Ecoquakers

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Ireland

Eco-Quakers Ireland

ECO-QUAKERS IRELAND is a recognised committee of Ireland Yearly Meeting; it aims:

1) To provide a Quaker input into the environmental and related social and economic problems in Ireland;

2) Actively to encourage Friends and Meetings to become better informed and more confident about taking action on these issues;

3) To connect with similar initiatives in other Yearly Meetings.

The work of this Committee originated in a concern which was brought to Ireland Yearly Meeting in 2008 by Natasha Harty (Cork) and Tony Weekes (South Belfast) under the title ‘Caring for Creation – what canst thou do?’.

With the encouragement of Yearly Meeting an exploratory open meeting was held in May 2008, and following this an interim committee agreed to take the concern forward. At Yearly Meeting 2009 it was agreed that EcoQuakers Ireland should become a recognised committee of the YM.

This site is under development; the following pages are currently accessible; use the back button to get back to this page:

1. EcoQuakers at Ireland Yearly Meeting 2009

2. Eco Quaker visits to Preparatory Meetings

3. Outreach Actions by Friends Relevant to the Energy/Climate Crisis;

4. Links to other sites relevant to the EcoQ objectives; in this context we give here priority access to the inter-denominational Eco Congregation Ireland website: http://www.ecocongregationireland.com.

5. Background notes on the preliminary work that led to the formation of the Eco-Quaker Committee.

We will add to this list and develop it, as material accumulates. Material relating to the basic workings of the EcoQ group is given below, in reverse chronolgical order. RJ Ed.

ENTRY for IYM BOOK of COMMITTEES
ECO QUAKERS IRELAND COMMITTEE
Origin:
The work of this committee originated in a concern which was brought to Ireland Yearly Meeting 2008 by two Friends under the title ‘Caring for Creation – what canst thou do?’. With the encouragement of YM an exploratory open meeting was held in May 2008, and following this an interim committee agreed to take the concern forward. At Yearly Meeting 2009 (Minute 32 /09) it was agreed that EcoQuakers Ireland should become a recognised committee of IYM.

Purpose:
To provide a Quaker input into the environmental and related social and economic problems in Ireland;
To encourage Friends and Meetings to become better informed and more confident about taking action on these issues;
To connect with similar initiatives in other Yearly Meetings, and like-minded organisations.

Method of appointment:
Up to eight members, with at least two Friends or Attenders from each Quarterly Meeting.
Nominated by: Yearly Meeting’s Nominations Committee.
Appointed by: Yearly Meeting’s Committee.
Informed of appointment by: Yearly Meeting’s Committee.
Ex Officio : Friends’ Appointee to Eco Congregation Ireland.

Duration of appointment and commencement: Three year term from Yearly Meeting’s Committee held in January, staggered so that two or three appointments are made or renewed each year.

Accountability: Reports to Yearly Meeting and / or Yearly Meeting’s Committee.

Frequency and Timing of Meetings: At least three or four times a year, with contact between meetings by phone or e-mail.

Life Expectancy: On-going.

Article published in The Friendly Word Nov-Dec 2009:
Welcome to the first of a new series of articles about ‘Eco’ matters (ie matters relating to ecology, the environment, climate change etc), produced by the Committee of Eco-Quakers Ireland. This may be revised in the light of your feedback, and will eventually appear in The Friendly Word. Specific feedback should be sent by e-mail to ecoq@gn.apc.org. Most of the content of this has already appeared in this web-site.

Who we are, and what we wish to do
Let us tell you something about ourselves. Eco Quakers Ireland is a recognised committee of Ireland Yearly Meeting. Its present members are: Tony Weekes (South Belfast), Natasha Harty (Cork), Denise Gabuzda (Cork), Roy Johnston (Churchtown), Ian Woods (Dublin) and Gillian Armstrong (Rathfarnham).

In broad terms, our objectives are:

1. to provide a Quaker input into the environmental and related social and economic problems in Ireland;

2. to encourage Friends and Meetings to become better informed and more confident about taking action on these issues;

3. to connect with similar initiatives in other Yearly Meetings and other appropriate organisation.

Our origins:
The work of this committee originated in a concern, which was brought to Yearly Meeting in 2008 by Natasha Harty and Tony Weekes under the title ‘Caring for Creation – What canst thou do?’. With the encouragement of Yearly Meeting an exploratory open meeting was held in May 2008, and following this an interim committee agreed to take the concern forward. At Yearly Meeting 2009 it was agreed that EcoQuakers Ireland should become a recognised committee of IYM.

What we have done so far:
Visits to Meetings in Ireland

An important part of the activities of EcoQuakers Ireland is our goal of visiting each preparative meeting on the island, to discusswith them connections between the Quaker testimonies and concern and respect for the environment. We have been making good progress with these visits. To date, we have spoken with Friends at eight meetings or worship groups (Churchtown, Cork , Coleraine, Frederick Street , Limerick, Rathfarnham, South Belfast and Killarney). At the Limerick event, Denise Gabuzda gave a half-hour presentation starting with an introduction about John Woolman and leading into the theme of our Quaker testimonies and respect for the environment, which was attended roughly 50-50 by Friends and the general public; this was part of a lecture series by and about Quakers organised by Limerick Meeting.

We are in touch with nine other Meetings to arrange convenient dates.

Each of these visits has proven to have its own unique character, and to provide its own themes and sources of inspiration. We very much look forward to our remaining visits, and whole-heartedly encourage the Clerks of those meetings from whom we have not heard to get in touch with us about scheduling an EcoQuakers visit to their meetings (see below).

Special interest groups at Ireland Yearly Meeting 2009

We organised two special interest groups at IYM 2009: Friends and sustainability: an open forum, led by Denise with assistance from Kees Nieuwerth (Netherlands YM), and The Economic Crisis – disaster or opportunity? led by Tony Weekes and Denise. Both were well attended and prompted lively discussion. Further details and some background papers are available at website http://www.quakers-in-ireland.ie/subsites/ecoquakers/ecoq.htm.

Connecting with the work of other Yearly Meetings

Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) with Woodbrooke Quaker Studies Centre have started a discussion on the implications of A No-growth Economy. The first step took the form of a whole day gathering on Saturday 26 September at Friends House in London. A brief introduction to this work, together with background papers and the power point presentations are available at website: http://www.quaker.org.uk/zero-growth-economy-conference.

The follow-up took place at Woodbrooke QSC in Birmingham from Friday 30 October until Sunday 1 November. This was more interactive, with workshops and a presentation/discussion (by e-link) with Geoffrey Garver, co-author of the book Right Relationship: building a whole earth economy. Geoffrey’s presentation is also available at the website ‘zero-growth-economy-conference’ as above. Other papers from this phase of the work will be made available in due course.

QPSW has set up a ‘blog’ on the theme of this work. Postings are open for reading (and follow-up comment) at website: http://www.quakerweb.org.uk/blog.

Tony Weekes attended both these events, and can supply further information on request to e-mail ecoq@gn.apc.org

Scheduling an EcoQuakers visit
There is no need to hesitate if your meeting or worship group is small: we are very happy to come no matter the size of the group. In addition, this can actually provide interesting possibilities for outreach to other Christian Churches and the public. Our visit to the Killarney Worship Group was co-sponsored by the Killarney Methodist Church , and indeed, the Methodist Minister was one of three speakers for that presentation.

Contact Denise to discuss an EcoQuakers Ireland visit: e-mail: gabuzda@physics.ucc.ie

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