New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

2014 Annual Report from Earthcare Ministry

Jul 1, 2014
Ruah Swennerfelt

THE EARTHCARE MINISTRY Committee of NEYM (ECM) calls on Friends and Friends Meetings to live in Right Relationship with all of Creation and supports those who are following their leadings to be in that life and power that takes away the occasion of damage to Earth's fragile community of life. In addition to carrying out particular actions as a committee, ECM also supports acts of witness for an Earth restored that are being taken by many Friends and Friends Meetings.

We are heartened by NEYM Friends who have taken action since last Sessions to mitigate the effects of harmful climate change. For example:

  • Mount Toby Friends Meeting has approved a voluntary carbon tax, in which individuals contribute to a special fund to offset their carbon emissions; the proceeds are donated to causes that are working to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Following Mount Toby's example, 12 members of Hartford, Conn., Friends Meeting have joined their Meeting's voluntary carbon-tax initiative.¬†
  • A climate minute was approved by Mount Toby Friends on January 12, 2014, concluding with following statement: "... We believe that, although the problems we face are large, complex, and may feel overwhelming, following our faith can lead us to unity and hope." Actions mentioned in the Mount Toby Minute ranged from lifestyle changes, taking part in a voluntary carbon tax, joining with other faith congregations, divesting from fossil fuel companies, bearing witness, building local economies, and strengthening community.
  • At a Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting in October 2013, a group of Friends from six Meetings in the Quarter met and agreed to coordinate and share information. They also approved a Minute on climate change, based on a Minute approved by Storrs, Conn., Monthly Meeting.
  • A Minute on divestment from fossil fuel companies was approved by Young Adult Friends of NEYM meeting at Westport in 5th Month 17, 2014 and was forwarded to Friends of New England, and ECM has endorsed it. This Minute has been forwarded to the Board of Managers and will come before Friends at NEYM Sessions this August.

ECM has supported Tom Jackson of Dover, N.H., Monthly Meeting in his ministry of encouraging Friends and Friends Meetings to divest from fossil fuel companies. As well, we continue to collaborate with the YAF Climate Working Group. For example, ECM members helped organize and attended a YAF climate workshop held at Woolman Hill earlier this year.

We are preparing to support Jay O'Hara during his trial for valiant civil disobedience in witness against the continued operation of coal-fired power plants.

ECM has made plans for workshops and interest groups at the 2014 NEYM Sessions with special emphasis on harmful climate change, recognizing that it is the major threat of our age, requiring a sustained response that is grounded in moral values.

In the spring of 2014, ECM held its annual retreat at West Falmouth Friends Meeting on Cape Cod, where we divided our time equally among deepening our spirituality, nurturing community, and committee business. We were inspired by the beauty and miracle of nature along the Cape Cod seashore, including the ecologically significant Sippewissett wetlands near the West Falmouth Meeting House. We were reminded that we have a responsibility to address, from a spiritual perspective, the ecological issues where we live.

--Ruah Swennerfelt, clerk

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]