing tweets protesting all the terrible sexist things that are happening to so-and-so can actually have the same ultimate effect as sexism: In both cases, the woman is reduced simply to “victim of sexism”.

Instead of Tweeting “it sucks what’s happening to @thisperson, why are people so evil and why is this industry so terrible,” consider something more like “I support @thisperson, author of this impactful paper [link]” or “I respect @thisperson, one of the best speakers on [topic] that I’ve ever seen.” Be sincere and not flowery or excessive — sometimes when people are trying to diminish someone because of their gender, talking about their achievements instead is the best countermeasure. Keep the individual at the center of the story, not the people harassing her nor the fact of her harassment. Don’t say “it’s so brave, what you do.” Say “I like something you created.”

And remember, women are individuals who all do different kinds of work, not a hive mind of “women writers” “women programmers” or “harassment victims” for you to group together.

DO: Take on some of the battles. When you see someone attacking a woman — or even just asking the kind of obtuse “but why is this a problem” questions we’ve already discussed in point one, here — explain and correct. Provide resources. Injustice and inequality of all kinds happen because people don’t recognize or realize the myriad way society has written different, deeply-ingrained rules for some people versus others, and information and empathy are keys to solving that problem. It should not only be women and minorities who are in charge of disseminating this information and heading up this fight.

Offer to moderate your friend’s Twitter feed or her website comments at stressful times (if it’s someone you know personally, who would trust you with her login information). Empower yourself to do better than just watching things happen with angst and concern, feeling bad about yourself and wondering “what can be done”. Take the lead sometimes, especially when you see someone being assailed, and share the load.

DO: Be aware of your own power and how you can use it to help others. It’s tough for women when they speak or write about sexism, or become victims of public harassment, to see strangers on Twitter care about what is happening to them — but their male peers, the organization they work for, their colleagues and coworkers remain silent in public. Don’t just send her a nice note in private about how bad it looks like things are sucking and how you “have her back.” Actually have her back. Stand up in public and say that yours is not a professional infrastructure that allows women to be abused or treated unfairly. Say that so-and-so is a talented, valued asset you’re proud to work with or for.

The silence of our friends is so much more painful than the noise of our enemies, and when our bosses, important figures in our field, or colleagues do not come out to condemn sexism or acts of abuse against us it can be very lonesome — we get the message that sexism is our own problem, an inconvenient issue that no one wants to get their hands dirty with.

when men condemn sexism the response is universally approving — good man, brave man. When women talk about sexism, we get death threats. Men should use this advantage to the fullest: The essays guys often write about how sexism is wrong or how they came to understand their own sexism may set examples for other men, and that’s not unimportant, but it’s basically just patting their own backs if those men are not also signal-boosting and supporting the work of women colleagues, hiring women, and bringing attention to the accomplishments of the women in their field.

DO: Care about feminist issues all the time, not just when someone you like on Twitter seems to be being abused. Share and RT the stories and articles that have educated you so that others can learn from them. Regardless of gender, all of us have been sexist before and will probably be again, as sexism, like racism, is unconscious and related to the values we internalize in our societies growing up. If someone tells you you are being sexist or racist, it is not a slur against your character, but an opportunity to learn more about yourself and others. We should all be interested in continuing to read, learn and share with those around us. 

[Any site or outlet has express permission to reprint this article if a. link back to my site is provided b. the article is not edited or altered in any way]


http://leighalexander.net/but-what-can-be-done-dos-and-donts-to-combat-online-sexism/

Friday, August 8, 2014

Quakers urge recognition of Palestine

Quakers in Britain urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation state; they call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict and for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.

http://www.quaker.org.uk/news/quakers-urge-recognition-palestine


News Release

08 August 2014

Quakers urge recognition of Palestine

Amid faltering ceasefires and talks, Quakers in Britain are calling for urgent action on Gaza. They urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation state; they call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict and for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.

The calls for action come in a statement made by the decision making body of Quakers in Britain, the Yearly Meeting, attended by 2,000 Quakers in Bath.  As part of their commitment to peacemaking, Quakers continue to challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

The Yearly Meeting heard essential steps towards full and fair negotiations:

  •     Palestine to be recognised as a nation state
  •     An end to indiscriminate fire by all sides
  •     A comprehensive arms embargo
  •     An end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and blockade of Gaza
  •     Freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners
  •     The use of international law to hold all parties to account for their actions.

The Yearly Meeting heard that this week that Quakers were invited to meet Foreign Office ministers on the crisis. Teresa Parker, programme manager for Israel and Palestine for Quakers in Britain, was among representatives from faith and secular agencies who went to share views and experience of the region.

A key motivation for Yearly Meeting is valuing all life. The Yearly Meeting statement says:

“As we among other Nobel Peace Laureates have said, ‘The conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis will only be resolved when Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality, worth, and dignity of all is realised.’  Peacebuilding is a long and demanding path to take… We long for – and will work for – a time when the fear experienced on all sides is replaced by a sense of security.”

