New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Two Climate Minutes approved at 2016 Sessions

Dec 9, 2016

2016-67 Drawing from the spirit and words of the Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting minute on climate change and the epistle from the second New England Climate Spring, Friends approved the following:

Friends at the New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions at Castleton, Vt., August 6–11, 2016, have heard a Divine call to the witness of addressing climate change. We affirm the overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases released by human activity are causing climate change, that these changes threaten life on our planet as we know it, and that we have a responsibility to address the very real threats that will impact both rich and poor. Those on earth who have contributed least to this crisis are likely to suffer most from it.

This is not just one concern among many to be carried by only some among us. We all live on this planet and are all complicit in altering its climate. It is incumbent upon every Friend and every Friends Meeting to discover how God is leading us to do our part to reverse this great threat.

As in past times of crisis, the strength and love of our community life will make it possible for Friends to see to what they are called, and carry it out faithfully whatever the cost. We can engage with each other tenderly and hold each other lovingly accountable to move from fear into courage, in response to this crisis. This is the manner in which Friends have always responded to great moral challenges of their own time.

Recognizing that we, gathered here, are shaped and limited by our own economic and social positions, nevertheless the divine Witness challenges us, in compassion and in love for all children of God, and for the beautiful earth, to pray, wait, and act with a focus and fearlessness appropriate to the urgency of the times. Love requires it of us.

Friends received this with gratitude.

2016-68 Jay O’Hara and Meg Klepack presented recommendations of the ad-hoc working group discerning what two concrete actions the Yearly Meeting could commit to this year. Friends were reminded that on Monday evening we had directed the Yearly Meeting to take two concrete actions as challenged to do by the FWCC minute on sustainability (Minute 2016-28). The ad-hoc working group proposed:

Gathered in our midst this week are those who are led to take bold public prophetic action. These Friends, gathered as a working group, will convene early this fall for discernment of God’s leading into ongoing nonviolent direct action for climate justice, rooted in the vision of faithfulness described movingly by Doug Gwyn in our Bible half-hours this week.

  1. We will listen to how we will, as a Yearly Meeting, collaborate with and support the actions of this working group.

  2. Building on the minute we have adopted on climate change this Session, we ask each Monthly Meeting and constituent body of the Yearly Meeting to enter into an intentional process of discerning:

  • God’s leading for each meeting and its members to take concrete action, and to commit to taking action before next Sessions.

  • What further steps God is calling us to take as a Yearly Meeting to address this issue.

New England Yearly Meeting will hold a consultation in spring of 2017 to receive what has risen during the year and to discern together where the Yearly Meeting is being led.

Friends approved committing to these actions.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]