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Minute on Name Change
(From 2004 Sessions Minute Book)
71. The Clerk recognized Molly Anderson (Camb), clerk of the New England Friends on Unity with Nature Committee, and members of the committee. Molly presented a minute which changes the name of the committee to the Earthcare Ministry Committee and outlines new purposes and procedures. After making minor changes to the text of the minute, Friends approved the minute and accepted the report of the committee.
Minute on Name Change
The New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends recognizes that threats to sustainability of the earth and its biosphere come from many aspects of our lives, and we commit to finding and living solutions. We realize that individual actions are not sufficient: often we are constrained by social, financial and infrastructural factors that prevent our making choices congruent with our values as Friends. Therefore, we commit to take actions designed to dismantle those societal barriers to responsible earthcare, and to put in their place incentives and support for making socially just and environmentally responsible choices. The specific actions we take will be informed by a shared vision of how we can live in ways that respect and restore biodiversity, natural beauty, and earth’s ability to heal past abuses.
Awareness of serious environmental problems and their spiritual connections is widespread in New England Yearly Meeting, as demonstrated by our enthusiastic endorsement of the Earth Charter in 2002. At present, our foremost task related to earthcare is to act collectively on that awareness. In recognition of this new emphasis, the New England Friends in Unity with Nature Committee will be renamed the Earthcare Ministry Committee, with the following purposes and procedures:
Purposes: The Earthcare Ministry Committee encourages New England Yearly Meeting and its constituent monthly meetings, quarterly meetings, committees and staff to actions based on awareness that current rapid destruction of our planet and its fragile ecosystems is diametrically opposed to Quaker beliefs and values, and that the Religious Society of Friends must take an active stand against these trends and practices, inseparable from our other activities.
Procedures: The Committee will help Friends to create a collective vision of how we can live peacefully and respectfully in the world, sharing finite goods with other inhabitants. It will work to identify specific actions that can turn this vision into reality, and help monthly meetings and other units of Yearly Meeting to carry them out. As part of this mission, it will connect Yearly Meeting with the national Quaker Earthcare Witness committee (formerly Friends in Unity with Nature) by sharing information and calls to action. The Committee also will encourage a growing awareness of global interconnections among social injustice, war, environmental harm, and the emphases our society places on materialism and consumption.
New England Yearly Meeting charges every committee with integrating the need to transform our lives and society to care for the earth, supporting the activists among us, and including that witness in our new “Faith and Practice”. We call on every monthly meeting, worship group and individual Friend to “let our lives speak” and to lead others, inside and outside the Religious Society of Friends, to uphold ecological integrity by making radical changes in our lives.
Article originally appeared on NEYM Peace-Justice-Earth Witness (http://www.neympeace.org/).
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