Friends Responses to Global Change: An FWCC Worldwide Consultation among Friends
When we use the term „global change‟, we see it as being about “unity, integration and the inter-connection of all change. Seemingly different or unrelated changes are in fact aspects or facets of a single greater change” (Stargardt 2008). One of the main changes we refer to is the link between development, industrialization, degradation of land, atmosphere and water and the human contribution to environmental and climate change which threatens the very nature of the world we live in.
We sense there is a distinctive Quaker response to global change. This sense grows out of centuries of Friends‟ effort to embody in our lives and actions living a Godly life through our testimonies to peace, truth, integrity and justice. Testimonies grow out of the abundance of God‟s love (rather than from the fear which scarcity or change engenders), so that all are treated compassionately, justly, and equally.
We have set ourselves the task to ask: How do we articulate the spiritual basis for our response? What is our experience of global change? What do we, as a worldwide faith community, have to say to ourselves and to the world?
The following queries will be used as the backbone of this Consultation process:
- How has global change affected our communities and ourselves?
- What actions have we taken in response to global change as experienced in our area, to express our responsibilities towards all creation? In what ways have my own activities or those of my community contributed to positive or adverse local and global change?
- How do changes around us affect our relationship with God? How does my relationship with God affect my responses to the changes around us? What role does faith have in my life and in the life of my community? In what ways do I and my Friends church or meeting community bear witness to our Testimonies in our daily lives?
- What stories and experiences from past times of catastrophic happenings such as major droughts – perhaps from Scripture, perhaps the record of regional or local events – might inspire us to respond to the changes the world is facing today?
- How can we bear witness to the abundance God offers us and testify to the world about ways in which justice, compassion, and peace may address significant disruption, stress, and tension?
- How can we support one another in rekindling our love and respect for God‟s Creation in such a way that we are messengers of the transforming power of love and hope?
Julian Stargardt (2008) Friends and Global Change, FWCC-AWPS, 2008, available online at www.fwccawps.org