Canadian Friends Service Committee—the national peace and social justice agency of Quakers in Canada—announces the launch of a brand new pamphlet: Being a Quaker, Being an Activist (PDF). The short pamphlet explores what it means to be a Quaker activist. It offers insights into historical and current challenges to Friendly activism, and how these have been overcome by Quakers in their work for justice and peace.
“The main thing is the belief that there’s not much point in faith without work. You put into practice what you believe.”—Betty Peterson when asked about Quakerism
“Can mystics build or improve civilization? Words change the world, but only silence changes us. Any reform that is not born of silence will be short lived.”—Pablo D’Ors
Being a Quaker, Being an Activist (PDF) examines what it means to be not just an activist, but a Quaker activist. How is Friends’ activism balanced by, and grounded in, silence, contemplation, and Friendly approaches?
Friends often feel called to serve as patterns and examples in the world, to offer living witness and engage in transformative action. Over centuries, many Quakers have been deeply involved in social change work that seeks just peace—a dynamic peace grounded in the Spirit, the freeing up of all people to reach their fullest potential in harmony with one another and the earth.
At the same time, many Friends do not experience leadings toward such outer work in the world, and are drawn solely toward Quaker worship. There can arise division between those of a more “activist” and those of a more “mystic” orientation within Meetings. But it may be useful to think of these as not truly two camps, or ones with incompatible needs.