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Quakers have a long tradition of seeking to live out their faith directly in their lives. Yearly Meeting of 2011 produced Minute 36, 'Our Canterbury Commitment' which acknowledged the threat posed by climate change and that Friends now needed to address this both as individuals and corporately.
As part of our response to this, Carlisle Friends have produced this series of "Green" Advices & Queries. The purpose is to both challenge and inspire as well as to provide a means of keeping these issues in focus and maintaining the urgency of the need for action.
However, we will all be affected personally in different ways and hopefully these Advices & Queries will provide signposts for each of us to discover where our own service lies.
A concern for the environment and its inhabitants has always been an aspect of Quaker spirituality; we pray that we are led to find ways through which to witness this concern guided by truth, unity and love.
1. Individual Considerations.
1.1 Minute 36: "Our Canterbury Commitment", is the Quaker response to the crisis of climate change. Take time to become familiar with the demands and challenges this declaration could bring to how you witness your faith.
1.2 We are called upon to recognise that we face an environmental crisis in the form of climate change. In responding to this challenge through our actions, we are able to restate our individual and corporate concern for the unity of all creation. Whatever form your response takes, ensure that you are led by an awareness of the sacred duty placed on every one of us to care for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.
1.3 Do not be discouraged by your own shortcomings or daunted by the task as a whole. Engage prayerfully with our commitment and seek to discern where your service lies.
1.4 Do you recognise the urgency of the need to take action and of considering the effect the way you live has on the world's limited resources? Educate and inform yourself and seek support and guidance that you may make choices that reflect a growing concern for the Earth and all of its peoples.
1.5 Are you able to pledge yourself to both individual and corporate action? In doing so, seek the opportunity for spiritual growth as you revisit and renew our Quaker commitment to stewardship and to living simply.
Are you able to keep moving towards your own goals for sustainability, keeping in balance the crucial importance of your contribution but also remaining tender towards yourself?
1.6 Do you recognise that each of us is capable of a different involvement in this concern and that all of us have a part to play?
2. Our Worshipping Community.
2.1 'Minute 36' encourages local meetings to practise "speaking truth to power" within their local communities which may include politicians, businesses and schools. How does Carlisle Meeting strive to meet this challenge and in what way does it nurture positive attitudes to sustainability?
2.2 Individual commitment and action is important. Do you also recognise that the call for radical change can also come from the concerted voice of Meeting itself? How could Carlisle Meeting become a channel for more effectively expressing and acting upon our corporate commitment to sustainability?
2.3 Consider your role in our move towards becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community. What matters is not measuring your level of activity against that of others, but that this impetus for change is sustained through prayer and support so that this journey encompasses us all and is led by the spirit.
2.4 Are we able to listen to the experiences of others, both positive and negative, in a caring way that seeks to uphold, help and encourage them in discerning their way forward towards meeting this challenge?
2.5 Being part of a worshipping community involves all in creating that sense of community: it isn?t just joining in something that others have made for us. If our commitment is to being part of a sustainable, worshipping community, our participation is vital to its life. Consider your own responsibilities in fostering this sense of community.
2.6 How is the spiritual growth of our Meeting enriched by the way in which it tends to the needs of the environment and its peoples?
3. Local, National and International Issues.
3.1 Consider supporting other groups in our local area as a means of witnessing our move towards ensuring the importance of sustainability and the need to combat factors that contribute towards climate change. In doing so, reflect on how Quaker insights and practices may equip such groups to work more equitably and inclusively.
3.2 Seek to make your views known to those in power both locally and nationally through meetings, letter writing and other avenues of influence.
3.3 Recognise that a danger in campaigning may be the reduction of complex issues to the dual stances of good/bad, friends/enemies. If we aim to speak to ?that of God? in others we should try to achieve this by underpinning our actions and words with love, trust and respect especially when dealing with those who do not currently share of views.
3.4 Governments and large global companies are well placed to act on a scale that can bring about the change that is needed to arrest our environmental crisis. Do you recognise the importance of "speaking truth to power" to such bodies? Do not feel overwhelmed by feelings of isolation or inadequacy but be supported and sustained by our Quaker witness to peace, truth, simplicity, equality and care for the environment.
True Godliness does not turn people out of the world but enables them to live better in it,
And excites their endeavours to mend it;
Not hide their candle under a bushel,
but to set it upon a table in a candlestick.
William Penn 1682
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