By Madeline Schaefer
Published: January 24, 2014

Seattle area high school students gathered over the winter holidays for a Tyree Scott Freedom School, an AFSC program in Seattle, to learn about the history and structures of racism in the United States.

Madeline Schaefer, the Friends Relations Associate, went to visit that Freedom School, and witnessed a grassroots movement for social change built on the passion of a diverse network of young people in the Seattle region.

Listen to the voices of some of the young men and women who attended the workshop, and hear how they are using their new understanding to undo racist...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: January 15, 2014

On the plane to Seattle to attend one of AFSC’s Tyree Scott Freedom Schools, I was seated across from a young white man who looked roughly my age. Toward the end of our flight, we struck up a conversation. He was from Oklahoma, he told me, the youngest of five. He was only the youngest by a very small margin, as he was one of triplets. I had never met a triplet before, I told him. He had never met a Quaker. 

We touched on nearly everything—our backgrounds, our politics, our taste in movies, our careers. He told me he was currently studying law at a major university in...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: January 9, 2014

Before the end of the year I posted this question on Facebook and I received an amazing string of answers. To me such an exercise is powerfully expressive of Quaker faith, which is not doctrinal but expressed in the individual experiences of those who practice. I think these answers together create a lovely poem expressive of the multitude of ways that Quakers understand and experience Quaker faith. If you'd like to view the whole conversation, ...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: December 22, 2013

Note: Here is a poem, which came to me in worship, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. - Lucy

The snow is melting, the air is crisp

I sit in meeting for worship

Notice the ticking of the clock

A siren screeches

The benches creak

Bodies situate them selves

Resting their bones

Taking a breath, waiting

 

The noise revs up in my head

The ‘to do’ list, the moments I said the wrong thing, the news of a friend’s illness

The awareness of all the walls we erect to keep what will heal...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: December 20, 2013

 And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore: Isaiah 2:4

What I love about this quote—both its content and its historicity— is what it signifies about the seemingly human-ness of our yearnings for peace.  Some impulse in the human Spirit has been calling us to a time when we can lay down our fear and our hatred and to not “learn war anymore,” a time when we can transform our destructive energy into something more constructive.  Humans have...