This summer AFSC staff had the opportunity to travel to many different Quaker gatherings including the FUM Triennial in Kenya, the Friends General Conference gathering in Oregon, and 20 Yearly Meeting annual sessions throughout the U.S. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our work with you in these spaces and come together under a shared vision for peace.
I personally had the pleasure to visit Friends along the West Coast, heading from Western Oregon University where FGC and North Pacific gatherings were held, to Santa Cruz, California for Pacific Yearly Meeting annual sessions. It was wonderful to connect with many Friends at these events! I felt a deep sense of spiritual grounding during worship sharing with Friends from North Pacific under the Oregon sky, with mountains rising all around us—and camping out under the stars with Junior Friends at Pacific Yearly Meeting.
My time with the Young Adult Friend (YAF) community was particularly transformative. I enjoyed the vitality of YAF programs in many different YMs and am grateful for the opportunities to make new connections through laughter, shared meals, and the characteristic tenderness with which young Friends open up to one another about their joys, concerns, hopes, and vulnerabilities. Being among my peers in these spiritually rich spaces has helped me find my place in the Quaker world and feel brave in exploring what spirituality means to me and how it shows up in my work.
Thank you, Friends, for welcoming me, and AFSC staff, into your communities and loving care. I’m looking forward to another year of exploring and deepening our relationships and connecting Quakers to AFSC!
Here are more ways you can engage with AFSC, plus a few updates on our work:
Vermont #BeBoldBernie Campaign: In June, AFSC launched the Apartheid-Free Campaign, a movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their call for equal and full rights. We have been inviting Quaker meetings and other communities of faith to take action to cut all ties with Israeli apartheid. In Vermont, we’re now calling on Sen. Bernie Sanders to visit Palestine, meet communities impacted by apartheid, and share what he has witnessed with the U.S. public and with his colleagues in the Senate. If you are a resident of Vermont, please join us in writing a handwritten letter to Sen. Sanders, urging him to be a bold advocate of Palestinian rights. Learn more.
AFSC, in coalition with other Friends organizations, was awarded the U.N. Human Rights Award: We’re happy to announce that the U.N. awarded its highest human rights award to the Global Coalition of Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples, Social Movements, and Local Communities for the Universal Recognition of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment. This coalition includes AFSC, Quaker United Nations Office, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and Quaker Earthcare Witness, among many others. The award is a recognition of tireless efforts that began decades ago—and resulted in thousands of people worldwide joining forces to achieve a milestone: the recognition by the U.N. of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
Quakers Today podcast: AFSC is sponsoring season two of the “Quakers Today” podcast, which features musicians, writers, and others who seek wisdom and understanding in a rapidly changing world. This month, Friends were asked “What was a time when you rebelled and why?” Timothy Tarkelly talks about his experience being a Quaker, lover of nature, and a hunter and Erin Wilson discusses Quaker values, the testimony of equality and how that helped her understand her identity as an LGBTQ+ person. For the next podcast episode, Friends are asked to consider the question “Who is someone who has inspired your faith or worldview?” To share your thoughts, call 317-QUAKERS (317-782-5377) or email email@example.com.
AFSC support for Ukrainian refugees: The war in Ukraine has displaced millions of people within the country, across Europe, and beyond. AFSC is partnering with local groups in Europe to fund essential work to assist Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people. Our partners include the Central European Gathering of Friends Funding for Ukraine Group, Tallinn Worship Group, and the Ukraine Women’s Fund. Read more.
Women mediators in Burundi: In Burundi, communities are working to heal after years of conflict—and build a more just peaceful future. In recent years, women have been training to be mediators with support from AFSC and partners. Today, more than 3,825 women in seven provinces of Burundi have been trained as mediators, helping their communities navigate and overcome conflict. Read more from Elysée Nibitanga.
Pendle Hill: Deepening at the Root (Oct. 5-9): Join Friends for an on-campus workshop with Christopher Sammond to explore opening to the divine Source in worship, vocal ministry, and leadings for action. This is an opportunity for Friends to learn about the spiritual dimensions of activism, a key aspect of AFSC’s work. This workshop is for Friends anywhere on the continuum between contemplative and activist who are seeking deeper life in the Spirit and clearer direction in their witness.
Thank you for your continued support of AFSC’s work and all that you do in working for a more just and peaceful world!
Sofia Di Pietro
Quaker Engagement Coordinator