The Yearly Meeting statement in full reads:

A statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict made by Quakers in Britain at their Yearly Meeting in Bath, 8 August 2014

“At this time of sombre anniversaries, as we observe the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and the anniversaries of nuclear bombs dropped on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we find our Quaker testimonies to peace and equality again compel us to speak out.

“The hostilities in Gaza are the latest eruption of the deep and long-running conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Root causes of this conflict, including the structural violence of occupation, must be addressed. Such violence damages all the people of the region. The present time, with its faltering ceasefires and talks, is a time of both crisis and opportunity. 

“From our long-standing Quaker experience of working on this issue in Palestine, Israel and Britain, and from listening to the testimony of Quakers in Ramallah, we are convinced that the UK Government has a real role to play.  A starting place would be for the UK to recognise Palestine as a nation state on the same basis as it recognises Israel.  We note that 134 states have already recognised the State of Palestine. The UK Government should also play its part in creating a real opportunity for peace by drawing groups such as Hamas into the political process and thus away from violent resistance to the occupation. We have seen around the world how those once labelled as terrorists can come to be recognised for their statesmanship.   It is our view that freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners would help Palestine to develop as a flourishing economic, political and civil society.

“The international community remains complicit in the conflict for as long as it fails to make full use of the mechanisms provided by international law, to hold all parties to account for their actions.  Under international law, at all times, all parties should distinguish between civilians and combatants, though as Quakers we place equal value on every human life. The Israeli Government's ongoing blockade of Gaza and its apparent collective punishment of the people must end, as must indiscriminate fire by all sides.

“Amid the present crisis, we are reminded that the people of the West Bank, living under Israeli occupation face restrictions on movement; loss of land and water; demolitions; the continuing building of settlements; detention without trial and violence by settlers and the Israeli military. Such suffering often sows seeds of future violence.

“The anniversary of World War I reminds us how easily militarised societies can slide into armed conflict and become blind to the alternatives to war. At such times, the international community has a responsibility to avoid fuelling the conflict. We join others in asking for a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and armed Palestinian groups. Quakers in Britain ask the UK Government to take a lead on this by halting arms exports to Israel.

“As we, among other Nobel Peace Laureates, have said, 'The conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis will only be resolved when Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality, worth, and dignity of all is realised’. Peacebuilding is a long and demanding path to take, but an essential one.

“Quakers in Britain feel called to act alongside others to address the roots of violence. We continue to uphold Quakers in the region and those working nonviolently for peace and human rights within Israel and Palestine. Quakers will continue to challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as we oppose all forms of prejudice. We long for – and will work for – a time when the deep fear experienced on all sides is replaced by security and a just peace.

Signed

Chris Skidmore

Clerk of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain


Quakers in Britain send human rights monitors to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, but not Gaza. On behalf of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and other Christian agencies Quakers in Britain runs the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Ecumenical accompaniers focus global attention on Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights groups. EAPPI uses the standards of human rights and international law to work for an end to the occupation and for a just peace with security and dignity for all.

Ends

Notes to editors


  •     134 nations have already recognised the State of Palestine (source: Palestinian Mission UK).
  •     The Nobel Peace Laureates’ statement is here http://www.quaker.org.uk/news/nobel-peace-laureates-call-real-peace-between-israelis-and-palestinians
  •     The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is a World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative which was established in 2002 in response to a call made by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, and Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. Since August 2002, about 1,000 ecumenical accompaniers from more than 20 countries have served in Israel and Palestinian territories. More than 160 of these EAs were from Britain and Ireland. See www.quaker.org.uk/eappi
  •     Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
  •     Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.
  •     At the Yearly Meeting Gathering, 2,000 Quakers, including 300 young people, have been at the University of Bath campus for a mixture of worship, business, interest groups, and significant lectures, exploring ‘What it means to be a Quaker today’. Junior Yearly Meeting, for 14 to 18 year olds, has run alongside YMG.

Media Information

Anne van Staveren

0207 663 1048

07958 009703

annev@quaker.org.uk

www.quaker.org.uk

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Friend of the Court Brief in Baskin v Zoeller

[UPDATE: Briefs are available to read here.] 

I am pleased and happy to announce that Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) (http://flgbtqc.quaker.org/) has joined many other faith groups on a friend of the court brief filed yesterday by Kramer Levin in Baskin v Zoeller, the Indiana marriage equality case before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  (More info here: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/litigation/entry/indiana.)

As with the other Kramer-Levin briefs we've signed on to, I highly recommend reading this.  It's easy to read, and brilliant.  And super-encouraging for people of faith, and people in faith communities, who support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Here's a link to the brief:
http://bit.ly/BaskinBrief

Yay!  And congratulations to all the signatories!

Blessed be.