Wednesday, 6 July 2011

More on Quakers and Transition

In last week's post I wrote about some of what we did during the "Quakers and Transition" weekend held at Woodbrooke from 24-26 June. Jenny Shellens, of Bristol Area Meeting attended. She writes:
*  *  *  *  *
I spend too much of my time on the head stuff. And it is true that around the transition to a fair, low-carbon, world there is much to learn, define and debate. But this weekend also gently encouraged us to look at the other stuff: the heart and soul. So, I'll try to chart for you my feelings.

I feel gratitude – for the fellowship, for the sunshine, for Woodbrooke’s abundance of nature right there, just to be in. I feel the familiar, crushing, terror that engulfs me whenever I look squarely at the future – at climate change forecasts and energy supply and the violence with which people and nations are responding to resource scarcity. I feel rage.

I feel inspired by the myriad stories of people making a difference, step by step – a community event here, a local food project there. I feel encouraged by the commitment and expertise and passion and undauntability of the Quakers involved, within a Transition Town, within their Meetings, beyond.

And then I feel I am clutching at straws: the world is burning. And I feel the loneliness of trying to cope with these thoughts in my daily life, among Quakers as elsewhere. I am more than daunted, I am overwhelmed. I haven’t the strength to do this without the leadership of my faith community. I feel despair.

So I try to fix my mind on the vision, on the idea that this time we are living in shall prove to be the great turning. We shall turn away from destructive patterns of consumption and resource use, of growing inequality and injustice, of alienation from our neighbours. We shall build resilient communities and create a positive future, after this interval of massive fossil fuelled consumption.

And we shall do this through action in which Quakers have a particular and wonderful history: through action on equality and conflict resolution and community and justice; through simplicity and some good old Quaker practicality.

I hear that at Yearly Meeting Gathering, in August, there is room for corporate action. I know there are thousands of Quakers doing wonderful things, from energy audits to new economic models to refugee integration, that contribute to the coming transition just as they do to our Quaker ideals. And this allows me to feel a concrete hope – that the 35 of us who happened to be there were representing an enormously larger group; that the Yearly Meeting as a whole may articulate this vision far better than I can. And a hope that our individual actions may be brought together as a true Quaker testimony.
*  *  *  *  *
Many thanks to Jenny for this post.
*  *  *  *  *
Jenny refers to a 'great turning': for more on this, check out
- Joanna Macy talking on YouTube
*  *  *  *  *
If you want to post a comment, and are having technical difficulties, you can email your comment to me at and I can post it for you.

If you are reader from outside the UK, please remember to post your comment in English - I won't post anything if I don't know what it says.

No comments:

Post a Comment