We feel profound sadness at the acute mental and physical suffering which the people of Ukraine are undergoing as a result of the military invasion initiated by the government of the Russian Federation.
We call for a cessation of violence, under the terms of the Geneva convention, which has been signed by both Russia and Ukraine.
As Quakers, we believe that God’s Spirit resides in all, and violence and war are never the only option. We implore the Ukrainian and Russian governments to pursue peaceful negotiations with open and creative minds.
Many people in Ukraine, Russia and around the world are hoping and praying for a peaceful outcome to this conflict. We hold in the Light all those in the Ukraine whose lives are in danger and disrupted by fear, the refugees fleeing from Ukraine, the many Russians who are shocked and dismayed at the course their government has taken, the decision makers, the soldiers, and all those courageously working for peace.
The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) requires a full time Communications Officer who will give our work visibility with those we seek to influence in the institutions of the European Union and a variety of other stakeholders and doners.
The role holder will take responsibility for digital and hard copy communications, online engagement, and public relations. This is a position for someone sympathetic to Quaker values with a flair for engaging with a wide variety of organisations.
EcoQuakers, which is made up of members of Ireland Yearly Meeting from across the island, hope that this new booklet will encourage Meetings to return to theirsustainability plans and update them with more ambitious goals and targets.
Suggestions included in the booklet include examining the insulation and sustainable energy potential of our Meeting Houses. We are also encouraged to examine our personal carbon footprints, e.g. from travel, and modes of transport.
• Acknowledge a climate and biodiversity emergency
• Apply the test of sustainability to all our decisions, at all levels
Once Meetings have updated their sustainability plans, they are encouraged to send their updated plans to EcoQuakers at firstname.lastname@example.org
In a letter to Meetings accompanying the booklet, the EcoQuakers committee said, “These actions are the proper spiritual and logical responses to the current state of climate disruption. They would also help us to continue to fulfil our response to the call from the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Quaker Gathering in Peru in 2016 ‘to preserve this Earth for our children, our grandchildren and all future generations to come, working as though life were to continue for 10,000 years to come.’
“After more than a year of research, writing, and editing, we are very happy to present this detailed guide to you, and hope that it will prove useful to both Meetings and individual Friends in responding to the climate crisis. As we begin to return to our Meeting Houses after nearly two years of restrictions, there has never been a better time for us to examine the sustainability of our Meetings and our own lives, and we hope you will use this booklet to do so.
“EcoQuakers Ireland strongly encourages your Meeting to once again prepare an ambitious sustainability plan and to reflect on every aspect of your Meeting to see where sustainability can be nurtured and improved. We encourage you to set sustainability goals and to work with other Meetings, faiths, and organisations to achieve those goals.”
The Loving Earth Project exhibition is on tour in Ireland during March and April 2022.
Funding has been secured to support the hosting of workshops as well as the Loving Earth exhibition, which consists of 50 A4-size textile panels made by Quakers and others in the UK to celebrate the earth and to highlight how so many aspects of it are endangered by climate change.
The exhibition will take place in the following locations:
South Belfast 21st-26th March
Craigavon Millenium Court Portadown 28th March – 2nd April
Thanks to all the Friends in Ireland Yearly Meeting who have supported the students and the school at Brummana near Beirut through our Bursary Appeal.
As Friends will know, the collapse of the Lebanese economy, following on from the country’s long political problems and the terrible explosion at the port, have left the school, its teachers, the 1250 students and their families in a terrible position, at the same time as Covid has hit. Teachers’ salaries are worth very little, and many are struggling to feed their families. It is really hard to imagine the size of the crisis. For the school, essentials such as text books and computers are impossibly expensive, since they have to be paid for foreign currency, and it is difficult even to get petrol for teachers to get too and from school.
Against this frightening situation, David Gray, the Principal, his team of teachers and the Lebanese Board of Governors are doing an incredible job. The school keeps running well, producing great results, and the students are absolutely delighted to be back on campus, learning together. For them, it is a haven in which they can have a childhood that is being stolen from them. As David Gray says, “Education is key, and perhaps the last hope for Lebanon’s long-term future. If our schools collapse the country has no future.”
Many Old Scholars have rallied to support the school, but the school is now digging into its hard-earned reserves to cover deficits of the last two years, $500,000 in 2020 and $750,000 in 2021, and to pay staff a living wage.
At the same time, we in The Quaker International Educational Trust (QuIET) are seeking to get as much support as possible for bursaries, to help keep the finances going. And we know that this is going to have to continue for a long time. Lebanon’s grave problems will take years to address.
We in QuIET, and the school, have now launched the “Friends of Brummana”, to Quakers and others interested in the future of the school, and supporting the progressive younger generation in the Lebanon. Recently over 20 Quakers, through Zoom, held an inaugural meeting. Each “Friend of Brummana” will use their time to address local Meetings and research other sources of funding, to ensure that this Quaker school survives.
Would you like to join this group, joining the online meetings, hearing who is happening in Brummana, meeting teachers and students on line, and seeing how you can support the school? If so, please email me at email@example.com and I will link you in.
In doing so you would be in a long tradition of Irish Friends. In 1869 as the school started to develop, four Quakers visited Beirut to see how they could support. Two of these were for Ireland – Richard Allen and Charles Wakefield. Further, three of the school’s Principal, Robert Davidson, John Henry Turtle and Kenneth Clay – who together led the school from 1932 to 1947 – came from Ireland, all with very strong links to Friends School Lisburn. And as a Jane Richardson, a Moyallon Quaker, wrote, during her visit in 1887, the people of Brummana “like the Irish, are kind-hearted, generous…; very clannish among themselves, but always hospitable to strangers.”
It is so important that we continue and deepen this relationship, at this terrible time. As David Gray recently said, “BHS is a school which celebrates freedom of thought and expression and lays the ground rules of any happy, prosperous society. It must continue to do so and to send out its students in the future as leaders of countries and professions as it has done in the past.”