By Margaret Clark, Canberra Regional Meeting.

Over the weekend 9 and 10 February 2013, the Quaker Peace and Legislation Committee (QPLC) and the Quaker Earth-care Committees (QEC) met for both fellowship and strategic planning. The two committees intend to collaborate to transform the view that Australian society has of itself and others: a change from fear to trust – from being static and stuck to open and courageous so to act to create a sustainable and peaceful future for ourselves and for future generations.

During the weekend the committees discussed the belief that climate change, earth-care concerns, national disasters, social justice, and peace and conflict issues are all interlinked. The committees will work to influence thinking and action at different levels – from the local to the global – among Friends and more broadly.

Friends will be interested to know that the contract of the current Peace and Earth-care Office Worker, Robert Howell, has been renewed until 15 January 2014, following the receipt of the necessary contributions to cover this period.

There have been changes to QEC: Margaret Moreton has joined the committee, Christine Larkin has left, and Phillip Toyne is the new convenor.

The committees appreciate the many comments about the Vision document which people have sent to the Peace and Earth-care Worker. The document is being revised accordingly, with consultation from various respondents, and will be placed on the Australian Quaker website as a working document.

Both committees are also developing individual issue papers from the Vision document to encourage discussion, debate and action among Friends.

The Peace and Earth-care Worker, Robert Howell, anticipates visiting with Friends throughout Australia, including Perth, Hobart and Melbourne. He is also hoping to develop open session format seminars on critical topics. We hope to let you know about this in future reports.

The committees are developing an effective communications strategy to engage with Friends, other faith groups and wider Australian society. In addition, the committees are investigating partnerships and alliances with a range of organisations.

Other specific projects include the development of a toolkit for living sustainably (QEC), drafting a Quaker response to the Defence White Paper and encouraging Friends to engage with the federal election (QPLC).

The committees look forward to collaborating on a range of projects in 2013, and are happy to hear from Friends on issues which they consider important.

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